• Ansicht Stadt Melk mit Stift
  • 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
  • Krems © Stadtmarketing Krems / 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.

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.

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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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... 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.

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