Danube 4 Countries Bike and Boat – MS Primadonna

  • 4.7
    (5 reviews)
  • Category

    Bike and Boat
    Self Guided
  • Grade

    Leisurely
  • Duration/s

    7 nights
  • Start / Finish

    Passau / Passau
  • Distance

    165 miles/266 kms
  • Themes

    EbikeRivers and Lakes
  • Accommodation

    Superior
  • Tour code

    059-102CAT
Price From £794

Overview

Cruise and cycle along the Danube River between Passau and Budapest aboard the elegant and stylish MS Primadonna. Offering spacious cabins and impressive on-board facilities the MS Primadonna is the second largest cruise ship afloat on the Danube and is a very comfortable base for this leisurely, highly enjoyable, cycling holiday.

You join the boat in Passau, on the German/Austrian border and from here you’ll journey downstream, visiting the Austrian capital Vienna and also Budapest. Each day you’ll disembark for highly enjoyable, leisurely bike rides, on level, dedicated cycle paths or quiet lanes beside the river. The route unveils some of the Danube River’s most iconic sights such as the Schlögener or Danube Loop, elegant Vienna, vibrant and visually stunning Budapest, charming Bratislava and the beautiful villages and scenery of the Wachau Valley.

Hainburg - Danube - Austria*

The Danube River at Hainburg – Austria

The daily rides average 44 kms which might sound a lot to some but rest assured the cycling is very easy on level terrain and e-bikes are a pre-bookable option. There are loads of places to stop for a rest or a coffee and the focus is on leisurely cycling rather than haring along so take your time and stop whenever you like.

The MS Primadonna, your floating hotel, moves with you everyday so if you like you can always have a day off from cycling and enjoy a leisurely cruise to the next night’s stop. The boat moors somewhere new each evening, sometimes it will be a charming little riverside town and on other nights it will be a large vibrant city. One of the unique joys of this trip to step ashore for a post dinner stroll in a completely different place each night.

Easy cycling, suitable for anyone with a basic level of fitness. E-bikes also available.

Itinerary & Map

View larger map

Day 1: Passau

MS Primadonna in Passau

MS Primadonna in Passau

Upon arrival in Passau make your way to the boat and settle into your cabin. A welcome cocktail is served at 4pm and at 8pm the captain’s welcome dinner begins. During the dinner the crew cast off and we cruise downstream for 3 hours to Schlögen/Obermuhl where we moor for the night. If you arrive early, Passau is a charming town with plenty to see and do. It is the point at which the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers all meet so there are plenty of river banks to stroll along but we also recommend making the climb to Veste Oberhaus, a medieval fortress and museum that offers a fantastic, panoramic view of the town and surrounding countryside.

Day 2: Danube Loop – Linz, 34 miles/55 kms

Danube Loop - Austria*

Danube Loop

After a hearty breakfast you disembark for the first cycle ride of the holiday. The ride starts at the Schlögener Loop, also known as the Danube Loop, where the mighty river makes an abrupt 180 degree turn – a very picturesque and famous scene. You continue along the riverbank cycle path, riding through a serene and peaceful valley where steep, forested hillsides descend to the river. Shortly afterwards you’ll pass through the pleasant town of Aschau, perhaps stopping for a coffee, before continuing on along the river. After passing through some more pretty riverside villages you arrive in the city of Linz, where the MS Primadonna is waiting for you. After dinner the crew cast off for an overnight cruise downstream to the city of Tulln.

Day 3: Tulln – Vienna,, 22 & 32 miles/36 & 52 kms

Hofburg Palace - Vienna

Hofburg Palace – Vienna

After breakfast have a look around Tulln – perhaps visiting the Egon Schiele Museum or Die Garten Tulln, an exhibition of over over 60 different gardens. You then follow the Danube cycle path eastwards, past the foothills of the Wiener Wald (Viennese Woods) and the monastery at Klosterneuburg to the city of Vienna.

Cycle around the vibrant, historic city taking in the many famous sights – 95% of the city route is on cycle paths. We also recommend visiting one of the elegant Viennese cafés for coffee and cake!

In the evening you are invited to join a guided bus tour of “Vienna by Night” (included).

Late in the evening the MS Primadonna slips her moorings and cruises downstream through the night to Komarom in Hungary.

