• Ansicht Stadt Melk mit Stift
  • Luftaufnahme von Dürnstein, den umliegenden Weingärten und der Donau im Herbst
  • Der "Wolkenturm": Der in eine Senke eingebettete Bau der Architekten Marie-Therese Harnoncourt und Ernst J. Fuchs (the next ENTERprise – architects) bildet eine Skulptur die gut 15 Meter bis in die Höhe der alten Baumkrone aufragt und unerwartete Ansichten aus verschiedene Perspektiven bietet.
  • Römerturm Mautern in der Wachau
  • Schloss Hof © Andreas Hofer

Cultural tours along the Danube

The Danube, Europe's second longest river and Austria's most important waterway, has shaped nature and humankind along its banks for time immemorial. The 260 km section of the Danube flowing through Lower Austria boasts perhaps the most scenic landscape along this mighty river. It is a genuine treasure for the province and the perfect choice for anyone planning a cultural tour.

From the Nibelungengau in the west to the Wachau, a UNESCO World Heritage Landscape, and beyond to the gates of Bratislava in the east - a host of historical and cultural sites including monasteries, fortresses, castles and ruins tells stories from times long past. In the museums, visitors can delight in the works of regional and international painters and other creative artists. Famed composers such as Schubert, Pleyel and Haydn have also left their mark on the Danube region. Music lovers can listen intently to wonderfully played pieces in historical structures and at open-air concerts.

The Danube and the region along its banks have always been a source of inspiration for people. We invite you, too, to be inspired by the cultural highlights the Danube has to offer.

Ansicht Stadt Melk mit Stift

The cultural treasures


The cultural treasures along the Danube are strung one after another like pearls on a necklace: One witness to the ancient history of the Wachau is the Venus of Willendorf, Austria's most famous find from the Old Stone Age.
Steeped in history
and perched on hilltops overlooking the Danube: the Benedictine abbeys of Melk and Göttweig, well-known Dürnstein Abbey and the Canonry of Klosterneuburg Monastery with its sacred artworks.
Breathtaking: the view of the Danube Valley from the well-known ruins in Aggstein and Dürnstein.
Vestiges of the imperial past can be explored at Schloss Hof, Europe's largest countryside palace complex and at the Schloss Eckartsau. Schloss Artstetten, home to and the final resting place of Franz Ferdinand, the heir presumptive to the imperial throne, and his wife, Duchess Sophie of Hohenberg. Both were assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914.

Der "Wolkenturm": Der in eine Senke eingebettete Bau der Architekten Marie-Therese Harnoncourt und Ernst J. Fuchs (the next ENTERprise – architects) bildet eine Skulptur die gut 15 Meter bis in die Höhe der alten Baumkrone aufragt und unerwartete Ansichten aus verschiedene Perspektiven bietet.

Music


The landscapes along the Danube in Lower Austria are as varied and colorful as the musical offerings that draw thousands of visitors to this area every year: Lovers of classical music are sure to get their money's worth at Haydn's birthplace in Rohrau and at the Pleyel concerts in Ruppersthal. The musical performances at Schloss Grafenegg have long been a must for lovers of classical music, offering open-air spectacles of superb quality. A diverse range of modern performance art is also available in the Danube region: The spring highlights include Imago Dei, Donaufestival, Glatt & Verkehrt and Barocktage Melk. Summer visitors will want to check out the many special events on the Danube stage in Tulln or the opera performances in Stockerau and Klosterneuburg. The musical year finds a fitting close in Wachau in Echtzeit, a musical and literary series of events at extraordinary venues in the region.

Pärchen vor dem Egon Schiele Museum Tulln mit Fahrrad, eine Frau hält den aktuellen Folder

Art


Historical, iconic & world-renowned
Krems, Tulln, Klosterneuburg and Rohrau have established themselves as centers of the visual arts: The art mile known as Kunstmeile Krems alone boasts ten institutions. Heading the bill are Austria's unique Caricature Museum as well as Kunsthalle Krems, Forum Frohner and the new State Gallery of Lower Austria. Visitors are given insights into the personal life of Egon Schiele, Tulln's most famous Expressionist, along the Egon Schiele Trail extending from the birthplace to the Schiele Museum. Museum Gugging near Klosterneuburg displays fascinating paintings, drawings and objects of Art Brut, a highly respected art movement in today's culture scene. The Harrach's Art Collection in Schloss Rohrau is one of Austria's most famous private collections, featuring works of 17th and 18th c Spanish and Neapolitan painters.

