Are you looking for the perfect bike adventure for the whole family? The Taya Cycle Trail is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxed bike ride. Cycle paths, refreshing swim spots, and impressive historical ruins and castles come together along two former Thayatal railway lines. You can follow these paths to roam through the gentle terrain of Lower Austria’s Waldviertel.
Historically, as steam locomotives could only cope with gradual gradients, railway lines were leveled wherever possible. Today, this is great for cyclists, especially young bikers, as there are hardly any ascents. This means that the cycling pros of tomorrow can pedal at lightning speeds, perhaps even faster than you would like them to.
The Thaya Cycle Trail begins in Göpfritz an der Wild. From there you cycle via Raabs an der Thaya to the Czech border. After crossing the border, you visit the Czech part of the Thaya Cycle Trail and the village Slavonice. Next, a short ride south brings you back to the Austrian border where you cycle via Waidhofen an der Thaya back to Göpfritz, which is almost entirely flat.
The 106-km-long (65-mile) Thaya Cycle Trail offers four days of cycling fun for the whole family along tarmacked paths. If you are looking for a sportier challenge, you can easily bundle the stages together. It’s up to you how to plan your adventure as each stage always ends in a place with plenty of accommodation. Nevertheless, I recommend that you reserve your overnight stays in advance.
Please note that due to the current situation (COVID-19) the following restrictions apply: Unfortunately, due to entry restrictions, the Thaya Cycle Trail cannot be navigated in the Czech Republic. However, there is an alternative route that runs along the border on the Austrian side. I will briefly explain this to you in the corresponding stage (2). Furthermore, the alternative route is also signposted on site.
The ideal time to travel on the Thaya Cycle Trail is from April to October. If you want to take a shortcut, the Waldviertel bus runs from May to October and takes you and your bike from Drosendorf via Raabs and Dobersberg to Slavonice and back. You can call +43 810 22 23 24 for more information.
You start in Göpfritz an der Wild at the train station. You can reach it by train from the west, for example from Linz via St. Pölten and from the east from Vienna. Depending on the connection, the journey time can be between two and four hours. If you are arriving by car, you will find a parking space specially designed for the Thaya circuit directly on the bike path a few 100 meters north of Göpfritz.The bumper and the stop signal located there also mark the end of the existing track bed and thus the beginning of the Thaya round. From here you can relax on the former railway line of the Göpfritz-Raabs local railway to Raabs an der Thaya. The particularly pleasant thing about it: If the route is not exactly flat, it almost always goes downhill. A bike tour couldn't be more comfortable.Again and again you will encounter old station buildings on the way, which are often not much larger than a small shelter and invite you to a shady rest. If it should rain on the way, you will also find a practical shelter in these. Shortly before the Schönfeld-Kirchberg stop, you touch a small lake, the so-called mountain pond. Formerly a well-known bathing area in the region, it is now mainly used by anglers. One or the other bathing spot can still be found, but a little off the path.We continue along the cool edge of the forest to Groß-Sieghart. The place is not as big as the name suggests, but there are still a few traditional restaurants. If you want, you can treat yourself to a proper rest here, about halfway. If time permits, you can also visit the castle or the impressive textile museum.Since it continues downhill from here, it will not be long before you reach today's stage destination of Raabs an der Thaya. Particularly impressive is the ever-changing view of Raabs Castle, which you can enjoy as you enter the village. So take your time here. After you have moved into your sleeping quarters for the night in Raabs, you can end the day in all comfort in the local wellness pool, the Thayatal Vitalbad. There is also a children's pool and a 45-meter water slide for younger guests.As a small addition, I can recommend a detour to the Thayatal to the Kollmitz castle ruins at today's stage. To do this, you have to leave the cycle path at the old train station in Pfaffenschlag and take the fork towards Lindau. From there you drive east through a small forest across Sauggern to Kollmitzgraben, from where you have a wonderful view of the ruin. Back to the bike path west of the Thaya in a northerly direction via forest and field paths to Raabs an der Thaya. Since the Thaya flows through a deep valley here, the path often does not lead directly along the river bank.
