Gay Guide • WACHAU VALLEY | Itineraries, Tips and What to See | Practical Complete LGBT Friendly
GAY FRIENDLY WACHAU VALLEY
Travel solutions with itineraries to discover all the wonders of this destination, places not to be missed, tips about where to sleep and what to eat, and above all many small special tips to enjoy your journey !
Welcome to the Wachau Valley, the valley of Lower Austria formed by the Danube River. On the route from Melk to Krems you will find an infinite number of wonderful places. Castles, centuries-old monasteries, picturesque villages, vineyards and ultramodern cellars will captivate you. In 2000 this valley was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List due to its unique architectural and cultural landscape. The Wachau area has also been declared a European protected area since 1994.
Visiting this destination at its best depends essentially on how long you have to fully enjoy it. Here is a solution based on the number of days available to you:
Day 1 - Valle di Wachau (Riva Est) by Car (from Krems) - Google Maps
Day 2 - Valle di Wachau (Riva Ovest) by Car (from Krems) - Google Maps
Alternative - Valle di Wachau & del Danubio on a Boat (from Krems) ** - Google Maps
** the route can also be done in reverse - always consult the Boat Tours timetables
(By opening the Maps with Google, you can easily follow our path)
Click'n'Go - Click on the places to find them on the Map
WHAT TO SEE in WACHAU VALLEY?
10 THINGS TO SEE in WACHAU VALLEY
Melk & Melk Abbey
One of the most beautiful cities in the Wachau region, built around its abbey. Worth seeing on the way to the abbey, the Town Hall Square or the Hauptplatz stand out, both surrounded by beautiful historic buildings and the Civic Museum, perfect for learning about the history of the city (the oldest exhibit is more than 6500 years old). You cannot visit this area without making a visit to the local wineries to taste the excellent wines and traditional dishes. The Baroque Abbey of Melk, located in a splendid setting on the Danube, is one of the most famous Christian monasteries in the world. Also worth visiting is its impressive library which, in the Middle Ages, was one of the most important in the world for its impressive collection.
Dürnstein & Ruins of the Castle
Village of medieval origin, located on the western bank of the Danube in the Krems-Land district. Many tourists come here to appreciate the landscape, culture and excellent wines. Dürnstein is the most popular town in this region and it was here that King Richard the Lionheart of England was taken prisoner in 1192. The old Baroque monastery of Dürnstein is one of the must-see places in the city. Like the Castle Ruins, on top of a hill from which you can enjoy a fantastic view over the Danube valley.
One of the most beautiful castles in the Wachau Valley. It stands majestically on top of a hill overlooking the Danube and the Valley. You cannot look at it and not immediately think of the stories and legends of ancient kings and knights. Of all the castles, this is probably our favorite. To get there you can choose a long and demanding climb on foot, or get there comfortably by car. As soon as you park near the castle, continuing on the right towards the path in the woods, you will reach some rocks from which you can admire the valley and the castle from above. Be careful though, the route is not signposted and is a bit dangerous, but the effort will reward your eyes!
Schönbühel Castle & Monastery
Schloss Schönbühel is a castle in the town of Schönbühel-Aggsbach, below Melk, on the right bank of the Danube. The origins of the castle date back to the early 12th century. The castle is built on the rock about 40 meters above the level of the Danube. Near the manor you will also find the Monastery, founded in the seventeenth by an aristocratic family that had converted to Catholicism.
A small town known for its Heurigers, the typical Austrian places run by winemakers who offer their customers the wine of that year's harvest. We recommend that you go up to Rotes Tor, to enjoy splendid views of the vineyards, the city and the Danube.
Krems an der Donau
It is one of the oldest cities in the Danube valley. The traditional grape growing of the region began in Roman times and has become the main activity, so much so that Krems is considered the heart of the Lower Austrian wine region. In addition to visiting the vineyards and enjoying an excellent Riesling in an old tavern, you can visit the walls, the Pulvertum tower, the Steiner Tor (a gate from 1480) and the Spitalkirche (a Gothic church from 1470).
