Austria has several UNESCO World Heritage Listed Sites… and one that was high on our list that we hadn’t been to was the Wachau Valley region.
From it’s ancient castles and ruins, through to the charming villages and natural landscape… who wouldn’t want to visit it. Plus, being a UNESCO Site, it would be another we could tick off our list!
Yet, one thing that seemed to dominate discussions amongst people intending to visit was… how to get to the Wachau Valley.
Now, after doing a lot of research on websites, transport companies, and even forums… I discovered there were several ways and modes of transport! Plus, the prices would vary considerably… depending on the type of transport, the trip itinerary and more.
In fact, it almost gave me a headache doing the research. But now, I’m glad I did it, because now I can share our experiences… so that it might help make it easier for you!
So, in this blog post, I’ll go through information, tips and hints… as a result of our journey from Vienna City to the Wachau Valley region.
Before I go into it… I just wanted to warn you that the information you’re about to discover was based on my research and the trip we did. So, you’ll need to check information for your own trip, to make sure it’s up-to-date and correct.
So let’s get right into it!
Transport Options To The Wachau Valley Austria
There are many various options to get to the Wachau Valley… and ultimately what transport you choose will depend on factors such as:
- The number of people going
- Will babies or young be children going
- How much time you have
- How much budget you have
- If you have mobility issues, and so forth
So, these are some things to take into account for your trip to the Wachau Valley. Thus, transport options include:
A car would be great if you want to have complete flexibility with your schedule. Yet, this can be a more expensive option, and you’d need to check if parking is easy. While it may be a smidgen quicker than taking the train, if the traffic is stalled, your journey will be longer.
So, a but is one of the cheapest options for getting from Vienna to Wachau Valley. Yet, like the car, if it gets stuck in traffic your time getting there may be longer than expected. It’s a slightly longer trip than by car or train. But if you’re budget conscious, then look into this option.
Now, imagine taking a boat cruise from Vienna to the Wachau Valley… it arouses images of beautiful scenery and a pleasant journey on the Danube River. Yet, these boat cruises are generally more expensive. Plus, they may be on a stricter time schedule.
The journey time is slightly slower than driving by car, but the train has no other traffic to compete with. So, if there’s congestion on the roads, it won’t affect the train’s journey. The cost for train travel can be a bit more expensive than by bus.
Yet, in the end, we chose to travel by train.
Getting Train Tickets For Vienna To The Wachau Valley
So, if you want to travel by train and boat, you can get a Wachau Ticket from OBB. And, this ticket allows you to use the train from Vienna to Melk by train, Melk To Krems by boat… and back to Vienna by train.
Plus, other benefits included in the ticket include:
- Admission to Melk Abbey
- When catching the one-way boat from Melk to Krem… it included a free stop in Durnstein. But make sure you let the boat staff know when you are exiting!
So, the cost of this ticket was 65 Euro per person. Yet, on the website it states from 55 Euro per person, but there are conditions attached.
Thus, make sure you check with OBB, as schedules, prices, and terms can vary.
So, all in all, this ticket sounds like an attractive option, right?
Yet, a few of the reasons why we didn’t choose this ticket was because:
- Although there were 2 boats that we could take, the times seemed restrictive for us. Because based on the boat timetables… we wouldn’t have long in either Melk, Durnstein or Krems, for example.
- The boat trips along the Danube took longer than other transport options.
- We felt we didn’t have as much flexibility. So for example, we planned to spend more time in Durnstein, than either Melk or Krems! Thus, it was nice to have the option to leave when we wanted.
- We found it cheaper, and just as easy to buy tickets separately.
TIP: If You Want Less Stress On Your Wachau Valley Trip…
Sometimes when you’re on vacation, all you want to do is RELAX!
So, why not let someone else guide you around the Wachau Valley region, and organize your transport… then pay for a guide or private full tour of the Wachau Valley.
Plus, some guides can even meet you in the area you’re staying… so this may be an option for you.
So, to find out more about a tour and guide, have a look HERE.
The OBB Train Ticket For Our Return Trip From Vienna To Wachau Valley
So, before we set off for our journey, we bought an OBB ticket called… Einfach Raus Ticket. This is a great ticket to have for traveling in a group of 2-5 people, regardless of age.
Plus, other benefits include:
- This ticket is valid throughout Austria for ÖBB’s local and regional transport trains, including Raaberbahn (S-Bahn, regional trains R, and RegionalExpress trains REX)
- On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, the Einfach Raus Ticket is valid all day long until 3:00am of the following day
- On Monday through to Friday, the ticket is valid from 9:00a.m. until 3:00a.m. of the following day
To check the exact terms of the Einfach Raus Ticket CLICK HERE.
So, for what we had planned for our day trip to Wachau Valley, this suited us fine.
And the total cost for BOTH of us for the Einfach Raus Ticket, was just 34 Euro. Plus, if you were going in a group of 5 for example, the total cost would’ve been 46 Euro.
NOTE: We also had to print the ticket out before we could board the train.
You can ask the staff to help print your Einfach Raus Ticket at the station. But make sure that whoever paid for the ticket must present ID, as the staff will ask for it.
