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Hiking Destination Upper Waldviertel: Powerful Places to connect with nature.

Food Travel, Austria, Travel Blog , 0

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“Charge your batteries here” could have been taken from an advertisement slogan, had I not really felt this way up here: The Waldviertel forest district in Lower Austria, close to the northern border with the Czech Republic, is especially worth seeing at this time of year. With the Indian summer in full swing, the golden coloured leaves, the beautiful nature & warming rays of sunlight have more than animated us to travel here on this weekend in September. In German we say, “let your souls hang out among the tree tops”, or something like that. 😉 Well, it is actually possible to do so from one of the many modern lookout towers, offering a view over the entire forest & hiking district of the upper Waldviertel area.

Places such as “Blockheide Gmünd” or the swamplands of Schrems beckon us for a (nature) visit – mystical, special, all the ponds, rivers & forests often shrouded in mist and lending the area its special charm. The Waldviertel district, we learn, is full of hidden treasures ..


Hiking in the high north of Austria really means taking a distance from everyday life …

… even if “everyday life”, as in my case, is only one and a half hours away by car in the city of Krems an der Donau. The northern Waldviertel is worlds apart, its rhythm determined mostly by nature – people, we feel, are simply guests here in this pristine surroundings that can be explored in a myriad of options, including hiking, trekking, (motor) cycling or on horseback. We finally opt for three of the area’s most magnificent hiking trails, including the city of Litschau and its Herrensee lake walk, the “Blockheide Gmünd” nature granite park featuring huge rocky boulders as well as the wetlands around Schrems – there is even a small pool where you can cross part of the wetlands bare feet. Cool!

Kraftvolle Aussichten: Die Wanderregion Oberes Waldviertel lädt ein zu bezaubernden Aussichtspunkten wie diesen.

Powerful places: The hiking destination of the Upper Waldviertel leads you on to many beautiful spots like this one.

Hier im Naturpark Blockheide Gmünd rütteln wir zum Kräftemessen an den Steinriesen der Vergangenheit, genannt "Wackelsteine": Riesige Granitblöcke, die aus dem Erdreich "herausgewittert" sind. Faszinierend!

Here at the nature park “Blockheide Gmünd”, we try moving the so-called “wobble stones”: Massive granite boulders that sit atop others and may be moved if pushed or pulled from the right angle. Fascinating!

Los geht's mit einem der ersten, gewaltigen Aussichtstürme der Region: Vom Aussichtsturm in Gmünd hat man einen guten Blick über die gesamte Region und bis hinüber nach Tschechien.

Off we go climbing one of the first lookout towers on our days of exploration: The Blockheide park Gmünd features views all across the Waldviertel and into the adjacent Czech Republic.

Bei so vielen Erkundungen darf die kulinarische Belohnung nicht fehlen: In Litschau serviert man uns typische "Mangerl" - Mohn-Salz-Gebäck aus dem Waldviertel.

Of course, part of our experience is stopping for traditional food here in the north of Austria: Typical bread rolls spiced with salt & poppy seeds are served to us in Litschau.

Vielen Dank, Otto Böhm, für die enthusiastische Bewirtung im Infozentrum Litschau - wir haben's echt genossen!

Thank you, dear Otto Böhm for hosting us at the visitor information centre in Litschau and serving us “Mangerl” bread: We really enjoyed our time up here!

Die Runde um den Herrensee in Litschau ist einfach fabelhaft ... Ruhe ... Frieden ... Natur ... wow.

A walk around the Herrensee lake in Litschau works wonders … Peace … Tranquility … Heaven.

Blick auf die Stadt Litschau am Herrensee an einem der nördlichsten Punkte Österreichs.

View of the city of Litschau overlooking Herrensee lake in one of the northernmost districts of Austria.


A mighty “ladder to heaven” set right in the wetlands around Schrems as well as typical northern hospitality at the “hemp villlage” Reingers: The Waldviertel does not cease to surprise you.

I told you: A lot of hidden – or indeed obvious? – treasures are offered here in the Waldviertel. Who would have thought that we were greeted so warmly at the hemp village Reingers (“No, we are not stoned here and no, we are not about consuming drugs either”, our guide laughs) – after all, the season has already come to an end two weeks ago. “During the summer months, between June and September, we had more than 2.000 people visit us”, she carries on to tell us with pride. “The hemp village grows in popularity.” Hemp, of course, being only used for tea, natural fibre insulation, etc. Of course!

Just before, the clear blue sky has beckoned us to walk the wetland trail in Schrems, including a visit to the “famous ladder to heaven”. The name unveils a mighty wood and steel structure including dozens of step “leading to heaven”: Once you reach the top above the trees, it is really what you feel like overlooking the entire northern Waldviertel district. Powerful places to connect with nature, …

Die Himmelsleiter reicht mitten in den Baumwipfeln direkt "in den Himmel" und bietet eine moderne Aussichtsplattform der Extraklasse.

The “ladder to heaven” reaches all the way above the tree tops and is one the area’s most magnificent viewing platforms.

Gute Aussichten: Im Hochmoor Schrems lernen wir alles über die natürlichen Gegebenheiten dieser eigentümlichen Torflandschaft.

Looking good: Views over the wetlands in Schrems …

... und so schön warm, an diesem perfekten Herbsttag im Waldviertel.

… on a beautiful, sunny afternoon in Waldviertel, Lower Austria

Wenig später lockt das Hanfdorf Reingers mit viel Infos rund um die wertvolle Kulturpflanze Hanf.

Just a little later, we learn all there is to know about growing hemp for different purposes in the hemp village Reingers.

Diesen Tee lassen wir uns nicht entgehen: Bio-Hanftee aus dem Waldviertel ist eine bekömmliche Alternative zu herkömmlichen Teesorten. :D

Of course, we must not forget to buy some fresh, organic hemp leaf tea there with special medicinal properties beneficial for our health … yes! 😀

Die Mystik des Waldviertels spüren lernen ... Das ist unser schönes Fazit für den Ausflug in den hohen Norden Österreichs.

Learning all there is to know, and feel, about the special character of place of the Lower Austrian Waldviertel … A destination truly worthwhile visiting!

Written by Elena

Fluent in seven languages, I feel naturally at ease anywhere I go. As a writer, I am happy to share the world’s travel stories as far as creative travel, foodie travel and local, sustainable travel are concerned. Thanks to my young son Liam, I am currently discovering the world anew.

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
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