Stage 5: from Melk to Krems 36 km along the Danube through the Wachau World Heritage Site

The most beautiful part of the Danube bike tour through Austria is the Wachau.

In 2008, the river valley was named “National Geographic Traveler Magazine”Best Historic Destination in the World”Selected.

On the Danube Cycle Path in the heart of the Wachau

Take a lot of time, plan to spend a day or more in the Wachau.

In the heart of the Wachau you will find a room with a view of the Danube or the vineyards.

The area between Melk and Krems is now known as the Wachau.

Origins point to an 830 first mention of the area around Spitz and Weissenkirchen as "Wahowa". From the 12th to the 14th century, vineyards owned by the Tegernsee monastery, the Zwettl monastery and the Clarissin monastery in Dürnstein in St. Michael, Wösendorf, Joching and Weißenkirchen were named “Wachau district”.

A bike tour for all senses the free-flowing Danube

Cycling in the Wachau is an experience for all the senses. Forests, mountains and the murmur of the river, just nature that invigorates and refreshes, relaxes and calms, lifts the mood and has been proven to reduce stress. In the XNUMXs and XNUMXs the construction of a Danube was started Power plant near Rührsdorf successfully repelled. As a result, the Danube in the Wachau area was preserved as a naturally flowing body of water.

Conservation of a unique landscape

The Wachau was declared a landscape protection area and received that Council of Europe European Nature Conservation Diploma, the Wachau was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The free-flowing Danube is the heart of the Wachau for over 33 km. Rugged rocks, floodplain, forests, dry grasslands and stone terraces determine the landscape.

Best Wachau wines on primary rock soils

The microclimate on the Danube is of great importance for wine and fruit growing. The geological structures of the Wachau developed over millions of years. Hard gneiss, softer slate gneiss, crystalline lime, marble and graphite deposits sometimes determine the varied shape of the Danube valley.

The typical terrace vineyards along the Danube, which were created centuries ago, and the fine-fruity Rieslings and Grüner Veltliner that thrive there, make the Wachau World Heritage Site one of the most important Austrian wine-growing regions.

The typical terrace vineyards with their bedrock weathered soils, which were created centuries ago, are essential for viticulture. In the terrace vineyards, the vine roots can penetrate the gneiss rock with little ground support. A special grape variety is the fine fruit that thrives here Riesling, he is considered the king of white wines.

A visit to the medieval city of Dürnstein offers a special experience on the Danube. The infamous Kuenringer ruled here in the Middle Ages. For example the seat was the castles of Aggstein and Dürnstein. The sons of Hademar II were known as robber knights and "dogs of Kuenring". Another historical occurrence was the arrest of the legendary English king Richard I Lionheart at Dürnstein Castle on the Danube. During the crusade to Jerusalem he came into conflict with Leopold V. Upon his return, he was recognized in 1192 in an inn in Erdberg near Vienna. Thereupon he was captured by Leopold I of Austria and Leopold had his prominent prisoner brought to the Dürren Stein an der Donau.

Cycle along the tranquil, beautiful Danube south bank

We cycle downstream along the quieter southern side of the Danube. We drive through beautiful countryside, along orchards, vineyards and floodplain landscapes of the freely flowing Danube. Bicycle rides can also change river sides several times.

About the LIFE-Nature conservation program Between 2003 and 2008 the remains of the old arm, e.g. B. in Aggsbach Dorf, again connected to the Danube. The channels were dug up to one meter below the low-water level to create new habitats for Danube fish and other aquatic inhabitants such as kingfishers, sandpipers, amphibians and dragonflies.

Coming from Melk we see Schönbühel Castle and the former on a Danube rock Service monastery Schönbühel, According to the plans of the Church of the Nativity in Betlehem, Count Conrad Balthasar von Starhemberg had an underground sanctuary built in 1675, which is still unique in Europe to this day. Doors lead to the outside on both sides of the grave. Here we enjoy the panoramic view of the Danube.

Natural paradise Danube meadows and monasteries

Then it continues through the Danube floodplains, Numerous gravel islands, gravel banks, old arms and riparian forest remains characterize the free flow of the Danube in the Wachau.

The Danube River sometimes shifts its course, soil is removed at one point, sand, gravel or clay is deposited at other points. So a waste water remains.

On this untapped section of the river we experience the dynamics of a river that is constantly changing due to the flowing water. Here we experience the intact Danube.

We'll get there soon Aggsbach with the remarkable Carthusian monastery, The medieval Carthusian church originally had no organ, pulpit or church tower. According to the strict rules of the order, the praise of God could only be sung in a human voice. The small cloister had no connection to the outside world. The buildings fell into disrepair in the second half of the 2th century. The complex was later restored in the Renaissance style. Emperor Josef II lifted the monastery in 16 and the estate was sold in succession. The monastery rebuilt as a castle.
Near the former monastery complex there is an old hammer mill to visit, which was in operation until 1956.
We cycle comfortably to the next small town of Aggstein.

E-biker tip: Raubritterburg ruin Aggstein

E-bike cyclists could take the steep Burgweg, about 300 meters above the right bank of the Danube, for a visit to the historic ruin of the former Aggstein Castle choose.

