On our last day in Melk, we take a romantic Danube river cruise on board the MS Wachau (named after this picturesque river valley where Melk and Krems are located). The boat cruise lasts about 90 minutes and takes us along a 36 kilometer stretch from Melk to Krems.
When we depart on this overcast day from Melk, we leave behind the beautiful Benedictine Abbey that we explored on our first day in Melk. The abbey looms above the city on a hilltop. Built between 1702 and 1739, the abbey with it’s baroque church and library is acknowledged as being one of the most striking monasteries in the world.
On our leisurely journey to Krems, we pass by several important features of the Danube river valley. First we see the Schonbuhel Castle. Next we see the Aggstein ruins of Kuenringer Castle perched on a rock high above our boat. These ruins remind us of medieval times when lords ruled the river. We dock briefly at the little town of Spitz to let on new passengers for Krems. Spitz features a late Gothic church and an interesting navigational museum. It is also famous for its winery and many vineyards. Weissenkirchen is one of the many wine growing villages that also has an impressive church in the center of the city. We glide past Durnstein which is famous for its historical city center. Above the town is the castle ruins where Richard the Lionheart was held captive. He was kidnapped on his way home from the crusades. Just as we approach our final destination of Krems, we see the impressive Gottweig Abbey on a hilltop opposite Krems. The abbey was founded in 1083 and was rebuilt to its current form in 1720 after a fire almost completely destroyed it.
Krems is a thousand-year old trading center and harbor town on the Danube. It is the gateway to the Wachau valley. First explored in the 12th century, Krems is located at the confluence of the Danube and Krems rivers, about 55 miles northwest of Vienna. The town is over a thousand years old. Many historical buildings line the city streets. Krems is a town of courtyards, antique churches, and ancient houses in the heart of vineyard country.
We don’t get off the boat at Krems. We stay on and enjoy the peaceful return journey to Melk.
Video from our visit: