Spitz an der Donau:
At the Heart of the Wachau Valley
The small village of Spitz ranks among the prettiest villages of the Wachau and is certainly the one with the funniest name. "Spitz" means "pointy", a word that is also used in German for "horny" with the same metaphorical value.
It can be quite touristy during the summer season, but this applies essentially to everywhere in the Wachau. There are the usual attractions: The smooth hills surrounding the area, the vineyards, cobbled streets and Baroque houses. Note the main square and the parish church, the heart of Spitz. If you get a chance to look at the coat of arms of Spitz, you might note a pattern of blue and white rhomboids in it.
Those of you that have been to the Innviertel area or anywhere in Southern Germany might recognize this pattern as a trademark of Bavaria - similar to beer and white sausages. The reason why you can find this pattern in the coat of arms of Spitz is simply that this community was a Bavarian enclave at the very heart of Austria for many centuries. Between 812 and 1504, it belonged to the monastery of Niederaltaich.
Museum of Naval Transport in Spitz
The monastery′s local buildings are now referred to as Schloss Erlahof Castle. This castle was later re-modelled into a Baroque building and now houses the Schiffahrtsmuseum or Museum of Navel Transportation. Here you can learn more about the importance of the Danube as a natural waterway. This role gradually ceased in importance with the rise of industrialisation and growing railway links.
The way forward in Spitz these days is by bicycle. The Wachau is probably Austria′s most popular destination for cycling holidays and especially during early and late summer, hundreds of cyclists follow the course of the Danube. Nearby attractions within the Wachau include downstream Weissenkirchen, Dürnstein, Krems and Göttweig Abbey; and upstream the castle of Aggstein and the mighty monastery of Melk.