Gmünd in Lower Austria
Not to be confused with Gmünd in Carinthia, Gmünd in Lower Austria is situated near the border to the Czech Republic and lies precisely on meridian East of Greenwich (according to my former physics teacher at school). Gmünd also lies on the main route between Vienna and Prague and thus receives a bit of touristy attention of the kind that other parts of Lower Austria do not receive.
The sights of Gmünd are of the usual kind: A main square or Stadtplatz with the obligatory Rathaus or City Hall. In the case of Gmünd, the building that used to be the city hall is now called "Altes Rathaus" (Old City Hall), as the town′s administration has actually moved to another place. There is a parish church and the odd Renaissance or Baroque burgher house. Beyond that, there are two museums in Gmünd.
The first one is the "Glas- und Steinmuseum" dedicated to a somewhat peculiar array of mineral and rock samples, which also explains the region′s history in glass making. The more interesting parts of the exhibition show some samples of what used to be made in terms of glass items and jewellery. The second museum is the Stadtmuseum or Town Museum and about as interesting as you would expect a Town Museum in the Waldviertel area to be.
Some Industrial Heritage & Nature in Gmünd
At latest at this point you will realise that nature is the way forward rather than cultural delights. The Naturpark Bockheide is a nature reserve just outside of Gmünd. Special features include eroding sandstone and scenic vegetation. It makes a good place for a walk or a picnic. There is something like a visitor centre with information on the park as well as a tower that offers a great view over the Bockheide area.
Most tourists, however, come to the park for the sake of the "Waldviertler Schmalspurbahn", one of the many preserved narrow-gauges of Austria. The trains (during the main season, it′s proper steam locomotives on most weekends) connect Gmünd with Weitra and finally Gross Gerungs.
Other attractions nearby are quite rare. The monastery of Zwettl is not far from Gmünd, and longer car-rides will take you to Freistadt in Upper Austria or - in the opposite direction - to the area of Raabs, Drosendorf and Geras. Greillenstein and the impressive monastery of Altenburg require a similarly long journey.
Back to: "Lower Austria Sightseeing Guide"
Sightseeing by Austrian Province
Bregenz and Vorarlberg - Innsbruck and Tyrol - Salzburg - Salzkammergut - Graz and Styria - Klagenfurt and Carinthia - Wachau and Lower Austria - Vienna - Burgenland
Official Website of Lower Austria
Official Website of Gmünd in Lower Austria