Excursions & Sights
The Danube Valley
One of the most famous regions in Lower Austria is the Danube River (Donau) and its valley, a place of magnificent natural beauty. The romantic scenery is characterized by vineyards, forested slopes, medieval wine producing villages and imposing fortresses.
The valley is punctuated with picturesque terraced vineyards. The Wachau which stretches from Melk to Krems an der Donau, is the prettiest section of the Danube valley.
Both full and half day excursions can be organized from the castle. We would be happy to put together a package for you depending on how much you want to see, how long you wish your lunch to be and how many wines you wish to taste on the way!
Distance from Schloss Ernegg - 30 minutes
The ruin of Burg Aggstein
An impressive 12th century hilltop castle which is now a ruin, built into the rock and poised high above the banks of the Danube. In its hay day it measured 100m in length, with tall stairs leading to the Upper Castle.
Built by the notorious Kuenringers, a band of robber barons, it served to repel attacks by Turks and Swedes during the 16th and 17th centuries.
There are many gruesome stories associated with this castle. The owners used to wait for passing barges and not let them through unless they paid substantial amounts of money. Were they to refuse they would be imprisoned in the rose garden set on a rocky shelf where they would either die of hunger or jump to their death.
Today however Burg Aggstein is one of the most popular destinations along this stretch of Danube. There is a café in the courtyard where one can relax and admire the fantastic views overlooking the valley and the river.
Distance from Schloss Ernegg - 45 minutes (42 km)
Route: Wieselburg, motorway A1 towards Vienna
Melk is one of Austria’s most magnificent monestaries. It is a vast yellow building perched dramatically on a rocky promontory overlooking the Danube, and a masterpiece of baroque architecture. Melk has always historically been a site of great importance originally to the Romans and then to the Babenbergs who built a Castle here. In 1089 they donated the Castle to the Benedictine monks who converted it into a fortified Abbey.
Fire destroyed the original building which was completely rebuilt between 1702 and 1738. Today it is renowned as a medieval seat of learning and inspired the detective novel The Name of the Rose.
Highlights of the guided tour include the abbey church, the library, the Marmorsaal (Marble Hall) and the superb Kaiserstiege (Imperial Staircase) which leads to the gallery known as the Kaisergang.
The church interior is quite amazing with its gilded stucco embellishments, Italianate paintings, carved pulpit and magnificent dome.
The monastic library contains more than 80,000 books, as well as illuminated manuscripts dating back to the 12th century.
Melk is a must with its amazing marble halls, fantastic frescos and exuberant gilt. Past visitors include Pope Pius VI, Empress Maria Theresa and Napoleon.
Distance from Schloss Ernegg - 30 minutes, 36Km
Route - Wieselburg, A1 towards Vienna
The walled medieval town of Durnstein idyllically situated high on the hill with breathtaking views over the Danube is 40 minutes from the Castle. The centre of the village is cobbelled with 16th century houses running either side of the main road. 15-30 minutes climb from the centre is the ruined fortress where King Richard the Lionheart of England was held captive after he had a falling out with Leopold, Duke of Austria in 1193 on the Third Crusade. Legend has it that the kings faithful French minstral Jean Blondel, discovered him with a song known only to the two of them. There are many references both to Blondel and King Richard through out the town.
Sampling a glass of local Gruner Veltliner wine with a delicious apfelstrudel, while admiring the stunning views is a must!
Distance from Schloss Ernegg - 1hr and 5 minutes, 70km.
Route - Wieselburg, A1 motorway toward vienna, of Melk exit onto the B3 to Durnstein
Artstetten is owned by the Hohenberg family. It used to be the summer seat of the Austro-Hungarian Habsburg dynasty and was the family home of Archduke Franz Ferdinand which he inherited from his father Karl Ludwig in 1896. Franz Ferdinand is in fact buried here.
The Castle frequently has touring exhititions as well as its own permanent display full of family relics, photos and stories. The original castle was first mentioned in the 13th century and has undergone many changes over the years.
The front was rebuilt by Mattäus Grundreching in 1570. Between 1691 and 1698 during the baroque movement reconstruction was completed by Maximilian Braun von Rotenhaus, who added two wings. Both village and schloss were destroyed by fire in 1730 and 1760. The Schloss roof was destroyed in a violent storm in 1791. Additions included the onion-domed towers, a lower 'annex' with two smaller towers.
The Castle is in Kleine Pochlarn, 5km off the main road running along the Danube.
