Fancy taking in the scenery of the River Danube under the power of your own legs? A cycling holiday is a great way to explore at a slower pace, without the noise and stress of traffic, and getting plenty of fresh air and exercise. And as you’re travelling at your own speed you can stop whenever you need for a rest or refreshments, with no worries about timetables or connections.
And cycling holidays aren’t just for serious cyclists. The route along the River Danube through Austria is one of the most popular, with mostly flat terrain offering stunning views of the waterway as well as mountains, forests, nature reserves and Baroque architecture.
Each day your suitcases are transported to your next hotel, so all you need to take on your bike are your daily essentials in the pannier bags.
On our tour we flew into Munich, took the train from Munich airport to Passau, and picked up the bikes. They had hundreds of bikes of different types and sizes; we’d given our weight and height in advance and were recommended a bike. After a quick test ride and adjusting the saddle, it was only a mile ride to the hotel.
Our first day of cycling was out of out of Passau and into countryside, and the cycle paths all the way were in really good condition – no litter, and nettles and undergrowth were trimmed back. When it started raining we sheltered under trees for 20 minutes, and we soon dried out once we were cycling again.
And there’s no worries about your bikes either – if you get a puncture or any problem with your bike you can either fix minor faults with the supplied tools, or exchange your bike for another.
The landscape along the Danube varies from mountainous areas with sharp hairpin bends around the ‘Schogener Schlinge’, to flood plains and vineyards as you get closer to Vienna. There’s also chances to cross the river by ferry for a few Euros, and a delicious choice of cafes to stop for coffee and cake.
Most days we had to cycle through cities or towns to reach the hotel, but Austria is well-prepared for cyclists with cycle paths in most cities, cycle lanes on main roads, and separate traffic lights for cyclists on busy roads.
Our trip ended with a two-day boat trip back up the river to Passau, and then back to Munich airport. The River Danube gets wider as you go downstream, so some bridges are over 1km wide; we also passed through locks for the hydro-electric power stations.
The view from Maria Tafferl back down to the River Danube.