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24 hours in Krems, Austria

27 October 2015

Krems Countryside

Krems an der Donau is a key feature of many Iglu river cruises along the mighty Danube, with a number of trips stopping there for a day of sightseeing.

The town is the fifth-largest in Lower Austria, around 40 miles away from the capital Vienna. Officially given its title in 995 AD by Otto III, it has grown substantially and almost superseded the capital during the 11th and 12th century. It is made up of ten smaller divisions and is a great stop-off point as part of your river cruise.

So what is there to do with 24 hours in this riverside town?

What to see

Take a stroll from the port into the old town where you will be able to get a real sense of the history of Krems. The town is influenced by the Baroque era of the 16th century and many of the buildings pay homage to this. One in particular is the Steiner Tor which acts as an entrance to Krems and was erected in 1480.

The gate is considered to be the symbol of Krems and took the place of a wall which surrounded the town until the 19th century. It features a mounted memorial on the side of the stone door which commemorates a flooding disaster in 1573. It has appeared on a definitive stamp, similar to a postage stamp, and in 2005 the Steiner Tor underwent restoration work to celebrate the 700-year anniversary of Krems.
Staying in the old town and the Kunst Halle Krems is an absolute must for the culture vultures among you. The art gallery is home to a swathe of contemporary works and in the past has showcased the work of artists such as Pipilotti Rist, Dominik Steiger, William Kentridge, Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono.

Another place to tick off should be the Weinstadmuseum which highlights both the history of Krems but also its proud winemaking traditions. The museum is housed in a beautiful monastery providing a calm and tranquil vibe when you walk through the front door.

Eat and drink

Situated in the Wachau Valley region of Austria, Krems is famed for its Marillenschnaps. Like many other towns in the area, Krems is a producer of this apricot brandy. While there are similar liquors elsewhere in the world, if you want an authentic taste of the Wachau Valley then you cannot go far wrong with Marillenschnaps.

Krems is surrounded by an abundance of small orchards that are dedicated to producing the apricots designed for this drink. Bars in the town will always have a good bottle, so it would be rude not to try a little following a hearty meal.  When it comes to food, Krems is home to some authentic Austrian cuisine. If you are looking for somewhere with real local flavour then head to any one of the Heurigers that are dotted around the town.

Translated as wine taverns you will be able to enjoy some great local fayre washed down with some Austrian wine, but don't forget the Marillenschnaps before you set sail for your next destination.

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