One of Austria's oldest cultural landscapes
Rich cultural treasures, probably the most enchanting river valley in Europe and a sun-drenched, internationally renowned wine-growing region - the Wachau is a unique synthesis of the arts and a favourite meeting place for gourmets from all over the world. As one of Austria's oldest cultural landscapes, the Wachau was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
The Danube flows calmly eastwards and reaches Melk, the westernmost town in the Wachau region, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From now on, the Danube meanders past rugged cliffs and wine terraces, abbeys and castles until it reaches Krems, the easternmost town in the Wachau. In the west, the Wachau is bordered by the baroque Melk Abbey towering high above the Danube valley, while Austria's "Montecassino" - the magnificent Göttweig Abbey - is enthroned in the east. On the north bank, it is not only the picturesque wine-growing villages of Spitz and Weißenkirchen that fascinate. The most famous view of the Wachau and its secret landmark is probably the blue tower of the collegiate church of Dürnstein. Here you will also find the ruins of the castle where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned for a long time after his capture in 1192 and, according to legend, was found by the singer Blondel.
The ruins of the robber baron's castle Aggstein in Schönbühel-Aggsbach, from which you can enjoy a magnificent view over the Danube valley, are a reminder of the wild Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages, passing ships were robbed by the lords of the castle. You can learn amazing things about shipping before the invention of steamships in the shipping museum in Spitz. Over 400 exhibits from the time when horse-drawn trains pulled whole ships back upriver can be seen here. The city of Krems is strongly influenced by the Middle Ages and has a highly active contemporary cultural life with the Kunsthalle Krems, the Caricature Museum and the Landesgalerie Niederösterreich.UNESCO World Heritage Wachau