The name Waldviertel (forest district) paints a realistic picture of this rough, yet totally idyllic landscape


The name Waldviertel (forest district), deriving from the extensive forest cover of this region in the north-west of Lower Austria, paints a realistic picture of this rough, yet totally idyllic landscape. The Waldviertel is not just rich in castles and monasteries, it also boasts a host of mystical places which form the basis for a wealth of sagas and fairytales.

rocking stones

A typical feature of the Waldviertel are the many high moor land areas and the so-called Wackelsteine (rocking stones) - granite rocks weighing several tonnes which are poised so precariously that a touch in a certain place could set them in motion. Agriculture and forestry still play a key role in the Waldviertel. However, health tourism is becoming into an increasingly important extra string to the region's economic bow. Countless spas, moor land baths and centres specialized in treating heart/circulatory problems and dispensing general fitness invite visitors to enjoy relaxation and Regeneration.

cycle track in the Waldviertel

The idyllic landscape and the well-developed tourism infrastructure are ideal for extended walks and cycle tours, as well as cross-country skiing in winter. Many of the well-marked tours and routes also lead into the neighbouring regions Bohemia and Moravia - a successful example of well-functioning cross-border co-operation across the former Iron Curtain.

In recent years, a large number of extensive and scenically delightful golf courses have been opened in the Waldviertel, contributing to make the region a real Golf-Mecca.  

But not just those seeking relaxation or activity holidays who will find exactly what they are looking for; culture lovers, too, will be delighted. Towns such as ZWETTL and WEITRA or the famous baroque convent of Geras with their secular and religious buildings of historical and cultural importance, are all proof of  rich Waldviertel's rich history..

Municipality of Zwettl

Lower Austria in general, but the Waldviertel in particular, can boast a centuries-old beer brewing tradition which ist important well beyond this region and it is home to some of the best breweries in the entire country.

The valley of the River Kamp offers a charnbg scenery. In its upper reaches the river flows west to east while below the mighty Rosenburg which is home to a museum of Freemasonry the Kamp turns southwards. Along the about 30-kilometre  long section from Horn to Langenlois, a traditional summer holiday area, there are many bathing places and turn-of-the-19th-century villas.

Thanks to its being specialized in healthcare and well-being, this area centred around Gars, where many famous international sports champions including the former Austrian Formula 1 driver Niki Lauda and the German top tennis player Steffi Graf were treated in Willi Dungl's health centre, has built up a good reputation in the tourism sector.

Gars am Kamp 

wine-growing in the Wachau

The river Danube forms the southern arm of the Waldviertel, with the scenically delightful section of the Danube valley from the border with Upper Austria to Melk being named the "Nibelungengau". The adjacent 30-kilometre stretch from Melk to Krems is called Wachau which has been given the Name "the Pearl of the Danube valley" thanks to ist beautiful scenery.

The Wachau area is one of Austria's most popular tourism destinations and has recently been designated as a UNESCO world heritage site. There are many reasons to justify this: the beauty of this deeply carved river valley, the excellent white wine which is produced from the labour-intensive terraced vineyards in this area, the bewitching blossoming of thousands of apricot trees in the spring and the area's wealth of cultural treasures.

Tourism Wachau-Nibelungengau

Melk Monastery

Starting from Melk with its world-famous baroque church, built by the famous architect Jakob Prandtauer, whose library was an inspiration for Umberto Eco's best-seller 'The Name of the Rose', the visitor has the choice of travelling by ship, bicycle, train or car down the Danube past the vineyards and the many points of interest in this narrow defile of the Danube.
Melk Monastery
Alongside Spitz and Weißenkirchen, the classic examples of wine-growing villages, the idyllic ruins of Dürnstein rear up shortly before one reaches Krems. This  is where the English king Richard the Lionheart was held captive when returning home from a Crusade to the Holy Land.On the other side of the Danube the attractions include the Benedictine monastery of Göttweig, a baroque complex with a splendid view of the Danube valley, which was built according to plans by Lukas von Hildebrandt.The Wachau area ends down the Danube at Krems which therefore is known as the 'Gateway to the Wachau'. This town is recognised as the cultural centre of Lower Austria.

Krems in the night

Krems, a  University city with several interesting museums, can boast a thousand years of history and has a beautifully preserved old city centre with many Gothic and baroque churches.
Town of Krems

"Heuriger" in this region

A typical feature of this wine-growing region are the many 'Heurigen', taverns which serve wine from the latest harvest to accompany simple food. They are identified by having a pine branch exposed above the door.   

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Letzte Änderung dieser Seite: 14.6.2019
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