Hiking Destination Upper Waldviertel: Culinary-Creative Travel Tips

The hiking trail along the Lainsitz river is a brand new long-distance hike in the upper Waldviertel district of Lower Austria. Come to think of a hiking trip there, you might, like me, be tempted to think of pretty forest-clad hills, some nice huts & one or two good places to stay.

However, the Waldviertel has far more to offer than just that.


“Where we are, is up”: What the Waldviertel actually proclaims translates into a direct focus on the quality of its regional restaurants, accommodation & craftspeople.

I have to say that I was actually and truly pleasantly surprised during my trip up here. Together with my friends, I have come to explore the northern-most border region of Austria, next to the Czech Republic in all its variety and heart-felt hospitality. Or would you have guessed that while hiking, you can actually stop to make your own sheet of paper that will last for another 400 years?! That the city of Weitra has its own beer trail, reflecting its more than 800 years of brewing tradition? And that the local narrow-gauge railway Waldviertelbahn offers a beautiful alternative to some sections of the long-distance hike along the Lainsitz?


My travel tipp for all hikers in Waldviertel: A beer stop in the brewing town of Weitra!

The small town of Weitra, despite only counting some 2.000 inhabitants, truly merits the name “town” owing to its cultural importance and historical significance. It was here that some of the first breweries in Austria opened, granted with the so-called “bill of rights to brew beer” for more than 800 years past! Weitra thus being the oldest beer town of Austria, you must make sure to stop and taste the delicious variety of beer offered here.

Wir haben "ProBIERt" und sind von allen hier angebotenen Bierspezialitäten begeistert!

We have tried & tested the proclaimed varieties here and can only recommend them for your next visit!


Im Rahmen einer Führung durch das Brauhaus Weitra ...

As part of a guided tour through the “Brauhaus Weitra” …


... lernen wir mehr über die Kunst des Bierbrauens hier im Waldviertel.

… you will learn all there is to know about the process of brewing beer, including the option to participate in a beer seminar!


Die Kulinarik I'm Restaurant Brauhaus Weitra lässt ebenfalls nichts zu wünschen übrig!

Delicious meals are served in the restaurant …


... ebensowenig im benachbarten Gmünd, wo der Besuch des Restaurant Hopferl mit dem typischen Waldviertler Karpfenfilet lockt.

… as well as in the nearby town of Gmünd, where the typical Waldviertel Carp Fish is served with vegetables and potatoes at Restaurant Hopferl.


Sollte das Wanderwetter mal nicht so mitspielen, gibt es hier weiters die Möglichkeit zu Genuss im Hotel & Spa Sole-Felsen-Bad Gmünd.

If the weather is not ideal to go out hiking, the “Sole-Felsen-Bad” public spa & hotel here in Gmünd always provides for a welcome option or alternative to spend the day.


The art of paper-making & glass-blowing: Visiting active tradesmen & craftspeople is what Waldviertel is all about. We have visited two of them and learned how to make our own, 400-year-durable paper!

What would you write on a sheet of paper that is to be discovered in 400 years’ time? A love letter? A shopping list? Perhaps a drawing, a beautiful watercolour painting … ?

Come to think of it, I haven’t fully decided what I should do with my hand-madeindividually stamped sheet of paper. Visiting the paper-making mill of the Mörzinger family in Bad Großpertholz – the last one of its kind in Austria! – however is a visit I can recommend. Check this out.

Ankommen in der Papiermühle Mörzinger in der Wanderregion Oberes Waldviertel ...

Arriving at the paper-making mill of the Mörzinger Family as part of our visit of the hiking destination Upper Waldviertel …


... sehen wir uns gleich mal mit dieser Frage konfrontiert!

… we are invited to ponder the question which of the above makes for the most endurable sheet of paper – is it wood, cotton or papyrus?


Unfassbar (für mich), dass aus solch alten "Baumwoll-Hadern" das am längsten haltbare Papier gemacht wird !!

Quite unbelievably, the source of the strongest, or most enduring paper, is pure cotton sheets !!


In diesem Trog wird in "großem Stile" noch heute handgeschöpftes Büttenpapier erzeugt ...

To this present day, this container is the heart of the paper mill here in Waldviertel …


... während der Meister selbst zu Demonstrationszwecken für uns dies in einem viel kleineren Bottich anrührt.

… for the purpose of our own creative course, we learn how to make paper in much smaller quantities though!


Los geht's beim Papierschöpfen: Katja in ihrem Element!

Katja goes first, learning how to “scoop up paper”!


Eine kleine, individuelle Prägung macht unseren handgeschöpften Papierbogen jeweils einzigartig!

After drying, each of our individually crafted sheets receives an individual stamp to make them stand out!


Ich bin begeistert: Meine Wertschöpfung für handgeschöpftes Papier ist immens gestiegen!

What an experience: I guess I will never look at “old papers” in quite the same way again.


But there is more to come in terms of stunning crafts variety here in the hiking destination of the Upper Waldviertel. Along the trail, we also find a cluster of glass-blowing huts, such as Kurt Zalto in Neu-Nagelberg whose focus on fine (wine) glasses has helped him earn a reputation well across the borders. We visit his facility and get to peek “over the shoulder” of the glass-blowing artists – not easy nearing the furnaces of well over 1.000 °C!

