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Wachau World Heritage Trail Quick & Map

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Quick Navigation

Which Direction is Better?

There is no correct answer to that but for practical reasons, I decided to list trail stages between Spitz and Krems goes backwards compared to most other sites, including official ones. I found it much more convenient to walk towards the closest exit train station so the return to Vienna would be shorter. The stages of the trail between Spitz and Melk are listed under the ‘correct’ direction for the same reason. People who are doing the whole Wachau World Heritage Trail will have to pardon me, the article is directed more for day or weekend hikers and not so much for trekkers.

Wachau World Heritage Trail Details

Map of Wachau

Melk and the Benedictine Abbey will require a day of exploration alone. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Wachau World Heritage Trail 1: Dürnstein – Krems an der Donau

Trail Stage Details:

Wachau vista from the Dürnstein Castle. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Wachau World Heritage Trail 2: Weissenkirchen – Durnstein

Trail Stage Details:

Weissenkirchen vista from Wachau World Heritage Trail. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Wachau World Heritage Trail 3: Spitz – Weissenkirchen

Trail Stage Details:

Spitz vista from Rotes Tor on Wachau World Heritage Trail. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Walkthrough

The trail starts right at the heart of Spitz in der Kirchen Platz (eng. Church’s Square), and leads towards Rote Tore (eng. Red Gate). It is an easy climb for the spectacular views of the town and the surrounding vineyards.

Primaeval Forest

Take right after Rote Tore and descend to the valley before climbing up again. The further road lies in a primaeval forest with a few openings for amazing vistas of Spitz and Danube. The trail is marked very well but it might get tricky from time to time. If you stop seeing trail marks consider yourself to be on the wrong trail. Follow the forest road until you reach vine terraces not too far from Woesendorf.

Wachau Vine Terraces

This section of the trail is relatively easy and straightforward. Just follow the road and enjoy the spectacular views of vineyard terraces and the Wachau Valley. There will be another loop into the forest but after that, your destination will just be in front of you. This stage of Wachau World Heritage Trail ends, or starts, in Weissenkirchen Marktplatz(eng. Market Square).

Wachau is dominated by two plant cultures: vines and apricots. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Wachau World Heritage Trail 4: Spitz – Mühldorf

Trail Stage Details:

Spitz from Hinterhaus Castle. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Wachau World Heritage Trail 5: Mühldorf – Maria Laach

Trail Stage Details:

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Wachau World Heritage Trail 6: Maria Laach – Aggsbach Markt

Trail Stage Details:

Aggsbach Castle is on the other side of Danube from Aggsbach Markt, Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Wachau World Heritage Trail 7: Aggsbach Markt – Emmersdorf

Trail Stage Details:

Melk Abbey of Benedictines. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Wachau World Heritage Trail 8: Emmersdorf – Melk

Trail Stage Details:

The Wachau Valley is home to many cozy and beautiful medieval towns. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

How to Get to Wachau?

There are two viable direction options to get to the Wachau Valley from Vienna, both are good but depends on the destination.

By Train and Bus

The way to get to the Wachau Valley is either to take the REX train (Regional Express), running between Franz Joseph Bahnhof and Krems an der Donau, or the REX train navigating between Westbahnhof and Melk. Both options are good, your pick should depend on your destination. I would go to Melk if I wanted to reach any point between Melk and Spitz, and pick the train going to Krems if I wanted to go somewhere between Spitz and Krems an der Donau. Note that, after reaching any of the two train stations, you need to take VOR 715 bus, running between Krems and Melk through the Wachau Valley to reach your final destination. The buses timetable is aligned with the trains so the journey shouldn’t take longer than 1h40 minutes.

As an alternative, there is a private train – Wachaunahn – running between the two cities. It is a more expensive option, barely faster, and is not covered by either Einfach Raus Ticket or Freizeit Ticket.

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Pro tip: Due to relatively expensive buses and a lack of discounts, the cheapest way to get to Wachau from Vienna is using Freetime tickets (Freizeit). It costs only 19.90€ and covers all ÖBB trains and VOR buses in the region. Have in mind that it is available only on weekends on holidays.


By Car

To Krems: The path follows the Danube River northwards on roads A22, S5, S33, and 37a.

To Melk: Just follow A1 Highway, leading to Salzburg and make an exit to Melk before reaching the Danube River.


By Bicycle

Only 40 km / 25mi separate Melk from Krems an der Donau. It is possible to reach most of the places within this range on a bike in almost no time. The best part is that you don’t need to bring your own bike but you can use NextBike bike-sharing service. Cycling could also be a great alternative to Wachau World Heritage Trail to experience the Wachau Valley actively. I have a separate article about the best cycling route in the Wachau Valley.


By River Cruise

If you fancy, there is a possibility to switch the bus for a river cruise from Krems, or even book a full trip from Vienna to the Wachau Valley on a tour boat. Though these options serve more as an alternative way to experience Wachau and hardly could get in line with hiking unless you are on a multi-day adventurous trip to the Wachau Valley.

What amazes me is that everything is right in place, there is no need to go far from the popular route to see the Wachau. Photo by A.L. [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Personal Experience

Honestly, some parts of the trail felt a bit underwhelming compared to the road by the Danube, but I only say so because it is Wachau and I have a very high bar set up for this area. To be fair, it is not unusual for some parts of a long trekking trail to be not that impressive but then again – this is Wachau. Despite that, some of the vistas compensate for the weaknesses. For sure, Wachau is at its best from the bird’s view, I just expected more openings.

On the other hand, this is good for the health of the forest. I saw some benches standing just in from of impenetrable amounts of small trees. I assume, the forest is very healthy and expands anywhere where it is possible. It is also filled with life, honestly, sometimes it is easy to forget that you are walking in Wachau. I’m not sure if this is what I expected but sure I enjoyed it. Therefore, I cannot recommend these routes who just want to experience the picturesque Wachau region but for Wachau World Heritage Trail, you’ll also going to need some love for nature.

All content and photos by Alis Monte. If you want to collaborate, contact me on info@ctdots.eu Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

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