Although only one hour’s drive to the East of Vienna, the perfect distance for a day trip, Krems is a destination in its own right. Its beautiful historic city centre, several art institutions and numerous wine taverns, tasting rooms and traditional Austrian restaurants are worth visiting. The surrounding Wachau Valley is internationally recognised as a cultural world heritage site because of its unique beauty and authentic cultural landscape.
Wine has been cultivated in the region since Roman times. Today, wines such as Gruener Veltliner and Riesling from the Wachau are known and appreciated all over the world. Enjoy a bottle with a traditional meal at a local wine tavern, of which there are plenty in Krems and surroundings. Sandgrube13, a tasting room and wine museum, is the perfect place to discover the history of wine cultivation in Krems.
The town itself was first mentioned in a historic document in 995 AD, but there is archaeological evidence of much earlier settlements. Today, the Old Town of Krems features part of the original town wall and one of the medieval city gates, which is the town’s landmark. Also of note is the Piaristenkirche, a 17th-century church in late Gothic style, which is often referred to as a pendant to St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. Dating back to the early 13th century, the Gozzo Burg contains some of the earliest known civic frescoes in Central Europe. The Veitskirche is the earliest example of Baroque architecture in Austria.
Several new cultural institutions add to the attraction of Krems. Housed in an old tobacco factory, the Kunsthalle Krems is a popular exhibition space for 19th century, modern and contemporary art. The building is located on the Kunstmeile Krems, a stretch of road between the historic Old Town of Krems, and the medieval village centre of Stein, which houses a large number of cultural institutions that cater to art aficionados of all ages.
The best time to visit Krems is in spring, when the Apricot Blossoms are in bloom in the Wachau Valley, or during the wine harvest in autumn.