Danube – Passau to Budapest Cycling Holiday

  • Category

    Cycle Touring
    Self Guided
  • Grade

    Leisurely to Moderate
  • Duration/s

    12 nights
  • Start / Finish

    Passau / Budapest
  • Distance

    368 miles/593 kms
  • Themes

    EbikeRivers and LakesWine Lovers
  • Accommodation

    Superior
  • Tour code

    059-107CAT
Price From £882

Overview

A leisurely, long distance cycling holiday along the Danube from Passau in Germany, via Vienna in Austria and Bratislava in Slovakia, to Budapest in Hungary. One river, two weeks, three capital cities, four countries and a lifetime of memories.

Spend twelve nights following the course of the mighty Danube river as it wends its way across Europe through vineyard-laden valleys, past elegant palaces, romantic ruins and intriguing, medieval towns and villages.

The Great Loop of the Danube River

Starting from Passau on the German/Austrian border, you’ll follow the river downstream past the majestic Danube Loop, the medieval city of Linz and through the stunning Wachau Valley. Along the way you can stop to explore charming, riverside villages such as Grein, Spitz, Weisskirchen and Dürnstein. At times you will cycle through open plains and meadows while other stretches lead you through steep-sided valleys lined with cascading vineyard terraces. Elegant Vienna has much to see as does convivial and welcoming Bratislava. Exciting Budapest waits at the end of the tour, a fitting finale to your trans-European adventure.

The route is mostly flat but with the odd incline along the way. You’ll be cycling on well-maintained cycle paths and some quiet country lanes. Around cities there may be short sections along busy roads.

Itinerary & Map

The route is mostly flat but with the odd incline along the way. You’ll be cycling on well-maintained cycle paths and some quiet country lanes. Around cities there may be short sections along busy roads.

View larger map

Day 1: Arrive in Passau

Passau - Germany

Passau

Check in to your hotel and then take a stroll through the “City of Three Rivers”, so named because this is also the point at which the the Inn and Ilz rivers flow into the Danube. The narrow cobbled streets and pretty squares of the old town are a delight to explore and we also recommend a climb to Veste Oberhaus, a medieval fortress and museum that offers a fantastic, panoramic view of the town and rivers.

Day 2: Passau – Danube Loop, 27 miles/43 kms

Danube Loop

Danube Loop

Your first day’s ride follows the Upper Danube Valley to Schlögen on the famous Danube Loop, where the mighty river makes a 180 degree turn. On the way you will ride ride through Enghartszell, a small riverside village. Nearby there is a monastery inhabited by silent but enterprising Trappist monks who make and sell some rather good liquors. The river valley is quite narrow here with tree lined, sloping hillsides and green meadows descending to the river.

Day 3: Danube Loop – Linz, 37 miles/59 kms

Today’s ride follows the river as it continues to wind its way through the picturesque tree-lined valley. After a few kilometres

Cyclists - Danube cycle path

Danube cycle path

the valley begins to widen out considerably and soon you are cycling through an open plain with meadows on either side. After a bend in the river the city of Linz, your overnight stop, comes into view. Linz is the capital of Upper Austria with a lovely old town centre and bustling main square.

Day 4: Linz – Persenbeug, 44 miles/71 kms

Grein

Grein

Quite a long day in the saddle today but the scenery and level cycle path make the miles fly by. At Mauthausen a short detour away from the river will bring you to Mauthausen Concentration Camp and Memorial – a thought-provoking place. You then follow the cycle path downstream, through pleasant, undulating farmland. Why not stop for a break at the open-air museum near Mitterkirchen before pedalling on through the beautiful wooded Strudengau valley to the pretty town of Grein with its looming castle and historic theatre. The Danube boasts many castles along it’s course and today you will pass some fine examples at Pragstein, Wallsee, Dornach and Greinburg. Your destination today is the pretty little village of Persenbeug.

Day 5: Persenbeug – Krems, 37 miles/59 kms

Duernstein's famous baroque church in the Wachau Valley

Dürnstein’s famous baroque church – Wachau Valley

Today’s ride is a real treat and it’s worth starting early as you’ll probably want to to stop and look around some of the charming villages and towns  along the way.

