Wachau Valley

March 25, 2019

The Mahler arrived early into Krems, Austria a small town off the Danube west of Vienna. We got an early start and headed into the town and through the Steiner Tor (Stoney Gate) entrance of the “old city”. After exploring this quaint little town, we grabbed a couple bikes from the NextBike station and headed back to the Danube River on our westward venture to Melk.

It did not take long before we hit the vineyards of the Wachau Valley, approx. 30 minutes along the river. Our first stop was Chateau Domain winery. A wine co-op, they collect the grapes from the owner/family farmers who handpick their vineyards and then the co-op will process and bottle the wines under their name. Each region is separated between climates, east or west of Weissenkirchen and then by area based on the local soil. Each producing its own intensity of grape. This was the perfect first stop to educate us on the wines and local area as we were traveling through the region.

Getting back on our bikes, a little tipsy from our wine sampling we continued on through the vineyards and along the river Valley to Durnstein, to the monastery and castle on the hill. A small cobblestone village, surrounded by vineyards, Durnstein was quaint and picturesque. Exactly how we imagined the Danube Valley would be.

After Durnstein, our next stop was Weissenkirchen. Also a small village, it is the center of the growth region and offered a beautiful church, cobblestone streets and views of the Danube. We attempted to grab lunch at one of the small local eateries, but since we were officially visiting before season started (April 1) restaurants and shops were closed. So we moved on to Spitz to find a cafe. Everything was closed, including the Ferry which we were going to use to cross the Danube to travel the north side of the river to Melk. Once passing through Spitz, there was not much in the way of vineyards. We passed through some beautiful villages with small creeks and cobblestone streets before reaching Melk.

Melk sits high above the Danube River and has a beautiful Abbey, historic Castle and storybook town filled with shops and cafe’s. We returned our bikes and headed back to the ship after our long biking adventure.

In a nutshell, Krems – Spitz was a beautiful ride (approximately 11 miles, 17 kilometers) and is very hilly and not along the Danube River. But gorgeous river views and lots of Vineyards. Spitz – Melk is flatter and along the Danube River, but not much to see and getting from the river up to Melk is steep.

Recommendation; Depending on ships itinerary, tour Melk and bus or train to Spitz and bike from there.