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Melk River Cruises

About Melk

A small and picturesque town, Melk lies on the banks of the Danube in the state of Lower Austria, in the western end of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Wachau Valley about 50 miles west of Vienna. It is a mainstay on many a Danube river cruise and despite its small size, Melk offers visitors a great mix of architectural styles and historical attractions thanks to its rich and varied past. The town itself can be crossed in 20 minutes or less, but visitors have a great selection of cafes, restaurants and age-old points of interest. The main attraction is Melk Abbey, a gigantic Benedictine monastery built on a bluff overlooking the river.

Exploring Melk

Melk Abbey, known locally as Stift Melk is an enormous Baroque masterpiece, built on the site of a castle once owned by the Babenberger family. Striped in white and gold on its exterior and with an incredibly ornate interior, this Benedictine monastery is one of Europe’s finest examples of baroque architecture. It’s still a place of work and study for the order’s monks, who not only live by the teachings of St Benedict but also administer to the town’s faithful and play a role in organising the town’s cultural events. The halls of the abbey are lined with paintings of Austrian rulers, golden statues and pillars of red marble and lead to a library of over 80,000 books. These sagely tomes are wondrous enough but the library also boasts heavenly works by Austrian baroque artist Paul Troger on its ceiling, which date back to the 1700s, as well as an ornate balcony and a wealth of beautiful shelves. Considering its commanding location, the views from the abbey grounds are understandably impressive and the gardens, with their baroque pavilion, are another popular attraction in good weather.

Elsewhere in Melk’s historic town centre, visitors can find the Forsthaus, which holds the town’s archives, the Rathausplatz, where the Kolomanbrunnen fountain stands before the ornate wood and copper doors of the Rathaus (town hall) and the Haus am Stein, or House at the Rock, the oldest building in Melk. This hidden cottage dates back to the 1400s and stands on a rocky outcrop with an ancient, protected vine on its facade. The Old Post Office is another building of note worth visiting. Dating back to 1792 and decorated with a baroque relief, it’s now a convention centre. If you look closely enough on your trip around the town, you’ll be able to see some of the former city walls and the Schiffsmeisterhaus, which is notable because it bears a high water mark from where the Danube reached an incredible 19 feet above the usual level in 1501.

Melk tips

If after exploring the abbey’s vast and hallowed halls and the town itself, you’ve worked up an appetite, you’ll be pleased to know there’s a good choice of venues in which to sample the local cuisine. Favourites include light, crispy dumplings served on a bed of cabbage, and the town’s trademark dessert, Koloman cake.

Melk Itineraries

Regensburg

Gems of the Danube with Ljubljana & Zagreb

2 sailing dates May 2023 to July 2023
11 Nights From Nuremberg, Germany to , Zagreb
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Vienna

Gems of the Danube with Zagreb & Ljubljana

4 sailing dates April 2023 to September 2023
11 Nights From Zagreb, to Germany , Nuremberg
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Passau

Danube Christmas Markets with Prague

1 sailing date December 2023
10 Nights From Prague, to Hungary , Budapest
Scenic River Cruises logo FROM £2649pp
Rudesheim

European Jewels - Amsterdam to Budapest

1 sailing date July 2023
15 Nights From Amsterdam, to Hungary , Budapest
Uniworld River Cruises logo FROM £5939pp
Vienna

Ultimate European Journey- Amsterdam to Bucharest

1 sailing date July 2023
24 Nights From Amsterdam, to Romania , Bucharest
Uniworld River Cruises logo FROM £8549pp
Passau

Grand Danube: Munich - Belgrade

3 sailing dates March 2023 to October 2023
10 Nights From Munich, to Belgrade
Emerald Cruises logo FROM £2919pp
Passau

Grand Danube: Belgrade - Munich

3 sailing dates April 2023 to November 2023
10 Nights From Belgrade, to Passau
Emerald Cruises logo FROM £2919pp
Bratislava

Prague & Danube Explorer: Budapest - Prague

8 sailing dates August 2022 to October 2023
10 Nights From Budapest, Hungary to , Prague
Emerald Cruises logo FROM £2299pp
Prague

Christmas Markets Prague - Paris

1 sailing date November 2023
20 Nights From Prague, to Paris (Honfleur)
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Nuremberg

Jewels of Europe - Prague - Paris

13 sailing dates July 2022 to September 2023
20 Nights From Prague, to Paris (Honfleur)
Scenic River Cruises logo FROM £6459pp
Vienna

Jewels of Europe with Prague - Prague - Amsterdam

26 sailing dates July 2022 to October 2023
17 Nights From Prague, to Amsterdam
Scenic River Cruises logo FROM £4699pp
Vienna

Jewels of Europe - Paris - Prague

12 sailing dates September 2022 to October 2023
20 Nights From Paris (Honfleur), to Prague
Scenic River Cruises logo FROM £5659pp
Würzburg

Jewels of Europe - Paris to Budapest

14 sailing dates September 2022 to October 2023
17 Nights From Paris (Honfleur), to Hungary , Budapest
Scenic River Cruises logo FROM £5319pp
Bratislava

Danube Spa, Arts, Culture

1 sailing date August 2022
7 Nights From Budapest, Hungary to , Passau
Emerald Cruises logo FROM £1999pp
Melk

Christmas and New Year on Spirit

1 sailing date December 2022
14 Nights From Budapest, Hungary to Germany , Dusseldorf
Saga River Cruises logo CALL
Melk

Beautiful Bucharest to Vienna

1 sailing date August 2022
11 Nights From Bucharest, Romania to Austria , Vienna
Saga River Cruises logo CALL
Vienna

Christmas on the Danube

1 sailing date December 2022
7 Nights From Budapest, Hungary to , Regensburg
Saga River Cruises logo CALL
Passau

Amsterdam to Prague & Splendours of Europe

4 sailing dates August 2022 to August 2023
19 Nights From Amsterdam, to Prague
Emerald Cruises logo FROM £3669pp
Bamberg

Amsterdam & Splendours of Europe

7 sailing dates August 2022 to August 2023
16 Nights From Amsterdam, to Hungary , Budapest
Emerald Cruises logo FROM £3299pp
Bamberg

Amsterdam & Splendours of Europe

5 sailing dates August 2022 to August 2023
16 Nights From Budapest, Hungary to , Amsterdam
Emerald Cruises logo FROM £3939pp

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