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The Danube in Lower Austria: A Total Work of Art

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The Danube region in Lower Austria Foreign Languages

Imagine sun-drenched vineyards and paradisiac orchards, mysterious alluvial forests and imposing monasteries and castles, culinary flights of fancy and the finest in wines. A trip to the Danube Region of Lower Austria delights all your senses.

Spitz, February 2019. The Danube is the second longest river in Europe and the most important waterway in Austria. It has shaped the landscape and people along its banks. The Lower Austrian Danube is 260 kilometers long and boasts some of the most scenic sections of this river valley. It is a true treasure for the province. It proceeds from the Nibelungengau in the west through the Wachau, a UNESCO World Heritage landscape, and on to the gates of Bratislava in the east. Its banks are lined with magnificence architecture, picturesque towns and villages, and lush ancient vineyards. Anyone who appreciates art and fine dining will find an abundance of attractions here as will nature lovers and athletes.

The Wachau, a UNESCO World Heritage landscape
The Wachau Valley has been shaped by man and nature and is one of the oldest places of human settlement in Austria. In 1994, it was awarded the European Diploma for Protected Areas. In December 2000 the Wachau became the only region along the entire Danube to make the UNESCO World Heritage List and at the end of 2008, the National Geographic Traveler Magazine gave it the distinction of being the "Best Historic Destination in the World."

Unsurpassed culinary enjoyment
The Danube Region in Lower Austria has a diversity of superb local foods and is among the top gourmet regions in Europe. Sun-ripened Wachau apricots, fresh Danube fish and crisp asparagus from the Marchfeld are three of its most famous products. Anyone who enjoys fine wining and dining in a special setting will have a broad choice of venues here, from down-to-earth heurige wine taverns along cellar-lined country roads to cozy inns and exquisite award-winning restaurants. About half of all Lower Austrian restaurants awarded toques by Guide Gault Millau are along the Danube. And the Danube Region is also home to a large number of members of Niederösterreichische Wirtshauskultur, an association of quality restaurants dedicated to traditional Austrian food. Your mouth will start watering just looking at the delicious dishes being served. And in many of these inns, you can sit directly along the water or enjoy a fantastic view of the Danube. Eastern Austria has a wonderful tradition of wine taverns called heurige or buschenschank, where you can get a hearty bite to eat along with a glass of good wine. Local winemakers are allowed to serve their own wines at these establishments (heurige means this year's wine (young wine) and also the place where that wine is sold) and homemade foods for a certain number of weeks a year. Buschen (bundles of twigs) are hung over the entrance to indicate that the place is open for business.

Wines of international renown
Wachau, Traisen Valley, Krems Valley, Wagram including Klosterneuburg and Carnuntum: The Danube banks are home to five of the eight Lower Austrian wine-growing regions and several of the most famous individual vineyards in Austria. Wine flourishes in this region with its variety of soils and its ideal climate combining moist Atlantic weather with dry Pannonian influences. The Wachau is famous for its Rieslings and also has excellent wines pressed from Grüner Veltliner, Chardonnay and Gelber Muskateller grapes. Numerous local winemakers are internationally known and highly innovative. In many cases, you can purchase wine on-site directly from the wine estate. Other winemakers offer wine tasting with commentary and have guest rooms. SANDGRUBE 13wein.sinn in Krems is a unique way to explore and experience wine. It features eight stations at which you can enjoy the fascination of wine with all your senses. Domäne Wachau, the cooperative of Wachau vintners in Dürnstein, is also a promising spot. Tour the 300 year old wine cellars of this cooperative, then sample its wines in the baroque Kellerschlössel. The Villa Vinum at Wine World Carnuntum in Bruck an der Leitha is yet another unique symbiosis of romantic wine cellar and modern wine production.

