Tulln. The Town on the Danube.

by Jessica Bannister-Pearce

Wiener Wanderland It’s trip number 3 and it’s time to leave Vienna. The humidity is crushing, so I thought I’d get away from the concrete and the big buildings. Instead, I fancy a little time by the water. To the north of Vienna, around the bend of the Danube, lies the town of Tulln an der Donau, or Tulln for short. I know absolutely nothing about the place bar for the military airbase that sits to the east. Oh and the VOR turning point for flights into Vienna international. That’s it. Of all the places I could see, this one excites me. As it turns out, Tulln is quite an interesting place. The Viennese newspaper ‘Der Standard’ is printed here, and the town narrowly lost becoming the Niederösterreich Capital to Nearby City, Sankt Pölten.

I get the train from Heiligenstadt Bahnhof. I love travelling by train, mostly because I don’t have to drive. Twenty years of driving a car have given me a ‘bit of a nervous twitch’, so the train is soothing.  From the window of the train, I watch the city fall away as the Danube joins me alongside. I pass through Klosterneuburg and make a note to put it on my list for a future visit.

After 30 mins I arrive at Tulln am Donau station and it’s not what I was expecting. The platform is baron, save for an ugly wooden hood above the stairway down. Wood is everywhere. It turns out that the station is under refurbishment and the construction isn’t the most welcoming of views.

Still, I’m not here for the Bahnhof. From the old station building, I follow a sign for the Zentrum and haul ass. I pass through a nice little park with a few social housing blocks sitting alongside. The park gives way to a road and more signs pointing to the Danube. Apparently, I’m following the Egon Schiele trail. Egon Schiele I learn was an Austrian painter and there’s a museum here in Tulln displaying his work.

Day 3 Tulln 2 1260x926 1 Wiener Wanderland
My First view of a home in Tulln.

From the road, I spot a nice looking church and make a beeline for it. It’s not long before the camera is out. A roundabout in front of me is decorated with a nice fountain whilst to the left, there’s a small seating area and a First World War memorial. Not from both is a rather interesting building that looks part Addams family, part water buffalo hall. It’s nice enough for a piccy I think. Heading into town I reach St Stephan’s church. It’s screaming out for my camera, and I spend some time photographing the inlaid stone tablets that cover the walls. There’s real age to them. I don’t know how old exactly the church is, but if you told me 500 years I’d believe you.

From there I wander the streets. I’ve arrived after midday. The town seems very quiet. Perhaps In a country of only 8 million, this is the norm. More likely is that most people are on holiday elsewhere, leaving the summer heat to the tourists and the mad. The latter category surely fits me well.

Statue of Hermes, Tulln, Austria
Hermes or the Flash, you decide.

Musing on this I reach a statue. He’s a rather curious fellow. It turns out to be none other than Hermes, the Greek god and messenger,  or Moist von Lipwig from Discworld’s ‘Going Postal’ (please don’t ask about Mrs Cake!) but I’m figuring Hermes is a better bet. The lack of a gold suit gives the game away really. Hermes sits outside what appears to be Tulln’s local department store, Stift. I see a few buildings throughout the day marked Stift, so a department store seems right.

From Stift, I Head towards the waterfront. The street opens out onto the Danube and a large water fountain art install greets me. I grab a photo but the little cones warning of something kinda ruins the shot. Along with the artistic fountain, I find an open-air stage and seating. every summer, Tulln hosts a music festival of sorts with acts from all over Austria and the world coming to perform. This year sees Gregory Porter playing and Austria’s own Conchita closes the festival. How freaking cool is this place?

There’s a path on the Danube so I settle in for a nice stroll.  I don’t get very far. Along the way, I discover Tulln has placed plenty of benches and deckchairs for the weary traveller to take a break and enjoy the view. I do just that, figuring a view of the Danube makes for a great lunch spot. The pace of life here is very sedate and intoxicating.

With lunch done, it’s time to explore some more of the town. In front of me, there’s a cute little marina with a few boats and my personal favourite, ducks. I love ducks. You can’t be angry, upset or any other negative emotion if you’re looking at ducks. It’s just not possible. Behind me is the Rathaus. It doesn’t have the grandeur of Wien’s Rathaus, but I like it. It’s elegant. Around the corner, I find yet another water feature. This one is stunning. My poor German tells me I need to learn German as the explanation of the scene in front of me is in Deutsch. That said, a little friendly Googling reveals the scene depicts the meeting of Atilla the Hun and Kriemhild, A famous female character in German legend and literature. I’ll need to do a little more research to learn more. The water below them cascades first from the left, then the right, then more powerfully from the left, then the right before the water stops all told. It’s a striking piece.

I head back to town from here as I’m getting thirsty in the heat. On my way, I discover that Tulln is home to a huge public garden, or more apt, 60 show gardens. From my current location, it’s too far, but I’ve made a note to visit it at some point when the weather is cooler. I can’t imagine the gardens look they’re best in the heat.

Walking back to town I cross a bridge the features little crochet flowers on the mesh sides, and the now obligatory ‘padlocks of love’. It’s very cute. I leave the bridge and head towards the road.

Day 3 Tulln 30 1260x838 1 Wiener Wanderland
Love locks, as pretty as they are a pain!

I pass a very sparkly building. The Diamond Hotel in Tulln features walls painted with a special paint that actually sparkles. It’s super cool and had there not been work going on at the hotel, I would have stopped there for a drink. Instead, I meander my way into the centre and find another water feature. Tulln really likes its water features. The view is one of the open spaces and lots of cafes. In common with many Austrian towns and cities, there’s a big market square that is probably centuries-old, yet still as vibrant today as it ever was. There’s a modern mall alongside older shops and a huge edifice in the centre of the square, again, common in most Austrian Towns and cities. I gravitate to a local cafe in search of an Eiscafe. It’s all a bit gorgeous as I watch the world go by slowly.

Finishing up my coffee, I take a final stroll around the square before I head to the station home. I’m far too hot to continue enjoying Tulln. The temperature has hit above 30ºc so the call of an air-conditioned train is strong. I leave the square via a lovely park that has yet another Catholic statue of a saint. I get the feeling I need to start researching these guys as they seem to be everywhere. Passing through the park, take my last shot of a beautiful piece of public art against the site of the old city walls and an old building.

Job done, I head to the station, the wrong station as it was. Apparently, regional trains don’t run from Tulln Stadt. I realise after 5 mins I realise my mistake and head back to the building site of Tulln Danube station. It’s just a 10-minute walk thank goodness.

By three I’m on a Wiesel Train heading home. Tulln is beautiful and well worth a visit. I have a feeling I’ll be back here again.

Getting There

There are plenty of trains heading north from Vienna Franz Joseph Bahnhof if you’re in the city centre. You can also pick up the trains from Vienna Heiligestadt, which can be reached by the U4 line. Journey times vary from 30 minutes or so if you grab a REX regional express, to an Hour if you catch the regular S40 service.

Further Reading.

If you’d line to know more about Tulln, Check out the link below.


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