National Park Thayatal
– from No Man’s Land to Top Destination
For a long time the Thayatal near Hardegg was a secret place only known among nature friends and hikers. This changed when it became a national park. Only areas of very special natural interest and almost free of human interference are declared national parks. The Thayatal deserved this distinction. The Thaya river created here its own little world. Steep rocks alternate with soft, densely wooded slopes and wild river banks are evidence of the dynamics of the water. Nature lavishes its beauty and diversity. Forests and meadows are dressed in bright colours and change their attire several times a year.
The highlight of any hike is the Umlaufberg (surrounding mountain). It is almost entirely surrounded by the Thaya and at its narrowest part, only a strip of rock separates the meanders of the river. At the vantage point above, visitors have the Thaya at their feet. Up there you may stand above things, but you are also lost. A precise orientation is made impossible by the two consecutive mountains.The course of the Thaya around both mountains can only be unraveled with a map.
The National Park Thayatal is a transborder national park, its counterpart on the Czech side is the Narodní Park Podyjí. The border runs along the middle of the Thaya. During the cold war, the Iron Curtain separated Austria from the Czech Republic. The area between the Iron Curtain and the border was no man’s land and therefore nature there remained virtually undisturbed. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain however the border has been open again. Paths, which were only used by the border police are now part of a transborder network of hiking tracks. Visitors from both countries take this opportunity to visit their foreign neighbour and the expression “neighbouring country” has taken here a new dimension.
The National Park Centre between Merkersdorf and Hardegg is the first contact point for visitors. The exhibition “NaturGeschichten - ThayaTales” presents the nature and stories of the Thayatal. The modern presentation shows that natural history can be an exciting topic. In the National Park Centre visitors will find information on hikes and events as well as precious tips for their stay in the national park region and in Lower Austria’s top destination: the National Park Thayatal. A small shop and a cafe round off the offer.
For more information:
National Park Thayatal
Tel. +43 (0)2949/7005