Thaya and March/Morava rivers are the only lowland rivers in Austria with a wide variety of floodplain landscapes and beautiful loops, which provides the perfect habitat for wildlife. We’ve paddled the stretch from Breclav (CZ) to Hohenau an der March (AT) and fell in love with the Thaya river, so we wanted to complete this section too. Paddling the Thaya through beautiful landscape and Castle Ruins turned out to be the best scenic getaway.
About Thaya River
Thaya has two source rivers that merge at Raabs/Thaya. The source river named German Thaya, originates near the village of Schweiggers, in Upper Waldviertel, Austria. In contrast, the Moravian Thaya, the second large source river, flows from the Czech Republic to Austria.
The route from Raabs/Thaya to Eibenstein is the most picturesque and beautiful section that can be navigable, meandering through beautiful Castles and ruins. Not far away from Eibenstein, the river leaves Austria and enters the Czech Republic. For 26km it forms the border between Austria and the Czech Republic, but at Karslust, Thaya streams in the Czech Republic only and changes the name into Dyje.
Near Reinthal, Thaya returns to Austria, forming the border between Austria and the Czech Republic once again, for almost 20km.
Finally, after its long winding course, it flows into March/Morava River, near Hohenau an der March, where Austria borders the Czech Republic and Slovakia at the same time.
Things to Know Before Paddling the Thaya
- Paddling the Thaya on this route is only possible at a water level between 120 – 180 cm, from 10 am to 5 pm (in summer until 6 pm), from March to middle October.
- Always check and double-check the water level of the river here.
- There are four Weirs and a small island to avoid on this route.
- The exit and entry points can be muddy and the path connecting them full of vegetation.
- Two stretches are navigable upstream in a canoe/kayak/SUP: the one before the first Weir and the one before the third Weir.
- Paddling the Thaya is ideal for beginners, families and nature lovers.
- Wear a sun hat, glasses and long sleeves since the sun can burn during midday hours.
- There are lots of mosquitos from time to time so bring insect repellent for body and clothes.
Summary of our Paddling Trip
Distance: 14.27 km
Moving Time: 3h20′
Difficulty: 1 – for beginners
Water Temperature: 18 degrees
Water Level: 125 cm
Average Moving Speed: 4,3 km/h
Paddling the Thaya from Raab to Eibenstein, Austria
On a beautiful Saturday morning, we drove towards the north part of Austria to paddle the most beautiful navigable section of the Thaya. We had some concerns as the water level was low early that morning, with only 123cm. As we had some road in front of us, we were afraid that by the time we would get there, the water level will decrease even more and we won’t be able to paddle the river that day. Luckily by 10 am, the river had 125cm and paddling the Thaya river seemed possible.
Eibenstein to Raabs an der Thaya – by Car
First thing we left our bikes at a restaurant in Eibenstein. We asked the family in charge to allow us to leave the bikes in their courtyard for a few hours, and they were kind enough to let us. We planned to serve lunch later at their restaurant; unfortunately, the place was booked for a private party.
Note. You can leave the bike near the river, at the bridge in Eibentein, without asking anyone’s permission to store your bike for the day.
KM 0 – River Band near the JUFA Hotel in Raabs an der Thaya
Shortly before 10 am, we parked the car near the JUFA hotel in Raabs an der Thaya, near the riverbank and began to inflate our Kayak. We were not the only ones there, another family came and left soon after us, on an inflatable kayak also, but we never saw them again that day. Mosquitos were flying around us, so we left the shore as soon as possible.
The entrance into the water was smooth, and the lack of the current made the first part of the trip enjoyable. Soon, we were paddling into a romantic wild area, with high rocks on the right side of the river and dense flora.
KM 6 – The first Weir in Kollmitzgraben
The first 6 km were picturesque, in total stillness, only a few raindrops smashed the silence of the area. During the mist, we shaded under some trees, so we didn’t feel any discomfort. The water displayed a cafe au lait colour, and the dragonflies flew around us while we were waiting for the rain to stop.
We even met a few tourists in some blue rented canoes coming from the opposite way; they didn’t seem disturbed by the mist eighter. As we weren’t in a hurry, we just wanted to indulge in this beautiful landscape, so we paddled at a low speed.
We soon reached Kollmitzgraben where we landed our Kayak on the left-hand side shore, at the designated area.
Visiting the Kollmitz Castle Ruins
By the time we reached the first Weir in Kollmitzgraben, the sky was clear and the temperatures pleasant, so we decided to pay a visit to the famous Kollmitz Castle ruins. We fixed the Kayak on the beach trolley, and we headed uphill to the ruins where we dropped it near the parking lot.