Starting Our Train Trip From Vienna To Wachau Valley
So our journey from Vienna to Wachau Valley actually started in Neubau… which is District 7 of Vienna. Thus, we walked about 10 minutes to Vienna Westbahnhof station…
So, the train we were catching was to leave at 7:50am, to get us into Melk station at 9:07am. And, the day of the week we were going was on Saturday. So, we expected it to be busy as it was a weekend.
Yet, as we were on the train, it was quiet… and we had lots of seating options on our carriage…
Plus, for those of you considering taking a bicycle… there are separate carriages to store them! But be aware that there are extra charges.
Now, we suspect that it was quieter on this train… as it wasn’t leaving from the main station in Vienna called, Hauptbahnhof. But hey, no complaints from us!
We went during Summer time, and although it wasn’t hot on the train like our Bratislava trip… we put the windows down to get some cool breeze through.
Then, as we went further into our journey, we could smell the fresh, clean Austrian air. It was refreshing!
Sit on the right hand side of the train, as the scenery is more picturesque.
So, this train only stopped at 5 stops, with a longer stop in St Polten.
And on this train, we noticed that for the toilets there was a red or green light…
This was to show if the toilets were being used by others or not – SMART, right? It was like on the planes!
Yet, overall the train trip from Vienna to Melk was comfortable and pleasant.
Getting From Melk To Durnstein
So, to get from Melk to Durnstein, we were going to catch the local bus from Melk Station…
NOTE: You can’t use the Einfach Raus Ticket on the boats or local buses in Wachau Valley.
The local Wachau bus number to catch from Melk to Durnstein is WL1.
Yet, here’s a PRO TIP:
There is a bus number WL1A, which also runs from Melk to Durnstein…
But be aware the last one in the morning leaves at about 11:41am, from the Melk station. Then, the service doesn’t run again until about 7:36pm. Again, best to check at times can vary.
Yet, this worked perfectly for us for the morning time… and there was hardly anyone on it!
So, if your timings allow, this would be a second bus you could get from Melk to Durnstein. Otherwise, it’s the WL1 bus you catch.
So, you can buy the tickets on board. And for a single journey ticket from Melk to Durnstein, it was 8.20 Euros each.
Another option if you’re planning on using public transport often in the Wachau Valley… is the daily ticket.
So, it’s said that the Wachau day ticket is 16.00 Euros for adults.
The website for the Wachau public transport is HERE.
But be warned, it’s only in German language! Plus, the price must have increased because when we saw the price, it was 10 Euros.
That’s why checking first before you do anything is a MUST!
Plus, when we asked the bus driver about the ticket, he said we could only buy single trip tickets.
Anyway, there were 2 stops in Durnstein that we could get off at using the WL1A and WL1. And, we chose to get off at the first one, which was called… Durnstein West.
This was great as it was closer to the Burgruine Dürnstein, which are ruins from a castle where Richard the Lionheart was held captive.
We were keen to hike up there as the views over the Wachau Valley from there, were incredible…
So, the second stop on this bus route gets you to the other side of Durnstein… which is close to the Domäne Wachau winery.
Thus, it’s up to you which stop to choose to exit the Wachau bus.
Getting From Durnstein To Krems
Now, we discovered that there was an OBB Regional Express (REX) train… that ran from Durnstein to Krems.
The approximate times leaving Durnstein train station were 10:58am, 12:58pm, 3:38pm and 6:28pm. And the bonus was, we could use our Einfach Raus Ticket to travel this leg of the trip for free.
Yet, if those times don’t suit, then you can catch the local Wachau WL1 bus. And the price for a single journey ticket from Durnstein to Krems… was 3.90 Euros each.
So, there are other options including walking or hiring a bicycle. The distance is about 8km, give or take a few kilometers. Thus, if you’re up for a bike ride it’d take about 30 minutes, without stops along the way.
Plus, the journey would be mostly flat. So, if this sounds like something you’d be interested in doing… so that you can enjoy the Wachau Valley a different way…
Check out the Rent A Wachau Bike website.
Getting From Krems To Vienna
So, from Krems station to Vienna, it would be a different stop to where we departed. Thus, the train station that the OBB train arrives at Vienna is called… Wien Franz-Josef-Bahnhof.
And, on our trip back we caught the 6:51pm train, which was pretty much full. So, if you want a good choice of seats, we recommend you get to Krems station at least 10 minutes before departure.
So, to get back to Neubau, we had to buy a different ticket… which was a single trip ticket. And the price for this ticket was 2.40 Euro.
The Total Cost Of The Trip From Vienna To Wachau Valley
Thus, the total transport price for getting from Vienna to the Wachau Valley was… 25.2o Euros for 1 person.
Plus, we both did a tour of the Melk Abbey, which was 12.50 Euro each without a guide. So, adding the Melk Abbey tour and transport together… our trip from Vienna to Wachau Valley was 37.70 Euros.
So, comparing this to the Wachau Ticket, which was 65 Euro for 1 person… we saved 27.3 Euros.
And, although our journey didn’t include taking a boat ride down the Wachau Valley… we felt like we didn’t miss out. It was a lovely day out and we had some incredible experiences!
So, we trust that this blog helps for how to get from Vienna to Wachau Valley.
And of course, depending on what your needs are and what your itinerary is… the journey we did may not suit you.
So, best to do your research to work out what will work for your situation. Yet, whichever way you decide on how to get from Vienna to the Wachau Valley… you’ll see some incredible scenery.
And you’ll realize why the Wachau region is listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
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