Vienna is  the Wachau
Photo credit: Nigel Swales

Approximately 45-50 miles to the northwest of Vienna is  the Wachau, one of the most beautiful sections of the Danube Valley. This 22 mile long region runs between the towns of Krems and Melk  and is approximately 22 miles in length.  The Wachau is an area of scenic towns, historic buildings, and row after row of grape vines terraced along a set of hills that nudge the Danube as it wanders along its enchanting valley.The area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a unique and beautiful landscape in which villages, farms and vineyards surround the Danube River Valley in a harmonious fashion. The Wachau is at its peak in summer,  but it is also extremely beautiful in autumn. We recommend seeing this area by boat, as the view from the river is delightful.

Most cruises of the Wachau start at Krems and take the visitor to the amazing Abbey at Melk. Depending on the length of the rainy season, river tours usually start in April ply the river until the season ends in late October.

Durnstein (located between Krems and Melk) is another of the Wachau’s town that you should tour, if you have the time.  Unfortunately, you will have to visit by car as this is not a stop on most commercial tours or the river cruise.  We cover Krems below. Dürnstein and Melk are covered on separate pages (so we can show you more photos).

Krems

Krems an der Donau
Krems an der Donau

Krems an der Donau is one of the oldest cities in Austria and people appear to have inhabited this location for thousands of years.   Focus your visit on the older part of the city and enter from the west at the Sudtiroler Platz , where there is a small parking area.  It’s better to park outside of the city as the narrow roads within the walls are quite challenging  to negotiate and parking is often difficult to find.

The Steinertor Gate, through which you pass to enter the city, dates from the 15th century with later additions.  The Obere landstrasse leads you into the heart of the city, and is the avenue for shopping, eating and having fun.

There are three main churches in town that you might want to explore and some very unique architecture along the city’s narrow lanes. Look for unexpected details on the houses and wander the backstreets to get a real taste of “old” Krems and its delightful, sometimes amusing buildings, which are often accompanied by unusual exterior features.