The ruins of the Kollmitz Castle are some of the largest in entire Austria. The Castle was a defensive border against the Bohemians once. Now, everyone can roam freely inside the Castle ruins, pay a visit to the small museum, climb the steep steps to the towers, find the old made and her husband, dream of how life used to be in the early days. Our greatest wish was to savour the beautiful views of the Thaya Valley from one of the towers.
Kollmitz Castle Ruins Opening Times:
May to October, from 10 am to 5 pm, daily, in good weather
July & August from 10 am to 6 pm, daily, in good weather
Free of charge but you can always donate something for the preservation of the ruins.
After the visit, we grabbed a quick bite and a coffee at the snack bar inside the ruins and left on our adventure: paddling the Thaya River!
KM 8 – The second Weir in Dorfwiesgraben
After our short break, we headed to the band river in Kollmitzgraben. The embarkment was unstable and way to muddy for our taste, so we had to be cautious not to bring soil inside the Kayak. We took a few more photos of the ruins, from the water, and we paddled further.
For the first time in a very long time, we recognised a beautiful black stork flying around us. Fishes were continually jumping out of the water while a bunny came out of the bushes, greeting us with his long ears.
Before the Weir in Dorfwiesgraben, we landed the Kayak on the left-hand side of the river. To reach the river band after the Weir, we had to march on a path full of vegetation, challenging to do with a kayak. The embankment was steep and muddy once again.
KM 8.5 – No need to land the Kayak, just paddle further
Shortly after the departure, no more than 500metres away, we reached another exit point sign, on the right-hand shore. We stopped, landed the Kayak and looked for the entry point. Unfortunately, there was no sign, and the path was obstructed after only a few meters. Back to the Kayak and back on the water. It seemed like there was nothing dangerous; only the current of the river was slightly stronger than before.
KM 10.6 – The third Weir in Brunngrabenbach
We continued to paddle further, admiring the beautiful landscape and listening to the sound of nature. Nothing can be more recreative than that.
Not far away from our last stop, we reached the third Weir. We held at the exit point on the left-hand shore, but the path led nowhere. We took the Kayak and paddled closer to the Weir, trying to find a proper place to embark. Not a chance. We had to grab the Kayak up and cross an area full of nettles. Oh, boy, they sting! Sweaty and annoyed by the lack of a proper entry point, we finally found a place to put the Kayak and left the unfriendly area.
KM 11.3 – The small Island
A few minutes later, we bumped into a small island, with the river flowing on its right and left side. We stopped here and tried to look right or left, but we couldn’t see much. The river seemed a little bit agitated, and as we couldn’t see what’s going on, we decided to cross over the small band of the island. I presume we could have paddled on each side of the river having no problems.
KM 13 – The fourth Weir before Eibenstein
After crossing the small island, the flow was slow once again, the vegetation dense and the views amazing. A few herons flew around us, and another bunny came out of the bushes.
Soon after, we reached the last block of the day, the Weir before Eibenstein. We landed on the left side, at the exit sign and headed directly to the entry point, which was a little bit hard to spot. Three youngs were paddling the river upstream in a canoe, and they were also looking for the entry point.
KM 14.2 – Arriving at Eibenstein
Only one kilometre to paddle, and the beautiful day was coming to an end. We stopped at the bridge, on the left-hand shore. Finally, the exit was easy to do, no more mud just a few rocks. We took the Kayak on the grass and packed everything after taking a short break on one of the benches.
Note: Paddling the Thaya from Eibenstein further to Drosendorf is forbidden!
Biking from Eibenstein to Raabs an der Thaya
We collected our bikes from the restaurant and biked for 6.5km to Raabs an der Thaya where we left our car. The ride back was pleasant as the temperatures were dropping and the traffic was low at that time of the day.
Alternative: Paddling the Thaya from Breclav(CZ) to Hohenau an der March(AT)
Paddling the Thaya is also possible to further east when the Thaya returns to Austria, to the white storks and herons paradise. The current is more substantial, which makes the paddling easier, and the route is ideal for beginners and families.
There is no Weir to obstruct the route, no water level to beware of, the landscape is different, and you will get the change to paddle through many fishing cabins along the way and spot many white storks.
Distance: 24 km Moving Time: 3h40′ Average Speed: 7km/h.
If you want to find out more about this route, read my entire article here:
Interactive Map: Paddling the Thaya from Raabs to Eibenstein, Austria
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