R1.03 Donauengtal circuit
- Suitable for families
- culturally interesting
Interactive elevation profile
'Inspiring Danube gorge – river riding with views into the depths'
Quality of experience: ******
- Refreshment stops available
- Family friendly
- Cultural/historical value
Upper Danube Valley - around 90 km in length, up to 300m deep, home to the biggest natural gorge and sloping mixed woodland areas in Central Europe ... On this sporty cycling circuit you ride through the narrow valley floor upstream along the Danube and across its rooftop back to the fantastic Sauwald Panoramastraße. With a 3 km descent into the Danube gorge.
- Engelszell Abbey (this abbey church is a Rococo gem)
- Engelhartszeller Danube World (large aquarium, sensory garden), Schütz Art Museum ...
- UNESCO world heritage site 'Kleincastell Oberranna'
- Vichtenstein Castle
- Vichtenstein parish church (Wondrous Madonna figure)
- Forellenzirkus St. Aegidi
The Upper Danube Valley – The Danube flows through on around 90 km, between Hofkirchen in Bavaria and Aschach in Upper Austria, and this is one its longest breakthrough valleys. To the east of Passau, at up to 300m deep, it is also the deepest Danube gorge. In the inaccessible valley flanks, the last main natural gorge and sloping mixed woodland areas in Central Europe has been able to survive. A natural treasure which is today preserved by the 'Oberes Donau- und Aschachtal' European conservation area.
The start point is located on an alluvial plain – Wesenufer. Inconspicuous today, this pretty Danube town was particularly significant at one time: ferry, market rights ... and Niederwesen Castle (= today the Hotel Wesenufer)! After the settlement area the river bank narrows and you cycle on Nibelungenstraße through the area of mixed woodland on the valley flank – with a short interim ascent – up to Oberranna. The UNESCO world heritage site 'Kleincastell Oberranna' brings the life of the famous Danubian Limes back to life. After that, a lovely cycle path accompanies Nibelungenstraße through the wooded slopes – with an interim ascent – up to Saag. You now cycle on side roads along the edge of the rural alluvial plains to the splendid Engelszell Abbey - a Danube highlight! The world-renowned abbey church is one of the most stylistically pure Rococo gems in Austria and inspires with its contemporary ceiling fresco. It is worth making a short detour to Engelhartszell, heading to the lovely town centre. It recounts its prosperity as an imperial toll station and, with the sites of 'Engelhartszeller Donauwelt', fuses to become the adventure realm that is the 'Danube'! At the end of the town the banks once narrow. Now pleasure-filled river cycling at its very best begins. On practically flat terrain, you now pedal on the legendary 'Treppelweg' next to the Danube, through the woodland gorge. The purring of tyres, a cooling breeze, the boats ... Just down from Jochenstein power station, a little rocky island which has a cross, rises up out of the waters – the Jochenstein. Legend has it that it was there that the mermaid Isa lived, luring sailors to their doom with her singing. So take care! Some 2 km up from the power station, a pleasure-filled cycle path once again accompanies the Nibelungenstraße – now right on the banks of the Danube. Incidentally, in Kasten there is a key crossing to Obernzell. It was here that salt was able to be transported via land, past Passau toll to Bohemia. The little church is well worth a visit and the building 'Kasten 1' bears witness to this era. The rest of the village was engulfed by the backwater of Jochenstein power station.
In Pyrawang the wonderful Sauwald panoramic road begins, with a 330 metre ascent to the rooftop of the Danube Gorge. Along the panoramic road, set-out view points providing wonderful views in and across the Danube Gorge inspire. So take your time and enjoy it! The road proceeds through the steep forested flanks continually uphill, and at the top inspires with its rural cultural landscape. In Oberbamberg you reach the Sauwald high plateau. Lush pastures, small fields, lovely orchards, little woodlands, scattered farming hamlets ... and sublime views – a pure Sauwald rural idyll! Enjoy some pleasure-filled riding in a loop via Esternberg across the hilly plateau. Just before Urschendorf you come to the highest point. Congratulations! A 2km descent back to the valley flank of the Danube Gorge provides some recovery. The Danube altitude town of Vichtenstein is an unexpected highlight: the (Fehde-)Burg Vichtenstein, the pretty parish church and its wonderful Virgin Mother, superb views ... It is here that the 'summiteering' starts, on the altitude road through the eternal forests of the Haugstein (= highest Sauwald summits). Perspiration trickles; thoughts flow. At the start of the forest clearing of the hamlet of Unterweinbrunn you come to the highest point of the circuit (660 m). Congratulations! The slightly undulating terrain continues through the mountain forest, then there is a speedy downhill. Afterwards you whoosh along on an agricultural ridge with concealed views to the Danube (Flenkental) - and a brief counter climb – down into the forest trough at Sausende Bach. A short (forested) ascent takes you back on to the Sauwald high plateau. St. Aegidi is the starting point for a 4.5 km pleasure-filled descent via an altitude ridge which is a consummate Sauwald rural idyll. Cycling is like cruising! In Sittling the ascent to the final altitude ridge begins. Once you get to the top, it's worth making a short detour to see the unusual Vier-Viertel-Blick. The 360° panoramic views provide extensive views to all four 'quarters' of Upper Austria! Riding on, the Sauwald high plateau once again reveals its loveliest side. In Waldkirchen am Wesen the crowning finale follows: a 3 km speedy fun descent through the steep forest flanks of Donauengtal to Wesenufer. River riding with views down into the depths!
This sporty cycle circuit uses mainly quiet, asphalt (side) roads, goods roads and cycle paths. Basic gear technique is expedient for the climbing sections, while basic braking technique is required for the long descents.
To make orientation easier for you, the Danube Cycle Path circuits are designated with their own cycle guidance system. This circuit follows the "R1.03 Donauengtal-Runde" signposts.
Please get in touch for more information.
Interactive elevation profile