Status Quo Upper Danube Hiking Trail

Upper Danube Hiking Trail
Status quo report of the hiking infrastructure in Germany and Austria
1: © Donau OÖ/Weissenbrunner
2 Status Quo in Germany
In Germany the organization “ARGE Deutsche Donau” is responsible
for marketing in the German Danube region.
The organisation has developed the offer “Hiking with and without
luggage along the Danube” starting in Donaueschingen and ending
in Passau.
The hiking path is 666 km long and consists of 31 stages starting in
Donaueschingen (where the Danube has its spring) and ending in
Passau. The trail is neither signed nor marked explicitly, but there are
detailed maps, route descriptions and GPS-data, which can be used
for orientation. (
2: Hiking along the Danube with/without luggage, ARGE Deutsche Donau
The Eastern-Bavarian tourist board in cooperation with the rural districts between
Kelheim and Passau is currently working on a project for continuously marking the 175
km long trail between Kelheim and Passau(should be finished in 2014).
Aims of this project are to connect the cultural and natural highlights along the
Danube between Kelheim and Passau. Additional loop tours might be established as
well. With this project the region of Eastern Bavaria will be accessible and attractive
for hiking tourists (which it hasn’t been before). Furthermore it is possible to connect
the hiking trail along the Danube with the well-known and well-established Goldsteig
via loop tours. A connection to the Donausteig (Passau – Grein) will be possible in
Planned measures:
• Find appropriate routes for the hiking track, involve all rural districts and
municipalities, analyse the infrastructure of the chosen routes, involve
accommodations/gastronomes along the route, determine positions for
signposts, etc.
• Marking of the route.
• Position signposts along the route.
• Improvement of the infrastructure (resting places, etc.)
• Involve accommodations and gastronomes (Wanderbares Deutschland…)
• Geo-referenced capture and display of the routes.
Marketing measures:
• brochures, information material,…
• maps, guide books, etc.
• Websites, smartphones, etc.
• Public relations & press work
• Establishment of a professional distribution network.
• Development of offers and packages.
3 Status Quo in Austria
The hiking infrastructure in Austria is of high quality and very long parts along the
Danube are well developed for hiking tours. Two organisations – WGD Tourismus
GmbH and Donau Niederösterreich Tourismus GmbH – are responsible for the
marketing in the Austrian Danube region and have – after the great success of the
Danube cycle path – initiated and developed hiking paths along the Danube.
The hiking areas in Austria are easily accessible by public transport (mostly by bus).
Hiking tours can be combined with a river cruise on the Danube or a train ride.
As Welterbesteig and Donausteig only started in 2010 there aren’t any long-time
statistics and evaluations concerning hikers available yet.
Donausteig in Upper Austria
In Upper Austria there is the Donausteig, which mostly runs on both
shores of the river. On the Northern shore it starts in the Bavarian city
Passau, leading via Linz to the Strudengau region and ending in St.
Nikola. On the Southern shore the Donausteig runs from Passau via Linz
to Enns. The whole path is divided to 23 stages. On 41 loop-tours it is
possible to leave the main trail and discover the surroundings of the
Danube region. On the Donausteig hikers find standardized markings,
signposts and resting places with consistent Donausteig furniture and information
boards. Qualified accommodation facilities and hosts provide tailor-made amenities
for hikers (
3: Signposts at Donausteig
Welterbesteig Wachau in Lower Austria
4: Resting spot at Donausteig
Along both shores of the Danube in Lower Austria
WelterbesteigWachau which is 180 km long.
Standardized markings and signposts allow hiking
experiences in both directions on 14 stages. A hiking
tour along the WelterbesteigWachau can easily be combined with a tour on the
Jauerling-loop (the Jauerling with its 960 m is the highest mountain along the
5: Way-mark,
6: Welterbesteig Wachau –© Robert Herbst
3.3 Austrian Way of Saint James
As the Austrian Way of Saint James pilgrim route is located near the Danube in Upper
and Lower Austria it could be used as connection between Donausteig and
Starting in Wolfsthal it runs via Vienna, Krems, Melk in Lower Austria, continuing in
Upper Austria near Enns and leaving the Danube region in Wilhering after crossing
As there isn’t any organisation/institution responsible for the infrastructure, renewing
signpost and markings, etc… Donau Niederösterreich Tourismus GmbH has
developed parts of the Way of Saint James in Lower Austria: from Göttweig near
Krems to Melk and from Wolfsthal to Vienna.