Kaiserhof, Kaiserhof, Stift Klosterneuburg, Tullner Donauraum

The cultural highlights of the year


 A vibrant cultural life exists in the towns in the Danube region in Lower Austria, ranging from classical and modern art to theater, music and exhibitions. You won't want to miss the following highlights in the 2019 season:


To Nov. 22, 2020: Permanent exhibition: Rome's Eagle, www.carnuntum.at  
Feb. 3 - 9, 2020: A Real Deix - Unforgotten (70 Years Manfred Deix), www.karikaturmuseum.at  
March 9 - Nov. 17: The annual exhibition of Klosterneuburg Monastery: "The Emperor's New Saint"
March 15 - Nov. 17: Special exhibition 2018 - 2020: Why the World Eats the Way It Does? Part 2: The Food Game, Schloss Hof & Schloss Niederweiden
March 16 - Nov. 3 Exhibition: Crafty Hands. Renaissanceschloss Schallaburg, www.schallaburg.at  
May 3 - 5:Donaufestival, www.donaufestival.at  
June-Sep.: Kultursommer Traismauer
June 6 - 10: Internationale Barocktage Melk www.kultur-melk.at  
June 16 - Aug. 3: Sommerspiele Melk - Babylon, www.sommerspielemelk.at  
June 22 - Aug. 6: Sommerkonzerte Grafenegg, www.grafenegg.com  
June 29 - 30: 16th Haydn Tage, Schloss Rohrau www.schloss-rohrau.at  
July - August: Art Carnuntum World Theater Festival 2019 www.artcarnuntum.at  
July 10 - Aug.14: Sommerspiele Melk, www.sommerspielemelk.at  
July 12 - Aug. 28: Festival Glatt&Verkehrt, www.glattundverkehrt.at  
July 19 - Aug. 24: Wachaufestspiele "Keine Ruh' für's Donauweibchen" (German play about Danube Mermaid), www.weissenkirchen-wachau.at  
Aug. 2 - 25: Festspiele Stockerau, www.festspiele-stockerau.at  
Aug. 16 - Sep. 8 Grafenegg Festival, www.grafenegg.com  
Aug. 24: Musiksommer Korneuburg
Aug. 30 - Sep. 8: Wachaufestspiele "Der Bockerer" (German play based on a beloved Austrian movie), www.weissenkirchen-wachau.at  
Oct. - Nov.: Wachau in Echtzeit - Cultural Program by Austrian actress Ursula Strauss, www.wachauinechtzeit.at  

Aussenansicht der Landesgalerie NÖ in Krems

The new State Gallery of Lower Austria


The new State Gallery of Lower Austrian has five levels and 3,000 m² of exhibition space, so visitors can marvel at several exhibitions at once. The central accent set by the State Gallery is its shape, which is rotated in two directions - one toward the historical town center and the other toward the Danube.

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Excursion destinations that tell stories

Pärchen auf Schloss Hof, Marchfeld

Fortresses & castles

Explore vestiges of the imperial past in magnificent castles and historical gardens. Or discover the former haunts of noble and less noble knights. Anyone traveling along the Danube between Ybbs and Hainburg will find castles, fortresses and ruins galore.

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Ausstellung Haydn Geburtshaus, Rohrau

Museums & exhibitions

Krems, Klosterneuburg and Rohrau have established themselves as centers of the visual arts. The art mile known as Kunstmeile Krems alone boast ten institutions. Museum Gugging near Klosterneuburg displays fascinating paintings, drawings and objects of Art Brut, a highly respected art movement in today's cultural scene. The Harrach's Art Collection at Schloss Rohrau is one of Austria's most famous private collections.

Find out more

Stift Göttweig mit Weingärten im Vordergrund

Monasteries, abbeys & churches

Numerous architectural monuments from the Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance periods have survived over the centuries. Monasteries, churches, basilicas and charterhouses bear remarkable witness to sacred art. Glorious examples of Austrian Baroque round out the offerings.

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DID YOU KNOW?

... that the lighting of the solstice fires in the Danube region of Lower Austrian was first documented more than 400 years ago? The custom was cultivated and preserved in the Wachau to an extent virtually unmatched anywhere else.

From sun cult to a magical fest
Solstice celebrations remain widespread in many European countries to the present day but there is little verified knowledge and countless theories about their origins. Most researchers assume they are vestiges of an archaic sun cult practiced by the Celts, Slavs and Germans. Whether they actually are cannot be verified or refuted.

The oldest solstice celebrations in Lower Austria corroborated by sources were staged in Rosenburg am Kamp in 1604 and in Klosterneuburg in 1609. From the late 17th c onward, large numbers of these celebrations are well-documented throughout what is present-day Lower Austria. The most extensive festivities were in the Wachau and the Nibelungengau. In the Age of Enlightenment, they were banned for about a century, not to be revived again until the second half of the 19th c, where they were transformed into boisterous folk festivals.

About this same time, the solstice celebrations in the Wachau gained considerable international prominence for the first time thanks to the travelogues of authors and journalists. The contemporary visitors were apparently especially impressed by the glitter of the thousands of lights sent down the Danube on tiny boats. They went into poetic raptures about this experience, as you can read in the archives or feel for yourself on site at the next celebration. Beautifully authentic and authentically beautiful.

Solstice information
Dates in 2020:
June 20 - Solstice in the Wachau
June 27 - Magic Fire in the Nibelungengau

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Your first visit to the Danube

There is so much to explore along the Danube! We are here to give you an overview of the big range of available choices so you can put together your dream vacation quickly and easily. To the left you will find entry points to help you find your destinations for exploring the Danube in Lower Austria.

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