Danube – Passau to Budapest Cycling Holiday

  • Category

    Cycle Touring
    Self Guided
  • Grade

    Leisurely
  • Duration/s

    13 nights
  • Start / Finish

    Passau / Budapest
  • Distance

    364 miles/586 kms
  • Themes

    EbikeRivers and Lakes
  • Accommodation

    Comfort to Superior
  • Tour code

    031-103CAT
Price From £813

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 two weeks following the course of the mighty Danube river as it wends its way across Europe through green, vineyard-lined valleys, past elegant palaces, romantic ruins and intriguing, medieval towns and villages.

The Great Loop of the Danube River

The Great Loop

Starting from Passau on the German/Austrian border, 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 Durnstein. 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. In Austria you cycle on well maintained cycle paths and in Hungary you will ride along 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. In Austria you cycle on well maintained cycle paths and in Hungary you will ride along 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, 26 miles/41 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, 35 miles/55 kms

The Danube Valley

The Danube Valley

Today’s ride follows the river as it continues to wind its way through the picturesque tree-lined valley. After a few kilometers 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 – Strudengau/Grein, 37 miles/60 kms

Grein

Grein

The day starts with a short ride to nearby Enns, the oldest town in Austria where you will see imposing, Gothic town houses with magnificent facades. Cycle on through peaceful meadows before venturing away from the river to visit Mitterkirchen an old Celtic village, a majestic church at Baumgartenberg and romantic Klam castle where a sort climb is rewarded with a lovely view back across the Danube valley. Today’s ride finishes in or close to Grein a lovely, baroque riverside village in the Strudengau region.

Day 5: Strudengau/Grein – Nibelungengau/Melk, 32 miles/50 kms

Melk Abbey

Melk Abbey

After Grein the valley narrows again for a while and you ride along densely wooded paths and lanes on both sides of the Danube. Shortly after it widens out there is an opportunity to leave the riverbank and cycle up to the lovely Pilgrimage Church of Maria Taferl from where you can enjoy marvelous views over the 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 enjoying a lovely view over the town and river. You are now in the wonderfully named Nibelungengau region and will spend the night close-by.

Day 6: Nibelungengau/Melk – Krems region, 32 miles/50 kms

Duernstein - Wachau - Austria

Duernstein – Wachau Valley

Make sure your camera is charged and ready today as you will be cycling through the magnificent Wachau Valley. Many consider this to be one of the most beautiful stretches of the whole river and it really is treat. Romantic castles and palaces perch on strategic bluffs overlooking  terraced vineyards and orchards that cascade down to charming villages such as Spitz, Weißkirchen and Duernstein. 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 local product.

Day 7: Krems region– Vienna, 25 miles, 40 kms (plus train journey)

Prater Wheel - Vienna

Prater Wheel – Vienna

Today starts with a train journey (included) to avoid a rather built-up and quite unattractive section of the river between Krems and Tulln.  On arrival in the town of Tulln you remount your bike and enjoy a leisurely ride alongside the river and then through the Viennese Woods (the ‘Wiener Wald’) to Vienna itself. Use the rest of the day to explore the beautiful city. The Schönbrunn Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the Imperial Palace are popular highlights. You may also want to take in the Prater wheel, made famous in the 1949 British film, ‘The Third Man’, and no trip to Vienna would be complete with out enjoying a coffee and cake in one of its famous and elegant coffee houses.

Day 8: Vienna – Bad Deutsch Altenburg/surroundings, 27 miles/42 kms

Carnuntum - Danube - Austria*

Carnuntum

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 before arriving in the spa town of Bad Deutsch-Altenburg. The local spa waters have been used to heal aching limbs since Roman times so this is the perfect place to stop for the night.

Day 9: Bad Deutsch Altenburg – Bratislava, 20 miles/32 kms

Bratislava - Slovakia

Bratislava

Today you cycle across the border into Slovakia and on along the riverbank to the country’s charming city of Bratislava. Although it’s Slovakia’s capital city the medieval town at the city’s heart actually feels like a large village. The attractive flag-stoned streets are a delight to explore, littered with outdoor cafes, small bars, shops and restaurants. 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. Spend the night in this enchanting city.

Day 10: Bratislava – Szigetkoez – Gyoer, 28 miles/45 kms + Train

Gyor - Hungary*

Gyoer

Leaving Bratislava and Slovakia you cycle into Hungary through Szigetkoez an idyllic wetland paradise made up of over 500 tiny islands. The scenery here is wild and untouched with just a few isolated farming villages in a labyrinth of streams, rivers and watery meadows. You then take a short train ride on to the beautiful Baroque town of Gyoer a mellow and colourful place with many churches, palaces, museums and narrow lanes to explore. This is another spa town so you may wish to visit one of the spas to ease those cycling limbs.

Day 11: Gyoer – Komarom, 36 miles/57 kms

Komarom - Slovakia*

Komarom

Riding east from Gyoer you will reach the Babolna stud farm where champion Arabian horses are raised. The museum gives an interesting insight into the techniques and methods used to breed and train these glorious animals. Cycle on through open plains and farmland until you reach the riverside village of Komarom where you spend the night.

