As you may well know, Vienna is traditionally renowned for, among other things, its cafés, music and formal balls (like the Opera Ball). However, wine is quickly ascending “Why is Vienna famous?” list. As Austrian wines have become more popular outside the country borders, more and more oenophiles are adding Austria (specifically the Wachau Valley region) to their list of vineyard meccas around the globe.
Since many Untourists are following (or already have followed) suit, here’s a quick guide for getting from Vienna to the Wachau Valley and enjoying the trip all the way. Get ready – it’s gonna be a big day!
- Hop on an early train from Vienna’s Westbahnhof station to Melk, where you can spend the beginning of your day exploring the Melk Abbey, a behemoth baroque Benedictine abbey (originally the castle of Leopold I) with parts of its foundation dating back to the year 1089 – the structure as we know it today was finished by the year 1736.
- Wander through town and take in the Kolomanbrunnen fountain in Rathaushplatz (town hall), the Haus am Stein (house at the rock) and the ancient moat at Stadtgraben
- Grab lunch at one of the local restaurants
- Walk to the river and catch the next ship toward Krems, another 1,000 year old town
- Walk (or bike!) around town and explore the town’s history, including the Steiner Tor (a medieval gate built in 1480), try some marillenschnaps (apricot brandy) or checkout the Kunsthalle Krems museum
- Rent a bike and take a quick ride out to Dürnstein to taste the region’s delicious Grüner Veltliner white wine
- Take your time – you were just tasting wine, for Pete’s sake!
- Head back to Krems to catch the train back to Vienna‘s Franz Josef Bahnhof
- A quick tram ride takes you back to the city center where you can relax!
Obviously, this can be done in several days but it sure makes for a busy day when it’s all combined this way!
A LITTLE EXTRA: You can buy a combination ticket to cover train, boat and museum tickets or you can do it à la carte.
What’s your favorite way to drink Austrian wine?