Today began our six days tour of visiting different small towns in Austria and Czech Republic, our first stop being in Linz. But before stopping by Linz, we actually stopped by the town of Melk to see Melk Abbey and also took a detour to see Dürnstein Castle. We hired a driver through a tour agency called goEUgo (website) that also helped arranged us for our hotels. If you’re looking for mandarin or cantonese speakers, they can definitely help you out, but do note that there are not that many Cantonese drivers available We called a driver called Mr. Lau who was able to speak Cantonese. We were very pleased with him throughout the entire trip because he was knowledgeable, super friendly and nice, and very punctual every time, and never complained once even if it meant working longer than what was supposed to be a 10 hour work day (we had shorter days on other days)
Anyway, while Dürnstein Castle was pretty cool to see, Melk Abbey seriously blew our minds off. Dare I say it was quite possibly one of THE highlights of my 3 week trip. It was beautifully designed, with a pastel yellow that made it look significant but yet humble, and special. We also had some time on the way to our hotel that we also visited Stift St. Florian as well. Lastly, I’ll be sharing with you our horrible experience in the hotel we stayed in, at ibis Style Hotel Linz.
Melk Abbey (website)
From Vienna, Melk Abbey takes about a little over an hour to get there. Melk Abbey, also known as Stift Melk, is a Benedictine abbey situated on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube River in Austria. It holds a significant place in Austrian history and is renowned for its stunning baroque architecture.
Checking out the map. It’s not as big as this map indicates so don’t worry. Adult tickets are €13. Family ticket (2 grandparents with their grandchildren up to 16 years of age) is €26 total. If 1 grandparent and 1 grandchildren that’s €13. There are guided tours from April to October at 10:55am and 2:55pm, May to September at 10:55am, 1:55pm, and 2:55pm, and November to March at 11am, 1:30pm, and 3pm.
The abbey was originally founded in the early 12th century but underwent a complete reconstruction in the 18th century, resulting in its current grand appearance. The imposing Melk Abbey features an impressive yellow façade adorned with intricate sculptures and an elegant dome. Inside, visitors are greeted with opulent halls, ornate frescoes, and a magnificent library with a collection spanning over 100,000 volumes. The highlight of the abbey is the breathtaking abbey church, with its high dome and lavish decoration.
Melk Abbey was initially given to the Benedictine monks by Leopold III, Margrave of Austria, in the year 1089. The abbey’s foundation was part of Leopold’s efforts to expand the Christianization of the region and promote spiritual and cultural development.
After about an hour in this magnificent Baroque ensemble, we headed to other sections of this area.
Town of Melk and Quick Pizza Restaurant (website)
We wanted to find a restaurant that was somewhat quick, and looking at Google Maps, I guess we found the right restaurant!… Right?
To be honest, the restaurant wasn’t slow at serving the food… it wasn’t quick either, just normal. But the service was a tad slow in noticing us and could have been more hospitable. Would I recommend this place? Even though the taste was okay, I feel like there are better places we could have chosen.
Burgruine Dürnstein (Dürnstein Castle) (website)
Dürnstein Castle is a medieval fortress located in the town of Dürnstein, in the Wachau region of Lower Austria. The castle sits atop a rocky hill overlooking the Danube River, making it one of the most picturesque castle ruins in the country.
Its construction dates back to the 12th century, and it served as a strategic stronghold for rulers and nobles during the Middle Ages. Today, Dürnstein Castle stands as a ruin, but its remains have attracted numerous tourists and history enthusiasts. Visitors can explore the remnants of the fortified walls, towers, and courtyards, while enjoying breathtaking views of the river and surrounding vineyards. The castle’s rich history, coupled with its scenic location, makes Dürnstein Castle an iconic landmark in Austria’s cultural heritage.
One of the most famous events associated with Dürnstein Castle is the imprisonment of Richard the Lionheart, the King of England. In 1192, Richard was captured by Leopold V, Duke of Austria, on his return from the Third Crusade. Legend has it that Richard was held captive in the castle’s dungeon, and his loyal minstrel, Blondel, is said to have discovered his location by singing a specific song that only Richard knew. This tale has become a popular piece of folklore, and it adds to the castle’s allure.
Stift St. Florian (website)
Stift St. Florian, located in St. Florian, Austria, is a Benedictine monastery founded in 1071 by Saint Florian of Lorch. The abbey’s Baroque-style building was constructed between 1686 and 1746 and is renowned for its architectural beauty.
This was the back room of the Basilica I think? We accidentally went here, and realized there was a side entrance that led to the church haha, and people were actually there praying so we were thinking oh shoot were we supposed to be here.
The centerpiece of the abbey is the St. Florian Basilica, known for its intricate frescoes, sculptures, and an impressive organ built by Anton Bruckner. The abbey also houses a significant library with a vast collection of books and manuscripts. The imperial rooms, once used as a guesthouse for noble visitors, are beautifully decorated with period furniture. Stift St. Florian offers guided tours, cultural events, concerts, and exhibitions, making it a popular destination for both spiritual and cultural exploration. Its rich history, magnificent architecture, and cultural significance make it a must-visit location in Upper Austria.
ibis Styles Linz (website) *i highly don’t recommend staying here!
We arrived at Linz, but there was nothing to do at Linz. We were greeted by an under construction hotel, which you know I understand so it wasn’t like a negative for me. Inside the lobby, it looked like what I’d expect a budget hotel to look like, even though it was a three star hotel.
There were many terrible things about this place. One – the staff there said they only had a single room for us but one of the rooms was supposed to be two persons, so after a bit of back and forth we were afraid someone had to sleep on the floor, but luckily she had another twins room for us. Secondly, her attitude was pretty rude and obnoxious, as if she didn’t really want to help us out, and gave a pretty serious, doesn’t care, indifferent, I hate my job kind of attitude. Third – there are insects in our bedroom and in the gym. Fourth – the window doesn’t close properly, so even when I “closed” the windows, there is still a lot of wind sound coming, and since the hotel is under construction, it’s banging against the construction. Fifth, the gym room is incredibly small like one trendmill with one multi-use gym equipment and that was about it. And this place just feels unclean, the bed blankets and sheets are thin and cheap, and everywhere doesn’t feel clean. Avoid this place at all costs!
Where We Ate For Dinner: Bistro Vu (website)
We were craving for some Asian food after eating Viennese cuisine for days, and we wanted some place close by our hotel. Bistro Vu was kind of close by? About a 10 min walk. But I was very hesitant in going there at first. First of all, we’re from Asia, so I usually prefer to just eat Asian food back in Hong Kong. Secondly, the restaurant did both Vietnamese and Japanese, and I’m quite skeptical of the quality of taste when a restaurant tries to do too much, especially when they venture into multiple cuisines, for most of the time (it depends). Like if you’re Disneyland doing international cuisine that’s fine, but this feels like a Vietnamese restaurant trying to stretch out to Japanese, and the photos didn’t look appealing either.
Anyway whatever, this wasn’t going to be a food trip anyway, so I acquiesced and went with the group’s decision like ok yeah sure we can do Asian.
The owner / the staff there was actually quite friendly and nice, and in fact he spoke a bit of Cantonese as well! Seems like it’s a family run business by a bunch of Vietnamese people (hence the name Bistro Vu)
So yeah, if you’re ever going on a day trip from Vienna, or if you’re trying to explore small towns in Austria, do not miss out Melk Abbey – it’s sooo beautiful and gorgeous! Read about our next destination at An Ice Cave and the OLDEST Salt Mine, in Obertraun, Austria.