Summer freshness at the end of the 19th century

Published: 07.07.2021

Among townspeople, officials, and other wealthier residents, the idea of ​​more enjoyable leisure time has developed more and more since the second half of the 19th century. On the one hand, they began to discover places that gave them freshness in the summer months, such as Kamnik and Bled. On the other hand, they discovered freshness in the coastal places of Austria-Hungary, such as Portorož and Opatija.

In 1876, the Alojz and Franc Prašnikar and Janez Kecel baths and health resorts were opened in Kamnik. The offer of the spa was rich, such as many trips to the surrounding area, a beautiful spa salon and landscaped park, medical assistance and advice, water treatment options with electrotherapy and massage, swimming pool with showers for swimmers and non-swimmers. In 1883, Emperor Franz Joseph visited the baths. T. i. Kneipp’s method of treatment was introduced in 1891. In 1893, the water spa already included a medical building and four villas. After 1910, interest in visiting Prašnikar’s health resort declined. On average, in the years 1892 to 1900, 311 guests visited the health resort annually, which is one fifth of the guests in Bled at that time. While, for example, guests stayed in Bled only for a short time, they stayed in Kamnik for a longer period (one to two months or even a season). According to the data, more than 50% of visitors in Kamnik were from other Austro-Hungarian lands, about 6% foreigners (Germans, Americans) and from Gorenjska region 40%.

On the other hand, maritime tourism has also developed. The most recognizable resort in the Austrian monarchy and later in Austria-Hungary was Opatija., Which developed from a small fishing village. Igiio Scarpa built the first holiday house in Opatija in 1844. This year today is considered the beginning of the development of tourism in Opatija. The historic Villa Angiolina hosted many famous historical figures, including Emperor Franz Joseph, Josip Jelačić. From the 1880s onwards, tourism developed faster – they opened the first hotel called Quarnero – today’s Hotel Kvarner. Opatija was gaining the reputation of a European marine health resort, at that time it was compared to Nice. Many beautiful villas, hotels, holiday homes, baths, promenades and parks were also built at that time. In 1889, Opatija was officially declared a climatic health resort.