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Waidhofen/Ybbs

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Waidhofen : Ybbs
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Waidhofen an der Ybbs is in Lower Austria.

Understand[edit]

Waidhofen an der Ybbs is a small, historic industrial city of approximately 12,000 residents in the foothills of Lower Austria, not far from the border with Upper Austria. Since the Middle Ages the city has been known for its iron manufacturing in the region, with several large manufacturing concerns still located in the area.

Get in[edit]

By Car[edit]

Waidhofen is accessible from the east (Vienna) or the west (Linz/Salzburg) by the A1 highway through Amstetten. From Amstetten the B121 follows the Ybbs Valley into Waidhofen.

By Train[edit]

Waidhofen is home to two train stations: Waidhofen/Ybbs and Waidhofen/Ybbs Stadt. Travel time from Waidhofen to Vienna's Westbahnhof (via a transfer in Amstetten) is approximately 90 minutes. Travel time to Linz is approximately 1 hour and travel time to the important connection in Amstetten is approximately 30 minutes. Tickets are available for purchase from the machines at Waidhofen's main station, but not at the "Stadt" station. Be sure to purchase tickets before boarding and consider purchasing a "Vorteilskarte" for discounted fares if you are eligible (under 26 years old) and you will be making frequent trips. Visit the Austrian Federal Railway (OBB)'s English language website [1] for more specific travel information.

Get around[edit]

A number of buses provide service in and around Waidhofen, as does the short but cute Ybbstalerbahn. Bus drivers, while friendly, are unlikely to speak English though, so make sure you know where your bus is headed before you board. Fortunately, most trips in the area are possible by foot or by bike and the Mostviertel is a wonderful area for long walks.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Innenstadt: Waidhofen's Old City offers a remarkable collection of late medieval houses and public buildings enclosed within the old city walls. Several Gothic courtyards and arcades are still present, as are many renovated facades in the Biedermeier, Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Baroque styles.
  • Stadtpfarrkirche: One of Waidhofen's largest and most historic churches, the Stadtpfarrkirche was built between 1470 and 1510. The interior of the church is home to a striking Gothic winged altar, transplanted to the site from another church in the 1930s. The church's wooden gate dates from the time of original construction. The iconic Baroque bell tower contributes proudly to Waidhofen's tower-dotted skyline.
  • Rothschildschloss: A castle has existed on this site inside the Old City since the twelfth century, although the oldest portions of today's building was built around 1400. The building was home to the region's Bavarian governors out of Freising for centuries and thus the administrative center of the region. The castle is named after the most important former owner, the banker Albert Salomon Anselm Freiherr von Rothschild (1844-1910). An extensive renovation in the late nineteenth century again altered the character of the castle, as did a redesign in 2006/2007 that made use of contrasting modern materials like glass and steel. In 2007, the Rothschildschoss was home to the Lower Austrian Provincial Exhibition and today the castle houses a wonderful park, gift shop, and tourism center. The building also houses the 5e-Museum, named after the five elements - fire, water, wood, earth, and metal - that the museum focuses on thematically. During Advent, the castle and its grounds host the town's lovely Christmas market, with crafts, food, punch, music, etc. Once a month during the school year, the castle's interior is transformed into "Crystal Club" - a party night not to be missed by any adventurous traveler.
  • Stadtturm (City Tower): This mighty, square clock tower is one of the foremost symbols of the city and, at 50 m high, is clearly visible for many miles. It was constructed in the 1530s with the spoils from the expulsion of the invading Turkish hordes. The inscription, dating from 1932, reads "In the year 1532 the citizens, smithies, and farmers of Waidhofen forced the Turkish to flee and built this tower in remembrance." One of the faces of the tower is set permanently to 11:45 to commemorate the hour of the citizens' legendary victory.
  • Ybbsturm and Stadttor (Ybbs Tower and City Gate): Another of Waidhofen's famous towers, the Ybbsturm is the only surviving medieval gate tower in the city walls. The city's motto is inscribed here in Latin: Ferrum chalybsque urbis nutrimenta - "Iron and Steel Nourish the City."
  • Mariensäule: This baroque column and figure of the Virgin Mary in the center of the city was constructed in 1665 as a symbol of the Counter Reformation.
  • Schwarzbachviadukt: This historic bridge from the late nineteenth century crosses the valley of the Schwarzbach (Black Stream) just outside the city center. It is used by the quaint, narrow-gauge Ybbstalbahn (Ybbs Valley Railway), which formerly ran from Waidhofen to the wonderful Lunz am See, but now provides a shortened service across the city.
  • Krautberg: This small hill just a short walk from town, easily identifiable by its large white cross, offers an unbeatable view of the old city. From the Stadt train station on Reichenauer Strasse, cross the train tracks and climb the path called the Reinhold Klaus Weg. After a short hike you will be rewarded with impressive views.
  • Wallfahrtskirche Basilika Sonntagberg: There is a large and important Catholic pilgrimage site located just north of Waidhofen. The impressive baroque church, built in 1706–1732, is clearly visible across the surrounding area and has enjoyed status as a minor basilica since 1964. It is possible to walk there from Waidhofen (about a 10km walk), but it is much easier to take a short train ride to Rosenau and the hike the remaining 5km to the peak and the church.

Do[edit][add listing]

Naturpark Buchenberg: The small neighboring mountain of Buchenberg (790 m at the peak) is home a tiny zoo of 130 local animals including foxes, skunks, lynxes, deer, owls, rabbits, wild cats, and badgers. Visitors must pay a small fee to enter the zoo, but the remainder of the Naturpark's facilities are free of charge. The park offers many kilometers of wonderful walking and hiking trails for visitors of all ages. Among the many possible destinations for a hike through Buchenberg is the "Wallfahrtskapellen" - a nineteenth-century pilgrim's chapel, where weekly mass is still held during the summer months. Ambitious hikers may also consider a hike from Waidhofen through Buchenberg to the Gasthaus am Grasberg, a traditional Mostviertler guest house where hikers can stop and enjoy a glass of cider or a heavy Austrian meal. Be sure to check the hours [2] before making the trek to the Gasthaus.

Buy[edit][add listing]

The Innenstadt is home to many lovely shops and cafes, most especially along Oberer Stadtplatz, Unterer Stadtplatz, and Hohermarkt. Be careful when shopping for clothes downtown however, the prices tend to be very high and the shopkeepers very attentive.

As for groceries, the city is home to the following stores (in order from most to least expensive) - Spar 1 on Freisingerberg, Spar 2 on Weyrerstrasse, Billa on Ybbsitzerstrasse, Hofer on Wienerstrasse, and Pennymarkt on Pocksteinerstrasse. The Innenstadt features many terrific bakeries, butchers, and specialty food shops for those looking for something special or uniquely Austrian.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

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