Kellergasse Galgenberg Winter, © Niederösterreich-Werbung/Robert Herbst

The atmospheric Danube Valley: Advent in the Wachau region

Pre-Christmas Wachau offers enchanting artisan crafts and exceptional culinary addresses.

If you can smell mulled wine and fresh biscuits, enjoy the view onto the wintry vineyards from a hot whirlpool, and watch as cream-crowned cuisine arrives at your table, then you can only be on a wintry indulgence weekend in the romantic Wachau region!

Relaxed hiking and a visit to the wine tavern

Winter in the Wachau region could not be more comfortable than in the Pfeffel Garden Hotel & Winery in Dürnstein. After a relaxed check-in, the unique wintry landscape will tempt you out of doors. Directly behind the hotel, the world heritage trail leads on differing routes through the (probably!) frosted terraced vineyards of the Wachau – always accompanied by wonderful views down onto the Danube and the Dürnstein ruins enthroning the region. One thing is essential when holidaying in the Wachau region: a visit to a wine tavern! In winter, for example, the Graf wine tavern in Unterloiben, which can easily be reached on foot, is open. Taste the tavern’s own Riesling and order a wine tavern platter – at Rudi und Renate’s establishment, they serve exclusively the finest, self-produced salted and smoked meat, bacon, terrines and spreads! After that, you can walk back to the hotel and spend the end of the day relaxing in the penthouse spa, featuring an outdoor pool heated all year round, and the saline grotto.

Crisp-baked craftsmanship and an atmospheric journey back in time

After a breakfast featuring honey by the establishment’s own Pfeffel bees, we recommend – even just for the marvellous fragrance of fresh bread – an excursion to Mühldorf, to the Bäckereimuseum (baking museum). This is particularly worthwhile on Saturdays, when traditional farmer’s bread is produced in the clay oven (also available to take home with you!). Every “even” Saturday of the month, a farmer’s market is held in the inner courtyard of the Brodcafé. Our tip: taste your way through cheeses, organic potatoes, dripping and bacon! After these delicacies, you will be hungry: we recommend the “Wachauerstuben” in Loiben. Mama Diemt´s paprika chicken and the delicious apricot pancakes will really make your mouth water. In the afternoon, how about an Advent market in the Schlüsselamt Krems, where you are sure to find one or the other souvenir for those at home! And whoever still feels the need to shop should visit the Volkskultur (folk culture) shop on the Steiner Donaulände. Across over 100 m², you will discover, in addition to traditional costumes, specialities from the Wachau region such as syrups or liqueurs. After a coffee break in the Café-Konditorei (Confectioner’s) Hagmann and a short stop at the roasted hot chestnut stand, you can go on a fantastic journey through time: the night-watchman guided tour takes you into medieval Krems – lots of historical tales and the night-watchman’s song included! (guided tours in English or German; please book in advance). Back at the hotel, you can get changed ready for a 5-course degustation menu – fittingly accompanied by wine. And to round off the day, order yourself another Marillernen (apricot schnapps) at the hotel bar!

A climbing sensation and Baroque elements

After having had the ruins of Dürnstein in sight for days, it is almost essential that you climb them (choose suitable footwear)! The unique view, which extends to the west right to the Jauerling, the highest elevation in the Wachau region, will reward you for your efforts. After this ambitious climb and a walk through the narrow alleyways of the old town, you should really drink a hot cup of tea and try a “Marillenbrez´n” (Apricot pretzel) in the Bäckerei Schmidl (yes, of course, the one offering the traditional Wachauer Laberl rolls – they taste like baguettes, but better!) to relax the tension in your legs. And should you still have some time left, we have another secret tip: the Advent guided tour through the Stift Dürnstein (monastery/abbey) – the blue landmark of the Wachau region – where you can view the magnificent Nativity altar, the courtyard and the crypt.  

Further recommendations for your stay