Long-distance hiking can be so wonderful. Following the Ysper-Witental circular hiking trail in Austria, you find yourself in silent, wide forests and narrow valleys. The relatively unknown Southern Waldviertel region in Lower Austria defines the nine stages. You hike over gentle highlands, past traditional farms and giant granite boulders, to stunningly beautiful vantage points.
As the name suggests, the 180-kilometre (111 mile) Ysper-Weitental circular hiking trail is a loop so you can start at any stage. In this Collection, for example, you start in the village of Laimbach am Ostrong. If you want to arrive the day before setting off, you can stay overnight at Schreiners Waldviertel Haus.
The first stage is the longest of the nine and takes you to breathtaking peaks such as the Großer Peilstein. With the Danube Valley and an impressive pre-Alpine panorama behind you, on the second day you hike along the Kleine Ysper and then the Große Ysper rivers. On the third stage, the Ysperklamm Gorge is a particularly wild and romantic highlight. On the fourth day, you pass through the largest closed forest area in Austria, the Weinsberg Forest, in the heart of the Waldviertel. The town of Pöggstall with its majestic castle concludes stage 5.
Next, you hike up and down undulating landscapes through the green Weitental Valley. The stately Leiben Castle and the impressive pilgrimage basilica of Maria Taferl are cultural highlights on stages 7 and 8. On the last day of the Ysper-Weitental circular hiking trail, you march back to Laimbach, the starting point of your adventure, via Kollnitzberg peak, which has an observation tower.
As the stages can be quite long, you need good endurance for this route, although alpine experience isn’t required. As accommodation is often sparse at the stage destinations, I recommend booking a place to sleep in advance. If you would like to travel by public transport, you can use bus line 791: verkehrsmittel.info/linie-791-vor. The bus connects Laimbach to Melk and Pöchlarn train stations. This long-distance hiking trail is the perfect opportunity to switch off and leave your everyday life behind.
The first stage of the Ysper-Weitental circular hiking trail is the longest of your nine-day hiking adventure and starts in Laimbach am Ostrong. If you want to arrive the day before, you can stay overnight in Schreiner's Waldviertel House. From the center of the village you head south and after a short section along the road you turn into the forest.The path becomes steadily steeper and leads you past the Katzenstein to the Kleiner Peilstein, which is also known as the “Laimbach summit experience”. The summit cross and a bench with a view over Ysper and the Weitental are located at 1,024 meters. Only a few steps away you will reach the absolute highlight of the first stage, the Great Peilstein. The Peilsteiner Sonnenplatzl invites you to take a break and promises great views.Then you hike downhill on soft forest paths and pass the summit of the Kaiserstein. We continue to Neuwaldhäusl, where the trees thinning briefly and reveal a lush meadow. You are already diving back into the deep green of the forest and following the path down into the valley.After you have walked past the Kleehof settlement, you will come to the cozy Rote Säge inn, which invites you to stop for a break. In the garden you can enjoy the homemade pastries before you start the last part of the day. Past fields and farms, you hike to the bank of the Kleine Ysper. Following the course of the stream, you finally reach your stage destination Nöchling. You can stay the night in the Rotheneder-Rupp apartment just outside of town.
The second stage of the Ysper-Weitental circular hiking trail begins in Nöchling. At the beginning you wander through a colorful carpet of patches of fields, farms and small forests. You cross the Kleine Ysper and then follow the babbling Losenegger Bach through its romantic gorge.In a constant up and down, as is typical for the hilly landscape of the Waldviertel, it goes to Sankt Oswald. In the village you will find rest stops and a supermarket to replenish your supplies. A little north of Sankt Oswald you will reach the Hauptmann-Mayer-Ruhe, an impressive lookout point.After you have thoroughly enjoyed the view, you follow the route through the forest. It continues uphill and after a good twelve kilometers you take a worthwhile detour to the summit of the Weißenberg. On the way there you will pass the two rock formations "Totenkopf" and "Drachenstein" - with a little imagination you can see the dark eye sockets of the skull. You can climb the rocks if you want.From the 778 meter high Weißenstein you can see the picturesque Yspertal, the Ostrong chain and the Großer Peilstein, which you climbed the day before. A few meters of altitude are still ahead of you, because you reach the highest point of the second stage on the Herzstein, a rocking stone in the shape of a heart. Then you march on winding paths to Ysper, your destination for today. In the small town you will find a good selection of overnight accommodations.
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
After a night in Ysper you start the third stage of the long-distance hiking trail: From the market square you go northwards parallel to the Großer Ysper and after a short time you reach the idyllic forest pond. The mighty trees are picturesquely reflected in the water. The 3-Teich-Weg then leads you to the slightly larger Puschacherteich, around which a beautiful circular route leads.Without major differences in altitude, you then hike relaxed past large farms through the varied landscape - you cross the Great Ysper several times, which is always with you. The Gasthof Forellenhof offers a welcome stop after almost half of this stage.After a little refreshment, a particularly wild and romantic highlight awaits you: over steps, bridges and footbridges through the Ysperklamm. Again and again the clear water plunges in small waterfalls over boulders into the depths. In the idyllic gorge you quickly make up a few meters and turn left at the former Ödteich. You walk on quiet forest paths to Dorfstetten on the banks of the Kleine Ysper. There you have reached your destination and will spend the night in the Angerhof in the center of the village.
