The town of Melk, in Lower Austria, is mostly known for its homonym great baroque Benedictine monastery. The town was first mentioned on historical records in 831 and received market rights in 1227. Walking around the city center, you'll witness architecture from many centuries.
Nowadays, Melk is one of the best day-trips from Vienna. You can reach this charming village easily and comfortably with the public transport in just 1 hour. And although the Abbey is definitely its highlight, there's enough to enjoy and make this into a full relaxed day-trip.
Best option for solo travelers: VOR One-Way Ticket
Best option for groups of 2-5 persons: Einfach-Raus-Ticket
There are frequent direct connections between Vienna Westbahnhof and Melk. You could also depart from Hauptbahnhof for the same price, but you would need to change trains, which is not as practical as just using the subway beforehand.
The VOR One-Way Ticket costs €18.70 each way, valid for an uninterrupted journey on the selected section and route. [Purchase online] by filling out the origin "Wien" and destination "Melk" on the screen below for your outward journey and opposite directions for the return.
Meanwhile, if you are traveling in a group, you'll find a significantly more economical option with the Einfach-Raus-Ticket, valid for any number of trips on the regional trains on the selected day. Prices start at €35 for 2 persons, with an additional €4 for each extra passenger, up to a limit of 5.
If you would like to bring a bicycle with you onboard, you can purchase the Einfach-Raus-Radticket. Prices start at €44 for 2 persons, also increasing progressively by €4 for each extra passenger, up to a limit of 5.
Upon leaving the rail station, you'll have Bahnhofstraße ahead of you. Just walk down, straight ahead, and you'll reach the main square Rathausplatz in less than 400m.
EXPLORING THE TOWN
Exploring Melk is easily done on foot since the historical center, Abbey complex and even the docks for day-cruises are all within easy walking distance.
Find on the map below some points of interest and follow the pins for further information.
EXPLORING THE STIFT MELK COMPLEX
A ticket to the Abbey covers a visit to the Abbey itself, as well as to the Northern Bastion, the Abbey Park & Pavilion, and temporary exhibitions.
The standard ticket costs €12.50, with reduced options for students and families. For the guided tours, there's a supplement of €2.00 per person.
Since the Abbey Park & Pavilion are open only in the period between May and October, it's advisable to plan your visit for this period. If matching the dates is not possible, however, go anyway. The Abbey with its highlights is well worth the visit!
During the colder season (November–March) visiting the Abbey is only possible with a guided tour (in English). These take place daily at 11:00 and 14:00 with a duration of approx. 50min.
Otherwise, on the warmer season (April–October) you are free to stroll around at your own pace, between 9:00 and 17:30 (last admission at 17:00). During this period, guided tours are also available daily at 10:55 and 14:55. Lastly, an extra alternative is offered between May and September, daily at 14:00.
Highlights: Marble Hall, Library and Abbey Church. Sadly, pictures inside are not allowed, so you'll have to wait and see 😉 Expect to spend at least 1 hour here.
Access to the Northern Bastion is included in the Abbey ticket. It is open daily, from 9:00 to 17:30, but the terrace may be closed depending on the weather.
Highlight: 360º panoramic views.
ABBEY PARK & PAVILION
Access to the Abbey Park & Pavilion is included in the Abbey ticket. It is open from May to October, from 9:00 to 18:00. Expect to spend around 1 hour for a complete stroll.
Highlights: Baroque Garden Pavillon and Paradise Garden.
Smacked in the historical center, stop for lunch at the Rathauskeller, right on Rathausplatz, to round off your day with traditional Austrian cuisine. Since 1669 this building has hosted a guest tavern and it is the oldest inn in Melk.
As you can see, the Abbey complex alone could fill your entire day at a leisure pace. It's also possible to combine the above with Danube boat rides to neighboring towns, which I will cover in the future. 🙂
If you've never been, I hope this post has inspired you to plan a day-trip to lovely Melk. If you've already been, how did you find it? What was your favorite part? Any other tips?
Comment below and let me know!