Distance from Schloss Ernegg - 30 minutes, 30 km
Route - Wieselburg onto Ybbs, cross over the Danube onto the B3
Maria Taferl is the a wonderful baroque pilgrim church, perched high above the Danube Valley. It boasts the most spectacular views across the river. It is also notable for its two onion domes and dark dome-frescoes. It has an altar which is made up of a complicated array of golden figures.
Distance from Schloss Ernegg - 36 minutes, 30 km
Route - Wieselburg, Ybbs over the Danube, along the B3, L7257
Undoubtedly one of the prettiest and best preserved old towns in Austria. Steyr is famous for its historic town center around the "Stadtplatz" (town square), which has been very well preserved for several hundred years, and which was largely restored following World War II. It has cobbled squares which fan out into a warren of alleyways and further town squares.
In warmer weather locals sit out in cafes and it is an ideal place to hire bicycles or simply walk along the river Steyr river banks. Its best-known piece of architecture is called The Bummerlhaus which is considered one of the finest pieces of Gothic architecture for its size in Central Europe.
The city is very attractively situated, with two rivers the Steyr and the Enns flowing through it and meeting near the town centre in the shadows of Babenberg castle "Lamberg" and the church of St. Michael. This prominent location has been susceptible to severe flooding through the centuries until the present, one of the worst cases at last in August 2002.
To the south of city, rises a series of hills that climb in altitude and stretch out to the Alps. To the north, the hills roll downward towards the confluence of the Enns and Danube rivers, where the city of Enns is situated.
Historically, Steyr has had a number of well-known residents or visitors, including Franz Schubert who wrote his "Trout Quintet" there while on holiday, composer Anton Bruckner, was the organist for the local pfarrkirche, or parish church
Distance from Schloss Ernegg - 1 hour, 66 km
Route - Amstetten onto the A1 motorway toward Salzburg.
Abbey of St Florian
The Abbey of St. Florian (German: Stift St. Florian), the largest monastery in Upper Austria, is an impressive example of Baroque architecture and art. It is also the shrine of St. Florian, patron saint against fire and flood (and therefore patron of firefighters), whose grave lies under the church. The abbey is located in the town of Sankt Florian, 12 miles outside Linz.
St. Florian was a Roman official and Christian martyr who was executed by drowning in the Enns River around 304 AD. Because of his watery death, he is the patron saint of protection again flood and fire.
The first Abbey of St. Florian was built over the site of his grave around 800; it was given to the Augustinians in 1071 by the Bishop of Passau. The present building dates from a Baroque rebuilding between 1686 and 1751.
The great composer Anton Bruckner (1824-96) was the organist at St. Florian as a young man and wrote many of his masterpieces here. He spent most of his life as a great success in Vienna, but he wished to be buried beneath his organ at the Abbey of St. Florian. His tomb can be visited, as well as the room where he lived.
The long, yellow-and-white west face of the abbey has three towers: two on the church (260 feet high) and another over the elaborate Baroque doorway. The inner court is known for its Fountain of the Eagle.
The abbey library contains around 140,000 books and manuscripts and its ceiling is decorated with frescoes of allegorical subjects by Bartolomeo Altomonte.
The Altdorfer Gallery is a major highlight of a visit to St. Florian - here famous works by the 16th-century painter Albrecht Altdorfer (who is often compared with his contemporary, Albrecht Dürer) are displayed.
A fine staircase leads to the Imperial Apartments (Kaiserzimmer), plush rooms in which many emperors, empresses, royals and at least one pope (Pius VI) have lodged.
The abbey church features columns of pink marble from the Salzburg area and lavish stucco decoration. The pulpit is in black marble and the choir stalls are gilded, ornamented and carved.
The crypt is full of burials, including a surprising stack of bones that was discovered in 1291. Comprising the skeletons of about 6,000 people, they are said to be the remains of early Christians who were buried near the saint.
More traditional burials in the crypt include the large Gothic tomb of abbot Peter Maurer (d. 1525), coffins of more abbots displayed in niches, and the simple tomb of Anton Bruckner (d.1896) under the organ. Fragments of Roman walls and the foundations of the Gothic church are also visible down here.
Distance From Schloss Ernegg - 1 hour, 70 km
Route - Amstetten, onto the A1 motorway towards Salzburg
The Schallaburg, located about 5 kilometers from Melk, and with its magnificent two story arcaded courtyard and terra-cotta decoration ranks among the finest Renaissance castles in Lower Austria. The core of the fortress, which dates back to the Middle Ages, has survived in the form of the Romanesque residential castle and the Gothic chapel.