At 25.4 kilometers, the second longest stage of the Ysper-Weitental circular hiking trail awaits you today. You start in Dorfstetten and initially walk along the bank of the Kleine Ysper along the country road until you keep right at the forestry office. Still accompanied by the babbling brook, you reach the Pfaffenstegteich, which is idyllically located in the forest. A small jetty leads out onto the water and gives you different perspectives on the water.Shortly after you have left the Pfaffenstegteich behind you, you will reach the banks of the Schlesinger pond. There you will not only find a large lawn, but also a small snack where you can strengthen yourself. Then you walk through the beautiful town of Bärnkopf.It's already going uphill on winding paths and on the Weinsberg you will reach the highest point of this stage. From the plateau you can enjoy an impressive all-round view of the largest closed forest area in Austria. You can also discover the remains of a castle from the 13th century below the summit. From the Weinsberg you climb down into the valley on forest paths, accompanied by the Great Ysper.After 19 kilometers, it is worth making a detour to the viewing platform high above the Ysperklamm - a completely new perspective after you hiked through the romantic gorge the day before. The Ysper-Weitental circular hiking trail then leads uphill again. Past the Hanslteich you finally reach Gutenbrunn, your destination for today.
After a night in pretty Gutenbrunn, you make your way to Edlesberg. You wander through a colorful mosaic of fields, hamlets and meadows. After only two kilometers you will reach the shimmering Edlesberger See, which invites you to take a break. Since the fifth stage is a little shorter at 15.6 kilometers, you can treat yourself to a relaxing swim in the lake.Then you march downhill through a forest and reach the small Orion observatory on a promising hilltop. Dirt roads then lead you to Martinsberg, where you dive into the Weitenbachtal on the southern outskirts. Partly directly on the water, you follow the stream through the landscape until you finally cross the Weitenbach.There follows a short climb in the forest before you hike back down to the valley. Via the hamlet of Anngschmais you reach the valley of the Schießbach, where you will pass the Schwedenkreuz. The water leads you to Pöggstall, your destination today. At the end of the day, it is worth visiting the impressive castle, where you can also spend the night.
The sixth stage of the Ysper-Weitental circular hiking trail starts in Pöggstall with its beautiful castle. At first it goes north, the path climbs steadily. With wonderful views back to Pöggstall, you hike up the slope before you dive into the forest. You cross the Loibersdorfer Bach and soon afterwards leave its bank to turn to the hamlet of Straßreith.The route leads you on easily accessible paths to the cradle stop, where there is a viewing platform. From the highest point of this stage you can enjoy a great panorama. After you have rested on the benches, you go to Braunegg, where you can stop off at the Braunegger-Hof. With new strength, you follow the Ysper-Weitental circular hiking trail through the tranquil cultural landscape, crossing streams and clearings.The last section of today's stage leads parallel to the Feistritzbach through the forest. The trees are thinning and you can look forward to a great view from the edge of the forest. A little later you will reach the official stage destination Raxendorf.However, there are no overnight accommodations in the small town; the next accommodations are in Braunegg or Mühldorf. Either you arrange a pick-up service or, alternatively, you can attach the first part (about six kilometers) to the seventh stage on the sixth day and spend the night in wide open spaces.
Raxendorf is the official starting point of the seventh stage of the Ysper-Weitental circular hiking trail. If you hiked far the day before, this 24-kilometer stage will be shortened by half. From Raxendorf it goes via Lehsdorf to Zeining. This is followed by a leisurely climb up to the Nonnersdorfer Kreuz - the idyllic resting place marks the highest point of this day's route.After a short rest, you walk down the valley to Nonnersdorf, where you cross the country road. It continues over fields and through forest areas to Weiten in the Weitenbachtal. The perfect place for a stop is the Gasthof zur Post and after a refreshment you can take a detour to Mollenburg Castle. Behind the church in Weiten, turn right and start the ascent to Nasting.It follows a short distance along the road until the Ysper-Weitental circular hiking trail leads you back onto soft forest paths. You cross the Schwarzaubach and a little later your stage destination Leiben appears in front of you. On the way there you will pass the branch church Heilige Corona, which is well worth seeing - a quick prayer certainly can't hurt. You can also visit the agricultural engineering museum in the stately Leiben Castle.
You start at the mighty castle in Leiben and at the beginning of the eighth stage you hike to a viewing hill south of the village. At the top you will be rewarded with a wonderful view down into the Danube Valley. In a gentle up and down, you hike on towards Losau and then cross smaller forests and meadows.You reach Artstetten via Hasling - there you definitely can't miss a visit to the fairytale castle with its English landscape garden. In Artstetten you can also stop at the Gasthaus Landstetter to strengthen yourself for the rest of this stage of the Ysper-Weitental circular hiking trail. Afterwards you march on to Unterthalheim, where the path becomes steeper for the last time for this day.Passing the lush green of the Wachau golf course, you climb up to the Maria Taferl pilgrimage basilica - the artistic interior design of the famous church is really impressive. With a magnificent view down to the blue Danube, this stage ends in Maria Taferl, where you will find a good selection of overnight accommodations.
Unbelievable, but today the last stage of the Ysper-Weitental circular hiking trail is already on the agenda: The day begins with an amazing view down into the Danube valley. If you want, you can take another look at the beautiful Maria Taferl basilica before hiking to the banks of the Marbach. Parallel to the stream it goes north, thereby you cross the place Reitern.The path becomes steadily steeper and leads you through the hilly cultural landscape of the southern Waldviertel. An exciting highlight awaits you on the 758-meter-high Kollnitzberg: From the observation tower there, you can enjoy a 360-degree view over the surroundings to the Alps. In nearby Münichreith you can then take a break in one of the inns.It continues over the Schwarzaubach to Mayerhofen and then along the Laimbach to the north. On this last section of the Ypser-Weitental circular hiking trail, you can look forward to wonderful views of the surrounding mountains such as the Großer Peilstein. Then you made it - you reach Laimbach am Ostrong and are back at the starting point of your long-distance hiking adventure. Congratulations!