Accounting for less than 1/40th of the total area of Wachau, the Weissenkirchen community has more than 1/3rd of the entire wine-cultivating land of the region. Having such resourceful land it shouldn’t be a surprise that this lovely town has way more to offer than just wine, which – I have to tell – is great. That should be no surprise, the wine in Weissenkirchen has been cultivated for more than a thousand-year now. Old documents are mentioning the vineyards of the town being owned by Niederaltaich Abbey in 830.
It is not surprising that being so old, Weissenkirchen is full of historic houses, which once were the home to prosperous merchants and the age-less wineries with all the old wine-making assemblies imaginable. Not to mention the old mansions of prosperous wine estates – architectural jewels of bygone days, and Teisenhoferhof, the fortified church of Weissenkirchen, which will leave absolutely nobody laid back. Next to Teisenhoferhof stands the oldest primary school in Austria. It was first mentioned in 1385. All of this and much more in one small town Weissenkirchen in der Wachau.
Weissenkirchen is the main hub of the very heartland of the Wachau Valley. Connection to the town is as good as anywhere else in the region. The regional trains to Krems run from the northern trains stations of Vienna: Franz Josefs Bahnhof and Spiteleau. The latter could be easily reached with U4 and U6 metro lines.
There is no direct train from Vienna to Weissenkirchen, but there is one to the doorstep of Wachau – Krems. The regional ÖBB train takes about an hour from Vienna to Krems. Further on, you need to take VOR 715 bus to Melk. The bus stop is located just outside the train station.
Pro tip: The cheapest travel option from Vienna to Weissenkirchen is Freetime (Freizeit) ticket for 19.90€. It will cover both the ÖBB regional trains and VOR buses.
As far as I am concerned, I don’t see a good reason to make the whole trip from Vienna to Weissenkirchen solely by bus. 715 VOR bus leaves Krems towards Melk about 10 minutes after the arrival of the ÖBB train from Vienna.
Vienna-Krems: From Vienna take A 22 motor road to Stockerou, from which switch to S5 until you reach Krems.
Krems-Weissenkirchen: From Krems follow B 3 road (Donau Bundesstraße) by the left bank of Danube, it will take you straight to Weissenkirchen.
I would argue that there is no better way to explore Wachau than by bicycle. The 40 km / 25 mi stretch between Krems and Melk is a small distance for experienced cyclists, however, it is doable to amateurs like me. You can check my cycling in the Wachau Valley guide.
While walking around the town is bliss on its own, there is just as much to see around. Weissenkirchen is a powerhouse of wine production, thus it could not be imagined without the vineyard terraces surrounding the town. Hiking among them will not only going to help to understand the viticulture of the area but will surprise you with the beautiful panorama views of Weissenkirchen and the surrounding towns.
People often struggle to pick one of these incomparable spectacular towns. I would say, why not both? The two hubs of the Wachau Valley are within a walkable distance.
Undoubtedly, the panoramic climb to Felsentor is the hike to do in the area around Weissenkirchen. It does not only please with the awe-inspiring views of the town and Teisenhoferhof, but the hike will unveil the beauty of sculpted vineyard terraces. The sight of it will be a true shocker for any first-timer in the area. Do the hike as the sun is about to set beyond the horizon and it will do wonders to you.
Ferries is probably the most popular way to visit the Wachau valley by tourists. It won’t give a deeper insight into the region but it will give a starting picture better than anything else. Some parts of Wachau, like the tower of Dürnstein Abbey, are best seen from the water. I highly recommend making your first trip to Wachau either on a guided tour on a ferry or by bicycle.
I highly recommend booking your tours via the GetYourGuide platform because they pick out only the best services in the area and provide a possibility to cancel the booked tour up to 24 hours in advance.
Teisenhoferhof is one of the most beautiful gothic churches in Wachau and could be seen almost from every angle in the very heartland of the region. The first bricks were laid down somewhere in 1335 and soon the church became an architectural roller coaster, bearing marks from various epochs. Teisenhferhof was fortified many times, but it was done so not without a reason but to defend from Ottoman Empire’s attacks. As a result – just as almost everything in Wachau – the church reminds a castle from fairy tales.
At first, I assumed that Teisenhoferhof is one of those many German nouns, compiled from multiple words, but it appears it was named after the owner of the church – Heinrich Teisenhofer, who owned the building and greatly expanded it between 1439 and 1465. Teisenhoferhof was upgraded again in 1542 to obtain two defensive towers, the beautiful courtyard, and its Rennaissance flavour. Today, the courtyard hosts various events including Wachau Festival and Riesling Festival.
Documents from the 13th century name the oldest vineyard of Weissenkirchen as Ritzling. There are some wild guesses that Riesling typical of Wachau could have originated in the area of the town. Other than that, the Achleiten, Klaus, and Steinriegl vineyards are considered to be the best Riesling sites in the town. Of course, that doesn’t mean that other fields are bad, or other types. Quite the contrary. Personally, I prefer the Austrian Grüner Veltliner, which is also amazing in Weissenkirchen, and in Wachau generally. On your trip to the town, be sure to make a stop in one of the many rustic and authentic heurigers. Overall, most of the total 1,500 inhabitants of Weissenkirchen live mainly from viticulture. Wine is inseparable from Wachau.
When talking about Wachau, Weissenkirchen might not be the first name to come to one’s mind. Neither it attracts the most tourists. However, Weissenkirchen is the de facto centre of the region, and it has been so since as far as the historical sources can lead us. Undoubtedly, it has an impact. Together with Spitz, Weissenkirchen is the only one in Wachau, which feels like a town rather than a village.
In my experience, this place demands attention. It is hard just to cruise by it like it was any other cosy settlement Wachau has plenty of. The picturesque town and the vineyards surrounding Weissenkirchenn are so beautiful that I could certainly come back here again and again, and I am sure that I will. I expect to uncover more secrets of this magical place in the future, but for now, if you decide to visit the town be sure to visit Eurasian Kestrel living on the roof of Teisenhoferhof. All things considered, Weissenkirchen in der Wachau is as good as any day trip from Vienna.