Day 4: Komarom – Esztergom, 35 miles/56 kms

Esztergom castle - Hungary

Esztergom

Disembark after breakfast and start to follow a car-free, flood-defense embankment along the left bank of the Danube. The slightly elevated position affords good views of the surrounding countryside and across the river. You’ll pass through a few sleepy villages as well as the small town of Moca before finishing your ride in Esztergom, once the capital of Hungary and one of the country’s oldest towns. We recommend taking a tour of the famous Basilica with its enormous, 72 meter high dome. The treasury inside houses an amazing  collection of church vestments festooned with precious stones and gold.

The MS Primadonna leaves Esztergom at 8pm and cruises downstream to Budapest, arriving around 11pm. It’s worth being on deck with you camera at the ready as you arrive in the city as the view from of the illuminated Parliament building from the river is quite something.

Day 5: Budapest – Margaret Island, 14 miles/22 kms

Budapest - Hungary*

Budapest

After breakfast there is a guided city tour of Budapest by bus (included) or you can of course explore this youthful, vibrant city at your own pace. The city is actually two cities divided by the river – Buda on the west bank and Pest on the east – with many bridges connecting the two.  In the afternoon there is a short but very enjoyable bike ride around Margaret Island. Top Tip: Take your swimming things as there is a fabulous outdoor pool complex on the island called Palatinus Strand.

In the evening the Primadonna begins her journey back upstream to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.

Day 6: Bratislava – Devin – Bratislava, 21 miles/33 kms

Bratislava

Bratislava

The MS Primadonna arrives in Bratislava around late morning A guided walking tour of the town is provided or you can explore on your own. Bratislava is a charming little city with a welcoming atmosphere and a network of winding streets to explore. Cafe culture is big here so there are no-end of quaint little places to sit and drink in the atmosphere. In the afternoon a cycle ride leads you out of the city and along the Danube  towards the Austrian border. The route takes you along what was once the Iron Curtain to the remarkable Castle Hof, an impressive, elegant palace with exquisite staterooms and carefully manicured gardens. You then follow the river westwards, crossing over to the southern bank at the pretty riverside town of Hainburg and back through a rural landscape to Bratislava where the MS Primadonna is waiting for you. At around 8.45pm the boat heads upstream on another night cruise, this time to Krems, the gateway to the Wachau Valley.

Day 7: Wachau Valley, 30miles/48kms

Duernstein - Wachau Valley - Austria*

Duernstein – Wachau Valley

Every day on this trip is special but the scenery on today’s bike ride is truly sublime. Disembark in Krems, a pretty place that was once the country’s richest town, and start to follow the river bank upstream. Before long you enter the beautiful, winding Wachau Valley. Steep hillsides, often crowned by castle ruins, descend via a cascade of stone-walled, vineyard terraces and orchards to the river. Tiny, impossibly idyllic, wine villages dot the landscape, many with inviting bars and Gasthofs that tempt you to stop and sample the excellent, local wines. The baroque church on the riverbank in Dürnstein is stunning but we also urge you to invest in the climb to the castle ruins above the town to see where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned. Around the next bend in the river you reach Weißenkirchen, another gorgeous wine village, closely followed by its charming neighbour, Spitz. Its worth climbing the hillside behind Spitz for sensational views of the river valley with the village in the foreground. You rejoin the MS Primadonna in the town of Pöchlarn and at 5.00pm she starts the final leg of her journey back to Passau.

Day 8: Passau

The MS Primadonna arrives back in Passau at around 8.00am. Disembarkation begins after breakfast at 9.00am. Now it’s time to head for home or your next adventure.

Dates & Prices

2018 Arrival Dates
May25
June
July20
August310
September21

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2018 Prices
059-102CAT
Per person
25 May
to
10 Aug
21 Sep
MS Primadonna - Superior
Lower deck
Bunk beds £866 £794                  
Sole use of bunk cabin £866 £794                  
Twin £1018 £947                  
Sole use of twin £1527 £1420                  
Triple £934 £868                  
Quad £891 £829                  
Mid Deck
Double £1384 £1296                  
Sole use of double £2421 £2267                  
Triple £1268 £1188                  
Upper Deck
Double £1456 £1368                  
Sole use of double £2548 £2394                  
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     

