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Chard Travels

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  • stuartchard

Why is Melk Abbey Famous

Updated: Jul 20

If you are visiting Austria, then you should consider visiting Melk Abbey which sits near the river Danube close to the Austrian German border. The Abbey was built on the original foundations of a medieval monastery by the architects Jacob Prandtauer and Jospeh Munggenast between 1701 and 1736.


Melk Abbey is famous because it is a wonderfully situated monument with an external terrace overlooking the Wachau Valley and the river Danube. At its heart, the abbey has a magnificent library which boasts 16,000 volumes and a ceiling fresco by Paul Troger. The centerpiece of the Baroque complex is the barrel-vaulted Abbey Church with its lavishly adorned interior.


Where is Melk Abbey Located?

Melk is a city in Austria which sits next to the Wachau valley along the river Danube. Vienna is sixty miles east of Melk and if you are staying in the capital, you can easily visit Melk on a day trip which takes under one hour by train. Several river cruise lines stop at Melk and provide coach transport to the Abbey and guided tours.

Is Melk Abbey Still in Use?

Although the Abbey has around half a million visitors a year it remains a place of spirituality and Christian faith. Around thirty Monks still live in and maintain the Abbey. They live in accordance with the rules of St Benedict and daily prayers and worship services are held.

How Much Does a Tour of Melk Abbey Cost

Melk Abbey is open daily from 09:00 to 17:00 between April and October and tours take around one hour. The entrance fee including a tour is 16 Euro, but family and discounted tickets are available. The latest information can be found here.

Parking at Melk Abbey

The Abbey parking space is just outside the complex and a few minute's walk to the main entrance via a small garden area complete with a fountain and gift shop.

A Tour of Melk Abbey

On entering the Abbey, you will come into a wonderful Baroque courtyard which is very impressive. From here you enter the main building where the tours begin.

Melk Abbey gardens
Entering the Abbey down steps from the car park

Melk Abbey Courtyard
Melk Abbey Courtyard

The tour starts in the Abbey Museum. There are several rooms containing artwork, relics, and information on the Abbey and buildings.

tour guide showing tourists around Melk Abbey
Tour guide in the Abbey Museum

The library at Melk Abbey has several rooms and thousands of books and manuscripts. It's an impressive room/s

Melk Abbey library and books
Melk Abbey Library

The frescoes on the library ceiling are an example of the baroque style that is represented throughout the Abbey

Fresco ceiling in Melk abbey library
Fresco ceiling in Melk Abbey library

The last stop on the tour is the beautiful church. The church is barrel-vaulted and has a sixty-four-meter-high dome. And it is richly decorated in gold leaf.

The church at Melk Abbey
The church at Melk Abbey is richly decorated in gold leaf

The alter in Melk Abbey church
The altar in Melk Abbey church

The Abbey terrace leads to views over the valley.

Statue of St Coloman at Melk Abbey
Statue of St. Coloman on the Abbey Terrace

Views from the abbey terrace look over the town of Melk and the beautiful Stadtpfarrkirche Maria Himmelfahrt church.

Aerial view of Melk and the The Stadtpfarrkirche Maria Himmelfahrt  church
The town of Melk

A walk around Abbey gardens and park concluded our visit.

The baroque pavilion in the garden at Melk Abbey
The baroque pavilion in the garden at Melk Abbey


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