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Day trip to Melk

I'll be in Vienna in September for three days and am considering using one of those days for a day trip to Melk and Wachau Valley. Am I better off to do this or spend that day in Vienna given that I only have three days there.

Posted by
259 posts

I visited Melk Abbey in May 2018 while on the Rick Steves Munich/Salzburg/Vienna tour. It was my least favorite site of the entire tour, perhaps because the Abbey may have required us to use a local guide from the Abbey, whose presentation was cookie-cutter. Unless you have a huge interest in Melk Abbey, I would skip it and spend the time in Vienna.

Posted by
4698 posts

Hello fellow Tar Heel!

I think that the Wachau Valley is a lovely way to spend the day and September will be grape harvest time. That said, there is a lot going on in Vienna in September, with festivals nearly every weekend. I think it really depends on your priorities and interests.

To Elizabeth above - too bad you didn't visit the Wachau, as that is the real star of the area, in my opinion. That said, I'd hardly call Melk Abbey cookie cutter.

Posted by
60 posts

Melk was the highlight of my visit to Austria in 2012. I did the trip independently, taking the train to Melk and then a river ferry back to Vienna. The Abbey is one of the most impressive churches I've visited in Europe. I did not have a tour guide, as noted in a previous comment. Everything was well-described in English and easy to navigate.

Posted by
10344 posts

What I heard when I was in Melk is that the Melk Abbey got the money for their renovation by selling their Gutenberg Bible, for millions, to the Huntington Library in LA! We recently saw that Bible at the Huntington Library.

Posted by
1787 posts

If the weather is beautiful, I would go to Melk. We enjoyed the town and the abbey. No tour for us, either - just wandering around independently.

Posted by
6509 posts

I absolutely loved my trip to the Wachau Valley and especially loved the Melk Abbey. It it amazing and beautiful and I visited on my own without a tour. I took the train to Melk, then the boat to Krems and then the train back to Vienna. If the weather is nice, it's a fabulous way to spend a day outside the city. The short boat ride from Melk to Krems was beautiful and worth the trip. I'm sure it would be nice in September. If you decide against Melk and the Wachau, then definitely get to a heuriger outside the city to sample some of the new wine and enjoy some good food and music.

Posted by
1520 posts

the Melk Abbey got the money for their renovation by selling their Gutenberg Bible, for millions, to the Huntington Library in LA!

The Melk Abbey had to sell its copy of the Gutenberg Bible, a first print on paper, in 1926, which is now owned by Yale university.

The copy owned by the Huntington Library was printed on vellum, an even rarer variant of the Gutenberg Bible.

Posted by
10344 posts

Thanks for the correction. When I was in LA looking at the Gutenberg Bible, I thought there was some connection with Melk but didn't know it ran through Yale.

Posted by
5648 posts

This was a long time ago, but after having a few days in Vienna, we rented bicycles and did a bike tour over several days up the Danube. The Melk Abbey was a spectacular sight, and we visited inside on our own, without a human guide. The town of Melk also was a great stay, as well. The Wachau is worth a visit, unless you have priorities that limit your time to strictly Vienna.

Posted by
781 posts

I really enjoyed the Melk Abbey and its location overlooking the river, it has a very important library and our tour was great as well as the Wachau Valley.We stayed in Melk and Day tripped by boat,train and car around the area.

Posted by
35 posts

I recommend Melk Abbey and especially its library, just as good as the beautiful Strahov.

Posted by
216 posts

We did Melk and then rode bikes to Krems. It was a lovely day, but with only three days in Vienna, I would probably stay in the city.

Posted by
613 posts

Reduced to its most elemental form, think of both Vienna and Melk as a sight. I've been to see Melk 18 times, Vienna 11.

The best human creation in Europe is the interior of the Melk Abby Church. See the Wachau. See the Pilgrimage Church Maria Tafrl before Melk. Maria Tarfl will dazzle you, until you see Melk. Maria Tafrl is where Prandtauer practiced before he did Melk, and Melk blows the dazzling Maria Tafrl out of the water. Maria Tafrl has views of the Danube and the Alps.