The Schallaburg castle received today’s characteristic appearance in 1572, when the prosperous Lostensteiner Dynasty established a manor for themselves that was modeled on the Italian palazzo of the time and whose impressive silhouette can still be seen from far away to this day.
The Schallaburg’s generous, picturesque castle courtyard for tournaments with its cantilever stairs testifies to the Losensteiner family’s prosperity and love of art, as do the unique decorative sculptures of the two-storey arcade court. The terra-cotta mosaic, comprising 1.600 single pieces, depicts a vivid scene of mythological figures, gods, masks and fabulous creatures, all crafted in lavish detail. One of the figures represented is the “Hundefräulein” (a female human figure with a dog’s head), a character based on a Schallaburg-related legend. The Schallaburg’s multifarious beauty and its location in the picturesque Mostviertel region make this castle a major attraction for anyone with an interest in culture and art.
The Schallaburg hosts annual exhibitions related to Austrian history. We will have up to date information for you in the office.
There is a lovely mannerist garden boasting historic roses, ornamental trees and bushes, herbs and a typical Renaissance apple orchard.
Distance from Schloss Ernegg - 35 minutes, 30 km
Route, Wieselburg and toward Vienna
An enchanting wine producing town on the Danube. High above the town looms the ruin of Hinterhaus Castle with its Gothic bulwark and Renaissance fortifications. Nice place for lunch and wine tasting.
In the year 865 Spitz was mentioned the first time as "ad Spizzun"(=atSpitz). In 1620 and 1645 Spitz was also a victim of the 30 years war. After the second world war tourism became a very important source of income for Spitz. Bicycle tourists (there is a path along the Danube river) and wine lovers (important wine growing area) are the main groups who appreciate Spitz as the perfect holiday destination.
Distance from Schloss Ernegg - 55 minutes, 55 km
Route - Wieselburg, A1 towards Vienna, off at Melk, B3 toward Spitz
Waidhofen an der Ybbs
Waidhofen an der Ybbs is known as the "beautiful town of towers" With its beautful historic gabled houses, arcaded courtyards and dramatic onion domes this is a perfect venue for a day out. It is located on the river Ybbs river. During the centuries Waidhofen was an important place for the iron processing industry.
Waidhofen was mentioned the first time in 1186 as "waidhouen und einer capella".
During the centuries the town was always threatened by foreign soldiers. In 1490 Hungarians tried to take Waidhofen without success. In 1532 the Turkish army tried the same. 500 citizens of Waidhofen were able to beat the Turkish soldiers. The Turks escaped and had to leave their rich treasures. Later the citizens of Waidhofen sold the Turkish treasures, and erected another tower of the achieved money, to remember their brilliant feat of arms.
In 1809 Waidhofen was occupied by 40.000 French soldiers for 8 months, and the citizens of Waidhofen had to supply them with food.
Distance from Schloss Ernegg - 40 minutes, 30 km
The medieval fortress was reshaped 1885-87 by the Viennese architect Friedrich von Schmidt.In 1875 Baron Rothschild bought the castle which passed into the possession of the Österreichischen Bundesforste after World War II.
Today the owner of the castle is the town.
2007 place of the Provincial Exhibition. At the moment conversion works are being done in and around the castle and therefore the tower is closed.
13km from Ernegg is a beautiful ruin hosting open air operas in August, set high
Distance from Schloss Ernegg - 20 minutes, 13 km
Lunz am See
The stunning Lake at Lunz is one of the deepest in Austria, situated about an hours drive from Schloss Ernegg. The roads are windy but beautiful and there is a great restaurant overlooking the lake which serves food all day. You can hire a motor boat or pedelow for the more energetic, even swim in the icy water!
Distance from Schloss Ernegg - 40 minutes, 37 km
Lackenhof and the Ötscher
Situated about an hour of the most beautiful drive from Schloss Ernegg is Lackenhof. The town is about 810m above sea level and is located at the bottom of the Otscher mountain. There are several scenic attractions which one can do from here. There are lakes to see, caves to visit and canyons.
Numerous waterfalls worth visiting especially the Treffling waterfall, Tormauer, the Teufelskirch, one can even walk to the top of the Otscher Mountain 1.893 mt high which overlooks one third of Austria. There is a chair lift which takes you the first section of the mountain where there is a café. After that one walks about 2 ½ hours to the top.
There is also mountain biking, climbing, rafting, canyoning, Nordic walking, riding, tennis, fishing, and swimming available.
Distance from Schloss Ernegg - 45 minutes, 45 km