One hour from Vienna

What the Romans did for the Austrians

After stuffing yourself with schnitzel and strudel, head out beyond the woods to take the waters at the spa or ride the oldest mountain railway in Europe.

After stuffing yourself with schnitzel and strudel, head out beyond the woods to take the waters at the spa or ride the oldest mountain railway in Europe.

Wachau Valley

This scenic vale stretching from Krems to Melk along the Danube is steeped in history and bursting with magnificent castles and fortresses. In 1192 Duke Leopold V caused a sensation in Europe by taking Richard the Lionheart prisoner in the medieval village of Dürnstein. Enjoy the many Romanesque, gothic, Renaissance and baroque buildings

By car: take A22 north to Stockerau and follow signs to Krems; journey time approx 50 mins. By train: hourly from Franz-Josefs station to Krems an der Donau; journey time one hour.

Klosterneuburg

Best known for its beautiful monastery of St Leopold and the Essl Collection of modern art. The abbey of Klosterneuburg is nearly 900 years old and the famous Verduner Altar is only one of the many art treasures. With more than 4,000 exhibits, the Essl Collection is the largest private museum in Austria and exhibits range from 1950s abstract expressionism to Vienna actionism.

By car: take the B14 to Klosterneuburg; journey time approx 15 mins. By train: twice an hour from Franz-Josefs station to Klosterneuburg; journey time 20 mins.

Baden bei Wien

Traditional spa and wine village in the charming Biedermeier style, south of Vienna. The origin of Baden lies in the healing powers of the sulphur hot springs. Many famous artists resided here, including Beethoven. Modern facilities include the new Römertherme, the largest thermal spa oasis in Europe. Its varied cultural programmes range from operetta evenings to Casino Baden, Europe's largest.

By car: follow the A2 south and take Baden exit; journey time approx 20 mins. By train: every half hour from Vienna South Station to Baden; journey time 25 mins.

Semmering

With its 15 tunnels, 16 viaducts and 129 bridges, the Semmering railway is a masterpiece of engineering and the oldest mountain railway in Europe. The area has always been a favourite playground with year-round recreational activities. On offer are great hiking trails, the oldest Alpine golf course, skiing in the Hirschenkogel area, tobogganing and horse-drawn sleigh rides.

By car: take the A2 south past Wien Neustadt and follow S6 to Semmering; journey time approx one hour. By train: every half hour from Vienna South station to Semmering; journey time approx one hour.

Neusiedler See

Lake Neusiedl is central Europe's only steppe lake. The area is renowned for its wine and also for the nearby national park, Seewinkel. Explore the park on horseback, carriage or by bicycle. Neusiedl village has a great beach with extensive watersports.

By car: take A4 in direction of Budapest and follow the Neusiedl am See exit; journey time approx 30 mins. By train: every hour from Vienna South station; journey time 35 mins.

Carnuntum

Significant Roman ruins extend across the towns of Petronell and Bad Deutsch Altenburg. Carnuntum was once the most important town north of the Alps. The archaeological park includes a large amphitheatre, temples and ruined public baths.

By car: take A4 in direction of Budapest and follow the B9 from the Fischamend exit to Petronell; journey time approx 45 mins. By train: every hour from Vienna South station to Petronell-Carnuntum; journey time 55 mins.

Cresta Holidays (0870 161 0900) has three nights at the Mercure Wien City Hotel from £353 per person, including flights. Hertz (0870 848 4848; www.hertz.co.uk) has three days' car hire from £187.

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