A cycle route steeped in history

The EuroVelo13 route, or “Iron Curtain Trail”, provides close encounters with both recent history and nature.

The EuroVelo13 route follows the former Iron Curtain, and connects Lower Austria to the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and the Waldviertel with the Weinviertel.

On the “Iron Curtain Trail” the EuroVelo13 route leads you along 10,400km of the former western border of the Warsaw Pact zone and the Iron Curtain, which ran from the Norwegian-Russian border on the coast of the Barents Sea, down to the Black Sea, and divided Europe into eastern and western sectors for nearly half a century. In Lower Austria, the EuroVelo13 route passes through around 200km of the Waldviertel and the Weinviertel and sometimes overlaps with other routes such as the Kamp-Thaya-Marchroute, but often leads over the borders to points of interest in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Contemporary history, politics, culture and nature

Even though the Iron Curtain came down about 30 years ago, its traces are still recognisable. The Iron Curtain Trail connects several memorials, cenotaphs and museums commemorating Europe’s divided history, and how the division was overcome as a result of the peaceful revolution of 1989. That may sound macabre, but the border also had positive qualities. In the uninhabited restricted zone, there were several retreat areas for plants and animals, which are now conservation areas, such as the Thayatal National Park.

Detours and excursions

In Lower Austria, the Euro Velo 13 route mainly passes along flat routes in the Thaya and March Valleys. Route extensions such as the “Lainsitztaler Iron Curtain Trail” in the Waldviertel, or the routes named after grape varieties in the Weinviertel will lure you into the “heartland”. In addition, packages with bicycle-friendly accommodation and luggage transport guarantee comfortable cycling fun.