The trail along the Lainsitz river leads you from the source of the river at the Lainsitz spring to Chlum in the Czech Republic in four stages. What makes this cross-border hiking trail so special, apart from the fantastic nature around the river, is the remarkable history of the region which you will learn a lot about along the way.
The Lainsitz, or the “Young Lainsitz,” as it is affectionately called in Austria, is known for two main characteristics: Firstly, there is an abundance of unspoilt nature and historical sites such as castles, palaces and romantic ruins. You can visit several sites as you hike each stage of the trail. Secondly, as the border river between the Czech Republic and Austria, the Lainsitz has played a significant role in history.
On the Austrian side, you will cover between 9.9 to 18.6 miles (16 - 30 km) per stage on the newly signposted long-distance hiking trail. Depending on which trail you choose, you will climb to the top of the Nebelstein (Fog Stone) and visit historic towns and villages such as Weitra, Gmünd, and Litschau. And, finally you will cross the border into the Czech Republic, where other sights, including a nature reserve and a castle, await. The Lainsitz, which stretches as wide as the Danube in places, flows continuously by your side
No trip to the Lainsitz is complete without paying a visit to a couple of inns on the way. The valley is famous for its potatoes, beer and carp. At the moment more than 30 different kinds of potatoes in all colors, shapes and sizes are found here. One of the stage destinations, Weitra, is one of the oldest breweries in Austria, serving delicious beers helped by the Lainsitz’ high water quality. Then there is the famous Waldviertler carp which is bred in the numerous ponds of the region to round up your culinary experience.
But enough raving. You can look forward to a few days in untouched nature, delicious local Waldviertler dishes and the interesting history of the region.
You start your hike - how could it be otherwise - at the Lainsitz source and thus the origin of the river. The highest point you will reach on this stage is right at the beginning.It rises at a height of almost 1,000 meters in the Bohemian Forest Mountains, flows into the valley in the form of a small stream and then becomes larger and larger. Because the first part of the river basin leaves no space for a hiking trail, you hike from the source through the municipality of Karlstift to see water again in front of you after about six kilometers.And so you follow the river for a while until you can choose between two variants. Variant A (as mentioned here) takes you through the municipality of St. Martin, while variant B lets you climb a summit - the Nebelstein (1,017 meters).If you choose variant A, you will land in the historic city of Weitra after about 30 kilometers. The usual duration for this tour is about two to three days. If you want, you can find accommodation to stay on the way. Once in Weitra, it is a good idea to take care of your legs for a day and to take in the sights that the historic town has to offer. Stage 2 - from Weitra to Gmünd - is already waiting.
The second variant of the first stage also begins again at the origin of the Lainsitz. In this case, the source, which is almost 1,000 meters above sea level, is not the highest point of your tour. Because this follows a little later.Just like the water that initially flows into the valley in the form of a stream, you also descend. And hike - not at first along the river but just as beautifully - through the Karlstift municipality until you meet the Lainsitz again after about six kilometers.And so you follow the path for a while until you come to the junction - and choice between the two variants. Variant A would now guide you through the municipality of St. Martin. Variant B (as shown here) makes you sweat again and climb the Nebelstein (1,070 meters high and thus the highest point of the tour).Briefly enjoying the view and maybe having a snack with you, you start the descent again. And you will find yourself in Weitra after about 28 kilometers and almost 500 meters of altitude. The motto here is: stretch your legs and explore the sights that the historic town has to offer. The usual duration of this first stage is about two to three days. If you feel like it, you should book accommodation on the route in good time.And then it can go on: Stage 2 - from Weitra to Gmünd - is already waiting for you.
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
Stage 2 of the route along the Lainsitz runs without any notable height differences from Weitra to Gmünd, the largest city that you will find on this long hike on the Austrian side.You cover your way through forests, meadows and fields on a total of almost 20 kilometers. And you will also pass some fish ponds so typical of the Waldviertel. Maybe a nice place to take a short break?Gmünd itself finally welcomes you with a small, beautiful town hall and its famous facades that date back to the Renaissance. In one of these beautiful houses you should also reserve a bed for the night in good time. It is worth taking a stroll through the small streets of the city or sipping a coffee at the Rathausplatz. Because stage 3, which is coming up next and takes you from Gmünd to Litschau, demands a few more kilometers from you.
Time for stage 3 of your long hike. And for this you start - hopefully well rested and with a few photos of the beautiful town in your pocket - in Gmünd. It goes towards Litschau.Through a slightly undulating landscape, peppered with many beautiful forests, you hike north parallel to the Czech border. In total, you complete around 28 kilometers on this stage, which is why the usual duration is two to three days and a well-booked accommodation that welcomes you on the way will certainly not hurt.At the end of the tour you will finally reach Litschau, the northeasternmost city in Austria - also called "Schrammelstadt". The town exudes a very special charm. Not least because of its landmark, the castle, which watches over its protégé high up on the hill. Herrensee (originally called Herrenteich) also slumbers here. And even if it is - strictly speaking - only part of the next stage, I want to introduce it to you at this point. Because I know that such a cool water can come after just so many kilometers.Enjoy it and switch off again really. Because tomorrow you tackle the last stage and go to Czech soil with it.
Stage 4, the last of this long hike, is coming. Finally she takes you to Czech soil and to the destination of the Lainsitz trail: Chlum.You don't have to walk too many kilometers in this final section. And the vertical meters to be overcome are also rather modest.First, it goes for you along the banks of the Herrensee and up towards the Richterteich. Continue through beautiful forests and finally across the Schlag border crossing and a few kilometers further to the Czech town of Chlum. On the Czech side of this section you hike through the nature reserve Pele, whose bogs and forests are a real highlight of your long-distance hike.It will be completed just a few kilometers later. The small town of Chlum u Třeboně opens before you after the entire stage length of about 17 kilometers. And with its beautiful little castle is the destination of a memorable hike between Austria and the Czech Republic.