Shortly after starting out you’ll see a lovely church up on the hillside to your left. This is the Pilgrimage Church of Maria Taferl from where, following a bit of a climb, you can enjoy marvellous views along the Danube Valley. In the distance you can just make out the Benedictine Monastery at Melk. On arrival in Melk we recommend a walk up to the 18th Century Monastery where you can visit an impressive library with countless medieval manuscripts as well enjoy more superb views along the river.

The next section of today’s ride is considered by many to be amongst the most beautiful sections of the whole river  – the Wachau Valley. Romantic castles and palaces perch on strategic bluffs overlooking terraced vineyards and orchards that cascade down to charming wine villages such as Spitz, Weißkirchen and Dürnstein. Beautiful old taverns and Inns invite you to stop and enjoy hearty, Wachau hospitality before riding on along the river to Krems. The people in this region are justly proud of their wine so if you abstained during the day be sure to visit one of the many wine cellars in Krems to sample the fine local product.

Day 6: Krems – Vienna, 44 miles/71 kms

Danube Cycle Path

Danube Cycle Path

Today’s ride leads you through a very fertile region, famed for it’s vegetables throughout Austria. You’ll cycle through Tulln where, we recommend a visit to Die Garten, some show gardens that are a real pleasure to explore on foot.

A few kilometers further on you reach the small town of Greifenstein and here you can opt to complete the rest of the journey to Vienna by train if you’d prefer more time in the city

If you choose to continue by bike, the route leads you through the famous Vienna Forest – Wienerwald and past the monastery at Klosterneuburg into the heart of the imperial city where you will spend the next two nights.

Day 7: Vienna – Free day to explore

Belvedere Palace - Vienna

Belvedere Palace – Vienna

Today is your free day to explore Vienna. Visit Schönbrunn Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the Imperial Palace. You may also want to take in the ‘Riesenrad’, the giant ferris wheel, made famous in the 1949 film, ‘The Third Man’. No trip to Vienna would be complete without enjoying a coffee and cake in one of the city’s elegant coffee houses. In the evening we highly recommend trying the local speciality – Wienerschnitzel. This pan-fried breaded pork cutlet has become popular around the world but this is where it was born.

Day 8: Vienna – Bratislava, 42 miles/68 kms

Bratislava - Slovakia

Bratislava

Shortly after leaving the hustle and bustle of Vienna you enter a very different world, cycling through a riverside nature reserve full of diverse flora and fauna. The city suddenly seems a million miles away with the peace and quiet only interrupted by chattering birds. The Romans left their mark around here and we highly recommend stopping at the Carnuntum archaeological park just before the spa town of Bad Deutsch-Altenburg. Therafter you cycle across the border into Slovakia and follow the riverbank to the country’s charming capital, Bratislava. The medieval town at the city’s heart actually feels more like a large village than a city and the attractive flag-stoned streets are a delight to explore on foot or by bike. Other must-sees include the Castle, which offers fantastic views from its high vantage point and St Martin’s Cathedral, the city’s oldest church. You’ll spend the night in this enchanting city

Day 9: Bratislava – Mosonmagyaróvàr, 28 miles/45 kms

Danube River

Danube at dusk

Today you have a lovely ride along an idyllic cycle path beside the river. The Danube broadens considerably just after Bratislava and resembles a lake more than a river. It also marks the border between Hungary (southern bank) and Slovakia (Northern bank).  Nature holds sway here and the only sounds are your tyres on the tarmac and birdsong. After a while you leave the river and head south to pleasant old town of Mosonmagyaróvàr where you will stop for the night.

Day 10: Mosonmagyaróvàr – Györ – Komárno, 40 miles/64 kms (plus 27 minute train ride)

Danube Cycle Path - Hungary

Danube Cycle Path – Hungary

After breakfast, head for the local train station and board a train for the town of Györ about half an hour down the track (trains depart every hour). From Györ, a lovely old town worthy of a look round, you pedal north to rejoin the idyllic cycle path that follows the Danube River. The raised embankment provides a nice platform from which you can admire the surrounding countryside and river views as you head east. Your destination today is the town of Komárom or Komárno. This fortress town has two names as it straddles the river and is therefore part Slovak and part Hungarian.