On the second stage of the Thayarunde you leave Austria after about a third of the day's route and cross the border to the Czech Republic. But first, after the leisurely previous day, a short but decent climb awaits you, from the valley of the Thaya valley up to Modsiedl. In this region of the forest district, mainly hazelnut trees are grown. In Modsiedl you can therefore buy everything related to hazelnuts in the so-called Genusshof Theurer - from oil to the particularly energetic, small nut pieces.You can also use this energy well today, because of all the stages on the Thayarunde the second one has the most elevation gain. Although 350 meters uphill are still moderate, the overall situation is quite hilly. No wonder, because today the bike path does not run along an old railway line.After crossing the border, turn left in the village of Rančirov onto the famous old post road Vienna-Prague. This historically significant route was traveled from 1536 to 1730 for almost 200 years by travelers of all strata, but also by kings and emperors. From here we continue westwards to Slavonice. Unfortunately, the direct entrance through the eastern city gate is not possible due to the local one-way system. I therefore recommend that you simply dismount briefly and push your bike. The city gate is well worth seeing.A little note on the side: From the Czech border, the cycle path signs change to the Czech system and the logo of the Thayarunde can now be seen on a yellow background.Important note: Due to the current COVID-19 situation, entry to the Czech Republic is currently not possible. The Thayarunde therefore runs on an alternative route along the border with the Czech Republic: For this you leave the Thaya bike path in Schaditz, just before the Czech border and turn left at the second option towards Wilhelmshof and Unterpertholz. From there, continue to Neuriegers, where you meet EuroVelo 13 towards Rappolz. From there, the alternative route leads to Gilgenberg, where it meets the Thaya circuit again, which runs south here. The alternative route is also signposted on site.
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From Slavonice you drive south to Austria. The border is not far away, so you are back in the Lower Austrian Waldviertel after just under three kilometers. From Slavonice you now follow the second former railway line, the Thayatalbahn. Especially in the border area there is hardly anything to be made out of it - the tracks were torn down shortly after 1945 to close the iron curtain without exception during the Cold War.Past Fratres and Schönfeld, you follow the valley of the Feinitzbach and drive through short, cool forest sections until you get to Waldkirchen an der Thaya. Halftime is not here yet, but a small stop is still worth it, as the old train station with the exhibited railway carriages from the turn of the century is an excellent photo opportunity. By the way, Waidhofen is also suitable as an alternative overnight spot of a special kind: if you want, you will find a nice bed for the night in the parked sleeping cars.Shortly after Waldkirchen the bike path swings back into the Thayatal, but instead of just crossing it as before, you now follow it upriver until the middle of the next day. In this context, a small detour to the Dobersberg Nature Park, through which the Thaya flows here, is also worthwhile. This waits with all kinds of interesting facilities and offers to be discovered by you.It continues along the railway to Thaya, where you can admire an old, now converted iron arch bridge shortly before reaching the junction towards the village. You will also find a beautiful swimming area right on the river in Thaya. To do this, simply take the junction from the bike path into town and immediately after crossing the river, turn left into Badgasse. At the end there is a parking lot, a beach volleyball court and access to the swimming area.Here you can take your time and stretch your legs in the cool water, because it is not far to your destination Waidhofen an der Thaya - and as you have probably already noticed: there are almost no slopes on today's route . At the end of the day, you can visit the world's largest aviary for the Waldrapp, a bird species that once died out in Central Europe, in Waidhofen. Of course, you can also marvel at the ibis-like birds.
The last stage along the Thaya round starts in Waidhofen an der Thaya and leads you gently ascending over a little more than 20 kilometers back to your starting point at Göpfritz an der Wild. In Waidhofen you start at the main square and can now decide whether you would rather follow the Thaya on the outskirts or take a little detour to the former station area. The marked tour follows the Great Thaya route to the old train station before it joins the Thayatal bike path again at the southern end of the village.At the entrance to Meires you can stop after about eight kilometers to take a little wellness break at the "Glotzn Poliermaschine" and "Bugl-Krotzbirschtn". If this spectacle is too profane for you, you will find the pretty moated castle "Schloss Meires" at the eastern end of the village, which has been in the possession of the famous filmmaker and screenwriter Michael Haneke since 2011.In Windigsteig you have the opportunity to take a short break halfway - the pretty town center and a cooling fountain invite you to do so. It is worthwhile to recharge your batteries here, because shortly after Weinpolz you can expect a small climb up into the forest. Afterwards, the day ends at a completely flat route back to the Göpfritz an der Wild train station. From here the rail traffic is no longer stopped and trains continue to Vienna and via St. Pölten to Linz.