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Travel story: In the vineyards above the Danube

Verena hikes along the Wachau World Heritage Trail
Vineyard in the Wachau

In the last two years, I have explored beautiful Italy on two walking holidays: plesaure walking in Piedmont and on the east coast of Sardinia. After these walking holidays in Italy, this year's holiday is in my home territory, along the beautiful Wachau World Heritage Trail. With my sister, I drive along the “Romantic Road” on the northern bank of the Danube to Krems, the starting point of our walking holiday "World Heritage Trail Wachau, Krems - Spitz". Now, there will be three walking days along the Danube and right through the vineyards to Spitz. Alternatively, this tour is also offered as a longer variant over eight days, up to Melk. We are really looking forward to the next few days and raise a toast at our first dinner in Krems’ old town with homemade Austrian apricot iced tea. (Fun fact: in Austria, we call apricots “Marillen”, but in Germany, they are known as “Aprikose”!)

Vineyard in the Wachau

From the city to the vineyards

After a bolstering breakfast, we start our first walk directly from Krems. We reach the first vines after just a few minutes’ walk up the Kreuzbergstiege. A beautiful view of Krems and the distant Göttweig Castle opens up. It is incredible how vast and flat the region is. Since we are both from the Salzburger Land region in Austria, we are used to higher mountains. At this moment, we both decided that it is also very beautiful in Lower Austria. Delightedly, we discover a “watering hole” with a drinks machine in a side street. We enjoy the short break in the shade.

Thirst-quenching place on a hiking tour in the Wachau

Along the beautiful blue Danube

The walking trails lead us upstream along the banks of the Danube through unspoilt countryside. Twice, we have taken a planned short river crossing with a small ferry: Dürnstein to Rossatz and Lorenz to Weißenkirchen. Our warm and history-loving host from Dürnstein shares an oft-repeated anecdote: “What is the best thing about Rossatz? Ah, the view of our Dürnstein with the blue church tower!”. Some tourists even go to the other bank of the Danube just to see the famous view! We are excited!

The Wachau World Heritage Trail

We walk between the endless vines with a view of the Danube, along the so-called “Apricot-mile”, and climb the highest peaks in Wachau. From the Seekopf and the Buschandlwand, an incredible panorama opens up to us after some time in the forest. Although the area is not mainly mountainous, there is still some climbing. We therefore recommend sturdy shoes and sufficient provisions, especially on warm days. Our daily trail companions are the shy green. Here and there, we hear rustling in the bushes because of the dry and warm summer days. The little reptiles have become a symbol of the best wine in Wachau.

Peaches in the vineyards of the Wachau

From apricots to the Grünen Veltliner wine

On this walking tour, a tasting of Wachau’s famous wines is naturally not to be missed. We taste some of these fine wines at the Domain Wachau winery in Dürnstein. A friendly wine connoisseur explains the different wineries and growing regions. Although the entire area looks very similar to ours, there are tiny temperature differences between individual locations. These become noticeable in the taste of the wine.
In addition to its wine, the Wachau is also known as an apricot-growing region. Unfortunately, this year, the harvest will be smaller than usual due to the frosty spring. We are even more happy when we finally walk past full fruit trees in Spitz. The apricot season is celebrated with countless culinary offerings: we sample our way through apricot cake, apricot ice cream, apricot dumplings, apricot spritz, apricot schnapps and apricot liqueur. These taste particularly good right on the banks of the Danube – here is everything your heart desires!

Apricot dumplings

The Danube boat journey

The crowning conclusion of our walking holiday is the Danube boat journey back to the starting point in Krems. From the bank you can admire the vines and the picturesque places above the Danube from a different perspective. The towns of Weißenkirchen, Dürnstein und Krems lie in front of us and can be recognised by their striking church towers. During the one-hour journey on the boat’s sun deck, you can look back on the kilometres walked. Now it’s clear to us why Wachau is part of the world cultural heritage.

Boat Wachau

Our conclusion

Whether in the middle of the vineyards or with delicious apricot dumplings in a wine tavern, the Wachau is a very special region, and it invites you to enjoy it!

Favourite place – the Danube boat journey

I have chosen the Danube boat journey from Spitz to Krems as my personal favourite place in the Wachau. From the river, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the vineyards and picturesque towns. I enjoy the hour-long journey back on the sundeck and reminisce about the lovely walking moments.

Hiker on a boat trip in the Wachau
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