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Cider anyone?

The UK is a cider-loving nation, but it may come as a surprise that Lower Austria's Mostviertal (cider region) boasts Europe’s largest continuous area of pear orchards. Our tip: take a leisurely drive along the winding 200km panoramic Cider Trail, with plenty of stops along the way.

The Cider Trail is a circular route, beginning in St. Pantaleon / St. Valentin in the north-west of Lower Austria’s Mostviertel - Austria’s famous cider region. The route winds its way through orchard-covered hills, before returning to its starting point. Its length totals some 200 kilometres.

In autumn the apples and pears that grow here are picked, then washed, crushed and pressed, then finally left to ferment for six weeks. After fermentation, the juice is filtered off and is ready for drinking. By this stage it has acquired the designation "Most” (cider), which has lent its name to the whole region. The Mostviertel is Europe’s largest continuous area of pear orchards. In spring the pear trees transform the undulating hillsides into a sea of blossoms. And throughout the year the fruit feature prominently in the region’s cuisine.

Following the Cider Trail is the best way to appreciate the scenic beauty and cultural richness of this region. The panoramic route - 200km long and clearly signposted - links up 20 cider inns, 21 cider taverns, 24 farms selling their produce directly, and a number of panorama points affording a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside. There are themed hiking paths and several routes taking you to attractive excursion destinations on foot or by bike.

Highlight: Seitenstetten Abbey and its Rose Garden

The inviting market town of Seitenstetten in the heart of the Mostviertel traces its documented history back to the year 1109. The Benedictine Abbey dates from three years later. Thanks to the work of the baroque architect Josef Mungenast and of master builder Gotthard Hayberger, the abbey ranks as one of the most spectacular sights along the Cider Trail. The Gothic Abbey Church, the Romanesque Baronial Chapel, the Marble Hall, the opulent library and the staircase with its fresco by Bartolomeo Altomonte bear witness to a long and proud history.

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