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Deposit per person £200

Price Includes

7 nights aboard the MS Primadonna. See practical information.
Board basis: Full board*
Port fees
Welcome snack on arrival
Daily afternoon tea & coffee and cake
Services of an onboard representative
Bus tour by night in Vienna
Bus tour in Budapest
Guided walking tour in Bratislava
Maps & route information

Price Excludes

Flights and transfers
Bike hire (see supplements)
Cycle helmet
Drinks on-board
Gratuities/tips
Parking/transfer to boat (see supplements)

Supplements

Bike with pannier & lock. See practical information. (£64)
Electric bike with pannier & lock** (£140)
Parking/transfer to boat (upto two people) (£33)
Transfer to boat additional people (above two people) (£12)

Notes

* Full board: 7 x breakfast, 6 x packed lunch, 7 x 4-course dinner
** Electric bikes: A security deposit will be requested on arrival as a ‘guarantee’ only. This will be returned when you return the bike in good condition.

Practical Information

Bikes

Unisex hybrid bike

An example of the unisex hybrid bike used on this tour

The bikes provided on this tour are modern, alloy framed 21-speed hybrid models with comfortable saddle and upright riding position. They are equipped with a pannier for your personal possessions. E-bikes are also available. Helmets are not provided and we therefore recommend bringing your own.

Accommodation

MS Primadonna (Superior)
More images of the cabins and facilities, including deck and cabin plans, are available in the gallery

MS Primadonna - upper deck cabin - 059

Upper deck cabin

The MS Primadonna is the second largest cruise ship on the Danube and offers elegant, spacious accommodation and facilities.

All outside cabins are arranged over three decks; lower deck, mid deck and upper deck. All offer individually controlled air conditioning, ensuite shower/wc, hair dryer, satellite TV, minibar and spacious wardrobes.

MS Primadonna - lower deck cabin

MS Primadonna – lower deck cabin

There are 30 lower deck cabins, which are 12 meters squared and have a large porthole, which does not open to fresh air. All lower deck cabins are twin cabins with 2 separate single beds at either side of the cabin and either a small sofa or 2 separate chairs.
8 cabins to the rear of the lower deck are slightly more compact, approx. 10 square meters and feature bunk beds.

There are 20 mid deck cabins. Mid deck cabins are spacious cabins occupying 16 square meters and have panoramic, sliding French windows and balcony with external bench seat.  All mid deck cabins are double cabins – 2 beds together, which cannot be separated and which have separate mattresses and duvets. There is also a small sofa.

There are 20 upper deck cabins. All upper deck cabins are spacious cabins occupying 16 square meters and have panoramic, sliding French windows and balcony with external bench seat. All upper deck cabins are double cabins – 2 beds together, which cannot be separated and which have separate mattresses and duvets. There are also 2 separate chairs.

MS Primadonna Restaurant II - 059

Restaurant

The ship’s public areas are modern and elegant, providing customers with very comfortable amenities for the week afloat. A 6o meter long lounge provides a lively place to meet and socialise. There’s also a panoramic restaurant and bar. At the front of the boat there is a fabulous viewing gallery with wonderful, unobstructed forward views. Other amenities include a spacious sundeck offering a range of seating as well as a Jacuzzi (only open if the weather permits). The Spa with Kneipp pool is open all season while the sauna is open June through to August only.  On board you will enjoy sophisticated international cuisine. Breakfast is an extensive American breakfast buffet while lunch consists of a light 3 course, a-la-carte menu or a packed lunch for cyclists. In the evening there is a 4 course a la carte menu with a full gala dinner once a week. Tea, coffee and cake is provided each late afternoon and the bar also serves snacks late into the evening.

Getting there

Fly to Linz, Vienna, Munich or Salzburg airports and then travel by train onwards to Passau. From Passau train station it is a shot taxi ride of approximately 5km to where the boat is moored.

Research flights from UK airports.

Research onward rail connections.

