Walking Holidays in Austria - Danube - Wachau Valley


Holiday Highlights
  • Witness the outstanding natural beauty of the Wachau Valley
  • Walk through vineyards to panoramic view points and sample the exquisite Austrian wines
  • Explore historic towns & take a river cruise on the Danube


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The walk follows the course of the Danube in the area known as the Wachau. This is where the Danube is at its most beautiful with sweeping curves framed by hillsides that you will have the opportunity to explore. The mild climate and steep hills make it ideal territory for wine and fruit growing, which adds to the beauty of the valley.    

The valley has a number of historic towns, Dürnstein as an example, is where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned on his return from the Crusades.  Krems with its medieval alleyways and historic buildings in the old town is the treks start and termination point. Small hamlets dot the landscape and the walking will allow you to explore these. It all culminated in the inclusion of the “Wachau Cultural Landscape" in the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites. The area has outstanding regional food and drink specialities. Apart from the famous wine there are delicious apricot dishes and many others all making best use of the local produce. 

The walking is on good paths or narrow roads. Each day you ascend through vineyards, orchards and light forest to achieve wonderful viewing points with stunning vistas over the ever-changing River Danube and the surrounding open countryside.  The paths are not always well marked, so our route notes are essential to keep you on the correct path. You should find sufficient time each day to explore the historic towns and villages along the river bank where you spend each night. The end of the week culminates in a river cruise back to the start along the Danube so you can view all your conquests as you glide past. 


Day 1
 You will arrive by train from Vienna into the town of Krems. If you arrive early, you will have an opportunity to explore this wonderful town with its medieval old centre. Prepare yourself for this wonderful walk through the beautiful Danube valley called the Wachau. Overnight Krems.

Day 2 You walk from the centre of Krems and make your way through vineyards and forest roads to an observation tower with views over the city of Krems and the Danube. Then continue upwards through forest up to a mountain restaurant, near which is another observation tower with views to the town of Dürnstein. The descent has some vertiginous sections, however there is an alternative easier route which passes by the ruins of Dürnstein castle. Overnight Dürnstein.

Ascent 500m Descent 500m Distance 8 ¾ miles 4 hours

Day 3 Take the ferry to the other side of the busy Danube, walk through vineyards, or with the alternative route the largest apricot growing area of Austria, before ascending to the Seekopf observation tower. There you will have a wonderful view of the Danube valley before walking down a zig-zag trail to St Lorenz. Then you will cross the Danube again, to the town of Weissenkirchen.  Overnight Weissenkirchen.

Ascent 530m Descent 540m Distance 8½ miles 3 ¾ hours

Day 4 A rest day in Weissenkirchen which is surrounded by vineyards and is the biggest wine growing area in the Wachau. There is a trail leading your way through the local vineyards and you will have the opportunity to sample the produce back in the town. There are museums to visit in the wonderful historic old town. If you still wish to walk there are options available, either along the Danube or into the surrounding foothills. Overnight Weissenkirchen.

Day 5 An easy start today through the vineyards from Weissenkirchen to Joching. There you turn uphill through the upper vineyards to the forest, to an observation tower with views towards Gschwendt in the northwest and the Danube. There is a gentle descent before a final small climb to the ‘Red Gate’ one of the old seven defence gates of Spitz. It is called red because of the blood shed when the Swedes took it in the Thirty Years War. Here you have a beautiful view of Spitz below, your overnight location. 

Ascent 525m Descent 515m Distance 8 miles 4 1/4 hours

Day 6 A longer walk today, with some quite steep climbs through woodland, culminating in a visit to the pilgrim church of Maria Langegg which is in a small village in the hills. The church is a hidden beauty, off the beaten track, built originally about 1600. It is on Austria’s pilgrim Route of St James so you could follow it all the way to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia but we only go as far as Aggstein, a ruined castle, and then onward to Aggsbach Dorf, where there is a former Carthusiain monastery. From Aggsbach Dorf you take the bus to Melk. Overnight Melk.

Ascent 725m Descent 725m Distance 10 miles 5 hours

Day 7 In the morning, we highly recommend a visit the imposing Melk Abbey, which dominates the city. As well as visiting the abbey, there are extensive gardens to stroll around. The city of Melk is also worth a visit and we provide walking notes so you see the best parts. In the afternoon you take a river cruise (included) back down the Danube past the towns where you have stayed during your walking week – Spitz, Weissenkirchen and Dürnstein, before finishing at Krems for your final night’s stay.

Day 8 Return by train to Vienna (included) for your flight or take the bus from there to Bratislava.

 

This map is for illustration purposes only and we cannot be held responsible for its accuracy.

Danube Trek

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On this trek, the accommodations are mostly small and family-run, all rooms have a private bathroom.


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Availability Information

This walk is available from the middle of April to the middle of October. This area is known for its sunny weather with low rainfall peaking in June with 3 inches and two inches for most other summer months. The temperature has an average high in July and August of 25C with June and September cooler and April and October an average high of 14C. The best time to go is late Spring before the summer peak temperatures and spring flowers are in evidence. Equally September and October are good with cooler weather lower rainfall and autumn colours starting.  July and August the area is at its busiest.

Please note our best to go information is generally referring to the walking which may fall in the early or late season in some places. This may mean that not all tourist facilities will be open at the time you visit.

When to book your walking holiday in Austria - Danube - Wachau Valley

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