We laughed. We ate our way through. We got creative! We enjoyed. We connected with nature. Here in the Upper Waldviertel. And now? Now’s the time to tell you all about the actual hiking trails here in this hiking district of the Upper Waldviertel. After all this eating & gourmet-style travelling, we are now face to face with …
… hiking along the Lainsitz river. Newly signposted, this long-distance hiking trail leads through the Upper Austrian Waldviertel in four days, crossing the border with the Czech Republic all the way to the Moldau river.
I do have to admit it: We have not walked all of this trail’s 220 kilometres on our short “tasting trip” here in Waldviertel. However, even in just a few days, the area as well as the local people we have met have given us a good feeling of this international long-distance trail. Starting from the source waters of the Lainsitz river, the first day leads past the highest elevation of the Waldviertel, the Nebelstein at 1.017 metres above sea-level. At the Nebelstein, a cosy mountain hut provides rest and great food for all hikers. Walking there, you will also come across the last Austrian paper mill run by the Mörzinger family, who gave us a taste of paper-making by inviting us to do a creative workshop with them! Hiking in Waldviertel is everything but boring – highly entertaining and creative, rather!
From the Nebelstein, we continue towards Austria’s oldest brewing town Weitra. Our tip is this: Try their great beer variety & ask for a tour with local expert, thriller author & night watchman Ernest Zederbauer!
On each trip, I find the same: It really is the people you meet that make it count. Ernest Zederbauer is such a typical local personality: Listening to his stories about the brewing town of Weitra is just as fascinating as hearing more about his local Waldviertel thriller “Draussen im Walde” – or his plan to have the next European Night Watchmen meeting in Weitra … Ernest himself is a wonderful local host and takes visitors around Weitra as a historical Night Watchman. Arriving during the day, we explore Weitra with him and its many charming nooks and crannies.
Starting in Weitra, we “hijack our Ernest” to serve as our hiking guide for the next section of the Lainsitz trail, leading to Gmünd on some leisurely 20 kilometres.
Now this part of the trail does actually not lead right by the river Lainsitz, but across meadows & forests including ancient estates & country houses. The trail is easy featuring only minor slopes; we are walking with our lunch pack from the Brauhaus restaurant in Weitra and only on a day pack as our luggage transport is all arranged for. Nice! Everything can be organised here – including local guide Ernest with all his tales & stories of times past and present!
Last but not least, Schrems along the Lainsitz hiking trail impresses us with a visit of its tree house lodge, its “Stairway To Heaven” as well as the local Moor Nature Park.
The fascinating world of the ponds & moors in Waldviertel … “No moor bodies have been found here”, our guide tells us right away looking at our expectant eyes. Thanks to her insights and stories about the moor, we have a better understanding of its role, its use and its significance to people leaving here throughout the centuries. Right by the nature park, Franz Steiner has created a “monument” of a kind: Welcome to one of Austria’s first tree house lodges, inspired by the one he saw in Kaikoura, New Zealand! A luxury hideaway, you get to spend the night here for € 200,- including breakfast. If you only want to burn calories (not cash), then you are well advised to climb the local “Stairway To Heaven” Himmelsleiter at the nature park of Schrems. We have taken a look around and can recommend you to do the following:
Check out even more photos & impressions of our hiking trip along the Lainsitz river as well as in the hiking district of the Upper Waldviertel in this virtual photo album.
Disclaimer: We have been invited by Waldviertel Tourismus in order to travel in the hiking destination of the Upper Waldviertel district. All opinions are my own.