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Schärding – colorful baroque town by the river Inn

The small town of Schärding, on the border with Germany, is famous for its colorful buildings from the Late Baroque. You can also enjoy the riverside promenade or a boat ride on the river Inn.

The city’s main attraction is the so-called “Silberzeile” (silver row) at the Stadtplatz. Rows of colourful houses surround Schärding’s main square are its main attraction. In stark contrast to lively summer days, arriving here on a sunny serene November day was a highlight. The mellow light from the low-hanging sun softens the bright colours without diluting the impact. Therefore, the Baroque town in northern Austria is a perfect place to visit also in late fall.

Colourful pastel facades

Even though I had seen pictures of Schärding before I travelled, it is still something else to see the beautiful architecture with your own eyes. This is not just a gimmick to attract tourists. Moreover, the colourful pastel facades go back to the colours associated with the professional guilds in the middle ages (i.e. bakers blue, butcher’s red, hostel owners yellow or green). I enjoyed lovely 17 °C (62 °F) and sunshine from a blue sky allowed and had a coffee at the main square. Not as busy as in the summer months, it was pleasant to watch the locals going about their lives. Although the most beautiful houses are around the city square (Stadtplatz), I found many other impressive historic buildings in the small streets around.

< Click on the images to enlarge >

The city gates

Schärding is surrounded by a relatively intact town wall with several well-preserved medieval gates. The mighty Linzertor with its double towers, is the first thing that will meet you if you arrive from the motorway. If you continue downhill from Stadtplatz, go straight ahead to Wassertor, which is an opening under the houses by the river. On the wall above the gate you also see high water marks shoving flood levels from past centuries. 100 meters north on Wieningerstrasse the Passauertor with a beautiful mural on the outside. I recommend a tour on foot that takes you through all 3 city gates, to explore Schärding the outside of the city wall.

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Beyond the city wall

Just outside of the old town wall, Georg Wieninger erected a garden with a small house in 1884. This was renovated in 2004 and now houses a restaurant, in the middle of a lovely park. Look for signs with “Orangerie” to get there. Furthermore, I recommend you head up a small hill above the river with the Castle park (Schlosspark), which was once the castle courtyard. From here you have great views of the river Inn (the same river that runs through Innsbruck), which forms the border between Bavaria and Austria. The medieval castle was destroyed in 1809.

Riverside promenade

There is a nice promenade, running from the pier just north of the old town and southwards along the banks of the Inn. It is a pleasant strip of asphalt running right next to the river and is popular among the locals. It continues 3 km upstream to a hydropower plant in the river.

For more info, check out the website of Schärding Tourism
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Written by Arnold Weisz

Globetrotting multilingual communications specialist born in Vienna, Austria – with passion for scuba diving, golf and culinary delights! 15 years of experience as a scuba- and travel reporter for among others: X-Ray Dive Magazine and Dykking.