Vienna and its surrounding areas have a centuries-long imperial history, this is why so many castles and royal palaces are found in the region. One of the most impressive and popular filming locations in Europe, the Laxenburg Castle, is located just 15km away from Vienna. Due to its proximity to the Schönbrunn Palace, it became a popular winter and summer residence of the imperial family, and by the 18th century had developed into a focal point of court life. The 280 hectare park around the castle is the epitome of 18th and 19th century design, and is a historical monument today.
One of the most famous building in Austria is the Franzensburg, which locals call "the small treasure house”, and was built on an artificial island by Holy Roman Emperor Francis II. to resemble a medieval castle. Empress Sissi also frequented the castle in her spare time, and spent her honeymoon here with her husband, Franz Joseph, and Crown Prince Rudolf and Princess Giselle were both born in the castle. Several series were filmed here such as, children’s series Tom Turbo and crime series Schnell ermittelt.
Around 20 km from the Austrian capital Vienna, is the beautiful settlement, Klosterneuburg, which is extremely rich in historical monuments. It is home to an Augustinian Monastery, which was built is Gothic and Baroque styles, and has become one of Austria's most important cultural centers. The monastery was founded by Malgrave Leopold Babenberg III. and took over 100 years to build. The monastery library contains over 45,000 rare manuscripts and volumes, and houses Austria's oldest winery. The wine-making began with the foundation of the abbey, and became the primary income of the monks living there. This 108-hectare piece of land in Klosterneuburg, remains Austria's largest winery. A decent amount of the medieval walls and towers are still visible today, and the abbey garden, which houses many plant rarities can also be freely visited.
23 km to the north of Vienna, above the Danube River Valley lies Kreuzenstein Castle, which was built by Counts of Formbach in the 12th century, later becoming the domain of the Habsburgs. Strategically built in the highlands of the Rohrwald Forest. During the Thirty Years' War Swedish troops laid siege to the castle and almost completely destroyed it. In the 19th century, Count Johann Nepomuk Wilczek began rebuilding the castle in the Romanesque Gothic style. Precious Gothic relics are still preserved in the wings of the castle, such as an ancient baptismal font, stained glass windows and a door that is almost 1,000 years old. Even more interesting are the medieval kitchen and torture chamber found in the castle, or the largest medieval weapons collection in Austria. The picturesque Kreuzenstein can be seen in numerous horror films from the 50’s and 60’s, many big budget historical dramas, and a few Hollywood blockbusters as well, like Season of the Witch starring Nicolas Cage.
Although there are a number of medieval castles and ruins in lower Austria, accessibility is not always easy. The ruins are usually located at high elevations and are surrounded by forested, rocky terrain (Rauhenstein Castle) Most of the old forts operate as hotels, (for example, the Wildegg Castle) and the rest can only be visited if you make an appointment (Heidenreichstein Castle).