Experience nature between Vienna and Bratislava

The Donau-Auen National Park, which lies between the European capital cities Vienna and Bratislava, is one of Central Europe’s largest wetlands. Every year, the unique flora and fauna here attract thousands of visitors. The National Park is a particularly exciting destination for the whole family in spring.

The 9,300 hectare National Park stretches along the Danube, which flows freely here and forms the heart of the Park. With a length of 38 kilometres, the National Park is barely 4 kilometres wide at its broadest point, since the wetlands are only to be found directly by the Danube.


Escape from the city into the countryside
In the northern part of the National Park lies the wide Marchfeld plain. In the south, the Park’s border is formed by the escarpment of the Vienna basin. For the Viennese in particular, the Lobau area is a traditional and convenient place for relaxing. The Weitwanderweg 07 (long hiking trail) passes through the National Park, as does the Danube cycle path, which originates in Passau (Germany) and takes you via Hainburg to Hungary.

Bus from Bratislava
From Bratislava to Hainburg

new direct commuter

New bus line connects Bratislava and Hainburg

Since mid-March the Bratislava public transport authorities have been operating a regular direct commuter bus service between the Slovakian capital and the nearby Austrian town of Hainburg.

Resettlers erase political border
EU membership in 2004 was the final step in the removal of the formerly heavily guarded Iron Curtain between Slovakia and Austria. In subsequent years many Slovakian families moved to Austria, taking advantage of the favourable land prices and lucrative housing subsidies on the Austrian side of the border while continuing to work in Slovakia. The growing number of commuters prompted the Bratislava public transport authorities to expand its bus network beyond the border. Initial plans for the bus line date back to the time when Slovakia became a member of the EU.

From idea to reality
Bus service 901 operated by the Bratislava public transport authority DPB AG has been running between the Slovakian capital and the Lower Austrian town of Hainburg since mid-March 2009.

The service was originally planned to start operation when Slovakia acceded to the Schengen agreement. The first steps were taken in 2007 by Milan Cilek, deputy mayor of Bratislava, and Gerhard Schödinger, mayor of the Austrian border community of Wolfsthal, and from May 2008 a service ran as far as Wolfsthal.

Following further negotiations DPB AG Bratislava extended the service to Hainburg in March 2009, highlighting the good relations between Slovakia and Austria. Alongside its intensive cooperation with Vienna over the years, Bratislava is also encouraging good-neighbourly relations with towns on the Slovakian-Austrian border.

Peter Lizák, Slovakian ambassador in Vienna, regards the development of the transport infrastructure as a way of bringing the two countries closer together. Interregional bus services are a continuation of major projects such as the hourly rail service and the second Twin City Liner on the Danube between Bratislava and Vienna.

The planned construction of a bridge over the March between Záhorská Ves and Angern will make a further contribution to improving border communications between western Slovakia and Lower Austria. A tunnel under the Danube will also speed up the train service from Paris via Vienna to Bratislava.

Durkosvsky and Zahradnik
Interregio bus

Small step for the company, large step for the region
Representatives of municipalities on both sides of the border took part in the inaugural journey on the new bus service. Karl Kindl, mayor of Hainburg, and Andrej Ďurkovský, mayor of Bratislava, both agreed that a public transport service of this type was an important step in the development of the Slovakian-Austrian border region. DPB-AG chairman Branislav Záhradník described it as a “small step for the company but a large step for the region”.

The Bratislava–Hainburg bus services runs at regular intervals from 5.30 am to 11.30 pm. A single journey costs €1.50 or €0.75 for children and young persons under 26 and pensioners.

DPB AG Bratislava is also planning to set up a regular bus service this year to the Hungarian border village of Rajka with the help of EU funding.

A two-way international bus link, the number 901 running between Bratislava-Wolfsthal-Hainburg began operating im March 2009.

The new route is an extension of the Bratislava-Wolfsthal link. A standard one-way ticket between Bratislava and Hainburg costs EUR 1.50. The bus run daily from 6.20 a.m. at intervals of around 60 minutes. The terminus in Bratislava will be located under the New Bridge (Novy Most).

By boat from Vienna’s city centre to the National Park
Every day until 26 October, you can reach the National Park in comfort from Vienna’s city centre in the National Park boat. From the mooring point on the Danube Canal in the city centre, the journey takes you past the Prater meadows, Freudenau and Praterspitz to the Danube itself downriver from the Freudenau power station, before you finally arrive at the landing point next to the Lobau oil harbour. Here, passengers are welcomed by employees of Vienna’s Municipal Department 49 (Forestry Office and Urban Agriculture). During a one hour excursion through thick alluvial woodland and past sheltered pools, visitors get an insight into the varied ‘water forest’ habitat, home to many different species.

Habitat for rare species
The ever-changing nature of the Danube, with tidal swings of up to 7 metres, leads to the wetlands being constantly reformed. As a result, the Danube creates habitats for numerous animals and plants. The nature reserve is home to more than 700 types of plant, more than 30 mammals, 100 species of bird, 8 types of reptile and 13 different amphibians, as well as about 60 types of fish. The magnificent kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), the symbol of the Donau-Auen National Park, was named Bird of the Year 2009 by BirdLife Austria. Threats to its habitat, however, have led to its becoming rarer. The kingfisher population in the Donau-Auen National Park counts among the most important in Austria.

water lilies

Individual visitor programme of events
The National Park and the schlossORTH National Park Centre offer a large and varied programme of events for visitors throughout the year. Guided tours of the exhibitions in the schlossORTH Centre, activities on the Schlossinsel (castle island) wetland adventure area, hiking tours and boat excursions help to make all visitors more familiar with the world of the National Park. Besides the fixed events listed in the calendar, there is also the possibility to choose and arrange individual events from the varied visitor programme.

Get away from everyday life and experience the wilderness
On 21 June, the great Donau-Auen summer festival is being celebrated along with ‘Nature Day 2009’. Under the motto ‘Nature knows no boundaries’, a boat excursion ‘on the Danube’s waves to Slovakia’ will be made. This Danube trip will give insights into the imposing river landscape and will open up new perspectives of the National Park, the Danube region and the confluence of the Danube and the Morava rivers.

Danube wetlands

National Park Boat (2 May until 26 October)
Departure point: Danube Canal (near Salztorbrücke bridge, 150 metres upstream from the Franz-Josefs-Kai staircase)
Departs daily: 9am
Arrives daily: c. 1pm
Prices: Adults, 10 euro, children 4 euro
Places must be reserved in advance
Lobau National Park and Forest Administration
Tel: 01/4000/49480

E-Mail: pe-don@ma49.wien.gv.at

Register for all events at the
schlossORTH National Park Centre
A-2304 Orth/Donau
Tel: +43 2212 3555
E-Mail: schlossorth@donauauen.at

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