The Wachau Valley is one of Lower Austria’s most popular tourist destinations. This is easy to understand. The Danube River combines with the area’s forested hills to create a very picturesque landscape, and visitors can also admire the region’s numerous architectural offerings. Monasteries and castles are just some of the structures that are spread about the countryside, and these are the focus of many Wachau Valley tours. Only adding to the allure of the Wachau Valley as a tourist destination is the region’s rich wine history, and cultivation of the vines continues to this day.
The stretch of the Danube that is known as the Wachau lies between the towns of Melk and Krem. Thus, these cities serve as major points of entrance into the region. Melk, it should be noted, is home to what might just be the region’s most prominent manmade attraction – Melk Abbey. A Baroque gem, this famous monastic landmark is quite a sight to behold. The grand edifice is wonderfully perched on a rocky outcrop above the town and overlooking the Danube. Another popular town to visit in the Wachau region is Durnstein. It was there that Duke Leopold V held one King Richard the Lionheart of England captive centuries ago. Durnstein also has interesting castle ruins and is found in a well-known wine growing area.
The Wachau region is well known for its production of grapes. It also gets a lot of attention for its apricots. Among other things, these fruits are used to produce wines and specialty liquors. Complex white wines are what the valley is perhaps best known for when it comes to beverages. Some of Austria’s best dry Rieslings and Gruner Veltliners are produced in the area. Irrigation is required to provide a sufficient water supply to many of the vines in the Wachau Valley, and it is thus common to see terraced vineyards when touring the countryside or taking a cruise down the Danube.
Danube River Cruises
Danube River Cruises
Europe has a number of rivers that are used for organized river cruises that can last days or weeks. One such river is the Danube. Examples of companies that offer Danube River cruises are Viking River Cruises, Avalon Waterways, and Tauck. Comfortable, well-equipped boats are used for the Danube River cruises, and more often than not, meals and accommodations are included in the price. Stops are made along the way so that passengers can see the sights on land, and the beautiful scenery in places like the Wachau Valley is certainly a joy to take in while cruising along the river.