World Heritage Wachau An accomplished masterpiece
As the only region along the entire Danube river, the Wachau has received the prestigious award of UNESCO World Heritage. The meandering river valley, deeply cut at first, then gradually widening, is truly stunning. Steep rocks alternate with floodplain forests. Its banks and slopes are home to sun kissed grapevine terraces, built over centuries and meticulously preserved. In between, you will find orchards and picturesque small towns, awe-inspiring churches, castles and ruins. Wonderful views attract people from all over the world.
A valley with character
Natural contrasts are found all over its total length of around 40 km. Cultural treasures are witnesses to a long history of settlement. Essentially a cultural landscape dating back to the Middle Ages, the Wachau has been carefully tended to and largely saved from the advances of Modern Age.
For all its efforts, the Wachau has received numerous awards: In 1955, the Wachau has received special protection status as a landscape conservation area, in 1994 it has received the European Environmental Award by the European council, and in 2000, UNESCO has awarded the Wachau the prestigious World Heritage designation.
At the end of 2008, the Wachau succeeded in a highly competitive, international ranking: The National Geographic Traveler magazine, a high-profile tourism magazine, declared the Wachau „Best Historic Destination in the World“. 280 journalists and tourism trade experts made their decision in favour of the Wachau valley and the abbey of Melk among 109 other historic destinations worldwide. Evaluation criteria included the present conservation state of the historic monuments and sites, the overall impression of the landscape and the cultural environment, as well as the quality of the natural environment and its tourism destination management.
For the „Wachauer“ locals, this award means both pride and responsibility. The Wachau valley is a unique place to live in and to visit, owing to its very own character and unparalleled atmosphere: A clear mission for the future.