If you’re solo traveling in Vienna, want to go wine tasting in the Wachau Valley, but don’t want to go alone, remember my pros and cons of solo travel tips: you don’t have to go alone. I lucked out with a great, small group wine tasting day trip from Vienna to the Wachau Valley, a UNESCO world heritage landscape valley, an hour East of Vienna.
Here’s my story and how you can spend a solo day Wachau Valley wine tasting delicious Austrian wines, visit the Melk Abbey, and make a new friend.
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Vienna to Wachau Valley
I wonder how we ever traveled internationally without the internet. Oh, yes, I remember – with careful planning and the “Let’s Go” travel guide book (we travelers called it, “the bible”).
Why I do bring this up? Because the internet saved my Vienna solo travel during one of my 7-week Europe trips. I was to spend 5 days in Vienna in April, during which I was hoping to do a couple of day trips from Vienna.
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However, my week in Vienna in April found temperatures dropping below 50F degrees with forecasts of snow. I was not remotely prepared clothes-wise (I’m good at dressing in layers but this was ridiculous), and it seemed my greatly anticipated wine tasting bike ride around the Wachau Valley was kaput. I was almost heartbroken.
Thank goodness for hotel Wi-Fi (before I traveled with an international cellular plan). At the last minute, I found the perfect small group wine tour leaving the following day, which promised tastings at three Wachau Valley wineries, lunch, and a guided tour of the Melk Abbey, also on my Wachau Valley day trip itinerary. This trip really had everything I wanted to do.
Austria Solo Travel Essentials
The next morning four tourists, including myself, were leaving Vienna central in a nicely heated van driven by our guide. First stop, Melk Abbey.
Built in 1098, the Abbey was refurbished in the Baroque style in the 18th century, and it now houses thirty Benedictine monks, a museum, and is a school for local children. Architecturally, it certainly put my K-12 schools to shame.
Did I mention it has 1,365 windows? I feel for whoever has to clean those. Not surprisingly, there is no photography allowed inside, so if you wish to make your friends envious, you have to purchase postcards in the museum gift shop.
Better yet, forget the postcards and get your friends to go with you. It’s not listed in “1,000 Places to See Before You Die”, by Patricia Schultz, for nothing.
Being important to eat before wine tasting (OK, drinking), we left the Abbey for an authentic Austrian lunch in a family-run Spitz restaurant (the wiener schnitzel was amazing), followed by two wine tastings in the town of Spitz, and one tasting at a winery in Durstein, where King Richard was taken prisoner during The Crusades.
Not just deliciously gastronomical, but the day was educational learning about the wine region, which also known for its apricots. Yes, apricot schnapps tasting was also done when we had time to wander through the town of Durstein. Please don’t forget to taste the schnapps on your trip.
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Back to Vienna
Around 4pm we were in the van headed back from our wine tasting to Vienna central. The van even dropped me off at my hotel. I had talked most of the day with a fellow, female-solo traveler from Denmark. Enjoying each other’s company, she got off at my hotel with me and we spent the evening together having dinner and drinks. A perfect way to end a beautiful, albeit cold, day.
Despite how wonderfully beautiful Vienna is, if you are into wine tasting like me, I highly recommend an Austria wine tasting day trip to Wachau Valley.
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I hope your weather is better than mine was so that you could do what I had originally planned: take a train from Vienna to visit the Melk Abbey, then go further down the valley to rent a bike and leisurely ride on the southern side of the Danube River (said to have the best views), stopping at tasting rooms along the way, followed by a Danube boat ride back to Vienna.
I didn’t get a boat ride or get to go bike riding, but my day tour certainly filled in all of the rest that I wanted. And at the last minute. Without the internet, an unforgettable day excursion with a new friend (and making other friends envious) was thankfully not lost.
By the way, it did end up snowing on my second-to-last day of my 4 days in Vienna. Do you know how hard it is to find gloves when spring clothes lines are out?
If you want more details on how to do this day trip or a day trip with other options – like self-guided – to Wachau Valley from Vienna, or see my Vienna 4 day solo itinerary.
Let Me Hear From You
I would love to hear if my idea on how spend a solo day Wachau Valley wine tasting was helpful to you. Post me your thoughts or questions in the Comments section below. Thank you!