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Heidenreichstein, Lower Austria

Burg Heidenreichstein - Heidenreichstein Castle

ABOVE: Burg Heidenreichstein has six guided tours a day from mid-April through mid-October. (Tours may be cancelled when fewer than five visitors show up.)

You won't find information on Heidenreichstein in many English-language guidebooks. That's a shame, because  this town of 4,849 Austrians in the Waldviertel or "Forest Quarter" of Niederösterreich has several worthwhile tourist attractions.

The most obvious is Burg Heidenreichstein (see photo), a moated castle that dates back to 1160 A.D. The massive fortress is billed as "the most beautiful water castle in Austria" and is now operated as a museum with daily guided tours during the tourist season.

The Moor- und Torfmuseum (Moorland and Peat Bog Museum) illustrates the role of peat in Central European daily life, medicine, and culture. A replica of a moorland corpse is on display.

When you visit the museum, take time to explore the Naturpark Gemeindau-Heidenreichstein, which has a circular path that leads through woods and moorland. The park also has a viewing platform where you can observe birds on a large pond.

The Waldviertlerbahn is a narrow-gauge railroad with roughly 50 miles (80 km) of 2'6" (760mm) track. The northern branches that run to Heidenreichstein were opened in 1900, and today the Waldviertel Narrow-Gauge Railways Society operates diesel trains and occasional steam trains on summer weekends.

Finally, you can book three- to seven-day golf packages from April through October. The packages include hotel accommodations, greens fees, and various extras (including golf lessons in some cases).

For more information on these attractions, see the Web links on page 3.

How to reach Heidenreichstein

Continued on page 2

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