The UNESCO World Heritage region Wachau and Melk Abbey makes an awesome day trip from Vienna. At least that is what my Japanese friend said when she visited me. No sooner said than done we packed our rucksacks and started our trip very early in the morning.
Basics about the Wachau
The Wachau is a scenic landscape around the Danube River in Lower Austria, which is listed as UNESCO world heritage since 2000. Aside their beautiful nature, the region is known for their delicious wine, apricots as well as their many beautiful historic churches, abbeys and castles.
Our trip to the Wachau
We met at Wien Hauptbahnhof, Vienna Main Station, and bought a combined ticket from ÖBB, the Austrian Federal Railways, at one of their red ticket machines. The special combined ticket (called Kombiticket in German) includes a train ride from Vienna and back, the ship fare from Melk to Krems or the other way round and the entrance to Melk Abbey as well as its garden.
After a one-hour train ride, we got off at Melk and took a little walk through the small town and up the hill to Melk Abbey. Do not worry, because you cannot miss it. It is the humongous yellow building on top of the hill, above the old town.
Touring the Melk Abbey
After we entered the abbey, we showed our Kombiticket at the ticket counter and received our entrance tickets for Stift Melk (as it is called in German). By the way, you can enter the outside parts without a ticket.
Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take photos inside, so I made a quick last shot of the staircase before I entered.
After a short walk through rooms where you learn a lot about the history of Melk Abbey and can view various art treasures, you reach the balcony. Up there you are allowed take photos again. I really love the view from up there where you can see the whole town as well as the Danube River.
Whoops, finally a pretty close-up photo with me in front of Melk Abbey. Unfortunately they are always renovating parts of it.
After we exited the Melk Abbey, we went to the abbey’s garden with a detached house in it, which is located right next to the exit. We took a quick walk and took many photos of the art displays.
Cruising the Danube
Afterwards we went to the shipping pier down at the Danube. There are two companies, which accept the ÖBB combined ticket, landing right next to each other.
We hopped on to the next ship that took off. You can get off either at one of the towns Spitz, Dürnstein or Krems. Just don not forget to tell the ship’s staff when you get off.
Even if you do not get off at Spitz or Dürnstein, you will get a beautiful view of the towns. So don’t be afraid, you will not miss anything.
We decided to drive all the way up to Krems, look around the town. In the evening we took the train back home to Vienna. Although it was an exhausting trip, we really enjoyed it and I definitely need to go back soon and try original Marillenknödel (sweet dumplings filled with apricots) for which the Wachau is famous for.
Mister Wong’s “don’t forget’s”:
- Get to Vienna Main station early so that you have enough time to buy your ticket at one of the ticket machines before the train departs.
- Do not forget to bring drinks with you as well as some snacks, in case you do not want to eat at an overpriced restaurant.
- If you get seasick easily, do not forget to bring medicine with you.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Although you will take the train and the ship, you will walk a lot.
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