Visiting Austria and Hungary is like going back in time, to an era of elegance, beauty and nobility. The many palaces and castles built by the Habsburgs are the living embodiment of that era and its values. Join us, and experience the most beautiful and spectacular noble homes in old Habsburg. Experience how the nobility lived during the height of the Habsburg Empire.
The Hohenwerfen Fortress
The Fairytale Castle in the Heart of the Mountains
Surrounded by mountains and overlooking the beautiful historic town of Salzburg, the Hohenwerfen Fortress offers visitors a real aristocratic experience.
Over 900 years old, the castle is a massive structure built at high altitude. It is an ideal observation post from where you can see the entire Salzachtal valley. Inside the fortress, you will find a collection of medieval weaponry and armors, many of which are over 700 years old! Leaning on the external walls is a memorable experience. Feel the fresh air and enjoy the gorgeous sights. The forests and the mountains invite you to explore and to experiment a different side of life. The Hohenwerfen Fortress can also make fora great winter getaway vacation, especially if you love skiing.
Did we mention that falconry played an important part of this castle's history? Visit the first Austrian museum of falconry and learn about the nobility's favorite activity.
Heaven on Earth
In the words of Emperor Franz Joseph, Kaiservilla is “heaven on earth” and probably this is why the palace earned the great honor of being the Imperial summer residence. The Imperial Villa in the little town of Bad Ischil was a favorite of the Imperial couple. The villa was a wedding gift from Franz Joseph's mother to celebrate her son's wedding to Elizabeth, better known as Sisi. The engagement took place in Ischil and so, the Kaiservilla always held a special place in the Imperial Family's hearts. Today, you can visit the villa and explore the more intimate and humane side of the AustrianMonarchy. Sisi was a beloved Empress and her gentle touch and good tastes have left a mark on the Kaisrevilla.
The Kaiservilla features a beautiful "English garden" where visitors can relax after touring the palace. The Kaiservilla is a perfect objective for those interested in how the nobility lived and for those who love history.
The Ducal Seat of a Prestigious Dynasty
The Greinburg Castle is owned by one of Europe's most prestigious dynasties - The Ducal House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The Gotha Dynasty is related to virtually every European monarchy you can think of and its members still rule today in countries like Spain, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The family's interesting and engaging history make the Greiburg a main attraction for anyone who wants to see noble homes in Old Habsburg. The Castle houses many collections of valuable and rare pieces of furniture, art and heirlooms that belong to the Gotha dynasty.
The countryside is also beautiful around the Greinburg Castle. The views of the Danube that you get from here is unrivaled.
The Crown Jewel of Noble Homes in Old Habsburg
We could not possibly leave out the Schönbrunn Palace, one of the most beautiful palaces and buildings in the world. The Schönbrunn Palace was the Habsburg Imperial Summer Residence and today it offers visitors a glimpse into the lives of the Imperial Family and Dynasty. Built in the baroque style, the architecture is characterized by complex and intricate details. Here, you can explore 1444 rooms filled with treasures and art. The Schönbrunn Palace offers a rare glimpse into the life of the Habsburg nobility.
The impressive gardens also make for a memorable visit. Adorned with sculptures representing mythical figures and ancient virtues, the gardens are of a remarkable beauty. The Schönbrunn’s estates feature a botanical garden, an orangery, and the world’s oldest zoo.
The Esterházy Palace
Where Music Still Lives
Located in Eisenstadt, The Esterházy Palace was the residence of The Esterházy family, whose one of most notable members, Nikolaus II provided patronage to compositor Joseph Haydn. The musical genius spent forty years in the employment of the Esterházy family and produced, in this period, his best works.
The Habsburg and Hungarian nobility have always been strong supporters of classical music. When Haydn was invited to Esterházy he started designing a concert room that will be above all others. Thus, he designed the Haydnsaal, one of the most beautiful and acoustic perfect concert halls in the world. A visit to The Esterházy Palace would be incomplete without attending a concert. It is a place of beauty where the rhythm of baroque architecture and music are one.
The Széchenyi Mansion
A Baroque Beauty in the Hungarian Countryside
Few other noble homes in Old Habsburg could equal The Széchenyi mansion in beauty and charm. Built over five generations by the influential Széchenyi dynasty, it stands out as a perfect example of baroque architecture, style, and elegance. Although not as grand as other Habsburg castles and palaces, The Széchenyi mansion has a charm of it sown and it is more intimate. It is here where you can really understand what it was like to be a noble. A simple summerhouse like the Széchenyi Mansion is able to capture intimate and personal moments from a noble family’s life. Located in the peaceful town of Nagycenk, the mansion invites guests to spend a relaxing afternoon and enjoy the fresh air and beauty of the countryside.
The Hungarian Versailles
Built by Prince Nikolaus, the Eszterháza symbolizes the struggle of man against nature, of beauty against ugliness. Built in the swampy land, near the south shore of the Neusiedler See, the palace was, from the start a challenge, but nevertheless, overcame by Prince Nikolaus’ desire for beauty and perfection. The opera house, completed in 1768, held the first performance of Haydn’s opera Lo speziale. It has been often compared to Versailles because of itslarge structure and extended gardens. However, in terms of architectural style, the Eszterháza borrows equally elements from both Versailles and Eszterháza, while still maintaining its own unique flavor.
The Royal Palace of Gödöllö
A Home Fit for a Queen
The Royal Palace of Gödöllö was the favorite home of Queen Elisabeth of Hungary, better known as Sisi. Again, her good tastes and personal charm have left a powerful impression on this world.
Just over 30 kilometers north of Budapest, The Royal Palace of Gödöllö is one of Hungary’s most celebrated and important monuments. You can visit the royal apartments of Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Sisi, admire a huge collection of rare artifacts, heirlooms and art pieces or attend one of the concerts that are regularly held here. Most of the exhibitions center on Hungarian and Austrian aristocracy. The rooms (decorated with authentic furniture and heirlooms) are always open to the public and you can join a guided tour or explore on your own.
We have arrived at the end of our journey. We hope that the carriage ride was comfortable enough. After living among the highest of highest, it is difficult to come back to the city, but take heart – the aristocratic nobles still lives in all its beauty and elegance.