Melk, Austria – an impressive abbey in a quaint village

Melk, Austria - Prelate's courtyard at Melk Abbey If you are driving from Salzburg to Vienna you will be passing my the small village of Melk. And you have to stop and visit the Melk Abbey and village. The village of Melk is very close to the freeway (A1) and the parking lot is also very easy to find. After a short, steep walk you get to the Abbey area entrance where you can purchase tickets to visit. I really like the fact that the Melk Abbey complex is being used as a high school so the local kids get great exposure to history every single day. How cool is that!

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What to expect when visiting Melk, Austria

Melk is a small town on the banks of river Danube. Its main attraction is the Melk Abbey & Museum (very reasonably priced), the gardens and the old village center. You will need around 3-4 hours for a relaxing tour. This place was also interesting for our kids…to some degree.

Melk, Austria - A portion of River Danube passing near the village of Melk
Melk, Austria – A portion of River Danube passing near the village of Melk
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My favorite tourist attractions at Melk, Austria

Melk Abbey Complex which includes the museum, the library and the abbey itself. Fascinating historical place to visit.
Melk Abbey Gardens are small but well maintained and contain some very old trees among floral arrangements.
The old Melk Village center is a good place to have some food or just a cup of coffee.

Walking tour map of Melk, Austria
Walking tour map of Melk, Austria
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Melk Abbey Museum and Melk Abbey Library

The Melk Abbey Museum tour is well organized as a long walk through old rooms filled with old church artifacts and paintings. The tour starts at the front of the complex with the museum. The next stop is an amazing Library, where you will feel privileged to visit and view thousand years old manuscripts. The last part of the Milk Abbey tour is the absolutely stunning and magnificent cathedral.

Melk, Austria - Beautiful golden cup at the Melk Abbey Museum
Melk, Austria – Beautiful golden cup at the Melk Abbey Museum
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The Melk Abbey was founded in 1089 as a Benedictine Abbey and monks continue in this tradition for over 900 years.  From its beginning, Melk has been an important cultural and spiritual center. Since the 12th century a school has been attached to the monastery, perpetuating the library. The library is a treasure in itself, due to its valuable manuscript collection and to the beauty of its architectural design. The Abbey was rebuild the way we see it today between 1702-1736 by Jakob Prandtaure, and restored continuously since 1978.

The Melk Abbey

The Melk Abbey is an imposing, and beautiful building from outside, but when you get inside, you will be mesmerized. It is considered the most beautiful baroque style cathedral in Europe. Its very rich ornaments are covered in gold and they shine from every angle. It is absolutely impressive.

Melk, Austria - the old entrance to Melk Abbey
Melk, Austria – The old entrance to the Melk Abbey
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I still remember the overwhelming emotions, when I first stepped into the church. I felt like I’m not doing anything for God, in comparison with what these people did in this cathedral. But very soon I remembered the Bible verse that says “God doesn’t live in buildings made by human hands.” I realized that the divine beauty of this building is nothing comparing with the beauty of God and His infinite love for us.

Melk, Austria - The center of Melk Abbey is filled with symbolism and beautiful gold decorations
Melk, Austria – The center of Melk Abbey is filled with symbolism and beautiful gold decorations
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The Melk Abbey gardens

Even though the Melk Abbey Gardens are small, they are nicely maintained and have quite a few trees over 400 years old. We enjoyed strolling through the small group of mature trees and walking around a small pond with flower arrangements. The gardens end on a hilltop that overlooks the village below and provide great views of the surrounding areas.

Melk, Austria - Beautiful path through Melk Abbey Gardens is lined up with trees that are over four hundred years old
Melk, Austria – Beautiful path through Melk Abbey Gardens is lined up with trees that are over four hundred years old
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The quaint old village of Melk

In a short walk from the Abbey you arrive in the Melk Village central square with inviting cafe shops, restaurants, stores, hotels, the City Hall and another beautiful old church. We really enjoyed taking a break on a bench and sipping some coffee. The imposing Melk Abbey sits on the hill right above the village, and it provides an impressing background.

Melk, Austria - Beautiful panorama of the old village of Melk seen from Melk Abbey
Melk, Austria – Beautiful panorama of the old village of Melk seen from Melk Abbey
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My best resources for planning your trip to Melk, Austria

If you are planning a trip to the Melk area in Austria, please consider using the links below. You don’t have to, but when you do I am very grateful because they help me keep writing useful content.

Is it worth visiting Melk, Austria?

Absolutely! Melk is a great destination in its own right, but it becomes a must see town especially if you are driving from Salzburg to Vienna. It is conveniently located by the motorway and it is very easy to find. We were very impressed by the interior of the Melk Abbey and we found the village itself to be very relaxing especially because we had a long road ahead on our way to Munich. If you are near Vienna, I really recommend that you stop in Melk and visit the Melk Abbey.

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