Hike to Rappottenstein Castle in Austria

Mountain range, region / State

/ Austria



30. 12. 2022


1 / 5


↑ 252 m

↓ 251 m


6.4 km

3 hours


max. 710 m n.m.

min. 588 m n.m.

Tourist map of the Waldviertel

Elevation profile of the route

Meters climbed: 252 m
Dismal metres: 251 m

Family trek to Rappottenstein Castle near the border

Starting point

Rappottenstein, about 40 km from the Czech border (České Velenice/Gmünd or Halámky)
Parking, for example under the cemetery or on the square, both free of charge.

Description of the hike

Rappottenstein Castle stands on a rock in the deep spruce forests of the Waldviertel. At first glance it resembles Karlstejn, but it is still 200 years older. From the village of the same name you can reach it by following the Teddy Bärentrail, a bear trail marked with bear paws. The trail is about 6 km long, runs through the forest, around the Kamp River and along dirt roads back to the village.

We leave the car in the village of Rappottenstein in the parking lot under the cemetery (free of charge). We return a few tens of metres along the road and continue on the gravel path downhill to the forest. Just after the first trees we discover large granite boulders. Kids and adults alike will have a blast here - climbing and jumping on the rocks, climbing the rounded boulders and finding more climbing areas. The trail heads down to the Kamp River.

The river is clear and full of golden sand. If it weren't December, we'd take off our shoes and go paddling. We cross a wooden footbridge and from the small chapel we head right along the road towards the Waldbad forest bathing area. The shady swimming pool is now frozen over, but in summer it must be great swimming and the kids have fun on the slide and replica castle. After the swimming pool, continue a short distance along the road past the concrete factory. At the confluence of the river Kamp and the Grötschenbach stream we turn into the forest again. In the bed of the Kamp there are huge boulders covered in green moss, some with pots of ice still clinging to them. The signpost "Zur Burg" leads us out under the castle.

Rappottenstein is imposing, towering on a rock against the blue sky. Protected by high, massive walls, it is no wonder it has never been conquered. From the castle we take a little detour back down to the river. After the nearby bridge, we go back up to the meadows and pastures in front of the village of Rappottenstein. St. Anne's Chapel stands on a hill in the open countryside and has a beautiful view of the castle and the surrounding area. Inside there are unusually arranged wooden benches, not in rows but along the walls, with folding seats, as they used to be in cinemas. From the chapel it's just a few hundred yards across the rolling terrain back to the village. In the village, the white church and the old pillory in the village square catch the eye.

On the way back we stop briefly in nearby Zwettl. Zwettl (Světlá) is a picturesque town situated in a valley at the confluence of the rivers Kamp and Zwettl. The town was fortified, the defensive towers and parts of the walls are still well preserved and visible from the river promenade. In the square there is a colourful and undulating fountain by the Austrian artist and architect F. Hundertwasser, who lived and worked in the Waldviertel. The rest of the town seems to have been inspired by him too - everything is colourful and varied, the new complements the old without interfering with each other. Mention must also be made of the city's Zwettl brewery, one of the most successful private breweries in Austria and the flagship of Lower Austria.


A relaxing family outing in the beautiful undulating landscape of the Waldviertel. Forest paths, river, natural swimming pool, castle, views of the countryside. At least in the off-season, it's quiet and peaceful.

Water availability

Short trip, we had supplies with us. The castle is open for refreshments in season, there is a shop and inn in the village of Rappottenstein. The nearby town of Zwettl is already a perfect civilization - bakeries, cafes, Imbiss (fast food), restaurants, supermarket on the square.

Sleeping options

A short trip a short distance from the border, possibilities of overnight stays on the Czech and Austrian side (mostly guesthouses or accommodation like Urlaub am Bauernhof - holiday on a farm.


The route is not dangerous, on the contrary it is suitable for families with children or as a short resting route.


Picnic on benches in nice places with views, at the castle refreshments, in the villages shops or inns.


Rappottenstein Castle was founded around 1150 by the Bavarian nobleman Rapoto von Kuenring to protect his estate in the Waldviertel and the trade route from the Danube to the north. The castle was never conquered and resisted the Hussites, Swedish troops and peasant uprisings. Today the castle is privately owned by the Abensperg-Traun family.

In the summer it is possible to take a guided tour of the castle or attend one of the cultural events. The castle also hosts the Austrian Red Cross charity project "Kinderburg Rappottenstein" and offers short-term convalescent stays to families affected by a child's illness or other misfortune.

Posted by: 08. 01. 2023
Author profile