What’s Doing in Austria’s Wachau Valley

Dürnstein, Melk, and the Danube Welcome Visitors with Wine and and the World’s Best Apricots

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Schloß Dürnstein

Schloß Dürnstein

WHERE TO EAT

There are many excellent restaurants and heurigen (taverns that offer the most recent year’s wines and light food) in the area. The idea of the Heuriger goes back to a proclamation by Kaiser Joseph II in 1784 that permitted residents to open establishments that would sell and serve wine they produced themselves, accompanied by food.

In addition to the dozens of Heurigen, there are several excellent restaurants. Our favorite is the restaurant at Schloß Dürnstein, where a table on the terrace overlooking the Danube provides for an unforgettable dining experience. Supplementing the excellent food (our favorites are the Wiener Kalbsrahmgulasch and the Wiener Schnitzel, accompanied by a glass or two of Grüner Veltliner) is the feast for the eyes, as the views are unparalleled.

Another fine choice is the restaurant at the Gasthof Sänger Blondel (named after Richard the Lionhearted’s minstrel, Blondel). Try the Wachauer Rostbraten, a steak with mushrooms, apricots, and a wine sauce.

Dining along the Danube at Schloß Dürnstein

Dining along the Danube at Schloß Dürnstein

WHERE TO STAY

Since the Wachau region is so close to Vienna (roughly 50 miles or 80 kilometers, many visitors drive from Vienna, but Dürnstein in particular has several wonderful hotels including Schloß Dürnstein, Gasthof Sänger Blondel, and Hotel Richard Löwenherz. We have visited these properties and not stayed overnight, but have gotten excellent reports on these three from friends.

GETTING THERE

The easiest way to get into Lower Austria and Wachau is to drive there from Vienna. Visitors arriving in Austria may fly into Vienna International Airport, located about 11 miles (18 kilometers) southeast of the city center.

The airport serves nearly 22 million passengers a year and is a major hub for Austrian Airlines, which connects the city to more than 80 destinations including the Austrian cities of Innsbruck, Linz, and Salzburg and international destinations such as Chicago, Frankfurt, London, New York, Paris, Rome, and Washington, D.C. The airport serves over 60 other airlines including Alitalia, Air France, British Airways, KLM, and Lufthansa.

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