Day 11: Komárno – Visegrád, 43 miles/69 kms

Danube Cycle Path - Esztergom, Hungary

Esztergom, Hungary

The route continues along the embankment cycle path. After a few kilometres you might want to stop at the the Roman fort Kelemantia. From there you pedal on through quiet farming villages before arriving in the city of Esztergom, famous for its imposing basilica, the largest in Hungary. The town also has a lovely town square which could be a good place for a coffee break.

A little further on, after rounding a particularly beautiful bend in the river you arrive in the pleasant little town of Visegrád where you will spend the night.

Day 12: Visegrád – Budapest, 28 miles/45 kms

Budapest

Budapest

Your final ride leads you around the Danube Knee and down to the artists’ island of Szentendre. From here you may opt to take a boat along the river and into Budapest. This is highly recommended as the view of from the river as you enter the city is particularly stunning. You can of course opt to complete the journey by bike and cycle into the city centre.

The rest of the day and evening are yours to explore this fascinating city which is actually two cities, Buda on the west bank and Pest on the east.

 

 

Day 13: Departure

After breakfast it’s time to head for home or your next adventure.

Dates & Prices

2018 Arrival Dates
Arrivals : Every Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 28 April to 23 September

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2018 Prices
059-107CAT
Per person
28 Apr
to
23 Sep
 
Superior category
Double/twin £912                  
Single £1212                  
Triple £882                  
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Deposit per person £100

Price Includes

12 nights accommodation. See practical information.
Board basis: Bed & Breakfast
Luggage transfer
Maps & route information
Train ride Mosonmagyaróvàr - Györ
Local assistance

Price Excludes

Flights and transfers
Bike hire (see supplements)
Tourist tax (payable locally)

Supplements

Half board (excludes two nights in Vienna) (£176)
Extra night Passau double/twin (£40)
Extra night Passau single (£58)
Extra night Vienna, double/twin - July and August (£47)
Extra night Vienna, single - July and August (£80)
Extra night Vienna, double/twin - other dates (£64)
Extra night Vienna, single - other dates (£97)
Extra night Budapest, double/twin (£44)
Extra night Budapest, single (£73)
Bus transfer: Budapest - Vienna*. See notes (£36)
Train transfer: Budapest - Passau. (£71)
Bike with pannier & lock. See practical information. (£80)
Electric bike with pannier & lock**. See notes (£154)

Notes

* Applicable for tours starting Sunday and Monday only.
** E-bike rental: A €180 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 female hybrid bike used on this tour

The bikes provided on this tour are modern alloy framed male and female hybrid models with 21 speeds and comfortable saddle with upright riding position. The bikes come equipped with rear pannier and lock.

Electric bikes are also available. A deposit is required when picking up your e-bike. This will be returned at the end of the trip when the bike has been returned safely and in good condition.

Helmets are not provided and we therefore recommend bringing your own.

Accommodation

Below you will find examples of the types of accommodation typically used on this tour. Please note that the hotels we book for you may differ slightly from those described but they will certainly be of a similar standard.

Superior: A mix of good quality 3 and 4 star  hotels.

Passau: Hotel Dormero
Schlögen: Hotel Donauschlinge
Linz: Hotel Park Inn
Ybbs/Persenbeug: Hotel Babenbergerhof
Krems: Hotel Klinglhuber
Vienna: NH Danube City
Bratislava: Hotel Austria Trend Bratislava
Mosonmagyaróvàr: Thermal Hotel
Komárno: Hotel Bandérium
Visegrád: Hotel Visegrád
Budapest: Lion’s Garden

Local taxes: Some hotels have started to charge a local/tourist tax. These taxes are not included in the sale price of the tour and must be paid directly by you at check-in or checkout at the hotels. The fee varies and is frequently changing but as a guide, you may be asked to pay between €1-€4 per person per night.

Getting There

Fly to Vienna, Salzburg, Linz or Munich – all offer good rail connections to Passau. For the journey home fly from Budapest or Vienna. The rail journey from Budapest to Vienna takes 3 hours.

Research flights from the UK here.

Research train timetables here.

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