Sicherheitsabstand ist hier gewährleistet: Im Herzen der Glashütte entnimmt der Glasbläser aus der über 1.000 °C heißen "Glasmasse" aus Sand & Feuer die exakt richtige Menge, um verschiedene Erzeugnisse zu formen ...

Watching from a safe distance: The glass-blowing artists know exactly how much of the liquid glass needs to be extracted from this furnace in order to create …


... wie beispielsweise diesen Piepmatz hier, immer noch gut & gerne 900 °C heiß - gleich nach Aufnahme dieses Fotos gelangt er zu "Kühlungszwecken" in den nur 300 °C heißen Ofen nebenan ..!

… cute little birdies, such as this one for instance. It is still over 900°C hot and now goes into another oven of “only” 300°C, allowing it to cool down slowly thus avoiding the danger of the glass breaking.


Biergläser werden selbstverständlich ebenso erzeugt!

Of course, the Waldviertel glass huts are all about manufacturing traditional beer glasses too …


... und im Zwischenschritt sieht dieses dann so aus - interessant!

… looking like this before receiving their final cuts and being sold – interesting, don’t you think!


Tipp: Direkt in Neu-Nagelberg hält übrigens die berühmte Waldviertler Schmalspurbahn "Waldviertelbahn", welche von hier aus nach Gmünd bzw. Litschau unterwegs ist.

Tip: Step aboard the Waldviertelbahn narrow-gauge railway if you fancy a (beautiful) alternative to some of the sections along the hiking trails in the Waldviertel: The views upon the lake districts and forests are just stunning!


One of my highlights among the “culinary-creative travel tips” in the Upper Waldviertel district is a visit to Doris Schreiber’s Waldschenke restaurant by the forest in Kurzschwarza.

The Waldviertel has always been marked by cool weather climates whose influences had to be defied by all people living, working and farming here. When visiting Doris Schreiber’s Waldschenke restaurant though, the notion of early day hardship is overcome by the scent of flowers and the aromas of her herbal garden: She welcomes us to her “guests at the herbal garden hotel”, harvesting them for our midday lunch. Doris is full of creative ideas and has founded the “Waldviertel Wein Weiba“, a group of women meeting regularly to discuss (and drink!) fine wines as well as engage in charity organizations. Her “Waldschenke” has been awarded many times for the quality of its cuisine and merits a closer look. I would certainly come back any time, and recommend you to do so, too!

Die Ankunft bei Doris Schreiber sieht in etwa so aus: Gleich wird uns der frisch geschnittene Kräuter- & Blumenkorb unter die Nase gehalten, welche wir später in unserem Suppentopf und auf den Tellern wiederfinden!

Arriving at Doris Schreiber’s Waldschenke, this is what you get: A basket full of fresh flowers and herbs that we are to spot later in our soup and on our plates! Beautiful.


Der Garten wie auch die Waldschenke selbst, besticht durch viele liebevolle Details ...

Doris’ garden, as well as the “Waldschenke” restaurant, features many cute little details, such as this “herbal bathroom” …


... Details, an denen auch die Natur ihre Freude hat!

… details that even nature decides to reward with this stunning view!


Zu Recht wissen viele Gäste Doris' Waldschenke zu schätzen.

Very glad Doris has already managed to convince several other important gastronomy organizations of the quality of her work, too.


Wer möchte nicht an diesem liebevoll gedeckten Tisch mit Aussicht auf das "Waldviertel" Platz nehmen? :)

And would you not want to sit here, taking a look out the window and into the “Waldviertel”?


Die Qualität der Speisen wie hier beim klassischen Schwammerlgulasch ist einzigartig (gut) ...

The quality of the meals served to us here is truly excellent – local, fresh & seasonal …


... und neben dem lokalen Schremser oder Weitraer Bier gibt es auch eine Kostprobe der "Waldviertler.Wein.Weiba"!

… and besides drinking local Waldviertel beer, we are also invited to try a glass of “Waldviertel Wein Weiba” wine!


Vielen Dank für den schönen Besuch bei Dir, liebe Doris: Nur weiter so Kraft all Deiner Inspiration!

Thank you so much, dear Doris, for having us: Already looking forward to our next visit with you!


Noch ein "Genuss-Stopp", den ich Euch hier ans Herz legen möchte: Der Gasthof Kaufmann in der Grenzstadt Litschau serviert wirklich vorzügliche Mohnnudeln, wie hier zu sehen.

Another gourmet stop for those luxury (food) travellers among you is Gasthof Kaufmann in Litschau, just near the border with the Czech Republic, cooking incredible “Mohnnudeln” sweet poppy seed pasta. Delightful!


Im angrenzenden Hoteldorf Königsleiten lässt es sich direkt am Litschauer Herrensee "schön ruhig" schlafen.

At the nearby Hoteldorf Königsleitn right by the Herrensee lake in Litschau, you find a beautiful, quiet place to spend the night.


After all of these “culinary-creative travel tips” in the hiking destination of the upper Waldviertel, I will tell you more about the virtues of the new long-distance hiking trail along the Lainsitz river in my next article. Being a true local of the Lower Waldviertel district myself (Krems by the river Danube still counting as part of the Southern Waldviertel), I can of course make some more recommendations already: “Powerful Places to connect with nature“, an “Exploration of the Waldviertel Treasure Chest & its famous ‘Geniesserzimmer’” as well as my recent visit to the Creative Summer Academy in Motten. The Waldviertel truly merits your visit, and make sure you take enough time with you to enjoy its cultural & natural beauty.


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.

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