Krems is a  clash between young & hip and historical & traditional Austria. The student town is located right next to the Danube, about 80km northwest of Vienna. If you’re looking to explore the white wine region of Lower Austria and combine the experience with a little culture further off the beaten track museums in Vienna – Krems might just be the place to visit. Also, the traditional “Heurigen” culture with delicious Austrian food draws many people towards the countryside west of Vienna. End your day with a walk along the Danube at sunset and a white-wine-drink at one of the hip places.

Photo from Flickr: Carlos Reussen Monsálvez

Photo from Flickr: Carlos Reussen Monsálvez

Getting to Krems and back

It is really easy to get to Krems from Vienna, the trains leave from Wien Westbahnhof or Wien Franz-Josefs-Bahnhof and you can look up schedules from ÖBB, the national railway company.
In Austria you also don’t have to book seats in advance, especially for short distances you can choose your seat freely upon boarding the train.

The cheapest option if you are going to Krems and plan on returning to Vienna the same day and if you are traveling as a group of 2-5 people, is the “Einfach raus” – Ticket, which can be bought at the ticket machines at all train stations.
It costs € 35 and lets you use all R, REX or S-Bahn trains (which are also the only ones connecting to Krems) Monday to Friday the ticket is valid from 9AM to 3AM the following day, on Saturdays, Sunday & bank holidays the ticket is valid the whole day and again until 3AM of the next day.

If you are traveling on your own from Vienna, you will have to buy a normal ticket. There are no student discounts, unfortunately (Cost: about € 35 roundtrip). But, if you are studying and or working and living in Austria, you should consider buying the ÖBB Vorteilscard. It is valid for a year and costs € 19 for everybody under 26 years and € 39 for all other adults.
This card will give you a 50% discount on all trips around Austria by train.

Made it to Krems – and now?

Krems is not too big and pretty much everything is in walking distance if you are wearing comfy shoes. Only reaching the Weingut Sandgrube 13 will take a bit longer, but more about that later. I would recommend to walk into the city from the train station square by taking this route, which leads you right to the “Steiner Tor” and also the Tourist Information, which has free maps and for sure some additional tips and maybe seasonal ideas about how to spend your day in beautiful Krems.

 

Krems – The Day Trip Highlights

Now back to Krems the city, why would you want to go there? Escaping the capital of a country you’re visiting is usually a good way to get to know the country and the atmosphere from a more “real” perspective. Krems combines the Old Town cobblestone charm with young and lively town happenings, cheap traditional food taverns with hip brunch places and modernly designed gourmet bars.
Krems is also the hotspot for Austrian white wine and borders at the Wachau region, which was declared UNESCO World Heritage, because of its beautiful vineyard hills landscape.

Campus Krems + Piaristenkloster

The student town houses the Donau Universität (Danube University), the IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems, an Educational Training college and the Danube Private University for Dental Hygiene and Medicine, which is why about a third of Krems’ inhabitants are students and why there are many student-centered offers and events going on in the city.
The campus of the Donau University and the IMC Krems is also worth a visit, because of its futuristic architecture, but also because there are many cool bars and restaurants to discover (2Stein being one of them).

Photo from fh-krems.ac.at

Photo from fh-krems.ac.at

If you are visiting during the week, you can also have a look at the international campus of the IMC University, which is located in an old Piarist abbey, with a beautiful inner yard and lecture rooms in the old wine cellars. It’s a great atmosphere to study there, because the old building is completely renovated satisfies every need an international student could have.

Photo from fh-krems.ac.at

Photo from fh-krems.ac.at

Danube Bicycle & Walking Path

The amazing location of Krems right next to the Danube also adds to the friendly atmosphere and offers the possibility to walk, run or bike along the river and have a beautiful view of the hills on the other side. When you decide on doing this you should definitely end your walk at Wellenspiel and enjoy a drink outside.

Vineyards and Sandgrube 13

Oh yes, the white wine. Austria is not only one of the top beer consuming countries, but also one of the top wine consuming ones. We are as proud of our wine as of our beer, but in Krems the name of your drink should always be “Grüner Veltliner” or “Weißer Spritzer”.

Now I guess after reading everything about the white wine, I’m sure you want to know how a grape feels once the dark future of becoming wine has been cast upon it. Well, perfect – Krems is your place to wander in the tiny vine-prints of a grape. At Sandgrube 13, you can learn everything about the delicious wine which is produced right there at the vineyard and can be (or better: must be) bought when leaving the museum and vineyard, because after the tasting you are sure to be caught in the beautiful taste and want more!
Getting to Sandgrube 13 is fairly easy – if you have enough time at hand, you can walk without a problem, it will just take you about half an hour and parts of the walk are uphill.
Alternatively you can take the city bus route 2 from the train station and get off at “Bründlgraben” from where you only have to walk about 200 meters.

