© Donauschlinge Schlögen © Upper Austria Tourism / Steininger
Donauschlinge Schlögen © Upper Austria Tourism / Steininger

Donausteig Stage 1_S01 Passau - Kasten „Through the Sauwald (forest) into the Danube valley"

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Starting place: 94032 Passau
Destination: 4092 Esternberg

duration: 7h 15m
length: 20,5 km
Altitude difference (uphill): 595m
Altitude difference (downhill): 428m

Lowest point: 293m
Highest point: 536m
difficulty: difficult
condition: very difficult
panoramic view: Great panorama

Paths covering:
Asphalt, Path / trail, Gravel, Hiking trail

Short description:
The Donausteig-simply fabulous! This stage leads us from the Tri-River City of Passau along the Danube streams, across the rural Sauwald plateau into the wooded narrow valley of the Danube, over the atmospheric plateau to Kasten on the Danube. We discover Passau as the Bavarian Venice, the frontier of upper Bavaria, the gateway to the upper Danube valley, the idyllic Sauwald (Forest), the hidden past of Kasten, the world of Danube river rafting...

Technique: *

Quality of experience: ******

Recommended season:

  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October


  • Multi-stage route
  • Scenic
  • Refreshment stops available
  • Cultural/historical value
  • Geological highlights
  • Botanical highlights
  • Faunistic highlights

Seal of approval:

  • Quality route according to "Österreichisches Wandergütesiegel"

This donausteig-stage starts in the tri-river city of Passau. The historic town lies at the confluence of the Inn, Danube and Ilz in the forested Durchbruchstal (valley) of the upper danube. From the donausteig-starting point we hike through Passau's new center and experience the city from its modern side. After crossing the Inns we continue through the historic part of the town downstream. Idyllic streets testify of a flourishing trade in the former suburb. Later, we follow the Inn by its shores. Magnificent views of the majestic old town remind of us Passau as the Bishop residence of the Eastern danube. At the latest by the confluence of the three rivers does one realize: Passau is a jewel with many facets! We continue a small piece along the mighty river, and then turn off into the last stretches of the city. Shortly thereafter a street leads over a small hill into the Haibachtal (valley) (city border between Germany and Austria). Here begins the short climb through the beautiful woodlands of the Donauleiten up to the Sauwald-plateau. Idyllic hiking trails bring us passed the beloved forest chapel "Maria im Walde." Arrive at the impressive high plateau, undulating landscapes characterize the scenery: lush meadows, cultivated fields, scattered homesteads,... simply idyllic! Now we hike on beautiful farm roads uphill. The donausteig branches of to the left, shortly before the centre of Freinberg, and continues, on forest and foot paths, through a deep forest trench of the Kräutergrabenbaches (stream). After this w stand again at the rural high plateau. Here, the Donausteig-resting point "Panorama Blaas" opens up deep views into the tri-river city of Passau - a wonderful highlight! No wonder that this is one of the most famous views of the Danube. Following this is a comfortable downhill walk into the Danube valley, through the valley flank of the Donauleiten. Largely ton field and forest roads we finally reach the bottom of the Valley. On the Schwemmlandterrasse (terrace) we accompany the Nibelungen Street downstream approx. 2.4 km. First on side road, then along cycle paths. The myth of the legendary Nibelungs comes to mind involuntarily. After the Kösselbach bridge, a beautiful forest path leads through the steep mixed woodlands of the donauleiten uphill onto the rural sauwald-plateau. At the top farm roads lead uphill to the rural village Unteresternberg. In the following fields the donausteig turns left and cross the forest trench of the Bräunbaches (stream). Across from it we stand again at the rural high plateau. Here a detour to the left leads to the Panorama view „Burg Krämpelstein“ offers deep views into the danube valley and onto castle Krämpelstein. The trail however continues to the right. In a long right curve we continue uphill through the farm village Dietzendorf to the farm hamlet Hötzmannsdorf. There we turn left and walk across wonderful field paths along a small mountain ridge. The high plateau of the Sauwald presents itself from its most beautiful side: a mosaic of fields, almost boundless, traditional farmsteads, the undulating landscape,... - harmony in perfection. Following a left turn we reach teh donausteig-resting point "Panoramablick". Congratulations - this is the Summit of this Danube climbing stage! The views from here go across the deep dug Danube valley and wander until far into the Bavarian forest. After a short meadow descent the donausteig crosses the forest ditch of the Buchetbaches (stream) starting from Oberbamberg. In Wollersberg, we stand again at the rural high plateau. The road leads now in a right curve uphill to the street, which brings us left to Hütt. From there, it continues through the forest down to Kasten on the Danube. From culture to nature - simply fabulous!


Discover the following features with the Donausteig-diary:

-Passau-the Bavarian Venice

-Donausteig-starting point "Passau"

-Ludwigsplatz (square)-the gateway to the city

-Beer, an ancient elixir of life

-In the monastery garden

-The Hindenburg bridge or the "Fünferlsteg"

-Serverinskirche (church)-one of the oldest places of worship

-the city center-of commercial riches & floating Mills

- ...

Download: Donausteig-diary "Stage 1_S01 Passau box" - yet to follow!

