Day Trip from Vienna for Architecture and Swim Enthusiasts – Bad Fischau
Bad Fischau – Have you heard of it? Maybe not. It does not rank among the typical tourist hotspots in Austria. But this cute little market town is just 50 km from Vienna and will take you back to the imperial “Sommerfrische” – the holidays of the upper class during the Habsburg monarchy.
There have been discoveries proving that people may have lived in the are of Bad Fischau already in the 5th millennial B.C. The Celts came to the region several centuries B.C. Bad Fischau was part of the Celtic kingdom Noricum and the town’s first name “Vscaia” goes back to the Celts.
During the Roman Empire it was part of the province Pannonia. What is now Bad Fischau was located along the very important trading route from the South towards Vindobona, today’s Vienna.
The first official record of the town in a document was in the 12th century. In the same century, it became a so-called “market town” which increased its political importance. But that century also marked a catastrophe: the town burnt down during a war.
About 300 years later, the Magyars and later on the Ottomans invaded the town.
I highly recommend a stroll through Bad Fischau and exploring not only the sights such as the church but also the beautiful residential houses which date back to the Habsburg Monarchy. I have marked the walk in my map below.
Start of the Walk: Church of Bad Fischau-Brunn.
The Church of Bad Fischau-Brunn is a roman-catholic church and is dedicated to Saint Martin.
In 865, a church with the name “Fiskere” was built and was associated with the archbishop of Salzburg. The church was destroyed in the first half of the 10th century during the invasion of the Magyars and rebuilt in 1050. It became one of four “founding parishes” (Ur-Pfarren) of the region with Pitten, Neunkirchen and Lanzenkirchen.
At around 1200, a new church in romanesque style was built. The outer walls can still be identified in today’s building. During the Gothic period, high and wide windows were inserted.
In 1529 the vicarage was destroyed by the Turks. The complete church was destroyed in another invasion by the Turks in 1683. The church was again damaged during an earthquake in 1768. At the end of the 18th century, the church was modified in classicist style and a square choir was attached on the West side.
A remarkable feature of the church is the hall yard (Gadenkirchhof), which has been preserved in a very rare impeccable condition, with a cellar lane (Kellergasse).
The East tower with a round arch frieze was built in the 12th century. The romanesque round arch portal dates back to the 14th century. The painting in the tympanum is about Saint Martin.
Walk down Grüne Gasse and then turn right into Windbachgasse.
Turn left into Gartengasse. Pay attention to the cute house at the corner of Windbach- and Gartengasse.
In Gartengasse, there are houses dating back to turn of the 19th to the 20 century.
Turn right onto Wiener Neustädter Straße, the main road.
Head back towards the centre and turn right into Bahngasse. There are two interesting houses – one with a turn-of-the-century veranda – on your left.
Before you turn into Berghofgasse, walk onto the small bridge to get a nice view of the creek and the mill.
Walk back onto Wiener Neustädterstraße to Schloss Fischau.
This palace most probably dates back to the 12th century. It was renovated in baroque-style at the beginning of the 18th century. An earthquake heavily damaged the building and led to another renovation phase at the end of the same century. Also today, there are renovation works going on at the palace. The palace Fischau hosts creative workshops and art exhibitions. There are also special events for children.
Walk through the small park (Schlosspark).
At the end of the park, there is a small gate leading to Institutsgasse. Turn right onto Institutsgasse.
Turn left into Hanuschgasse. Follow until right after Rainergasse to see a Jugendstil (art deco) building on your left.
Walk back into Rainergasse.
The Villa Erzherzog Rainer was built in 1657 as a hunting lodge for the archduchy. It was destroyed during the siege of the Turks in 1683. For over 100 years, there was a small house at its place. At the end of the 19th century, it was rebuilt in its original style. The Villa Rainer was renovated and extended in 1901.
Walk down Hofackergasse.
Turn left on Hanuschgasse and walk to Wiener Straße.
Walk back towards the centre. If you are still motivated, walk up Dreistettener Straße. In the curve on your left, you can spot a historic station of the First Vienna Mountain Spring Pipeline on top of the hill. Until today, the Viennese tap water still comes from the Rax and Schneeberg areas.
End your walk at Thermalbad Fischau (Public Pool).
The “Bad” in Bad Fischau already hints at another architectural gem: the “Fischauer Thermalbad”. “Bad” indicates that the town has thermal springs. But this swimming pool is not filled with hot water. It is something for brave swimmers with a water temperature of only 19 °C.
The water is completely natural, no chemicals are added. The high quality is achieved by renewing the water in the pools up to four times per day. 40 million litres of water flow through the two pools every day.
In addition to its unique water system and health approach, the swimming pool is being advertised as “Swimming Like in the Emperor’s Times”. Its colours give away its imperial past: everything is in yellow, white and green.
At the time of its construction, women and men had to swim separately. The names “Damenbecken” (for the women) and “Herrenbecken” (for the men) are still in use. But, of course, both are open for anyone today.
In addition to the two pools, visitors can walk down stone steps to the beautiful waterfall. It comes directly out of the rock. Two smaller pools also invite to just relax.
It does not feel as if you are in a public swimming pool. It could also be a creek in the mountains.
There is also a pool for children (but I guess for most it will be too cold.) For those who are not brave enough to swim in the cold water, there are two large lawn areas to sunbathe and chill.
I particularly liked the style of the cabanas. They are also painted in the signature “k.u.k.” (ie. imperial) colours.
There are two restaurants which are also open outside of the pool opening hours and for non-visitors. The café right at the entrance serves breakfast options as well. The main restaurant offers mediterranean dishes (a mix of Italian and Greek).
The Thermalbad is open daily from 9 am to 8 pm. Daily tickets are EUR 10 (about USD 11.30) for adults and EUR 5 for children. Evening tickets (after 4 pm) are EUR 5 and EUR 2.50 for children until the age of 15. Season tickets are also available.
Shop & Dine
The Genussladen right next to the Thermalbad has a selection of regional products such as vegetables and bread (the latter can be pre-ordered online and picked up at the shop). Fish and meat can also be pre-ordered.
The Steinhäuschen was recommended to me by local Tina Jedlicka. It has a cute courtyard and serves breakfast, pastries and snacks. I think it’s a perfect spot to enjoy a coffee or drink.
How to Get to Bad Fischau
It is very convenient to reach Bad Fischau by train from Vienna. It takes about 45 minutes. There is a train every hour from the train station Wien Meidling, you will need to change trains at Wiener Neustadt main train station. A return ticket is about EUR 26 (about USD 29.30)
Bad Fischau is located about 50 km South of Vienna and can be accessed by car via the Autobahn A2. If you visit the pool, parking is available behind the Thermalbad and can be accessed via Badgasse.
Special thanks to Fischauer Thermalbad, where I was allowed to take pictures before the official opening of the swimming pool.
All information as of the date of publishing/updating and based on the personal visit of Elisabeth Steiger, the information available at the sights and the official websites of Bad Fischau, Pfarre Bad-Fischau-Brunn, Schloss Fischau and Fischauer Thermalbad. We cannot accept responsibility for the correctness or completeness of the data, or for ensuring that it is up to date. All recommendations are based on the personal experience of Elisabeth Steiger, no fees were received by the recommended places above.