Cycling along the river
The well-known Danube Bike Path winds its way all along the mighty river. The section running through Lower Austria offers passing cyclists a feast for the eyes. The magnificent Wachau, a UNESCO World Heritage Landscape, with its typical terraced vineyards carved into the primordial rock hillsides. Next are the Krems Valley and the broad basin of the Danube Region in and around Tulln with the Wagram winegrowing region. Finally come the river wetlands around Carnuntum, part of the National Park Donau-Auen, one of Europe's last major stretches of alluvial forest. This diverse section of the Danube Bike Path mainly follows the ancient towpaths along the river. Cyclists can bike large parts of the north and south banks. Bicycle ferries and bridges make it easy to cross the river. And there are so many side-trips to choose from just off the Danube. Resting spots along the way offer pleasant arbors for cyclists and inviting places to relax and take in the charming landscape. It is well worth while to set aside more time to visit interesting sights or reward yourself for a day of pedaling with an evening of fine food and wine from the region.

Hiking through the UNESCO World Heritage Landscape
If you prefer going on foot, the Danube Region in Lower Austria has wonderful hiking trails in store for you. A big attraction is the Wachau World Heritage Trail, opened in 2010. It is one of the most scenic long-distance hiking routes in Austria. The trail is about 180 kilometers long and takes hikers through the impressive Wachau Valley. The fourteen sections of the trail are defined so each can be covered in a day-long tour at a relaxed pace. Hikers are rewarded with stupendous views and a variety of cultural points of interest along the way. Gently rolling vineyards alternate with rugged rock cliffs, sunny paths lead to shaded ruins. You hike along the famous terraces carved into primordial rock slopes, passing the most famous individual vineyards in the Wachau. The sections of the trail are designed as a long-distance and a circular route and begin and end in certain towns. As your day of hiking draws to an end, you can be sure of a big choice of dining spots and accommodations. The website is a good one to consult to plan your route and tour.

The finest in cultural enjoyment
The Danube has always been an inspiration for creative artists. Krems is one city that has established itself a center for the visual arts. The historical center has narrow medieval streets and buildings dating from the Late Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods. In 2000, UNESCO awarded it World Heritage status. Kunstmeile Krems features the Kunsthalle art museum, the Caricature Museum and the Forum Frohner for a mix of cultural institutions of international caliber. The Donaufestival is a young and rambunctious festival for contemporary art staged annually from late April to early May on various stages throughout Krems. Glatt&Verkehrt is a summer festival combining traditional and contemporary folk music from around the globe to provide a unique musical experience. Sommerspiele Melk is a traditional open-air theater festival held in the Danube Arena at the foot of Melk Abbey every year from mid-July to mid-August and always attracts big crowds. From mid-August to mid-September, Schloss Grafenegg stages a music festival directed by star pianist Rudolf Buchbinder. It is an artistic highlight of the season.

Impressions straight from the river
The landscape along the Danube is particularly charming when viewed from a ship. Several shipping companies operate in the sections of the Danube Valley known as the Nibelungengau and the Wachau, connecting picturesque towns such as Krems, Spitz, Dürnstein or Melk. Besides these white Danube ships, wooden boats and traditional flat-bottomed boats can also be seen. A number of special theme tours are offered from May through the end of October. Solstice Fire tours are especially popular. Bonfires are lit on many slopes in the Wachau und Nibelungengau in June to celebrate the summer solstice. Anyone interested in experiencing this spectacle from a ship should book quite early. The Shipping Museum in Spitz covers the history of Danube shipping in a lively and exciting presentation featuring more than 400 exhibit items.

Traditional red letter dates for enjoyment
Visitors to the World Heritage Region who attend the wachau GOURMETfestival, now in its eleventh year, can look forward to everyone and everything of distinction in the world of gourmets from March 28th to April 11th , 2019. i 

When harvest time comes around for the EU-protected Wachau apricot, Krems and Spitz focus all their attention on this unique fruit. Everything's Apricots (Alles Marille) is the festival in the center of Krems on July 12th and 14th. A few days later, on July 19th through 21st, Spitz an der Donau has its chance to pay homage to this fruit at the Apricot Kermes.

Press inquiries:

Jutta Mucha-Zachar
Schlossgasse 3
A-3620 Spitz/Donau
Phone: +43/(0)2713/300 60-24
Fax: +43(0)2713 / 300 60-30

Pictures from the Danube Region in Lower Austria can be found in the online picture library on the web page 

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