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Melk Day Trip from Vienna

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I read a lot of posts to prepare for our Melk day trip. They were so helpful!
I would like to add my two cents worth:
1. We took the tour (in English) at the Abbey. You can visit on your own but I don't think I could understand or appreciate what I saw without a guide. We got background information and little interesting stories that really made the history of the Abbey alive. In my opinion, the guided tour is a must.
2. Don't skip the gardens. There are the formal gardens and then a series of larger,natural gardens that are absolutely delightful. You can go around them in 30-45 minutes. It's worth taking an earlier train to go around the gardens before the tour.
3. We discovered the hard way that you have to get to the boat early if you want to get a seat (we took the 13:45 boat)! We took our time wandering around Melk, having something to eat and when we got on the boat about 20 minutes before it left we couldn't find a table to ourselves. Many "prime tables" were reserved (I had no idea how to reserve ahead of time.) Luckily I saw a family who had been on the Abbey tour sitting at two tables and I asked if we could join them. Otherwise, my husband and I wouldn't have been able to sit together.
Several posters wrote not to bother eating in town because there's food on the boat and I want to second that. The boat has a real restaurant (light food and main courses) and we should have just come early and eaten there (and found a table to ourselves!).
4. We got off at Durnstein like everyone recommended, walked around for about an hour, caught the 16:40 bus to Krems train station and got the train back to Vienna. Easy peasy!

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