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).
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.
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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.
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 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 Piaristenkirche is perched on the top of the Frauenberg, a hill which looks down over Krems and has distinctive Gothic vaulting, with baroquealtars and large windows. Outside there are a number of scenes from the cruxification around the outside of the church.
Melk,at the upper end of the Wachau, is famous for its big monastery which is dominating the begin of the Wachau valley. As most of the monasteries here it was founded in the early Middle Ages but rebuilt in the Baroque period.
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.
STIFT (Monastery) GÖTTWEIG was actually a surprise for me. From the outside, I didn't see much; just high walls and dull looking buildings. But when I entered the Gottweig complex through the main entrance, I was surprised to see beautiful buildings and church within the complex.
You would have to go in via some kind of restaurant-cum-souvenir shop, buy a ticket (didn't cost much), and walked through a long corridor and up some stairs, only to emerge on the other side of the building and into a large open-air compound/courtyard, enclosed by a church and other buildings which I don't know about! What a surprise! Because one minute I was in a long dark corridor, the next I was in this bright courtyard.
The interior of the church was beautiful and it was a pleasure to explore - there were not many tourists flocking to the church and it was nice and quiet.
If you get tired and thirsty after exploring the church and the monastery, you can have coffee/tea and cakes at the GÖTTWEIG Cafe/Restaurant. On a warm sunny day, you can even sit out on the terrace overlooking the valley. Beautiful view!
I would recommend anyone who are exploring the Wachau area to visit the STIFT GÖTTWEIG.
In Krems, there is a Weingut Zoehrer heuriger where you can enjoy the wonderful local food and wines. If you cannot drive home, no problem because this heuriger is also a "Gästehaus" - a B&B with lovely rooms and nice breakfast.
Weingut - Gästehaus - Heurigen
ANTON ZÖHRER, Weinbau- und Kellermeister, Obmann des Kremser Weines
Address: Sandgrube 1 A-3500 Krems