The most beautiful stages on the World Heritage Trail

From Krems to Melk in five days. We present you the most beautiful stages on what is probably the most spectacular high-altitude hiking trail along the Danube.

A large number of ruins, monasteries and castles as well as natural monuments can be found along this section. The 73-kilometre-train connects three stages on the north side of the Danube with two stages on the south side - the two ends of the World Heritage Trail.

With three ferry connections across the Danube and several paths to walk along the river, the Wachau World Heritage Trail stretches more than 180 km and is a particularly dynamic long-distance hiking trail. The following applies - the journey is the goal! But not only the journey, since "the break is also part of the music", as Stefan Zweig said. That's why there are several Heurige and wineries along the way, where you can raise a glass to the kilometres you have covered. By the way, you don't have to carry your own backpack - use the luggage transport service. Ready? Off we go!

#1 Krems – Dürnstein

Duration: 4:30 h  |  Ascent: 385 egm  |  easy  |  tour details

On the first day, historic town centres alternate with wine landscapes. The starting point is the city centre of Krems, and then on to the Krems vineyards. This is followed by a walk through the old town of Stein, which extends into the cellar alley, where you can also get your hiker's stamp at the gate of the Heurigen Mayer-Resch. Via the Wachau wine-growing area and the Höhereck nature reserve, the largest dry grassland in eastern Wachau, you reach a rocky and forested landscape that soon leads to Dürnstein. Tip - spend the night in the 400-year-old Hotel Schloss Dürnstein.

#2 Dürnstein – Weißenkirchen

Duration: 6:00 h  |  Ascent: 625 egm  |  medium  |  tour details

Via the donkey trail in Dürnstein, where there is also a show garden of the Wachau saffron manufactory, you reach what are probably Austria's most famous castle ruins, where the English King Richard the Lionheart was once imprisoned. Then take a detour to the Dürnsteiner Kanzel, one of the most spectacular vantage points in the Wachau. With the most beautiful distant views from stone terraces, the stage ends in the wonderful wine village of Weißenkirchen. Tip - stay overnight at the Hotel-Restaurant Kirchenwirt in Weißenkirchen.

#3 Weißenkirchen – Spitz

Duration: 3:30 h  |  Ascent: 429 egm  |  medium  |  tour details

The particularly scenic third stage of the World Heritage Trail leads through the very heart of the Wachau stone terrace wine landscape. You hike high above the Danube and pass the Michaelerberg viewpoint and natural monument, where gently sloping dry grasslands are habitats for unique plants and animals.. Through the Red Gate, the remains of the former defence wall, you enter Spitz, where the finest Heurigenkultur awaits you. From the Özelt wine estate for example, you can look out over the roofs of Spitz while swirling your wine glass.

#4 Hofarnsdorf – Aggsbach Dorf

Duration: 5:15 h  |  Ascent: 665 egm  |  medium  |  tour details

Take the ferry from Spitz on the north side to Hofarnsdorf on the south side of the Danube, where you walk the following stage in the other direction. On the Hohe Stein and Glauberkreuz, there are wonderful panoramic views (stage 11 also offers further views on the Seekopf lookout and Hirschwand!). Continue into the Dunkelsteinerwald woods with its rejuvenation spots and then on to the pilgrimage church in Maria Langegg. Just before Aggsbach, you reach the ruins of the Aggstein Castle, whose tavern makes you feel like you’ve travelled back in time to the Middle Ages. Even today, visitors to the medieval festival can still experience this historic time.

#5 Aggsbach Dorf – Melk

Duration: 6:00 h  |  Ascent: 513 egm  |  medium  |  tour details

Soon after leaving Aggsbach, you reach the Hohenwarther Höhe, from where you can overlook the Dunkelsteinerwald. After Schönbühel Castle, you continue on an old farm track until you reach the town of Melk. If you have time, take a look at the baroque Melk Abbey - it is not called the "landmark of the Wachau" for nothing. And at the end of the day, you can thank your legs for carrying you over hill and dale for five days by celebrating with food and drink in the Rathauskeller.