The Babenberg castle Aggstein was built around 1100 as protection for the country and the Danube. The Kuenringer took over Aggstein and had the right to toll on the Danube. Protection changed to the contrary under the rule of the new owners. After the extinction of the Kueringer the castle was handed over to Jörg Scheck vom Wald in 1429. As a robber baron he was feared by the merchants.

After a fire, Aggstein Castle was rebuilt around 1600 and offered protection to the population during the Thirty Years' War. After this time the castle fell into disrepair. Wall stones were later used for the construction of Maria Langegg Monastery.

Wachau apricots and wine in the Arns villages

On the river bank, the Danube cycle path leads us downstream to St Johann in the Mauertal, the beginning of the municipality of Rossatz-Arnsdorf. Past orchards and vineyards we reach Oberarnsdorf. Here we rest in this beautiful place with a view of the Ruin back house and Spitz on the Danube, the heart of the Wachau.

A little Detour to the ruins of the rear building, on foot or by e-bike is worthwhile.

In 1955 the Wachau was declared a landscape protection area. In the XNUMXs and XNUMXs, the construction of a Danube power plant near Rührsdorf was successfully blocked. Thus, the Danube in the area of ​​the Wachau could be preserved as flowing water. The Wachau then successfully applied for the European Nature Conservation Diploma of the Council of Europe and the UNESCO World Heritage award. The future of the Wachau, the preservation and improvement of this unique landscape has become a matter for all of humanity. The special geological, climatic and landscape diversity makes the Wachau so important. A protected natural area of ​​river landscape, hillside meadows, dry grass, wine terraces, orchards and forests. The apricot blossom in mid-April is the highlight of spring, a special natural experience in the Wachau.

Salzburg rule in the Arns villages

Finds from the Stone Age and the later Iron Age prove that the municipality of Rossatz-Arnsdorf was settled very early. The border of the Roman province of Noricum, Remains of the wall from two watchtowers of the Limes can still be seen in Bacharnsdorf and Rossatzbach.
They stood from 860 to 1803 Arnsdorf under the rule of the Salzburg archbishops. The church in Hofarnsdorf is dedicated to St. Consecrated to Rupert, the founder saint of Salzburg. The wine production of the Arns villages was of great importance for the dioceses and monasteries. In Oberarnsdorf, the Salzburgerhof built by the St. Peter Archbishopric commemorates. Two years later in 1803, secularization also ended the spiritual rule in Arnsdorf.

Arnsdorf is today the largest Wachau apricot growing community. Wine is grown on a total of 103 hectares of land on the Danube.
We continue cycling through Rührsdorf alongside vineyards to Rossatz and Rossatzbach. On hot summer days, the Danube invites you to take a cool dip. We enjoy the mild summer evening with a Heuriger in vineyard with a glass of wine from the Wachau and a view of the Danube.

Romans along the southern bank of the Danube, the Limes

After Rossatzbach to Mautern, the Danube cycle path is laid out alongside the autostrasse but on its own route.
In Mautern, archaeological excavations such as graves, wine cellars and more testify to an important Roman settlement "Favianis", which was located on an important trade route on the northern border with the Germanic peoples. We cross the Danube to Krems / Stein via the Mautener Bridge, one of the first and most important Danube crossings between Linz and Vienna.

Pitoresque Medieval town

We can also choose the northern bank of the Danube through the Wachau.
From Emmersdorf we cycle on the Danube cycle path via Aggsbach Markt, Willendorf, Schwallenbach, Spitz, St. Michael, Wösendorf in der Wachau, Joching, Weisskirchen, Dürnstein, Oberloiben to Krems.

The Danube Cycle Path leads partly on the old road through small picturesque medieval towns, but also along the more busy road (than on the northern side of the Danube). There is also the possibility of using the river bank several times Ferry to change: at Oberarnsdorf to Spitz, from Rührsdorf to Weissenkirchen or from Rossatzbach to Dürnstein.

Willendorf and the Stone Age Venus

The village of Willendorf gained importance as an approximately 25.000 year old limestone Venus from the Stone Age was found. The original of Venus is exhibited in the Natural History Museum in Vienna.

Experience cultural heritage Wachau

After a visit to Spitz an der Donau we will soon see the Fortified church of St Michael with Karner. The origin points to a Celtic sacrificial site. Under Charlemagne At this point a chapel was built around 800 and the Celtic place of worship was converted into a Christian Michael sanctuary. In the course of a new construction of the church in 1530, the weir system was originally built with five towers and a drawbridge. The upper floors were fortified and difficult to access. A medieval salvage room was used on the first floor. The Renaissance organ from 1650 is one of the oldest surviving in Austria.

Dürnstein and Richard Löwenherz

The medieval city is also worth seeing Dürnstein, The infamous Kuenringer ruled here. For example the seat was the castles of Aggstein and Dürnstein. As a robber knight and as "Dogs from Kuenring“Were the two sons of Hademar II. A notable historical political event was the arrest of the legendary English King Richard I, lion heart, in Vienna Erdberg. Leopold V. then had his prominent prisoner brought to the Stein an der Donau droughts.

Through Loiben to Stein and Krems the Danube cycle path goes on the old road which is now a cycle path.