Culture – Kunstmeile Krems, Karikaturmuseum

The Kunstmeile Krems, which plainly translated means “Art Mile Krems” is the perfect part of the city for all museum and culture lovers. There are many different kinds of little museums, the most well-known being the the Karikaturmuseum, the museum of caricature and comics, often featuring exhibitions of famous Austrian comedians. Stroll around and walk in all the great and interesting buildings, with the ever-changing exhibitions, I’m sure you can find something that’s perfect for your taste!

Photo from Flickr: rotkraut.c.r.

Photo from Flickr: rotkraut.c.r.

Food & Drinks

Grün
You just arrived in Krems and are looking for the perfect brunch before starting off a day full of exploring, culture or wine? Wonderful, Grün has the biggest breakfast selection in whole Krems, ranging from typical Austrian breakfast to plates full of delicacies from countries around the world. The portions are huge and you can enjoy a morning meal until 3 PM.

2Stein
The mentioned 2Stein is the hip new place at the IMC & Donau Univeristät Campus, which offers a more “American” array of breakfast and brunch items, including bagels and all kinds of wraps and sandwiches. The normal breakfast items are great and are served in little stylish crates. If you prefer to have a little walk before breakfast, stroll out to the campus and reward yourself at 2Stein before resuming your tour.

Photo from 2stein.at

Photo from 2stein.at

Wellenspiel
The perfect place to break your walk along the Danube or to end a very cultural tour through Krems’ Old Town and the through the “Kunstmeile” would be Wellenspiel. Located right next to the walk way at the Danube, it offers a scenic few and the modern architecture of the restaurant is worth a view on its own. The outdoor lounge is an amazing place to sip a glass of wine and watch the locals – if it’s chilly outside they offer cosy blankets to warm you up while enjoying the sunset.

Heurigen

Now to the traditional Austrian taverns, the “Heurigen”. Typically those places serve cold food, which is a very typical dinner meal for Austrians. Cold sliced meats and sausages, together with cheese, some vegetables horseradish, different kinds of spreads and rolls.

Typical Heurigen Food

Typical Heurigen Food

Make sure you check which ones are open, as this depends on the season. The website with the “Heurigen Calendar” is in German, but it’s easy to just select the month and look for the name of the Heurigen you’re planning to visit.

Heuriger Müllner 
This tavern is right in the Old Town of Krems and very popular with the students. If you arrive as a group and want to taste the local wine just order a bottle and a liter of sparkling water with it. You mix wine and water and voilá – you’re Austrian! You’re drinking a “Weißweinspritzer”. Often you can order a little jug of elderflower syrup with it as the “Grüner Veltliner” wine, that is so popular in this region tends to be bitter and the refinement with the syrup producese a new drink, the “Kaiserspritzer”.
Order an “Aufstrichteller” to taste all the different spreads or go for some roastbeef. Everything containing the word “Jause” in the name should bring you a variety of Austrian specialties served on a wooden plate.
If you’re still longing for dessert, order a piece of the “Rotweinkuchen” (Red wine cake), it’s simply amazing!

Heurigen Müllner Atmosphere inside

Heurigen Müllner Atmosphere inside

Weingut Hamböck
This “Heuriger” is in Krems-Stein, a little walk from the city center, but leads up the narrow cobblestone alleys towards the vineyard hills. Hamböck therefore has a great outdoor terrace, offering a beautiful view – so definitely sit outside if the weather permits! Here you can even ask to try the different wines, which comes with dark bread and a tour through the wine cellar. The food to go for should be the “Hauerjause”, a plate including pretty much all the Austrian specialties – as Hamböck also produces all kinds of products out of apricots – the second most important aliment after wine in Krems and the Wachau Valley – I would recommend ordering the “Apricot Cheese”, which is a kind of Camembert with home-made apricot chutney and rolls.

Souvenirs to take

If you want to go for an Austrian souvenir, but not bring “Mozartkugeln” or the obligatory “I <3 Vienna” T-Shirt, you can either get a bottle of white wine directly from a Heurigen – they sell bottles of their home-made wines for a great price.
The other variant for a souvenir from Krems would be any product made out of apricots – Apricot Schnaps or Apricot Liqueur being the most popular ones, which you can buy directly at Bailoni or Hellerschmid, the two traditional distilleries in Krems.