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Wachau Valley - Worth an over night or two.

Hi all- My husband and I are in the middle of planning a trip that will include Budapest and day trips to a few cities in Hungary for this next autumn. We will be ending our trip in Vienna mid October. We have been to Vienna before this past year but only for four days so would like a few more days there to see some things we missed. Any feelings in the Wachau Valley? We have been to Hallstatt, St Wolfgang, Mondsee, & Salzburg in Austria all previously but missed the Wachau Valley. I had read about easy biking and wineries which all sound like good fun. Rick seems to suggest a day trip from Vienna. We will be coming from Budapest so I wasn’t certain if a day trip from Vienna would be sufficient or if we should plan a few days there between our Budapest Vienna stays. We would want to visit Melk with a visit to the abbey there of course and maybe visit a few towns along the river. We like easy tourists biking as well. This will be October as well so not the height of summer. Does anyone have experience in this region that could share their feedback? Thanks in advance for your suggestions!!

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5319 posts

I’ve been many times.

If you have time, then spend a couple of nights.

October can be stunning. October can also be very rainy - so another reason to stay a couple of nights to ensure good weather.

There are three villages and two towns to note, with deep river bends and vineyard terraces in between. Excellent for biking as it is flat. Lots of wineries.

Melk and Krems are the two towns that bookend the valley. Melk has the famous abbey which must be visited. But not much else. Krems is an adorable town with a real medieval feel. Spitz, Weissenkirchen and Duernstein are the three main villages on the north bank. Duernstein is famous for its castle ruin where Richard Lionheart was held captive. The hike to that fortress is also a must, the rest of the village is quite touristy with shop after shop of apricot related products. Spitz and Weissenkirchen are wine villages. They have great restaurants and are notably local feeling. I’d also suggest a visit to the Burgruine Aggstein, a decrepit fortress with sweeping views of the Danube (but a car is a must).

You can get around easily by bike, bus and boat. I suggest staying at Gasthaus Stoger in Duernstein. That said, Weissenkirchen is my absolute favorite village and if I were you, I’d have a look at Airbnb’s there, if you visit Weissenkirchen, let me know and I’ll tell you about one of my favorite places on the planet for a glass of wine and cold cuts.

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166 posts

Hi Emily- Thank you so much. Would you say we could effectively visit this area by public transport? We were thinking of heading here straight from Budapest. Obviously the train would cut through Vienna so I suppose if needed we could pick up a car. We have driven in Austria several times but if bike or public transport would work we would be open to skipping it. I looked at Weissenkirchen. It is adorable. I wonder though if it would be extremely sleepy in the evening. We don’t need a ton of excitement and a break would probably be good. But we would need dinner etc. I was thinking three nights giving us two full days in case of inclement weather. What do you think? Another option would be to come into Vienna from Budapest. Stay two nights and head to the Wachau Valley for three with another two or three in Vienna on the end before flying home. We have been to Vienna before but we do have a few museums and parks we would like to see. Let me know what you think!

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5319 posts

The area is very accessible by public transportation. A bus runs back and forth between Melk and Krems. The distances are also short, making bikes perfect as there are dedicated bike trails along the river. Very safe. There is also the boat - DDSG or Brandner. The only places you would need a car are SOME wineries and Burgruine Aggstein, neither are mandatory. Weissenkirchen is quaint and quiet, which I love. Krems would be more lively as it is larger. Duernstein is maybe something in the middle as it has several restaurants and hotels. I think three nights sounds very nice and leisurely.

Posted by
166 posts

Hi Emily- I really appreciated your time. My husband and I were working on our itinerary tonight. As we have it now we would be in the Wachau Valley on a Sunday & Monday. I know from previous visits a lot of things can be closed those days. Seeing as you have been there several times I was curious if your opinion. We can always change things as needed.

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166 posts

Anyone out there have an opinion on what days would be best? I have spent hours on the internet trying to find more information. I would hate to be there and wineries be close etc. It seems this is a popular day trip or cruise stop but I am not getting a ton of information regarding multi day stays. I found one blog but they truly suggested a car as the best. We don’t mind renting one but I would need to organize it. We are coming from Prague. Ideally I would love to go straight to a town in the valley from there but it does look like a pretty big day. We could do an over night in Vienna, pick up a car the next day or alternatively train out. It was much easier when I was researching Salzkammergut area a few years ago. 🤣 It seems this area is a popular day trip for Americans and not so much an over night stay.

Posted by
1911 posts

I biked the Danube in September 2021 with 2 buddies ( 3 old dudes take on Europe, Youtube).It was one of the coolest things I've ever done! Very flat and easy to ride. The Abbey in Melk was so beautiful and well worth the visit. If you like to bike, a trip you should look into down the road is biking the Danube from Passau Germany to Vienna. It was a safe ( no cars ) and peaceful ride. We have so much fun, we're doing it again this September. Personally, I'd give it a couple of days at the very least on the Danube. Good luck on what ever you do.

God Bless, Monte

Posted by
166 posts

Thanks for your feedback Monty. We will for sure give it a few days. It looks like a beautiful setting.

Posted by
424 posts

I have done the bike ride from Melk to Krems twice - both times in September.

Anyway, we stayed both times, 2 nights each time, at the Hotel zur Post in Melk - great rooms, wonderful restaurant. We spent time touring the Abbey on our arrival day and then devoted the full day to biking down to Krems. You will ride right past many wineries. Last fall we pushed our e-bikes up to Aggstein - they didn't have nearly enough power to get us up there, and they were heavy to push, but it can be done. On our first trip we just borrowed regular bikes from the hotel and they were also fine, but e-bike people were whizzing past us with no effort and we did not attempt Aggstein that time, though those bikes would have been easier to walk. I have also stopped at the Venus of Willendorf museum - opposite side of the river. Taking the ferry which is operated using the current of the river we a cool experience too.

In Krems, we took the boat back to Melk. Check times carefully in October, they start cutting back, and you may need to return by train or bus. Trying to make the boat will also limit the time you have to stop and see sights and/or visit wineries, but it's still kind of fun to have a drink (or hot chocolate in our case) while seeing where you rode that morning. Do take rain ponchos. We were caught in several showers.