After a brilliant night’s sleep at Weingut Holzapfel-Prandtauerhof and a relatively rushed breakfast (might have slightly over-slept…), we headed out to explore the Wachau in the best way possible – by hiking through it.
The World Heritage trail is one of the best hiking routes in the Wachau Valley.
It’s one beautiful view after the other as you start from the village of Weißenkirchen to Spitz and I can’t recommend it enough! It’s absolutely fantastic!!!
A few things worth knowing before you do it:
a.) The hike is fairly easy and very clearly signposted (you can do most of it on well-paved roads – too small for cars but perfect for cyclists and hikers).
b.) Take some water with you – the hike takes about 3.5 hours, possibly longer if you stop for photos.
c.) There’s an app for this hike. The one we used was in German but be sure to download it before you arrive here as it’s handy to have on your hike.
d.) You don’t have to hike back – from Spitz, you can catch a bus which takes like 5 – 10 minutes to drop you back at Weißenkirchen. Or you could take a taxi back – again, the journey is short so the taxi is cheap, the only problem might actually be how to find the taxi driver (suffice to say, there’s no Uber here). 🙂
While you try to figure out how to get back to Weißenkirchen, pop in for lunch at Gasthof Goldenes Schiff in Spitz. It’s not gourmet food or anything (not that I was expecting that) but it’s pretty good and exactly what you need after your long hike! (And yes, it goes without saying that you should get a glass of wine too… or two, you deserve it).
Back in Weißenkirchen, we checked out, hopped into the car and headed over to Melk Abbey (which I mentioned in my previous post here). Weingut Holzapfel-Prandtauerhof was built by the same monks who built Melk Abbey and we were told we absolutely had to visit.
Also, Melk Abbey is one of the two Abbeys that heralds the start and end of the Wachau Valley, depending on which part of it you start in.
We stopped off briefly at St Michael’s church, which we’d seen on the way back to Weißenkirchen (easier to explore once we had our car with us).
The church here is impressive but also rather gruesome as although it was closed, you could peek in and there were parts of it that had bones just piled on top of each other.
Melk Abbey needs no signposting when you get there – you can see it sitting right on the edge of the cliff, imperiously overlooking the valley.
You do have to drive up through the back (it’s like 5 minutes from the town at the base) to get into it and there’s a huge car park up here which is free so having a car here is pretty handy.
Melk Abbey is as impressive as they said it would be!
It’s absolutely magnificent and leaves you in awe as you walk through it.
You’re not allowed to take photos in a fair bit of it so it’s even more impressive than I can show you in these photos (but hopefully you can get a sense of how fantastic it is even from these photos).
At the top, there’s a balcony with a great view of the valley.
Alas, half of the Abbey’s façade from this point was covered in scaffolding but even with that, you still leave the Abbey thorough impressed and with a newfound appreciation of the Weingut Holzapfel-Prandtauerhof hotel, built by the same monks, that we’d stayed in the night before.
Saying farewell to Melk Abbey meant saying farewell to the Wachau valley (albeit with a promise to return soon) but we left with excitement as we were off to explore another special part of Austria – this time in the upper region of Austria!