Two rivers wind their way through dense forests, colorful poppy meadows, and picturesque lakes – the Kleine and Große Krems. Springing in the southern Waldviertel, they flow on different routes before meeting to form the Krems and continuing towards the Danube. You can follow their path through pristine valleys on the Kremstal Trail. Nature has reclaimed old abandoned mills and former railway lines along the route. You may even spot a few wild animals close to the trail.
The Kremstal Trail leads through a lovely, but demanding, landscape. In total, you will cover almost 62 miles (100 km) spread over 5 stages, meaning you’ll hike more than 12 miles (20 km) on some days. However, the altitude difference is generally not too bad, so they are easy to conquer. The route is signposted in both directions with the number 625. It leads along forest trails, field tracks and narrow paths, but also sometimes along small roads for a short time.
Each stage ends in a village. However, there is not always accommodation or only a limited choice. Several inns conveniently offer accommodation and shuttle bus packages along the trail. You sleep in the same bed every night and are dropped off and picked up from the respective stage each day. You can also split the longer stages if you prefer.
You can walk the Kremstal Trail all year round — even if there’s a little snow the roads are kept free of ice. The area is especially beautiful midsummer when the paths along the river and forest are shaded and cool. Unless you're hiking during a stifling summer, the paths can become muddy and wet. So pack your waterproof hiking boots – it’s no fun hiking with wet feet!
Since the Kremstal Trail is a circular route, you can start anywhere on the trail. You can take the train to Krems an der Donau, St. Pölten or Ybbs an der Donau. From there, there’s a bus to all destinations along the trail (oebb.at).
On this day you will discover the Kleine Krems, the river course of which you follow to its origin. You leave the main road from Kottes to the south and cross the Kleine Krems twice at the beginning. When you have left the last houses of the village behind you, you first stay on the right bank along a forest. Then you cross the water again, leave the bank and follow the path across open fields. You will soon reach the familiar shore again and follow it to Kirchschlag. There you turn south like the river and finally reach the source area at the scattered settlement of Primassen, where you have to say goodbye. There will be a reunion on the fifth stage. Now you run in two large arches over Roggenreith to Martinsberg.In Roggenreith you will pass Austria's first whiskey distillery. It's worth a look - and maybe a little sip too? The last stretch between Pitzeichen and Martinsberg will accompany you with the remains of an old railway line that is no longer in operation. Overall, this stage is a good 23 kilometers long. So take your time.You can stop off in Kirchschlag. However, you have not quite completed half of the day's stage there. You should consider this when choosing your dish. There is no accommodation in Martinsberg. A little further - already on the next stage - there is a guest house on the beautiful Edlesberger See.The starting point of the hike is remote in the rural Waldviertel. A bus runs from the train station in Krems an der Donau to Kottes - but only from Monday to Friday. Depending on the connection, it takes around an hour and a half to get there. So you have enough time to look out the window and attune yourself to the landscape. The current timetable for line 701 can be found at vor.at.
A beautiful lake and several fabulous stones await you on the many forest trails of stage 2. You will also discover on this day where the Great Krems rises.From Martinsberg it goes uphill towards Oed and from there to the beautiful Edlesberger See. Its banks look temptingly cozy. You still have most of the day's kilometers ahead of you, but there's definitely a short break on the shore. From here the route runs north past the Höllberge on the left. The Großer Höllberg is one of the thousands in the region at 1,001 meters.At the Vorderer Waldhäuser you get to the source area of the Große Krems. To the right of the path, many small streams unite to form the river that will accompany you for the next few days. Your path here coincides exactly with a watershed. This means that all the water you see on the left of the path flows into another river. This is called Kleiner Kamp and its water has a much further route into the Danube than that of the Krems. With a few exceptions, you stay in the forest up to Bad Traunstein in lively ups and downs.At the end of the stage, a detour to two special rocks is worthwhile: the giant Franzosenstein, which balances on another rock at an angle, and the Wachstein, which rises above the village as if it were trying to protect it. The best thing to do on this stage is to grab a good snack, because there is no inn to stop off on the way. At the end of today's route, in Bad Traunstein, there are several accommodations and guest houses to choose from.To reach this stage by bus, you can take the line 780 towards Zwettl from the train station in Ybbs an der Donau. It runs from Monday to Friday. Get off at the Martinsberg / Pitzeichen station. From there you walk about half an hour to the village of Martinsberg. Or you change to line 733 towards Bärnkopf. The connection is not always so good. You can find more information at vor.at.
