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Between Weltenburg Abbey and the town of Kelheim, the Danube River narrows to a stone’s throw as it cuts through a limestone ridge of the Swabian Alb, forming the Danube Gorge. Three-hundred-foot cliffs drop into the water on both sides, forcing the usually level riverside path to climb along the cliff top. The only way to see this spectacular gorge is from the water, during the 20-minute boat trip downstream and the 40-minute return. The boat landing is a short walk along the riverbank from Weltenburg Abbey. Peregrine falcons nest on the cliffs, and at their top above Kelheim is Befreiungshalle (Liberation Hall) commemorating the wars ...

Between Weltenburg Abbey and the town of Kelheim, the Danube River narrows to a stone’s throw as it cuts through a limestone ridge of the Swabian Alb, forming the Danube Gorge. Three-hundred-foot cliffs drop into the water on both sides, forcing the usually level riverside path to climb along the cliff top. The only way to see this spectacular gorge is from the water, during the 20-minute boat trip downstream and the 40-minute return. The boat landing is a short walk along the riverbank from Weltenburg Abbey. Peregrine falcons nest on the cliffs, and at their top above Kelheim is Befreiungshalle (Liberation Hall) commemorating the wars against Napoleon. Kelheim retains three of its original Medieval tower gates and the old canal around the gorge, with its locks and canal houses. A newer canal diverts river ships around the gorge. Weltenburg Abbey is one of Bavaria’s oldest monasteries, and its Rococo church is by the Asam brothers, who also built Munich’s Asamkirche. The world’s oldest monastery brewery, dating at least to 1050, adjoins the church and a Visitors Center that shows the geology of the limestone cliffs, part of an ancient sea bed.

Stillman Rogers
About the Expert

Stillman Rogers has written more than two dozen guidebooks, including Adventure Guide to Canada's Atlantic Provinces, Guide to Eastern Canada, and Adventure Guide to the Chesapeake.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: A section of the River Danube between Kelheim and Weltenberg in Bavaria, also known as Weltenberg Narrows, or Donaudurchbruch.
  • Language: German
  • Currency: EURO
  • Research: (In German) | Weltenberg Abbey | Weltenberg Abbey
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The boat tours only operate from late March through October.