Day 12: Komarom – Danube bend, 33 miles/52 kms + boat (superior)

Esztergom castle - Hungary

Esztergom Castle

Today you cross the river back into Slovakia and follow quiet lanes along the riverbank through sleepy villages before recrossing the river to Esztergom, a baroque town with many interesting historical buildings as well as a lovely town square. The impressive Basilica of Esztergom, stands on a bluff overlooking the river and is well worth a visit as is the castle museum adjacent to it. Wonder through the pleasant, bustling streets lined with stalls and cafes. A bit further along you reach the Danube Bend, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful stretches of the river – those who have booked a Superior package enjoy a boat trip from Esztergom to the Danube bend. Overnight in the Danube Bend region.

Day 13: Danube bend – Budapest, 39 miles/62 kms + boat (comfort)

Budapest - Hungary*

Budapest

On today’s final leg you make a triumphant entrance into Budapest following the river southwards and cycling along Szentendre-Island which splits the river in two. Szentendre is famous for it’s handicraft boutiques and the Skanzen peasant village museum. Those who have booked the Comfortable package enjoy a boat trip into Budapest from Szentendre Island, while those on the Superior package, ride on into the city by bike. The rest of the day, and night, is yours to explore this fascinating, pulsating city. We recommend taking the funicular and exploring the cobbled streets of Castle Hill.

Day 14: Departure

Enjoy a morning in Budapest (no bikes) before catching a scheduled bus back to Vienna. The bus leaves Budapest at 11:30am and arrives in Vienna at 2.30pm. From Vienna you can board a train for your onward trip back to Passau. Alternatively you could break the trip up with an extra night in Vienna.

Dates & Prices

2017 Arrival Dates
Arrivals every Saturday, Sunday and Monday except in low season, when Sunday arrivals only
Low season:09 - 15 April
Mid season:16 April - 19 May and 30 September - 08 October
High season:20 May - 29 September
2017 Prices
031-103CAT
Per person - 2 sharing
Double/twin
Low season
Single
Low season
Double/twin
Mid season
Single
Mid season
Double/twin
High season
Single
High season
IGNORE
Sleeps X
IGNORE
Sleeps X
Comfort category £813 £1084 £954 £1225 £1039 £1310    
Superior category £1039 £1382 £1183 £1527 £1265 £1608    
Accom Type 3                
Accom Type 4                
Accom Type 5                
Accom Type 6                
Accom Type 7                
Accom Type 8                
Accom Type 9                
Accom Type 10                

Price Includes

13 nights accommodation. See note below
Board basis: Bed & Breakfast
Luggage transfer
Maps and route information
Train Krems/Traismauer - Tulln
Train Mosonmagyarovar - Gyoer
Ship or bus: Esztergom - Visegrad (superior only)
Ship or train: Szentendre - Budapest (comfort only)
Bus transfer Budapest to Vienna, at 11.00am
Bottle of wine per room in Wachau
Local assistance

Price Excludes

Flights and transfers
Bike hire (see supplements)
Cycle helmets (€22, payable locally)

Supplements

Half board comfort - 12 x dinner (£222)
Half board superior - 13 x dinner (£288)
Extra night Vienna, double/twin (£63)
Extra night Vienna, single (£90)
Extra night Passau, double/twin, comfort (£49)
Extra night Passau, single, comfort (£64)
Extra night Passau, double/twin, superior (£60)
Extra night Passau, single, superior (£79)
Extra night Budapest, double/twin (£52)
Extra night Budapest, single (£84)
Bike hire, includes lock and pannier (£131)
Electric bike (£282)
Helmet (£24)

Reductions

Free for children up to 6 years
50% for children 7-11 years sharing with 2 adults
25% for children 12-14 years sharing with 2 adults
10% for 3rd adult sharing

Notes

Comfort: Quaint 3 star inns & hotels and 4 star in Vienna, Bratislava & Budapest
Superior: 4 star hotels and a few exceptional 3 star hotels
Deposit per person £150

Practical Information

Bikes

Unisex hybrid bike

Example of bike used on this tour

The bikes provided on this tour are modern alloy framed hybrid models with 21 speeds and comfortable saddle with upright riding position. The bikes come equipped with odometer, rear pannier, handlebar bag, lock and repair kit per room.

Electric bikes are also available as are children’s bikes, trailers, tag-a-longs and child seats.

We suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons. Alternatively, helmets are available for rent at the time of booking.

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.

Comfort: Quaint 3 star inns & hotels and 4 star in Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest.

Passau: Achat hotel
Danube Loop: Draxler
Linz: Steigenberger
Strudengau: Zugbrücke
Nibelungengau: Wienerin
Region Krems: Gh Klinglhuber
Vienna: Hotel Park Inn 
Bad Deutsch Altenburg: Marc Aurel
Bratislava: Austria Trend hotel
Györ: Ibis Hotel
Komarno: Bow Garden
Danube bend: Hotel Saint Adalbert
Budapest: Danubius hotel Flamenco

Superior: 4 star properties and some exceptional 3 star properties

Passau: Hotel Weißer Hase
Danube Loop: Hotel Donauschlinge
Linz: Arcotel Nike
Strudengau: Hotel Aumühle
Nibelungengau: Hotel zum schwarzen Bären
Region Krems: Arte Hotel
Vienna: Arcotel Kaiserwasser
Region Bad Deutsch Altenburg: Hotel Altes Kloster
Bratislava: Crown Plaza
Györ: Famulus
Patince: Region Komarno
Danube bend: Thermalhotel Visegrad
Budapest: Novotel Budapest Danube

 

Getting There

Fly into Vienna, Salzburg, Linz or Munich. There are good rail connections to Passau from all four cities. Fly home from Budapest itself or take the train back to Bratislava or Vienna to catch your flight home

Research flights from/to the UK here.

Research train timetables here.

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