Day 5: Weissenkirchen

  • Post author:
  • Post category:Europe

After a busy few days, this morning was a treat as we had all morning to sail through the beautiful Wachau Valley and relax before arriving in our port of call, Weissenkirchen. The Wachau Valley of Austria is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and as soon as you see it, you will know exactly why this is such a special place. Our morning cruise took us past small towns and villages, churches, and castles all located along the Danube River. The valley is also known for the fantastic wine and apricots that are produced here, which meant the vineyards and orchards were everywhere the eye could see, adding to the beauty and charm of this amazing stretch of the river. 

After sailing the entire length of the Wachau Valley, past the town of Durnstein, our ship headed back upstream to the town of Weissenkirhcen where we docked for the afternoon and evening. Shortly after we arrived, many of the guests headed out for one of the included tours here in the valley – either to Durnstein to explore the city and Melk to tour the Melk Abbey, or to hike in Durnstein up to the castle where Richard the Lionheart was kept captive, or to set off on a 20 mile bike ride throughout the Wachau Valley. Our group all participated in different tours, and Maureen and I took on the challenge of this lengthy bike ride as we were told this was the best ride of the cruise (spoiler alert: it didn’t disappoint!). 

We hopped on our bikes and started off the ride by taking a ferry across the river to the other side. No bridges are allowed throughout the Wachau Valley due to its UNESCO designation, so instead small ferries are located throughout the valley to transport passengers, bikers, and vehicles across. These ferries are motorless, completely powered by the current of the river and guided by a pulley system. Once we reached the other side of the river, we began our ride through many small villages, vineyards, orchards, and even uphill for some incredible vistas. We made a quick stop once we reached Durnstein (from across the river) for a photo and then continued on until we had met the end of the valley and the first bridge. After crossing the bridge, we made our way back towards the ship, stopping to take in the beauty and charm of Durnstein along the way before ultimately making it back to Weissenkirchen. 

Following our ride, we spent some time in the town before returning to the ship for dinner (and a well deserved shower!). After dinner, the ship organized an evening tour in town to visit one of the local wineries where we tasted a selection of their Riesling and Gruner Vertliner wines (if you haven’t tried them, or think Riesling is only a sweet wine, you simply must – some of the best white wines we have had)! 

Tomorrow, we arrive in Vienna, the capital of Austria!