Inside the abandoned Suedbahnhotel at Semmering

If you've been reading my blog for a while you know that I love to photograph inside abandoned buildings.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to photograph inside the abandoned Suedbahnhotel Semmering and it was unlike any other abandoned place I've been before.

Semmering is a climate health resort in Austria, south of Vienna, at the border of Lower Austria and Styria, about one hour from Vienna by car or by train. 


5 Things to know about the Suedbahnhotel Semmering

The Suedbahnhotel was built right near the South Railway Track (in German: Suedbahn) that originally connected Vienna, Austria to Triest, Italy. Though Triest is situated in today's Italy, it once belonged to the Austrian Empire until the end of World War I in 1918. (If you're interested in history, here's an old map of the Austrian Empire)

Semmering was a popular vacation spot for the bold and beautiful of the Austrian Empire back in the late 19th and early 20th century because it was easily reachable by the newly built South Railway Track.

After the track was finished, the corporation started to build a number of hotels along the track. The Suedbahnhotel was one of them and finished in 1882 and quickly the Viennese upper class circles flocked to the place until the beginning of World War II.

After World War II, the hotel was reopened, but it could not continue the success it had before. The hotel was kept open until 1976 when the last guest checked out. Since then, the hotel was abandoned and only used occasionally as a theatre between 2000 and 2010 during summer months.

Though it was abandoned in 1976, the interior is still intact. In fact, the word "abandoned" does not do any justice to this gem. I believe that the term "sleeping" is more accurate. If you have some money in your account, you can even buy this sleeping beauty.


Inside the Suedbahnhotel

I've been to a number of abandoned places, from the abandoned sanatoriums in Beelitz to the remains of Pripyat in Chernobyl. But so far, I've never seen an abandoned place like this. There are still wallpapers, chimneys, beds, chairs, tables and lockers inside the rooms. I even found a piano on one of the floors.

The rooms are quite huge given how old the hotel is. Two rooms shared a bathroom and a toilet and, just in case a huge family or noble person checks in with their staff, several rooms have connecting doors. 


In one of the rooms with connecting doors I got this shot using Slow Shutter Cam and I call the shot  "Schr√∂dingers Door". Is it open? Closed? Or both?


According to the guest list, the hotel was also visited by a number of familiar faces like Prof. Dr. Siegmund Freud and musician Gustav Mahler. I wonder in which rooms they slept. Was this the room of Prof. Dr. Siegmund Freud?


Located on the ground floor is a huge lounge with a beautiful dining- and ballroom. Upstairs is another, smaller, ballroom. Both are totally intact and amazingly beautiful.


However, take note that this is not a classic lost place. There's no way to enter and quite some heavy security and surveillance there. But if you have a good concept for e.g. a photo shoot, you may want to contact the caretaker at and see if there's a chance to get inside. I've seen a few fashion shootings that were done there. The ballroom upstairs is also a quite good place for such photos


Photographing inside the hotel

Whenever I visit an abandoned sleeping place, I usually do that well prepared and wearing proper clothing. In case you're interested, you can check out and interview about how I prepare on Mobiography. But as the hotel is in exceptionally good condition, that was simply not necessary. 

I took all the photos inside using my AmazonBasics Travel Tripod with the Joby Griptight Mount Pro. I prefer to use the Griptight Pro iPhone tripod mount whenever I need my iPhone mounted to the tripod for sometime like when I explore such places.

Light was quite interesting inside the hotel. Because of the huge windows inside the rooms, I could use natural light and I didn't have to use the ProCamera LowLight modes that I normally use inside dark abandoned places. Instead, I turned to ProCamera HDR with the natural preset.

For the "Schrödingers Door" shot, I used Slow Shutter Cam App.

Back home, I ran each shot through Adobe Lightroom Mobile (I'm a Creative Cloud Subscriber) [iTunes App Store Link] and uploaded the photos directly from there to Instagram and Flickr.