Wachau & Krems Wine Route
Ancient wine culture and ultramodern cellars. The best whites in the world and the friendliness of the typical Heuriger (a kind of tavern). This is what you will find in the Wachau Valley. The six wine routes along the Danube in Lower Austria will introduce you to a unique wine country, full of diversity and new experiences. Viticulture along the Danube valley has a (cultural) history of two thousand years, it is assumed that the wine was already produced from wild grapes by the Celts and Illyrians. Do not miss a visit to centuries-old cellars such as that of the Klosterneuburg Abbey or the Nikolaihof in Mautern.
A Benedictine monastery near Krems, on a hill among the vineyards. The elegant Baroque abbey with its monumental Emperor's Staircase is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you are a lover of old books, don't miss the abbey's library and graphics collection.
A small town on the banks of the Danube. Surrounded by the foothills of the Waldviertel plateau and the Dunkelsteinerwald, it is known as one of the largest wine centers in the Wachau Valley and Lower Austria. Don't miss the fortified church from 1190.
Grafenegg Castle & Estate
A castle full of turrets, elegant halls, a chapel and splendid gardens. Throughout the year Grafenegg organizes high-profile musical events, including the annual New Year's Eve Gala and the world-famous Summer Music Festival. The Christmas market at the castle attracts a lot of people every year.
WHAT TO DO in WACHAU VALLEY
River Cruise along Wachau Valley
There are many possibilities to take a cruise on the Danube. In the World Mappers Tips we list the best companies. In our opinion, sailing along a stretch of river is the most beautiful and scenic way to get to know the Wachau Valley. In spring, the valley is a pleasant mix of green forests, blooming apricot trees, and water that flows gently and reflects the sun's rays. It is truly a sight ... this is probably why the Wachau Valley is ranked as one of the most beautiful destinations in the world.
Bike Tour in Wachau Valley
Another way to get to know the Wachau Valley in depth is to travel the length and breadth of it by bicycle. Just think that the entire valley is crossed by beautiful cycle paths that allow you to fully enjoy the beauty of the landscapes.
Wine Tasting on Traditional Wooden Boats
The traditional wooden boats that once sailed and traded along the waters of the Danube, today offer tourists guided tours for small groups to discover the Wachau Valley while sipping the wonderful local wines.
Kayak in Wachau Valley
Are you a lover of water sports? Then there is no better way to admire the wonders of the Wachau Valley than with a Kayak tour.
Wine Tasting in Wachau Valley
You cannot visit the Wachau Valley without tasting its fantastic wines. The local wineries offer guests the opportunity to learn about grape cultivation, the wine production process and taste it in all its nuances.
Apricot Trail in Wachau Valley
The Wachau Valley is also known as the apricot orchard of Austria. Thanks to its mild climate and ideal soil, apricots grow in abundance. The Wachau Valley Apricot Trail will take you through miles of beautiful apricot orchards that belong to local farms. The farm shops offer all sorts of homemade delicacies. The trail is open from April to October and is located five kilometers from the center of Krems.
BEST EVENTS in WACHAU VALLEY
Grape Harvest & Wachau Wine Spring or Autumn Festival
Wachau is Austria's quintessential valley for wine lovers. The Spring Wine Festival is one of Austria's leading wine events and attracts over 40,000 people every year. Open cellars, tastings and the best Austrian wines and grappas to buy. There is also an autumn version to coincide with the harvest period. In this period the landscape is tinged with warm autumn colors. The climax of the Festival is in Spitz, a town surrounded by vineyards. If you want to know more click here.
WHERE TO STAY in WACHAU VALLEY?
