Melk is situated in Austria's wine-growing region and the gateway to the scenic Wachau Valley. Its magnificent 11th century Benedictine Abbey stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube and town, the prestigious Marble Room and the Abbey Church, generally considered one of the most beautiful baroque churches north of the Alps. Initially a Roman frontier post, and later a 10th century Babenberg fortress, Melk was handed to the Benedictines in 1089.
Its early renown around this time was based on its medieval scholarship, as well as relics. Melk boasts by far the most spectacular baroque monastery in Austria, perched on a high granite base overlooking the Danube. Visible from miles away, the mustard yellow building dominates the landscape, only accessible from the east. The Old Town is not much bigger than the monastery but it is still a delight to discover the pretty buildings.