In Upper Austria the Way of Saint James touches the Donausteig on the Southern
shore of the Danube after crossing the bridge in Mauthausen and runs to Ybbs in the
south ( But as the Way of Saint James is only marked in one
way (upstream) it is definitely not an ideal option for linking the Austrian trails.
7: Signposts at Way of Saint James
Nibelungengau&Mostviertel (Lower Austria)
In November 2011 Danube NÖ GmbH started a
project for developing hiking paths in Nibelungen
area (Nibelungengau) from Sarmingstein (Upper
Austria) to Emmersdorf (Lower Austria) in the north
and from Ybbs to Melk in the south.
Main target in Austria is to develop a continuous hiking path along the Danube and
to guarantee a consistent quality in way-marking/signposting and infrastructure. In
2012 steps for developing the continuous trail along the Danube (Nibelungengau
and Mostviertel)were made in Lower Austria.
Donau Niederösterreich Tourismus GmbH is already working on a project on behalf of
the ARGE Nibelungengau concerning the development of a hiking path in the
Nibelungengau and the realization of differently themed loop tours in the whole
Following municipalities are involved:
• Artstetten-Pöbring
• Erlauf
• Kl. Pöchlarn
• Krummnußbaum
• Leiben
• Marbach/Donau
• Maria Taferl
• Persenbeug-Gottsdorf
• Pöchlarn
• Ybbs/Donau
The hiking trail in Nibelungengau runs through 10 municipalities along the Danube
andhas connection points with the Donausteig in Upper Austria and the
WelterbesteigWachau in Lower Austria. Therefor the stages between
Sarmingstein(Upper Austria) and Persenbeug and between Leiben and Emmersdorf
respectively Melk (Lower Austria) were developed.
It might also be possible to expand the trail from Ybbs through the Strudengau to
Grein, which would be another connection with the Donausteig on the southern
shore of the Danube. This issue still has to be discussed with MostviertelTourismus
Stages of the hiking trail Nibelungengau:
Sarmingstein (connection Donausteig) – Nöchling – Persenbeug
Persenbeug – Marbach/Donau
Marbach/Donau – Maria Taferl
Maria Taferl – Artstetten
Artstetten – Leiben (Lehen)
Leiben (Lehen) – Kl. Pöchlarn
Leiben (Lehen) – St. Georgen/Emmersdorf (connectionWelterbesteig Wachau)
Kl. Pöchlarn – Pöchlarn
Pöchlarn – Erlauf
Erlauf – Krummnußbaum
Krummnußbaum – Ybbs/Donau
Ybbs/Donau – Persenbeug
Loop tours:
There are altogether 34 loop tours in 10 municipalities. Each municipality hast 2 to 5
different stages. At the starting point information boards with all important
information concerning the hiking routes and possibilities in the surroundings of the
municipality can be found.
Status quo of the project:
• Development and planning of the hiking route network with the region
• The project has already been approved by the Federal Land of Lower Austria.
• Coordination with the municipalities for the establishment of the stages.
• Routing and inspection of the hiking routes.
• Capture of the routes (geo-references, GPS)
Further steps:
• Development of stage-profiles and descriptions of the stages.
• Transfer the routes (GPS-data, descriptions) to a digital mapping system
• Installation of the signposts.
• Register the data in a GIS-sytem and route planner.
• Preparation of the implementation of the routes and regional content in a
new website.
The BewegungsarenaNibelungengau consist of the main trail and the loop tours and
is expected to be opened in Mai 2013.
3.5 Further efforts in Austria
Responsible persons of MostviertelTourismus GmbH have had talks about developing
a hiking trail in Mostviertel between Enns (Upper Austria) and Ybbs (Lower Austria) but
have not taken any further steps yet.
The hiking trail along the Danube through Vienna has to be developed as well. A
possible route could be: Kalenberg – Nussdorf – Donauinsel – Alte Donau – Lobau
national park – northern shore of the Danube.
The Donau Niederösterreich Tourismus GmbH already has in mind to establish a
continuous hiking trail along the Danube between Krems (end of Welterbesteig) and
Hainburg. First talks about this project already have been held but there are no
concrete project-plans for this part of the Danube hiking trail.