The most scenic part of Krems today is what used to be the little village of Stein. Narrow streets are terraced above the river, and the single main street, Steinlanderstrasse, is flanked with houses, many from the 16th century. The Grosser Passauerhof, Steinlanderstrasse 76 (tel. 02732/82188), is a Gothic structure decorated with an oriel. Another house, at Steinlanderstrasse 84, combines Byzantine and Venetian elements among other architectural influences; it was once the imperial tollhouse. In days of yore, the aristocrats of Krems barricaded the Danube and extracted heavy tolls from the river traffic. Sometimes the tolls were more than the hapless victims could pay, so the townspeople just confiscated the cargo. In the Altstadt, the Steiner Tor, a 1480 gate, is a landmark.

Pfarrkirche St. Viet (tel. 02732/857100), the parish church of Krems, stands in the center of town at the Rathaus, reached by going along either Untere Landstrasse or Obere Landstrasse. The overly ornate church is rich with gilt and statuary. Construction on this, one of the oldest baroque churches in the province, began in 1616. In the 18th century, Martin Johann Schmidt, better known as Kremser Schmidt, painted many of the frescoes inside the church.

You'll find the Weinstadt Museum Krems (Museum of Krems), Körnermarkt 14 (tel. 02732/801567), in a restored Dominican monastery. The Gothic abbey is from the 13th and 14th centuries. Its gallery displays the paintings of Martin Johann Schmidt. One of the more intriguing displays is a copy of a 32,000-year-old statuette, the country's most ancient work of art. Of further interest are the cellar tunnels from the 1500s that were excavated underneath the cloister. The complex also has an interesting Weinbaumuseum (Wine Museum), exhibiting artifacts, many quite old, gathered from the vineyards along the Danube. Admission to both areas of the museum is 4€ ($6.40). It's open only March to November Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 6pm.

Nearby Attractions

Twenty-nine kilometers (18 miles) north of Krems at St. Pölten is the Museum of Lower Austria, formerly located in Vienna. Now called Landes Museum, it's at Franz-Schubert-Platz (tel. 2742/908-090-999). This museum exhibits the geology, flora, and fauna of the area surrounding Vienna. It also exhibits a collection of arts and crafts, including baroque and Biedermeier; temporary shows featuring 20th-century works are presented as well. Admission is 8€ ($13) for adults and 7€ ($11) for children. It's open Tuesday to Sunday 9am to 5pm.

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