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Last updated : Nov 2009
Lower Austria
Lower Austria - TravelPuppy.com
Lower Austria (Niederösterreich), to the north and west of Vienna, is the largest Federal Province, encompassing stark mountain scenery, the Alpine foothills, the Danube Valley and the hilly country north of the Danube with its meadows, ponds and lakes. The Wachau Valley of the Danube River with its vineyards and ruins is an attractive destination, less well known than other parts of the country, the most interesting stretch between Krems an der Donau and Melk can best be explored by bicycle or by riverboat.

St Polten

The Provincial capital is home to a Cathedral, the bishop’s residence, a Franciscan church, a church of the Carmelite Nuns with museum and several Baroque patrician houses.

Excursions

The spa of Baden bei Wien has a casino, a sulphur bath cure, a summer theatre and a harness-racing (trotting) course, the spa has long been popular with the Austrian aristocracy.

Krems an der Donau has been a wine-growing town since the middle ages and the Piaristenkirche and the Winestadt Museum both feature important works of the 18th-century artist Johann Martin Schmidt. To the north of Landstrasse much of the original town layout remains, with numerous renaissance houses and small squares.

Melk an der Donau is famous for its enormous Benedictine Abbey on the bluff above the town (although it was less well known as a pilot for the next phase of Nazi concentration camps). Semmering is both a spa and an attractive ski resort.

Bad Deutsch-Altenburg boasts a museum and the Roman archaeological park Carnuntum. In Dürnstein, the castle ruins where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned, the medieval town centre and the monastery church with its Baroque excess of statues of saints are part of every tour. The sights of Retz include subterranean wine-cellars, well-restored medieval city walls, windmills and a Dominican church, and Rohrau is noted as Joseph Haydn’s birthplace. The Austrian Military Academy (an old castle), the Cathedral, a Capuchin church and a former Jesuit church (now the city’s museum) can be visited in Wiener Neustadt. The abbey, library, state rooms and chapter house at Zwettl are of some interest. Burg Rosenau hosts a Museum of Freemasonry. The Thayatal National Park, on the Thaya River on the border with the Czech Republic is a transborder protected area of what is left of the European forest. The Donau-Auen National Park to the east of Vienna is the last protected area of European rainforest.