From the donausteig-starting point "Passau", we follow the station road east to the Ludwigsplatz (square), then turn right into the Dr.-Hans-Kapfinger-Straße (street) and continue along to the monastery garden (large parking lot on the left side). There turn left across the Cagnes-sur-Mer-Promenade and the Augustinergasse downhill to the banks of the Inn. Along the Hindenburgsteg (dock) we cross the Inn and reach the Innstadt (city). Now continue left, through the Severintor (gate), then along the Lederergasse (alley) to the church square. A few meters after the square the donausteig turns left into Löwengrube-Straße (street) and follows the river embankment on streets and footpaths downstream. After the crossing of a disused railway the trail continues close to the forested river banks on to the chapel (left of the path). Now over the railway tracks into the settlement. First left and then immediately right we reach the Wiener main street, which we follow downstream until the next intersection. There the Freinberger road runs right over a forest hill into the Haibachtal (valley). After the bridge (border Germany Austria), house paths and beautiful trail bring us left through the mixed forest of the steep donauleiten up to the rural Sauwald plateau. Along here, we will pass the chapel "Maria im walde." Arrived at the forest edge at the top, we reach holding to the left on the farm roads passed Unterfreinberg to Freinberg. Ahead of the the village center the road continues after a sharp right curve left. Forest and foot paths lead into the deep forest trench of the Kräutergrabenbaches (stream) and on the opposite side back out. Shortly thereafter, we stand at the Donausteig-resting point "Panorama Blaas' (in the parking lot of the Gasthaus (inn) Blaas). Now we follow the asphalt road straight approx. 350 m, and then the donausteig branches off to the right. ON a meadow path, later through the forest does the trail continue downhill to the farm hamlet Parz. There we cross the asphalt road and reach on meadow paths in an s-curve the bottom of the danube valley. At the chapel turn right onto the asphalt road. After approx. 200m we reach the Gasthaus (inn) Nibelungenstüberl (Donasuteig-resting point). Later we reach at the form Inn Farberhof out to the Nibelungestrasse and accompany it for approx. 1 km on the bike path. After the Kösslbach bridge (Höllmühle (mill)) turn right and follow the street to Esternberg. Then to the right a beautiful forest path leads through the steep mixed forest of the donauleiten up to the rural Sauwald-high plateau. The roadway turns into a farm road, which brings us further uphill to Unteresternberg. In a small valley after the village the donausteig turns left at the single house. Soon a forest path leads down into the forest ditch of the Bräunbachtales (valley). We cross the road to Esternberg here and rise again from the creek on the opposite side. Shortly after the edge of the forest, we are at the next Ridge. Left, a short detour downhill (approx. 250 m) allows a beautiful view to the danube valley (Castle Krämpelstein). The donausteig however runs on to the right. In a right curve the road leads uphill, passes Dietzendorf, in the direction of Hötzmannsdorf. There turn left through the farm. Afterwards we hike over wonderful roads in a left curve to the donausteig-resting point "panoramablick". A meadow path brings us now down to Oberbamberg. Here, cross the street (Erbhof (farm) family Schano), and on a road continue down into the forest of the Buchetbachtals (valley). After the river (House) the donausteig rises again, until it leave the forest at the Wollersberg. Now it continues on farm roads in a right curve passed Unterschacher uphill. At the T-crossing turn left onto the asphalt street and continue to Hütt. There continue straight (!) across the meadow to the forest, and on forest trails down to Kasten. On the road we reach to the right the Donausteig-starting point "Kasten"on the banks of the Danube.


To facilitate the orientation, the donausteig was provided with its own system of orientation - you will find the description here   .

The three river city Passau is a juwel and at the same time a key to numerous donausteig-experiences-take time to explore these!

On top of regular hiking equipment, one should also bring food along as in the second half of the trail there are no inns to stop at.

Additional information:
WGD Tourismus GmbH 
Lindengasse 9
4040 Linz, Austria
Tel. +43(0)732/7277-800
Fax. +43(0)732/7277-804 


Passau Tourismus e.V.
Bahnhofstr. 36
94032 Passau, Deutschland
Tel. +49(0)851/955980
Fax: +49(0)851/35107


Tourism agency Vichtenstein
4091 Vichtenstein 70
Tel.: +43(0)7714/8055
Fax: +43(0)7714/8056

Starting point: Passau-The donausteig-starting point "Passau" is located in the city center directly in front of the main exit of the main train station.
Destination: Kasten - the Donausteig-Starting point „Kasten“ is located to the right of the shipping dock „Kasten“.

further information:
  • Multi-day tour
  • Board possible

Accessibility / arrival

Getting there
The main train station of Passau is located approx. 350 m west of the Schanzbrücke (bridge) (Navigation: D‑94032 Passau, Hauptbahnhof).

Public Transit
Passau can be reach by train and bus. A transfer back from Kasten is possible as well by bus. However a transfer back is only possible via two morning buses! information of timetables online at  www.vlp-passau.de and   http://www.ooevv.at  .

The city center of Passau is mostly a short parking zone. For long periods of parking there are numerous parking garages and parking lots available. Information on the location and prices of this places can be found here  .

Travelling by public transport
Route planner for independent travellers
Most economical season
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn

Please get in touch for more information.

Donausteig Stage 1_S01 Passau - Kasten „Through the Sauwald (forest) into the Danube valley"
WGD Donau Oberösterreich Tourismus GmbH
Lindengasse 9
4040 Linz

Phone +43 732 7277 - 800
Fax machine +43 732 7277 - 804

We speak the following languages


 Interactive elevation profile

Download GPS data
Create PDF


Starting place: 94032 Passau
Destination: 4092 Esternberg

duration: 7h 15m
length: 20,5 km
Altitude difference (uphill): 595m
Altitude difference (downhill): 428m

Lowest point: 293m
Highest point: 536m
difficulty: difficult
condition: very difficult
panoramic view: Great panorama

Paths covering:
Asphalt, Path / trail, Gravel, Hiking trail