Vienna Day Trip to Melk

We are close to booking the Trafalgar Sound of Music (SOM from now on) Tour. Rick Steve's Germany & Austria trip would be perfect, unfortuantely we can't get 2 full vacation weeks off to go on that tour. Since we are past Trafalgar guests, we get an extra discount that makes the SOM tour even more appealing. I really would love to do a similar tour on our own (include Halstatt), but my wife & I are uneasy about driving in Europe. I hate heights and my wife gets to drive when we are in the "high country". We have 3 nights in Vienna on the SOM tour. One day is a walking tour of Vienna and an afternoon tour of Schönbrunn Palace. We then have a complete full day which includes a Vienna Hop of/On bus tour. We cannot stay any extra days in Vienna. It is what it is! The SOM tour includes a driveby of the Melk Abbey as we drive to Vienna. No actual visit. I am researching a bus or boat day Trip to Melk/Durnstein/Krems from Vienna. We would like to actually visit Melk and Durnstein appears nice as well. However, this appears to completely consume our free day in Vienna. There certainly is enough to do in Vienna on our free day. So it is a tough decision on how we should "invest" our free day in Vienna. We have never been to Austria, therefore this is a brand new adventure for us.
I am soliciting comments from folks who have been to Vienna and Melk to hear their comments. Decisions decisions. Thanks so much!

Posted by Karen
Cobble Hill, BC, Canada
5 posts

We have been to both Melk and Durnstein. Toured the Abbey in Melk.Very good and quaint little town.
Durnstein was good with cobble stones and small little shops. We enjoyed both places very much.

Posted by Lisa
Lansing, MI, USA
77 posts

I took a trip to Austria this September, which included 5 days in Vienna and 1 1/2 days in Melk. Even with five days in Vienna, I could easily have spent more time there. Melk is an easy day trip by train, about 75 minutes each way. The Abbey is gorgeous, the museum is interesting, and the view is beautiful. You'd be able to get back to Vienna with time for dinner and a concert. Vienna has a lot of amazing museums. For me, it was as difficult to choose which museums I wanted to see in Vienna as it was the first time I went to Paris. The Kunsthistorisches Museum has amazing art. The Haus de Musik was a lot of fun. The Hofburg Palace has several terrific museums: Empress Sisi, Imperial Apartments, Treasury, musical instruments, arms & armor, Egyptian/Greek/Roman antiquities, and the Spanish Riding School. For me, the greatest pleasures in Vienna were the music, and a leisurely cup of coffee accompanied by a sinful dessert, and neither should be missed. If that free day in Vienna is a Sunday, then I would definitely stay, and go the the Augustinian Church for their musical Mass, with orchestra and choir (Wow!). Personally, as amazing as the Abbey is, I would probably spend the day in Vienna, where I could hit more sights without the travel time.

Posted by James
Frisco
1803 posts

I liked Melk but with your schedule I`d stay in Vienna. Besides the Archabbey in Hungary is better than Melk in my humble opinion; so save the abbey tours for when you get to Hungary.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
674 posts

What James said. Melk and Durnstein are fine sights, and the river is beautiful, but with only one free day I'd stay in Vienna and take advantage of your HOHO bus. Kunsthistorisches Museum was a highlight for us, I enjoyed the Hofburg apartments but not so much the whole Sisi cult thing. Stefandom is great, Augustinian chapel interesting. Assume you will return to enjoy Melk etc. another time.