Wachau World Heritage Trail 02: Dürnstein - Weißenkirchen

Trekking trail from Dürnstein, Altstadt („old part of town“) to Weißenkirchen, Marktplatz (market square)

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Elevation profile

16,00 km length

Tour dates
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Route: 16,00 km
  • Ascent: 878 egm
  • Descent: 876 egm
  • Duration: 6:00 h
  • Lowest point: 213 m
  • Highest point:552 m
  • Stage tour
  • Nice views
  • With refreshment stops
  • Botanical highlights

Details for: Wachau World Heritage Trail 02: Dürnstein - Weißenkirchen

Brief description

On your walking tour from Dürnstein to Weißenkirchen almost 17 kilometers long you probably find the most popular ruin in Austria. Also including a wonderful rock and forest landscape around Dürnstein and great views as well as the famous wine terraces with vineyards named „Klaus“ and „Achleiten“.


Wachau World Heritage Trail: from Dürnstein to Weißenkirchen

From Dürnstein you walk to the most popular ruin of Austria, through a fascinating rock and forest landscape to the „Kanzel“ (pulpit shaped rock), one of the most beautiful lookout points of the Wachau. Through picturesque vinyards the way leads to the wine village Weißenkirchen with its impressing defense church.

Starting point of the tour

Dürnstein, Altstadt („old part of town“)

Destination point of the tour

Weißenkirchen, Marktplatz (market square)

Route description Wachau World Heritage Trail 02: Dürnstein - Weißenkirchen

You start your tour in Dürnstein at the picturesque old part of town. Immediately after the „Kremser Tor“ (gate) you start taking the old donkey track (Eselsteig). There you also find the Wachau saffron garden. Via the old supply path with its stone stairs within the city walls you make your way to the ruin of Dürnstein which was used as prison for King Richard the Lionhearted in the 12th century. You leave the ruin through the north gate and enter a bizarr rock and forest landscape. Your way leads partly through untouched oak and-pine woods and you pass the so called Schlösschen (little castle), the ruined bailey of the castle. After a steep rise you reach the summit of the „Schlossberg“ (castle hill) with the „Starhembergwarte“ (observation tower). Five minutes later you are at the „Fesslhütte“ (cabin) where you find the stamp station and can also take a rest.

This also marks the beginning of the panoramic way to Weißenkirchen, which offers fantastic views of the surrounding area. After approximately five to ten minutes you cross the „Vogelbergsteig“ ( bird hill track). Here its worth to take your time to visit the „Dürnsteiner Kanzel“ taking the way to the left (about ten minutes walking distance). After being back at the crossing you walk right and at the first crossing left and down in a spiral. You pass a boom gate and turn left after that and walk down on a small path. Reaching a wider forest road staying left and after that three times in a row keeping right. This panoramic way, a very easy passable forest road, leads you to the secluded hamlet „Schildhütten“ (cabin) with the winery and tavern of family „Pomassl“ (also stamp station). At the last house the way turns right into the vineyards. Passing old abandoned vineyards and stone terraces which are allready fallen apart, you finally reach vineyards named „Klaus“ and „Achleiten“. Up right you get to vineyard „Achleiten“ with a collection of old rare wine varieties (vine cultivation). Via the so called panoramic way „Achleiten“ you are walking through the vineyards entering „Weitenberg“ a part of the village Weißenkirchen. There you turn left into a narrow walking path and arrive in the old part of Weißenkirchen. You take the historic church trail to the defense church and the wooden stairs to market square with its magnificent Renaissance building „Teisenhoferhof“, where this stage ends.


Highway A1 until intersection St.Pölten, following S33 and B3 via Krems until Dürnstein or Weißenkirchen.


Parking lots with parking fee at Dürnstein or parking along the waterfront or at the trainstation in Weißenkirchen.

The villages can be reached 7 days a week by public transportation (bus or train). Its possible to get back to the start of the tour.

On the north shore (Bus WL 1 from trainstation Krems via Dürnstein-Weißenkirchen-Spitz-Aggsbach Markt-Emmersdorf-Melk trainstation) hourly buses depart 7 days a week. On the south shore (Bus WL 2: from trainstation Krems via Mautern-Rossatz-Arnsdörfer-Aggsbach Dorf-Schönbühel-Melk trainstation) buses are departing every two hours. Spitzer Graben (WL 5 connection between Spitz and Mühldorf) operates from Spitz departing every two hours. Info at: www.vor.at

Wachautrain operates on weekends and public holidays (3 times a day). More information: www.noevog.at

Stations for the bike rent system „nextbike“ (1€ per hour) are located in Dürnstein and Weißenkirchen. More information: www.nextbike.at 

Bike ferry Dürnstein to Rossatz: the ferry operates from April 1st to October 10th, daily from 9.30a.m. to 6p.m. In June, July and August on weekends from 9a.m. to 6:30p.m. In April and from October 1st to 10th only Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10a.m. to 5p.m.

Timetable ferry Weißenkirchen to St.Lorenz: March 28th to November 1st: Monday to Friday 9a.m.-12a.m. and 1:30p.m.-6:30p.m. Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from 9:00a.m.-6.30p.m. The ferry is not operating during winter time.

More info/links

Best of Wachau: The most famous and recommendable restaurants and accommodations in the Wachau „UNESCO-World-Heritage“ you find here at www.bestof-wachau.at.

Fesslhütte, Dürnsteiner Waldhütten (wood cabin with stamp station): summer season: April to October 31st:open Tuesday-Sunday. Winter opening times on request. Phone: 0043(0)2732/41277 or www.fesslhuette.at 

Tavern and rest place Pomaßl, Weißenkirchner Schildhütten (cabin and stamp station): www.herbstzauber.at; +43(0)2711/286. Tavern is open in May and end of August until end of September. The rest place (water, soft drinks and wine) is always accessible located in the fridge underneath the stamp station.

You can find more information about restaurants and accommodation at www.welterbesteig.at.

Please note the shortened opening times of restaurants in Weißenkirchen in winter (Nov.-March). www.weissenkirchen-wachau.at

You can find taverns in Dürnstein, (Schildhütten stamp and rest station Pomaßl) and in Weißenkirchen. Several taverns are open during winter time. Please see the current calendar for opening hours (Heurigenkalender) at www.welterbesteig.at.

More accommodations are in Dürnstein, Schildhütten (Weingut Pomassl) and in Weißenkirchen.

For easy and convenient organization of the tours its good to have the Wachau-Nibelungengau-Kremstal application. Just download for Android or iPhone.


Hiking boots, raincoat, enough to eat and drink, a trail map and maybe a list of open taverns. You can find an equipmentlist onwww.welterbesteig.at section service/tips.

Safety information

In case of an emergency call the mountain rescue Wachau: 140

Author's tip

Every evening at the time of the astronomic sunset you can listen to a short and fine sound installation which takes place at the ruin of Dürnstein.

Directly at the beginning of the stage, at the „Eselsteig“ donkey track in Dürnstein, Wachau saffron is displayed in a garden. This precious plant is blooming from October till November. www.crocus-austriacus.at

More tours around the starting point