As the name implies, Lower Austria is less mountainous than western Austria; its charms come in the form of fertile valleys and plains, which make it a perfect getaway for those seeking a more authentic, rustic feel. The stretch of Danube River Valley between Melk and Krems, called in Austria die Wachau, has glorious wines and lots of formidable castles, abbeys, and medieval villages. Check out the walled town of Drosendorf and the beautiful Baroque abbey in Melk.
But don't let this tranquil atmosphere fool you. Authentic and cozy inns await you as well as unexpected and sophisticated restaurants, such as the Gasthaus Prankl in Spitz. Awarded with one toque by Gault Millau this rustic Gasthaus offers local produce in a breathtaking location right on the Danube river.