Danube - 4 Countries Bike and Boat – MS Primadonna

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.

Looking down at Spitz in the Wachau valley

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.

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.

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

Danube - 4 Countries Bike and Boat – MS Primadonna

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.

Looking down at Spitz in the Wachau valley

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.

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.

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

Itinerary

The captain reserves the right to make changes to the planned route due to changing wind, tide and weather conditions, and where required by organizational necessities.

Day 1 : Passau

Upon arrival in Passau make your way to the boat and settle into your cabin, embarkation and check-in is at 4pm. At 8pm the captain’s welcome dinner begins. During dinner the crew cast off and 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

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 to 32 miles/ 36 to 52 kms

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 Komárom.

Day 4 : Komárom – Esztergom
35 miles/ 56 kms

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 Moča before finishing your ride in Esztergom, once the capital of Hungary and one of the country’s oldest towns. If time allows, 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 6pm and cruises downstream to Budapest, arriving around 11pm. It’s worth being on deck with your camera at the ready as you arrive in the city as the view of the illuminated Parliament building from the river is quite something.

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

After breakfast there is a guided city tour of Budapest (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.

At 5pm the Primadonna begins her journey back upstream to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.

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

The MS Primadonna arrives in Bratislava around late morning. A guided cycle 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 4pm the boat heads upstream on another night cruise, this time to Krems, the gateway to the Wachau Valley.



Day 7 : Wachau Valley
30miles/ 48kms

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 5pm she starts the final leg of her journey back to Passau.

Day 8 : Passau

The MS Primadonna arrives back in Passau at around 8am. Disembarkation begins after breakfast at 9am. Now it’s time to head for home or your next adventure.

Bikes

Regular bikes provided are modern alloy framed models with 21 speeds. The bikes come equipped with pannier and lock.

Electric bikes are also available. Important: A security credit card deposit of €180 will be requested on arrival as a ‘guarantee’ only. This will be returned when you return the bike in good condition.

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

Accommodation

MS Primadonna (superior)


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

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

All 80 outside cabins are arranged over three decks; lower deck, mid deck and upper deck. All offer individually controlled air conditioning, ensuite bathroom with shower, toilet and basin. Additionally there is a hair dryer, satellite TV, minibar and spacious wardrobe.

There are 40 lower deck cabins. 8 of which are 10 m² towards the stern of the ship with 1 lower and 1 upper bed. 32 of which are 11,5 m² and have 2 single beds (one can be a sofa-bed) and a desk with chair. 3rd and 4th bed will be a bunk bed/folding bed. All have an unopenable porthole or window.

There are 20 mid deck cabins. Mid deck cabins are spacious cabins occupying 16,5 m² 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 desk with chair and a small sofa (75x185cm) which is used as the 3rd bed, when a triple is booked and a small safe.

There are 20 upper deck cabins. All upper deck cabins are spacious cabins occupying 16,5 m² 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 is also a desk with chair plus two separate small armchairs and a small safe.

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.

Meals

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.

On-board payments: Cash and debit/credit cards accepted.

The captain reserves the right to make changes to the planned route due to changing wind, tide and weather conditions, and where required by organizational necessities.

Getting there

Fly to Munich or Vienna (Salzburg or Linz are also possibilities). Then take the train from Munich/Vienna airport to Passau with one change. 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.

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