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Stage 3 also remains true to the paths along the water. They will take you past a pond, a castle and, in summer, past blooming poppy meadows.The path begins to the east between the Waltenschläger Bach and the Große Krems. A short walk through cultivated fields is followed by a beautiful forest path to the Weyrerteich. From there it goes to the town of Ottenschlag, which is ideal for a break. Then you turn north and meet the Große Krems shortly before your arm stroke, which brings you to the stage goal Sallingberg.Perhaps you have already noticed - several place names in the region end at the same time: among others, Kirchschlag, Ottenschlag and Armschlag. This indicates that the landscape here was once covered with forest that was cut to make room for living and working.You can stop at this stage in Ottenschlag and Armschlag. The latter describes itself as Mohndorf and does all it can to ensure that nobody misses it. There is an educational trail, a garden and of course a specialty shop selling the beautiful red flowers. At the stage destination Sallingberg there is a holiday farm that also offers guest rooms.Getting to Bad Traunstein by public transport is not easy, but it can be done with a few changes. Either you drive from St. Pölten with bus F to Zwettl / Kampparkplatz and from there with line 732 to the Oberen Markt in Ottenschlag. Line 734 then goes to Bad Traunstein. Or you come from Ybbs an der Donau. From the train station you can take the 780 bus to Ottenschlag and then change trains. All buses only run from Monday to Friday. You can find current timetables at vor.at.
Follow scenic forest trails on stage 4 of the Große Krems to the east. Just to reach Großreinprechts about half way and reach the destination Albrechtsberg, you briefly distance yourself from their run.You leave Sallingberg to the southeast to find the bank of your loyal companion. On the side of the Große Krems you hike to Grafemühle and then briefly without water to Großreinprechts. Follow the meanders between trees to the Königsmühle. Shortly afterwards, you have to overcome an ascent until you arrive in Albrechtsberg.If you feel hungry at noon, you can stop off in Großreinprechts. Delicious trout can be found at the Bründlmühle fish farm just behind the town exit. In Albrechtsberg inns offer rooms for hikers.You can get to Sallingberg by bus from the train station in Ybbs an der Donau. Line 780 runs from Monday to Friday in the direction of Zwettl. The correct stop is called Sallingberg / Marktplatz. There is also a connection via St. Pölten. Here you have to change again in Zwettl / Kampparkplatz. All information is available at vor.at.
Compared to the other idyllic and quiet stages on the Kremstalweg there is really something going on: You take a look into the Stone Age in a cave, discover geological peculiarities and hike under mighty rock walls.Even if today's day's destination is actually in the southwest of Albrechtsberg, you first set off to the northeast, where you cross the Große Krems after a short descent. It's no surprise that this shouldn't be the last time today. On the other side of the valley it goes uphill again and in one lap back to the shore. Now you are already on your way south and follow the curves of the river until the valley becomes narrower and more limited by rock walls.At the so-called Zwickl, the Kleine Krems again takes on the task of being a companion. It's almost a shame here if you just stay on the Kremstalweg on the river bank. Because there is a lot to see to the right of the path. To do this, turn right at the next bend behind the Zwickl and climb the steep slope on the Vettersteig. This is a bit more demanding than the trails in the valley. However, many aids and safeguards are appropriate. On top of the mountain you will discover caves and beautiful views. Those who prefer to stay comfortably by the water simply follow the course of the river.Upstream you will soon come to a loop in which a rock rises that is doubly interesting. There is a castle on it and a cave is hidden in it. We continue through the narrow valley until you turn west to make a detour to the village of Els. Then the path takes you back to Kottes via Marbach. Marble is mined in the municipal area of this place. You can see that at the quarries along the way.On this day you will also find no inns on the way. Therefore, you should have enough food and drink with you on the go. At the destination of the hike in Kottes you will get something warm again. There is also an inn here in the village where you can spend the night.Between Monday and Friday you can take the bus from the train station in Krems an der Donau to Albrechtsberg. The current timetable for line 701 can be found at vor.at.