About Lower Austria
Lower Austria is the most northeastern region of Austria, bordering Slovakia and the Czech Republic. It is the largest of all the nine states and has a population of over 1.6 million residents. The historic capital of the area was Vienna until 1986, but it has now been moved to Sankt Polten.
Lower Austria is divided into four regions: the Weinviertel or Lowland; Waldviertel, the Bohemian plateau above the Manhartsberg; Mostviertel with its limestone Alps, and Industrieviertel, the area below the Vienna Woods.
This historic region, the cradle of Austria's history, was once heavily fortified and still has the remains of 550 fortresses and castles. It was the domain of the Kuenringer and Babenberger dynasties and where the future king of England, Richard the Lionheart was held prisoner at Durnstein for a time.
The area has some high mountain peaks in the Schneeberg Alps, the highest being Klosterwappen at 2,076m. It can be seen from as far away as Vienna and its snowfields provide excellent skiing. If you want to hike in the area, there is a 100-year-old railway which lifts visitors up 1800m and from there the summit is within easy reach. Although there are mountain huts for shelter, visitors will be far more comfortable staying in zimmers or using a charming bed and breakfast as a base for exploring this scenic region.
The River Danube flows through Lower Austria from west to east, providing some beautiful scenery and the opportunity to take a river cruise or boat trip from your country lodging. It is a great way to see many of the castles that litter the region along with the impressive Klosterneuberg Monastery, one of the oldest abbeys in Austria.
Visitors flock to Lower Austria each summer, mainly because it is close to Vienna. However, the zimmer holiday accommodation and general cost of living is much cheaper in Lower Austria than in neighboring Vienna.