Horn, Greillenstein, Gars & Surroundings
The northern parts of Lower Austria do not rank among the most touristy areas of the country. This mostly due to the remoteness of the region, its lack of dramatic landscapes or actual metropolitan hubs. Those who are individualists enough to explore the Wald- and Weinviertel regions might still find one or another hidden treasure, though. The area of Horn and the surrounding towns are a good area to start looking for them.
Horn itself has quite a compact town centre and it is easy to get an overview in a quick walk. There is the obligatory main square with some pretty burgher houses, just as in almost any historic small town in Austria. There is also something called "castle" ("Schloss Horn"), dating back to the 16th century.
The historic "Bürgerspital" or town′s hospital has long been converted into museums, offering space for two permanent exhibitions: The Höbarth Museum, based on a formally private collection of Antique finds from the Mediterranean as well as various pieces of folk art and historic exhibits from the local area. The Mader Museum is dedicated to the area′s agricultural heritage and shows machines, tools and related devices.
Sightseeing beyond Horn: Altenburg
For more attractions, you will have to leave Horn behind. To do so, a car is clearly the first choice, as you want to remain mobile enough for spontaneous changes of the location. A few kilometres south of Horn, you will find the church of pilgrimage Maria Dreieichen, a pretty example of Austria Baroque (yes, again…). Those who are interested in sacral art - which applies, in fact, to most visitors of Horn - will go on to the monastery Altenburg. The Benedictine abbey ranks among Lower Austria′s most impressive ones (which means quite something in a province packed with enormous monasteries). Further information on Altenburg can be obtained from my article on the monasteries of Lower Austria and Vienna.
Another hidden treasure of Lower Austria can be found a few kilometres west of Altenburg: Schloss Greillenstein Castle was built for Hans Georg III of Küfstein and is still owned by the same family. Over the course of the centuries, several additions left their marks on Greillenstein: Renaissance ceilings, but more importantly various pieces of Baroque artwork and interiors. The statues in the garden date back to the Baroque bloom of Greillenstein around 1720, when it was famous for its trick fountains - a typically Baroque, playful aspect of garden culture.
Finally, the medieval Schloss Rosenburg Castle, about 5 kilometres south of Horn, is probably the second-most popular destination of the area after Stift Altenburg. A proper fortress on a rock over the Kamp River, coming with shows on falconry featuring actual birds of prey: One is tempted to ignore the drastic refurbishments and extensions that were added to the Rosenburg in the Romantic period of the 19th century, when "sort of medieval" was fashionable. Similar to Greillenstein Castle, the Rosenburg is still owned by a family of former Imperial Nobility - in this case the Hoyos.