Is this for you?
Do you like bike trips and outdoor activities? Do you like wine? Or maybe you like exploring cozy little towns? For any of this reasons a trip to Wachau Valley will be a perfect choice. This beautiful Valley of Lower Austria is a 30-kilometers (18-miles) stretch alongside the Donau River, between the towns of Melk and Kremswhat. It’s literally squeezed between cliffs and hills therefore the natural beauty of this UNESCO heritage is simply unique. It has an idyllic scenery with steeply terraced vineyards and historical villages completed with castles and churches. And it gives a perfect opportunity for a fun one day trip from Vienna!
Organized tour or a trip on your own?
There are few local companies offering organized bike tours through Wachau Valley. Of course, it could be a good option if you prefere to have everything managed and guided. Some of the trips have a starting point in Vienna so you would not have to even worry how to get from Vienna to Wachau.
I tried this organized tour also and will tell you something very honest… It’s a waste of money. Organized tours costs more than 100 euro per person and you can easily do that trip by yourself. You will not only save your money, but also will be able to explore exactly the places you like the most and skip those that are not particularly interesting for you.
I did the Wachau bike tour on my own several times and this is one of my favorite activities around Vienna. And a very easy one to be managed without any guided tour.
How to get to Wachau?
The easiest way to get from Vienna to Wachau Valley is by train from Franz Josefs Bahnhofstation. The ride takes 65 minutes to get to Krems, the main town in Wachau Walley. You will not miss it for sure as the train service is very helpful and you will most probably see many other people with their bikes going exactly the same direction. For the cheapest train ticket the best option is to buy a group return ticket (the minimum for group purchase is 3 people). You can find actual train schedule info here.
I need a bike, where to get it?
Traveling by train with a bike is not complicated at all and trains in Austria have a special and very convenient section for bike transportation. If you do not have your own bike with you, you can rent it already in Wachau and I would recommend you to check the rental called Zweirad. It’s located very close to the train station in Krems and the cost of rental is 15 euro per day. If you need any more additional equipment like helmet, you can also rent it at the same place. Wearing bike helmet in Austria is recommended but not obligatory. Also, even thou Wachau Valley is a safe area it is always good to chain your bike when stopping for a break.
About Wachau wines
Wachau Valley is one of Austria’s most exciting and fascinating wine regions with 1344 hectares of vineyards producing delicious wines. It contains of 124 vineyards and 650 growers cultivating 3340 acres (1350 ha) planted mainly to mineral Riesling and herbal Grüner Veltliner. Besides Riesling and Grüner Veltliner, a few producers grow other grape varieties like Sauvignon Blanc or very rare grape called Neuburger.
What is also fascinating about Wachau Valley is that many of the region’s wineries date back at least 8 generations. There are a few special exceptions including Hirtzberger since the early 1800’s, Gritsch since 1799, Weingut Maccherndl which goes back to 1786 and Nikolaihof as the oldest winery in Austria with records back to 777. Isn’t it impressive?
Wachau Valley is perfect for any kind of cyclists: professionals, amateurs or kids. All the bike routes are well maintained and you will be cycling through beautiful vineyards and little Austrian towns. Most of the time the bike route is separated from any car traffic, so it’s also super safe. The route I have planned for you is 30 km long. Believe me, with all the stops that you will take on the way for wine tasting and sightseeing, it’s more than doable. Also, please bear in mind that in Austria it is allowed to bike up to 0,7 of blood-alcohol limit.
Your route step by step:
- You start from the main train station in Krems where you arrive with a train from Vienna.
- Your first stop will be Wachau Domane, which you can reach after just 7 km bike ride. It is a large store but worth visiting and having a wine tasting there.
- After this first stop, you are ready to have a lunch in Durnstein, which is barely 1km ride from the wine store. It’s a cute old town with many nice places for a refreshing break and small shops offering local products. There are at least two places worth visiting which are Durnsteiner Hof, perfect for lunch, and Altes Presshaus which is better for a drink.
- After that exhausting part of wining and dining in Durstein, you should head towards cosy little town Weissenkirchen where you should visit Weingut Hermenegild Mang. It’s a beautiful place with a lovely garden and great wine selection. In my opining, the best in Wachau Valley. This kind of place is called “heurige” in Austria. That means you will not find there any warm food but a nice selection of cold apetizers and, of course, great wines.
- Once you are ready to go back there is one more obligatory stop on the way to Krems. After approximately 7,5 km from Weissenkirchen you will reach again Oberloiben town. There you should find Heuriger Graf. It’s a place where ladies in traditional outfits serve various sorts of wines that you can taste in a cosy yard of an old village house. A must see place!
- After that you can head towards Krems main station to catch the train back to Vienna.
When to go to Wachau Valley?
Best time for a Wachau Valley trip are months from June till September. If you are planning the trip off that main season, it’s always better check the opening hours of the places that you want to visit. Some of them may have different opening schedule or even be closed in the low season.
If you love biking you may also like to plan another fun one day trip from Vienna to Bratislava by bike.