70 kilometers southwest of Vienna lies the oldest city in Austria: Krems at the Danube. The wine city is now a cultural and university center and also a very nice destination for a city break or a short break. Here, the Great Krems ends in the Danube and the valley of the Wachau expands around the idyllic town on the water. Due to its authentic cultural landscape, the city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Krems, the city and its history
Although archaeological finds point to settlements that were around 32,000 years ago around today’s Krems, the city was first mentioned in a document in 995 for the first time. It is certain, however, that viticulture was already of great economic importance here in antiquity. In 1305 Krems and the neighboring town of Stein became joint city-rights, which led to rapid growth. Winegrowing contributed to its wealth, but the trade was also increasingly important due to its favorable location on the river.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the construction of the Kremser harbor increasingly industrialized the economy. The founding of the Danube University Krems and the larger selection of cultural events also made the city increasingly attractive to tourists. Today it is a popular destination for Danube cruises and has over 290,000 overnight guests a year.
Why travel to Krems at the Danube?
Not only the city of Krems itself is of picturesque beauty. The surrounding area, which is characterized mainly by the river and the vineyards, will charm visitors. There are cultural highlights in every season. For example, the Wachau Marathon as well as various wine festivals take place in autumn, Christmas markets in winter and the Danube Festival, a series of events for contemporary art, from April to May. In addition, all sorts of culinary art, after all, Krems is considered a foodie paradise.
Despite the many offers, the city never seems overcrowded and walking through the old town is just as comfortable as walking through the vineyards all around.
The most beautiful sights in and around Krems
The old town of Krems at the Danube has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. It is home to pretty old lanes, church cloisters and part of the original city wall.
Also in the old town is the Steiner Tor, which is the landmark of Krems old town and the former city gate. It was renovated in 2005 and has been open to visitors ever since.
The Piaristenkirche rises above the old town and is sometimes referred to as the counterpart to St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. It dates back to the 17th century and was built in neo-gothic style. St. Veit, on the other hand, the parish church, is entirely in Baroque style.
Kunsthalle Krems is located in your former tobacco factory and is the venue of the Danube Festival. It is mainly dedicated to contemporary art.
In the summer also the bath pleasure lures. The Badearena in Krems is a classic family bathroom. But also cycling tours along the Danube lure in good weather.
After all, guests should definitely come to one of the many small wine cellars in and around Krems. The varieties Veltliner and Riesling are particularly famous. But also the red Zweigelt is cultivated here.