Weissenkirchen – A Small Town with a Dominating White Church:
Weissenkirchen is a small town in the northeastern Austrian state of Lower Austria. On our Danube River cruise sailing westward from Vienna, Weissenkirchen was on the right bank of the Danube River, the next town past Dürnstein with its striking Wedgwood-like church tower.
Weissenkirchen -a Wine Town
Our riverboat moored at the Weissenkirchen pier and from there it was an easy walk, across the railway track into town.
Weissenkirchen is one of the top nine wine-cultivating towns in the Wachau and visitors come here to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the Wachau Valley and to try some Wachau wines. In the lower part of town there are many guest houses (gastehaus), wine cellars (weinguts) and restaurants. Our first stop in Weissenkirchen was the Rafflesbergerhof cellar where we enjoyed a pleasant Wachau wine-tasting session. If you’re interested in the history of wine-growing in the Wachau and its role in the economy, you can visit the Wachaumuseum which is located in the 16th century Teisenhoferhof building.
Weissenkirchen means ‘white church‘ and the town takes its name from the huge church which dominates it landscape. This Gothic church was built in the 14th century but the defense tower was added in 1531 as part of the town’s fortification to protect the villagers from the plundering Ottomans. To get to the church, you walk 76 steps up a covered passage, which was built to protect villagers from attacks as they made their way to the church in the upper part of town. Except for the altarpiece, the church itself is quite plain, but still worth a visit.
Walking Tour of Weissenkirchen
Once you’ve made your way to the upper town, it is worthwhile taking a walk to the top of the town for a panoramic view of of the Wachau Valley, its vineyards and the Danube River. It was a steep twenty-minute climb up to Burgstiege, but the view was rewarding. From here, you also get a different perspective of the Weissenkirchen church tower.
The walk back down to the lower town took us down narrow back streets, through medieval archways and past many Weissenkirchen homes. In spite of the rain, we had an enjoyable visit of Weissenkirchen and can see this town being a good base for exploring the Wachau region which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Tony liked the views so much that he hiked up to the vineyards again after lunch to take another look.
For those who enjoy hiking, Weissenkirchen is one of the 14 legs of the 180 km Wachau World Heritage Trail.
Where to Stay in Weissenkirchen
There are a number of highly-rated family-run hotels in the centre of Weissenkirchen, many of which are in historic buildings such as the Raffelsberger Hof, Hotel Garni Weinquadrat and the Hotel Garni Donauhof. You can check here for the complete list of Weissenkirchen hotels.
How to Get to Weissenkirchen by Train
There are trains from Vienna Westbahnhof and Franz-Josefs-Bahnhoff to Weissenkirchen. See the Austrian Federal Railways at www.oebb.at
Map of Weissenkirchen: