Dates for summer solstice 2023 Wachau & Nibelungengau

Dates 2023:

Wachau: June 17th
Nibelungengau: June 24th

Every year around June 21st several solstice celebrations take place along the Danube region Wachau-Nibelungengau-Kremstal which always is a marvelous and colorful event. Thousands of floating lights on the surface of the Danube, romantic looking vineyards lightened by torches and impressive fireworks offer wonderful opportunities to enjoy precious moments which makes the solstice celebrations in this area unforgettable every year.

In more than 20 villages along the Danube region Wachau-Nibelungengau-Kremstal people take care of this old tradition in a splendid and also joyful way. Not only the great fireworks on both sides of the Danube and an ocean of shining lights along the charming river valley but also the international known wines and regional specialities attract visitors from all over the word. One of the best ways to experience the celebrations is to board a ship. Several shipping companies offer special cruises.

Wachau & Nibelungengau general map

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Experience the solstice on board of a ship

If you want to use the solstice for a short holiday in the Wachau area you should reserve in advance. To have the opportunity to experience the event from a ship please reserve as soon as possible. There is only a limited amount of tickets and as our experience shows they will be sold out quickly.

Hint: Experience the summer solstice at Wachau region from a motorboat and charter your own boat! Information & booking: Martin Weber, Phone: +43(0)664/1813550, or 

Please consider: If you accompany the big ships with a small boat, this boat has to be lightened up.
Further we want to point out that all passengers have to wear life jackets!

History of the summer solstice - fire festival since 1604

More than 400 years ago the tradition to lighten solstice fires in the Danube region has been documented for the first time. The tradition was well looked after and preserved in the Wachau region more than anywhere else.

From the cult about the sun to an idyllic celebration
About the roots of the solstice celebrations which are known in many European countries until today there is only little knowledge but countless theories. If it really is a rest of an archaic cult about the sun from "Celts,Slavs and Teutons" which is the theory of most scientists it is neither to prove nor to deny. It is for certain that ritual fires where fought against by the church during the Middle Ages. The tradition was held up high so during the 13th century it came to a change. June 24th was declared feast of John the Baptist so now the strange cult got a Christian meaning by this solution.

The oldest sources mention that solstice celebrations took place in Lower Austria 1604 in "Rosenburg am Kamp" and 1609 in "Klosterneuburg". At the end of the 17th century they are proved nomerous throughout the country. The biggest celebrations took place in the Wachau and Nibelungengau area. In 1754 a general ban ended the fire magic for about a century. Because of several devastating fires it was an offense for the authority and during the Reconnaissance (Age of Enlightment) an unnecessary myth.

During the second half of the 19th century the celebrations came back and developed to lively public festivals. Now there was gastronomy in the surrounding area of the fire places, bands where playing and Johannis specialities such as mead, donuts, gingerbread and fried elderflowers where offerd at small stands. Also the traditional rituals became modern, not only burning wood and pitch barrels but also technology such as rockets and fireworks where responsible for blazing flames. At the same time the solstice celebrations in the Wachau became popular internationally by reports written by travelling journalists. Visitors were obviously very impressed by the multiple sparkle which was created by thousands of lights sent down the Danube in tiny boats. How much people got into poetic enthusiasm can be read about in archives or can be experienced soon directly on site in a beautiful and authentic way.

Dates until 2026

June 22th 2024 - Wachau
June 29th 2024 - Nibelungengau

June 21th 2025 - Wachau
June 28th 2025 - Nibelungengau

June 20th 2026 - Wachau
June 27th 2026 - Nibelungengau