Section 4 Danube cycle path from Grein to Melk 44 km along the Danube through Strudengau to Melk, the gateway to the Wachau

A bridge just before Grein or the ferry brings us back to the south bank of the Danube.

The Strudengau, rock faces and dangerous water whirlpools

With a view of the river and the steep cliffs we cycle through the strudengau, a fascinating culture landscape. Again and again we find inviting sandy beaches right on the river. It is hard to imagine that the Danube was once feared as a violent natural event with violent roaring and roaring, if today you can perceive the Danube here as an overcrowded tranquil bathing lake.
Until 1957, when the Ybbs-Persenbeug power plant was built, this section of the river was one of the most dangerous for shipping. Very threatening whirlpools were created by rocky reefs and shallows in the stream. Grein, Struden, St. Nikola and Sarmingstein benefited from the location at this narrow point on the Danube. Toll points were set up and the passage through the eddies and whirlpools was organized. Around 20 pilots were ready, skippers who knew the dangers of every rock and eddy in the Danube. An early mass was held daily in Struden for the Danube boatmen in 1510.

The Urdonau in Strudengau

The Wörth Island lies in the middle of what was once the wildest stretch of the Strudengau. It divides the Danube into two arms, the so-called Hoessgang and the Struden Canal, which is richer in rock. The island of Wörth is the last remnant of the granite cliffs of a rock massif Bohemian mass of the Urdonau, When the Danube was low, the island was once accessible by foot or by wagon using gravel banks. It has been a nature reserve since 1970 and can be visited with a guided tour from July to September.

Banned dangers from the Ybbs-Persenbeug power plant

Regulation by blasting, some of the many dangerous rocky islands, began in 1777. It was only when the water level was raised, as part of the Ybbs-Persenbeug power plant construction, that the dangers in the Strudengau on the Danube were controlled.

We will soon reach the dam. First plans for the oldest Danube Ybbs-Persenbeug power plant already existed in 1920. During one Guide you can see with 3D glasses how a Kaplan turbine works deep down in the Danube.

The Danube Cycle Path leads us through the Nibelungengau

In the old town of Ybbs, very beautiful Renaissance town houses are impressive. The Bicycle Museum can also be of interest to cyclists.
We drive over Säusenstein and Krummnussbaum on the Danube to the "Nibelungenstadt" Pöchlarn.
Im Nibelung song an ancient epic, some of which takes place on the Danube, is the setting for the small town of Pöchlarn. As the most famous Middle High German epic hero, it has survived in 35 manuscripts and fragments (the most recent find from 1998 is kept in the Melk Abbey Library).

Pöchlarn is also the birthplace of the famous Austrian painter Oskar Kokoschka.

Melk is mentioned for the first time in 831. Melk is also mentioned in the Nibelungenlied in medium high German as a medelike. From 976 the castle served as the residence of Leopold I. In 1089 the castle became the Benedictine monks of Lambach. To this day, monks live according to the rule of St. Benedict in Melk Abbey. Since the 12th century there has also been a school connected to the monastery. Valuable manuscripts were collected and made in the library. After the church, the library is the second most important in the order of the rooms of a Benedictine monastery. In the 15th century, the monastery was the starting point for one of the most important medieval monastery reforms and was closely linked to the humanists at the University of Vienna.

Melk and the gateway to the Wachau

In just under an hour we reach our milestone on the Danube. Melk is called the "gateway to the Wachau", the UNESCO World Heritage Site Wachau, designated.

Over the historic old town Milk this rises on the Danube Benedictine Abbey Melk, which houses the oldest school in Austria. The abbey, the symbol of the Wachau, is considered the largest monastery complex in the Austrian Baroque.

If we want to continue on the north bank of the Danube, we switch to Ybbs-Persenbeug on the other side of the river. From Persenbeug with the Habsburg Palace Persenbeug to Marbach we continue on the Danube bike path along the river.

E-biker tip: enjoy the view from Maria Taferl

For e-bike cyclists it can be worthwhile to go to the destination Maria Taferl to cycle up. As a reward, we enjoy a great view of the Danube Valley from here.

After a short time we are back on the bike path and see Luberegg Castle, In the 18th century the plant was built as a summer residence for a busy entrepreneur and timber trader. Luberegg Castle also served as a post station on the way via Pöggstall to Budweis.
It continues through Emmersdorf and on the north side of the Danube through the Wachau. To the left is the Danube Artstetten Castlewhich we could visit at the beginning of the next stage.