Gallery

Current rating for this cycling holiday based on 5 reviews 4.7
  • Date - 16/10/2017
  • Name - Fiona Myers
  • Service rating -
    5.0
  • Service comment - Very helpful. Made it relatively easy and gave good advice on travelling.
  • Product rating -
    4.0
  • Product comment - The boat was lovely, and the staff helpful, but not all English speaking, so got misdirected occasionally. Good food - breakfast was continental plus scrambled egg, packed lunch was NOT good, dinner was small portions, but 4 courses. NO drinks with on board meals were included on the bike cruise. Cases were nearly lost on departure - got loaded onto wrong bus.
  • Date - 23/08/2017
  • Name - Andrew Katay
  • Service rating -
    5.0
  • Service comment - Extremely helpful service. Found us the right trip on the right dates, with a great boat
  • Product rating -
    4.0
  • Product comment - We were a little surprised at how few cyclists there were, which made the cycling portion seem secondary to the whole trip. And we loved the previous trip we did - Bruges to Amsterdam - where we moved location every day, rather than do day trips in the same location.
  • Flexitreks response - Thanks for the review Andrew. Yes, the Primadonna is unique in that she is marketed to non-cyclists as well as cyclists on certain departure dates. Often there's a pretty even mix on board but not always. We agree with you that it's nicer to move on each day and for 2018 the Primadonna's itinerary has been changed to allow this.
  • Date - 10/05/2017
  • Name - David Hearn
  • Service rating -
    5.0
  • Service comment - ALways helpful with my many pretrip enquiries,nothing was too much trouble
  • Product rating -
    4.0
  • Product comment - Better organisation for cyclists
  • Flexitreks response - Hi David, Thanks for taking the time to chat with me on the phone about your experiences and I'm so glad you both enjoyed yourselves so much.

  • Date - 29/07/2016
  • Name - Anonymous
  • Service rating -
    5.0
  • Service comment - Ally was very helpful in all respects, especially helping an inexperienced "Yank" get connected by international telephone. All aspects of the reservation process were handled efficiently.
  • Product rating -
    5.0
  • Product comment - We had a great trip! How's that for a start! 

    We actually picked the trip from among those that were Bike and Boat on the Danube based on the superior accommodations on MS Primadonna. That worked out perfectly; the room was great and the food was excellent. The crew was also very nice as you would expect. So we give the trip four stars out of five. The service provided by *you* was absolutely five stars by the way.

    But there were two areas we think could be improved by the boat operator:

    1. The on-board bike coordinator was not very well equipped to make the daily journey as good as it might have been. We think the maps provided were very difficult to use. Specifically, the style (font, colors, contrast, clarity, etc.) of the maps made them difficult to read in our opinion. That combined with a lack of verbal information from our bike coordinator to leave us with some uncertainty each day. By the end, we realized by ourselves that there were numbered route signage along the way. If we had only been told! Also, if would have been possible for the coordinator to put up arrows where turns were recommended as he was usually one of the first to complete the trip each day.
    2. This may be the responsibility of the boat company: Some routes had stretches of 8-15 km of pathway along a dyke that was out of view of the Danube (or anything interesting). Perhaps that cannot be helped but we think a better route selection (different stops?) might have been possible. To be sure *most* of the routes were very beautiful and interesting.

    I hope you are left with the fact that we enjoyed ourselves immensely; would certainly do another “Bike and Boat” and most certainly would book through Flexitreks.
  • Flexitreks response - Many thanks for the useful review and the flattering account of my telephony skills! I am glad that you enjoyed the trip overall and while it may be small consolation to someone who has already concluded their vacation, I hope you will be relieved to hear that the maps, route notes and on-board coordinator role have all been improved immeasurably in the interim. I hope to be of service to you the next time you venture across the pond.
  • Date - 28/07/2016
  • Name - Dot
  • Service rating -
    5.0
  • Service comment - Ally was very friendly and informative. She was efficient and always responded timeously to our enquiries.

    Would definitely use Flexitreks again
  • Product rating -
    5.0
  • Product comment - Would rate this as excellent to very good really. We had a disappointing start as there was a lack of communication about where the boat was moored. It was not able to get to Passau as the Danube was too high. Thankfully, Flexitreks were most helpful at ensuring we arrived at our destination.

    Accommodation and food were excellent. Bikes were superior. Information on the bike tour could have been a bit better - but that could have been down to the translation. We misinterpreted some points most days, but quickly got back on track.

    Overall very pleased with our holiday and would definitely repeat the experience.
  • Flexitreks response - Thanks for the review Dorothy. Yes, the exceptionally high-water in Passau made for an interesting start to the trip but I'm glad we got you there in the end. Another bike and boat trip next year or something on dry land? There's loads of choice so get in touch and I'll be happy to make some recommendations.