Hike along undulating hills high above the Danube from Passau to Linz
Walk through shady forests and discover ancient castle ruins
Enjoy stunning views over iconic Danube landmarks such as the Schlögen river bend
Discover cultural treasures such as Passau’s Altstadt and Engelzell Abbey
Refresh yourself in charming and welcoming taverns along the way
The Donausteig: Self-guided walking holiday along the Danube
Hiking along the Donausteig (Danube River Trail), you will get to see the most beautiful sights of the Upper Austrian Danube region. Cyclists have long appreciated the beauty of this stretch of the Danube and now it is the hiker’s turn to explore this impressive landscape of rolling green hills, snaking river bends, romantic gorges, and enchanted forests. Since 2010, these landscapes have been connected by the well-marked Donausteig hiking trail. Highlights include the distinctive narrow valley between Passau and Aschach, the Schlögener Schlinge natural wonder, as well as many nature reserves within the Danube’s distinctive broad lateral valleys (e.g., Rannatal or Koeßlbachtal).
You will also learn about the myths of the Danube as you walk. 120 different legends about the Danube are now illustrated and mounted on info boards along the route. These stories will enrich your journey and give you even more appreciation for this unique region.
|7 DAYS / 6 NIGHTS||€725 per person sharing*
*A supplement charge will apply to solo walkers.
|ACCOMMODATION||You will stay two nights in ****hotels and 4 nights in ***hotels/inns. Most of the chosen inns and hotels are official Donausteig Trail Accommodations. This means that they are mostly family-run business situated near the Donausteig Trail routes which offer services for hikers and which meet the quality criteria of “Donausteig-Wirte”.
All nights are on a bed & breakfast basis and all rooms have en-suite facilities.
Please note that twin-bedded rooms in Austria are normally one large base with two mattresses/duvets. These are also known as ‘Austrian Twins’ and are regarded as two beds. Separate twin beds are rare and cannot be guaranteed as available.
|AVAILABILITY||You can start your trip on any day of the week (subject to availability) from May to September.|
Day 1: Arrival in Passau
Known as the “City of three rivers”, Passau is renowned as one of the most beautiful cities in Germany and has much to offer. The charming laneways and archways of the Baroque old town have remained largely unchanged throughout the centuries.
Day 2: Ferry to Kasten and walk to Engelhartszell
Distance: 15 km | Ascent: 450 m | Descent: 630 m | Walking time: 5 hrs approx.
Start the day with a short ferry ride from Passau to Kasten/Vichtenstein. From there you hike along beautiful forest paths on the southern bank of the Danube to the historic market village of Engelhartszell. For the adventurous hiker, there is the option of climbing up to the Haugstein summit – the highest point on the Donausteig at 842 m. We can highly recommend a visit to Engelszell Abbey (Austria’s only Trappist monastery), which is known for its home-made liqueurs, beers and chocolates.
Day 3: Engelhartszell to Obermühl via Schlögen
Distance: 9 km | Ascent: 286 m | Descent: 286 m | Walking time: 3 hrs approx.
Or longer option with Ciconia nature path
Distance: 19.5 km | Ascent: 463 m | Descent: 452 m | Walking time: 6 hrs approx.
A taxi transfer is included this morning to take you from Engelhartszell to Schlögen. Before you start your hike to Obermühl along the Danube’s northern bank, we recommend taking the 10.5 km loop walk on the Ciconia nature path to the Schlögener Blick. This vantage platform is where you have the famous view of the iconic Schlögener Schlinge river loop. Along the way, you pass numerous info boards and art sculptures describing the unique landscape. You then take the short ferry trip across the river to Au, from where you follow the riverside nature trail Donauschlingenweg to the little riverside village of Obermühl.
Day 4: Obermühl to Untermühl
Distance: 9 km | Ascent: 454 m | Descent: 458 m | Walking time: 3½ hrs approx.
You begin today with an ascent from Obermühl in the wooded Danube Gorge up to the Burgstall summit peak (608 m). Remains of stone walls, crucifixes and a stone arch bridge testify to the historic significance of this path. Enjoy the spectacular views from the Burgstallblick lookout tower before descending to the farming village of Kirchberg. You continue downhill through undulating meadows and fields before a final steep descent through woodlands to the village of Untermühl on the Danube.
Day 5: Untermühl to Aschach
Distance: 18 km | Ascent: 684 m | Descent: 712 m | Walking time: 6 hrs approx.
Today’s hike is another up and down route. You first ascend from Untermühl to the idyllic village of St. Martin on the rural plateau of the Mühlviertler Highlands. You then descend through the wild and romantic Pesenbachtal gorge, passing the distinctive Kerzenstein rock spire and cascading waterfalls along the Pesenbach stream. You reach the banks of the mighty Danube once again at Oberlandshaag, where you cross a bridge over the river to Aschach. We recommend taking some time to explore the lovely town of Aschach. Its medieval townhouses feature gothic, baroque and renaissance era facades and courtyards.
Day 6: Aschach to Linz
Distance: 16 km | Ascent: 693 m | Descent: 692 m | Walking time: 5 hrs approx.
From Aschach you first take the local bus to Ottensheim (13km, hourly intervals). Ottensheim is a historically important Danube crossing and the town’s beautiful marketplace tells of a long tradition as a trading hub. On this panoramic stage, you hike from Ottensheim over the summits of the Donaublick and Pöstlingberg to the vibrant and historic city of Linz.
After a short section of forest, you ascend past meadows, fields and orchards to the Dürnberg Mountain and the summit cross of the Donaublick (688 m). You will enjoy wonderful views over the fertile Eferding basin and the narrow gorge of the Danube River. Your next challenge is the Pöstlingberg, a 539-metre-high hill above the city of Linz. Here you will find the Pöstlingberg pilgrimage church, as well as a viewing platform over the city. A way of the cross then leads you down through meadows and woodland before you finally cross the Danube bridge to the magnificent main square of Linz.
Day 7: Train from Linz to Passau and departure
Your hiking trip on the Danube comes to an end this morning. Train tickets are included to take you back to Passau for onward travel.