Besides Krems, 2 other nearby towns in the Wachau region which you must visit are Melk and Durnstein. Melk is well-known for its Benedictine Abbey of Melk (Stift Melk) and Durnstein is a lovely town along the Danube with historical buildings and streets, as well as a castle to top of a hill where King Richard the Lionheart of England was onced imprisoned.
More information and photographs are at my VT Melk and Durnstein pages, so do drop by and have a look if you are interested :)
The Wachau region is one of the best wine region in Austria and you will be able to see many vineyards along the Danube on your way to Krems and beyond. You can purchase good wines when you are in Krems.
There are several other castles and historical sites in the Wachau area, besides those stated in my VT Krems, Melk and Durnstein pages. It is possible to visit all of them if you have at least a few days to 1 week to spend at the Wachau area.
To summarise, those covered at my VT Krems, Melk and Durnstein pages include:
- Benedictine Abbey of Melk (Stift Melk)
- Krems old town area
- Schonbuhel Castle (Schloss Schonbuhel)
- Kuenringerburg Castle (at Durnstein)
- Chorherrenstift (at Durnstein)
- Aggstein Castle (Burg Aggstein)
- Gottweig Abbey (Stift Gottweig)
- Grafenegg Castle (Schloss Grafenegg)
Other castles and historical sites at and around the Wachau region:
- Schallaburg Castle (Schloss Schallaburg)
- Maria Langegg church
- Willendorf village
- Burg Oberranna
- Wachau Museum (at Weissenkirchen)
Attached here are more photographs of Aggstein Castle (Burg Aggstein). My wife and I are able to visit this castle on top of a hill thanks to Michael (VT member globetrott) who drove us up with his car and showed us around :)
The Aggstein Castle (Burg Aggstein) is located on a hill overlooking the entire Danube Valley. It was built in the 12th century by the Kuenringer family. This castle was once known as "robber barons" and is said to have imprisoned their enemies on a ledge of rock where the captives face starvation.
The views of the surrounding sceneries from this castle are amazing (see photographs here, part 2 of this tip as well as travelogue section of this VT page). There is a restaurant here where you can have your meals or drinks (see restaurant tip). The castle is opened from dawn to dusk, and entrance fees is 2 euros.
When you are either travelling by road or ferry along the Danube River between Melk and Krems, you will see the Schonbuhel Castle (Schloss Schonbuhel) located on the south bank of the river.
This castle was built in the 12th century and located about 5km northeast of Melk.
The wall of the old town area of Krems is still well-preserved, so are the many historical buildings of this lovely area. To enjoy the entire area, you will need to spend a few hours but it is worth it. You can consider staying 1-2 days here.
If you are on a day trip to cover several places in Wachau, then you may not have time to see the entire old town. In this case, you can spend 1-2 hours here (important thing is to start the trip early in the morning in Vienna for sufficient time).
Attached here are more photographs of the old town area of Krems, some more photographs are at the travelogue section of this VT page.
Other attractions of Krems outside the old town area are:
- Karikaturmuseum (Museum of Austrian and international figures)
- Kunsthalle (the town's art centre)
- Weingut der Stadt Krems (wine tasting and purchasing area)
Krems an der Donau is one of the bigger towns of the Wachau region with a history dating back to over 1000 years. The main highlight of Krems must be the old town area which surrounded by walls and gates. The main gate of Krems old town is the Steinertor with its impressive tall tower and architecture dating back to the 15th century. The old town is quite big and should take a few hours to explore, do some shopping, eating at the restaurants etc. There are maps of the old town to guide you along, the main attractions of the old town area are:
- Weinstadt Museum (Museum of items related to Krem's history and culture)
- Pfarrkirche St Veit (church located at Pfarrplatz area)
- Pfaristenkirche (church located at Frauenbergplatz area)
- Steinertor (main gate of old town area)
More information and photographs are at part 2 of this tip as well as the travelogue section of this VT page.
The famous Danube River runs through the Wachau area of Austria, passing by numerous towns including Krems, Durnstein (see my VT Durnstein page) and Melk (see my VT Melk page). Either by road or by ferries, the Danube River is not far away from your sight. One of the best places to view the Danube River from the top is at the Aggstein Castle (Burg Aggstein). The photographs here are taken from Aggstein Castle in June 2007.
The Grafenegg Castle (Schloss Grafenegg) is located about 10km east of Krems. This is an interesting castle because it looks more like an English castle than an Austrian castle. It was built in gothic style by Leopold Ernst in the mid-19th century and surrounded by a dry moat. Besides the castle itself, the surrounding garden area is very beautiful and relaxing (with benches where you can sit and watch the castle and surroundings).
More photographs of Grafenegg Castle are at the travelogue section of this VT page.
Stift Gottweig (Gottweig Abbey) is situated on a hill about 6km south of Krems on the way back to Vienna. This abbey was founded in 1083 and given the Benedictine Order in 1094. The abbey is of baroque architecture due to re-building work that took place after a fire in the early 18th century.
One of the highlights of this abbey is the beautiful Imperial Staircase. The exterior facade of the abbey buildings is also impressive, and the views of the surrounding areas from here is breathtaking. There is also a restaurant near to the abbey.
The fees and opening hours are as follows:
- Adult (6.50 euros)
- Senior citizen (6 euros)
- Student (3 euros)
- Full guided tour (2.50 euros), Partially guided tour (1.50 euros)
Mid March to mid November (10am to 6pm), tours (11am and 3pm)
More photographs of Stift Gottweig are at the travelogue section of this VT page.
All who know me know that I am a wine enthusiast. According to the traditions of my home area I was mostly drinking red wines but when I visited this area here I started to love the whies as well. Krems is surrounded of some of Austria's best wine growing areas. Most preople think in connection with Krems onlyof the Wachau and of course, the Wachau wines are great but many forget that there are others around here at least as good. It is more or less the personal preference which makes the differences.
When you visit the Donau go to 1000 years-old Melk Abbey or Stift Melk.
Stift Melk is an historic Austrian Benedictine abbey, and one of the world's most famous monastic sites. It is located above the town of Melk on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river Danube in the federal state of Lower Austria, adjoining the Wachau valley. It has the rare distinction of surviving as an active Benedictine monastery continuously since its foundation.
The abbey was founded in 1089 when Leopold II, Margrave of Austria gave one of his castles to Benedictine monks from Lambach Abbey. A school was founded in the 12th Century, and the monastic library soon became renowned for its extensive manuscript collection. The monastery was also a major site for the production of manuscripts. In the 15th Century the abbey became the centre of the Melk Reform movement which reinvigorated the monastic life of Austria and Southern Germany.
Today's impressive Baroque abbey was built between 1702 and 1736 by architect Jakob Prandtauer. Particularly noteworthy is the abbey church with frescos by Johann Michael Rottmayr and the impressive library with countless medieval manuscripts.
Due to its fame and academic stature, Melk managed to escape dissolution under Emperor Joseph II when many other Austrian abbeys were seized and dissolved between 1780 and 1790. The abbey managed to survive other threats to its existence during the Napoleonic Wars, and also in the period following the Nazi Anschluss (take over) of Austria in 1938, when the school and a large part of the abbey were confiscated by the state.
The nicest thing to do on a nice warm sunny day is to take a leisurely boat cruise on the Danube to Melk. You can buy the ticket for the boat at the ticket stand near the allocated pickup point along the Danube.
This is one of the best way to see the Donau as you get to view the towns from a different prospective. The boat will have a restaurant and a bar to cater to your hunger and thirst. You can take your drinks up to the upper open-air deck and you can sip your drinks while you cruise along the river.