Melk. The Wachau valley’s most stunning town.

by Jessica Bannister-Pearce

Between Weather and work, things have been quiet for me. I’ve not been idle though, and I’ve got a few new things to add to the site soon. However, the sun has made a reappearance as the last of September drips away into the pool of autumn. My choice of destinations isn’t narrowing at the moment though. For this wander, I’m taking to the rails once more and heading west to the Medieval town of Melk. Melk is one of those ‘must see’ areas. Situated on the Danube, Melk’s main reason to visit is the imposing Abbey that sits above the town.

To get there, I grab the train to St. Pölten and then change onto the Amstetten train. It’s a pretty seamless changeover and the journey is just a few stops before I arrive at Melk.

Leaving the Bahnhof, it’s a gentle walk down the hill into the town. There are some gorgeous homes and buildings here, and I pass a doctors office that just screams Addams Family. All too soon though I’m greeted to the sight of the Stift or Abbey on the hill above. It really is imposing, and definitely grand. With the Stift watching over me, I follow the road around to the left and happen across the local church. For some reason, this amuses me. Given the bloody great big Abbey behind me, this church seems a little redundant. It isn’t and as I’ve found all across the areas I’ve visited, it’s beautifully decorated on the outside. Catching my eye, I find a beautiful heart-shaped lantern. It’s black highly decorated Ironwork with a stunning red stained glass centre pulls at my own little black heart. It’s placed behind a wrought iron fence that’s equally as beautiful.  Moving on, I wander into the main square. To my right, there’s a road that leads up a hill towards the Stift, to the left, a road to the river. A third road leads off to the far left. It leads to the rest of the town.

Stained glass and metal decoration, Melk
Melk has many surprises in store.

I’m glad I took this path. Just a short distance up the road I discover the old Post office. It’s resplendent with several carved reliefs. they’re very nice. Across the road from the post office is a stunning old-world Traditional Austrian clothing shop. Dirndl’s and Lederhosen fill the windows, whilst the shop front has been painted with various cute pictures. From there the road reaches a crossroads and I turn right towards the river.

The main river is still a little stroll away. The river in front of me is a small branch from the Danube. That’s a good thing. Along the Main Danube, countless River cruise ships are moored dropping off hundreds of tourists. Here on the quiet branch, there are ducks. I love ducks. The river is as it should be and I like that. Still, those big ass river cruisers won’t photograph themselves. So crossing the river I wander through a little parkland. There’s a large open-air stage here as well, though I think it’s empty after the summer season of shows.

Pushing on I eventually reach the shores of the Danube proper and as expected, there are plenty of cruises docked. Meeting the dock is a strategically placed cafe restaurant.

Day 9 Melk 42 1260x838 1 Wiener Wanderland
River cruises all seem to call at Melk.

It’s very traditional and it has a prime location to scoop up as many tourists as they can. Time to head back to town.

Before I cross the road to the town, I take the opportunity to snap a picture of the Stift high on the cliff. Damn it’s a cool sight. It’s also telling something. It’s saying ‘get your ass up here.’ Ok, I may have paraphrased it, but I really do need to climb up there. From the town square, I start the climb. I don’t get very far before I notice a restaurant at the foot of the hill that has something interesting going on. Right at the corner of their outside seating area, there are Bratwurst cooking in a huge frying pan. If I hadn’t already had lunch, I’d have stopped here. A bratwurst is a good thing.

The hill climbs gently and the town opens out a bit, Restaurants and bars join cute little shops. There are liquor and wine sellers here as well. The Rathaus sits opposite a fountain and features a beautiful old door. All nice stuff.

However, things are about to take a turn for the worse. The Stift is off to my left, and as I head that way, I discover that a long climb is ahead of me. It’s quiet a climb and there are rest areas filled with elderly American tourist taking a break. I make it up in one go, but I’m glad there’s no further climbing ahead. The view is worth it.

Day 9 Melk 111 1260x961 1 Wiener Wanderland
The view across Melk.

The vast majority of the Stift is pay for entry and today, I simply don’t have the time to enjoy the sights. Instead, I’ll stick to the public areas. These are impressive enough. The interior courtyards are stunning.

There’s also the restaurant gardens that are pretty in the mid-afternoon sun. I’d love to see the gardens and the panoramic viewing terrace, but that’ll be for another day. The Abbey is very popular and there are several large groups of tourists here, both arriving and leaving. I decide to leave the tour groups to it and head back to town. My mouth is starting to feel dry. On the way down, I see a few nice opportunities for a picture or two. With time running out though, I settle at the Cafe Central in the main square and order a beer.

Melk is a beautiful town and I’m more than sure I’ll be back here. Come winter, I’ll revisit, hoping to catch a Christmas market or just a few nice wintery pictures. Melk is a great place to visit and I can’t wait to come back.

Getting There.

Getting to Melk is fairly simple. Grab any train heading in the direction of Sankt Pölten. I Recommend taking the RailJet services from Wien Hauptbahnhof. They can get you to Sankt Pölten in under 30 minutes. Then change onto an Amstetten train. The journey time is 1 hour.

Further Reading.

If you’d like to know more about Melk and the Stift, Check out the links below.

You may also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy
en_GBEnglish (UK)