Danube Cycle Path, stage 4, south bank: Ardagger - Melk
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From the Bicycle Museum to the City of the Nibelungs
On this scenic long-distance bike path, you travel along the Danube from a small, quiet town called Ardagger to the city of Melk, the western gateway to the Wachau. In the picturesque Danube Valley, you pass through the towns of Hössgang, Ybbs an der Donau, Krummnussbaum and Pöchlarn, among others, before arriving in Melk, your destination.
Quality of experience: ******
- Multi-stage route
- Refreshment stops available
- Cultural/historical value
- Botanical highlights
- Faunistic highlights
power plant, which is open to visitors
Ardagger is one of the main towns in the Mostviertel. If you are an art enthusiast, you will want to visit the church of the former monastery, which has the oldest figural glass painting in Austria, the “Margaretenfenster” made in the 13th c. If you prefer sports you have a choice of many watersports and the recreational offerings at the Donauwellenpark (=Danube wave park) right along the bike path (beach volleyball, wall climbing, etc.)
Then you proceed through the scenic Strudengau. This narrow section of the Danube Valley is lined with high and densely wooded hills. Every now and then you find inviting sandy beaches along the river and little towns such as Hössgang and Freyenstein to add variety to your journey.
Soon after the Ybbs-Persenbeug power plant, which is open to visitors (guided tours with advanced reservation only) you reach Ybbs, a small city with a fascinating bicycle museum. It documents all the favorite two-wheelers, from the wooden draisine to the Waffenrad, an Austrian bicycle from the final decades of the Austrian Empire. The Renaissance burgher houses in the historical center are enchanting, as is St. Lorenz’s Church with its impressive reticulated vaulting and an organ that Mozart himself signed during a visit to this city in 1767.
After passing the towns Sarling, Säusenstein and Krummnussbaum you arrive at Pöchlarn, City of the Nibelung. Its sights include the birthplace of the painter Oskar Kokoschka (exhibitions) and a carpentry museum. The Nibelung memorial reminds visitors that this ancient epic was also set in Pöchlarn and along the Danube itself. 45 short minutes later you reach Melk, the western gateway to the Wachau.
Ardagger Markt - Hössgang - Ybbs an der Donau - Krummnussbaum - Pöchlarn - Melk
You start the tour in Ardagger Markt and find your way to the Danube. There you begin the route on the Danube Bike Path. With a beautiful view of the river, you cycle through the Strudengau and its landscape shaped by human hands. The Strudengau derives its name from the many dangerous whirlpools and shoals once found here. Many sailors viewed it as one of the most dangerous sections of the Danube. Today, it is part of the reservoir of the downstream power plant and easily navigated.
You continue along the Danube all the way to Ybbs an der Donau without passing any towns. So, you can have time to enjoy the flora and fauna of the Strudengau, which has an impressively large number of protected trees. In Ybbs an der Donau, it's again time for some culture. The historical center of Ybbs with its renovated Renaissance burgher houses and St. Lorenz Church are worth visiting. Mozart himself initialed the organ at the church on a visit in 1767. Ybbs is also home to the Ybbs-Persenbeug power station, Austria’s largest run-of-river plant. You bike through the city and subsequently cross the Ybbs.
Following a small stretch of this river, you return to the Danube by Sarling. Your next stop is Krummnussbaum (literally “crooked walnut tree”), whose name originates most likely with the walnut trees that formerly grew along the river. Pöchlarn is next. This community was known in the Early Middle Ages as Bechelaren and is mentioned in the Lay of the Nibelungen as the seat of Rüdiger von Bechelaren. It is also the last big town between you and Melk, your destination. After a tranquil but relaxing ride along the Danube you finally come to the end of today's stage.
Melk is a fine conclusion to this tour, because it is a genuine cultural highlight. Melk Abbey is part of the Wachau, a UNESCO World Heritage landscape. The abbey has been called “the most symbolic and dominant Baroque complex” and is home to Stiftsgymnasium Melk, the oldest school in Austria. The famous Wachau section of the Danube Valley begins here, so the hills become higher and steep vineyards start to appear on all slopes. An ideal panorama to bring this current stage to an end.
Coming from Linz you take the A7 south. At the Linz autobahn junction, you continue on the A1 toward Vienna. At Amstetten you get on the B119 to Ardagger.
Take the Bus from Linz.
At Ardagger Markt
- Early winter
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Interactive elevation profile