Wachau – World Heritage Site on the Danube & Melk Abbey (Austria)

Categories: Travel reports, Europe, Austria

The last stop of our A-ROSA river cruise on the Danube was the stop in Melk,a small, romantic town in the Wachau.


The UNESCO World and Cultural Heritage Landscape Wachau

The Danube Valley between Melk and Krems, about 80 kilometres from Vienna, is considered Wachau. Due to its unique and fascinating cultural landscape – with all the castles, castles and villages – the Wachau was awarded a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. At this point we have met countless cyclists who cycle along the Danube Cycle Path here on the way from Passau to Vienna (or the other way round).

The harbour info of the A-ROSA for Melk

The A-ROSA pier is about 15 minutes from downtown Melk and can be easily reached on foot.

Pier: Danube station number 8 at The Kolomaniau
Arrival: 12:00 p.m.
Departure: 4 p.m.
Port Info: Download

A-ROSA, Milking, Pier

The pier of the A-ROSA in Melk

The city of Melk

At the reception of our A-ROSA ship there was again a great map of the surroundings, which we used for our individual tour. From the ship you can reach the city center of Melkin about 15 minutes. Already on the way you can see the widely visible Benedictine monastery, which is one of the most important and magnificent buildings in Austria and is considered THE landmark of the Wachau.

The St. Leopold Bridge leads to the city’s main square with its cafés and market stalls. From here you can also see the monastery, which is perched about 60 meters above the town of Melk. The path leads over the cobbled main road to the town hall square and the town hall, until you turn left down the small alley “Sechserg” to get to the monastery. The ascent takes less than five minutes. For those who are no longer so good on foot, there is also a small shuttle train that regularly chauffeurs people to and from the pen.

Melk, Main Square, Benedictine Monastery, Melk Abbey, Wachau, Danube, River Cruise, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, World Heritage Site, Austria

The main square of Melk with the Benedictine monastery

Melk Abbey with marble hall and collegiate church

Since its foundation in 1089, Melk Abbey has been continuously inhabited by Benedictine monks. Through the entrance portal you reach the Torwartlhof, where we bought tickets (without a guide) in the ticket centre for 11 euros, with which we could visit the interiors of the monastery, the Nordbastei & the Wachaulaboratory as well as the Stiftspark with garden pavilion. To get to the Prelate Court behind you, you can almost automatically pass through the two-storey, bright Benedikti Hall, which adorns a large ceiling fresco. The Prelate Court is a very large courtyard (84 meters long, 42 meters wide) and square, in the middle of which a fountain can be seen. At the end of the courtyard on the left, we go up the so-called Kaiserstiege to the Stiftsmuseum. Permanent exhibitions are installed in the former imperial rooms, representing the essential epochs of the history and present of the monastery.

The highlight, however, is the Marble Hall and the Abbey Library with its 100,000 volumes. By the way, you are not allowed to take pictures in the imposing, baroque rooms! When asked why this was the case, we got the following answers: (1) The sound of the nippling would disturb the other people, (2) the flash light destroys the works of art and (3) the works are protected by copyright. We are sure that, as in many other museums, you simply want to boost the sale of the in-house postcards and souvenirs.

Between the marble hall and the abbey library there is an outdoor terrace (Altane), from which one has a fantastic view over the Wachau and can also look at the western facade of the (unfortunately equipped) collegiate church. After the outdoor terrace, the library leads to the interiors of the collegiate church,which is considered one of the most beautiful baroque churches in Austria. The two towers on the west facade and a huge dome, which is 64 metres high, are visible from afar. The interior of the church is very sumptuously designed with lots of stucco, marble, gold and ceiling frescoes, which really seems a bit cluttered – you don’t know where to look first. But here too, photography is unfortunately forbidden.

Back in the fresh air we wanted to see the Stiftspark with its baroque garden pavilion. Here you can only get in with a ticket. It is worth going up to the small observation tower “Nordbastei” or going, because from up here you have a good overview of the “more well-maintained part” of the park. This part is very manageable, but very nicely laid out. Right next to it is a forest-like park, which unfortunately we did not like, because it was very unkempt.

After a good three hours of sightseeing we did a little round through Melk and then walked back to the ship. This was the last stop of our river cruise with the A-ROSA before we will reach our starting point Engelhartszell tomorrow morning.

All travelogues from our Donau River Cruise

A-ROSA offers various river cruises on the Danube with different durations and destinations depending on the season. We had deliberately chosen the 7-day route "Danube Classic - On calm waters through the waves of European history", as this route connects the big metropolises (with sufficient mooring time), natural highlights and UNESCO world heritage sites - a perfect combination for us. The route with the "A-ROSA Bella" took us from Engelhartszell, via Vienna, Esztergom, Budapest, Bratislava and Melk back to Engelhartszell and Passau.

Reiseberichte A-ROSA Donau » Austria: A-ROSA - 7 days river cruise on the Danube
» Austria: Vienna – Tourist Attractions, Things to do & Photo spots
» Austriah: Vienna – Schönbrunn Palace, Belvedere Palace & Prater
» Hungary: Danube Knee, Esztergom, Visegrid and Szentendre
» Hungary: Budapest – Travel Guide & beautiful photo spots at night
» Hungary: Budapest – Tourist Attractions & Things to do on the Buda site
» Hungary: Budapest – Tourist Attractions & Things to do on the Pest side
» Slowakia: Bratislava – Tourist Attractions, Things to do & Photo spots
» Austria: Wachau – World Heritage Site on the Danube & Melk Abbey
» Germany: Passau - Tourist Attractions, Things to do & Photo spots