BEST LGBT FRIENDLY HOTELS & APARTMENTS in WACHAU VALLEY
Melk - Hotel Restaurant Zur Post ****
Emmersdorf an der Donau - Hotel Zum Schwarzen Bären ****
Dürnstein - Hotel Schloss Dürnstein *****
Dürnstein - Gartenhotel & Weingut Pfeffel Dürnstein ****
Mautern an der Donau - Ad Vineas Gästehaus Nikolaihof ****
Krems an der Donau - Steigenberger Hotel & Spa Krems ****
Langenlois - LOISIUM Wine & Spa Resort Langenlois ****
WHERE TO EAT in WACHAU VALLEY?
BEST TYPICAL RESTAURANTS of WACHAU VALLEY Quality / Price
Krems an der Donau - €€ - Stadtgasthaus "Zum goldenen Hirschen"
Krems an der Donau - €€ - Schwarze Kuchl
Krems an der Donau - €€ - 2Stein
Dürnstein - €€ - Restaurant Schloss Dürnstein
Dürnstein - €€ - Alter Klosterkeller
Melk - €€ - Stifts-Restaurant
Melk - €€ - Rathauskeller - Der Melker Gasthof
Weißenkirchen in der Wachau - €€ - Restaurant Heinzle
TRAVEL TIPS about WAHCAU VALLEY by World Mappers
To get from Vienna (or Salzburg - further away) to the Wachau Valley and Danube region you can choose between:
Car - independently, with your own or rented car
Train - the train journey from Vienna to Krems takes about 1 hour
Taxi - more expensive solution
To move between the various attractions and things to see in the area, you can use:
Car - independently, with your own car or rented one, be careful because there are not many bridges to cross the river by car (there are, however, points where it is possible to cross with boats).
Train - the train journey from Krems / Donau Bahnhof to Melk Bahnhof takes around 1h, or with a change at St Pölten Hbf, which in this case takes 1h30. Click here for more info and timetables.
Cruise - (only from mid-April to the end of October) Look after which one to choose
Ferries - which take you from one side of the river to the other
How to choose your cruise along the Wachau Valley? There are two main companies, both companies sail between Melk and Krems, upstream and downstream, with restaurants on board and the possibility to choose between one-way, return or single-leg tickets. Here they are:
DDSG Blue Danube (The complete cruise lasts about 2h55, Long Cruise: Krems / Melk or vice versa; Short Cruise: Krems / Spitz or vice versa, Short Cruise: Spitz / Melk or vice versa) - Info & Prices
Brandner (Long Cruise: Krems/Melk o vice versa; Short Cruise: Krems/Spitz o vice versa, Short Cruise: Spitz/Melk o vice versa) - Info & Prices
Most BEAUTIFUL PANORAMIC VIEWS of WACHAU VALLEY
Enjoy the whole area from one of its fantastic Viewpoints. Our favorites are:
Opposite Bank of Dürnstein
Probably the best known panorama in the Wachau Valley. Right in front of Dürnstein, there is a small beach. From there you can enjoy a splendid view of the town, framed by the hill behind it.
You can walk to the ruins of Dürnstein Castle and have the whole city at your feet. There are many points along the promenade that offer good photo opportunities.
Aggstein Castle Ruins
We continue to another castle. The ruins of Aggstein Castle are located on another hill further downstream. Very easy to reach even by car thanks to the road that goes up to the manor. The view over the Wachau Valley is simply spectacular.
Schloss Schönbühel Beach
Venturing on the beaches just before the castle you can admire it in all its beauty, in a breathtaking position on the Danube.
Spitz Castle Ruins
The ruins of Spitz Castle are another beautiful place with great views. It is located on a small hill above the town of Spitz. The ruins are freely accessible and can be entered at any time.
Rotes Tor of Spitz
Along a hiking trail that starts from Spitz there is a beautiful arch (Rotes Tor) from which it is possible to "frame" the Wachau valley for a beautiful shot.
Just along the same path as the Rotes Tor you can immerse yourself in fantastic vineyards to take beautiful photographs.
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