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Austria Wine Tasting is Only a Day Away
If you’re into wine tasting and find yourself in the Vienna, Austria area on your solo trip, don’t forget what I mentioned in About Solo Travel – you don’t have to go alone! Even if you don’t mind going alone, don’t rule out small group day excursions. You never know what other solo travelers you may meet. Case in point, I lucked out with a great, small-group day trip from Vienna to the Wachau Valley, an hour East of Vienna, for delicious Austria wine tasting and making a new friend.
Wine Tasting: A Yummy Way to Meet People
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 bring this up? Because internet saved my Vienna visit during my 7-week trip in Europe in 2017. I arrived in Vienna the third week in April to spend five days, hoping to have a couple of day trips outside Vienna.
However, my April week in Vienna found temperatures dropping below 50F degrees with forecasts of snow! Needless to say, 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. At the last minute, I found a small group tour on Viator.com 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!
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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 the Wachau Valley. I hope your weather is better than mine was so that you could perhaps do what I had 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 Viator trip 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 in Vienna. Do you know how hard it is to find gloves when spring clothes lines are out?
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