Delightful Danube by Bike & Boat
Visit 4 countries and 3 cities by bike and boat from the “Bavarian Venice” directly into the heart of the famous and glamorous former Habsburg monarchy Austria/Hungary. Look forward visiting three of Europe’s most charming capitals: Vienna, the metropolis of Waltz, Bratislava, the capital of coronation and Budapest, the "Paris of the East". The bike tours lead you to the romantic “Great Loop“ (Schlögener Donauschlinge), the picturesque Danube Bend with Hungary’s largest cathedral and the legendary Wachau valley, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage with its small villages, beautiful palaces and castles.
Need to Know
- Passau at the intersection of three rivers
- The “Great Loop” Schlögener Donauschlinge
- World Cultural Heritage site Wachau
- Hungarian Danube Bend
- The metropolises of Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest
Tour profile Level 1: The Danube cycle path leads trough terrain with only slightly gradients. Do not feel like cycling? Without effort you will also reach your destination by ship.
Comfort relax package (Guided tour) Personal attention from a dedicated guide you cycle in a small group where you explore a lot of local cultures, discover hidden sites and secret places and enjoy some delicious appetizers.
Day 1 - Passau
Boarding time at 4.30 p.m.
Located at the confluence of Danube, Inn and Ilz, Passau has numerous interesting sites to visit. Use your free time and stroll through the cobble stoned old town centre, listen to the bells of Passau’s Gothic Town Hall or have a look at the world’s largest Catholic Church organ in the Passau Cathedral. At 6.00 p.m. we cast off!
Day 2 - Great Loop - Engelhartszell – Aschach
Approx. 42 km
Your first day’s tour begins with a ride through the classic scenery of the ‘Great Loop’ Donauschlinge - one of the most beautiful sections of the Danube. Along the way you will encounter tiny villages and cosy cider taverns. In Austria’s only Trappist monastery at Engelhartszell you can taste their delicious liquors and cheese. The famous ‘Schlogener View’ provides a wonderful panorama of the surrounding Austrian countryside. The boat welcomes all cyclists back on board in the charming market town of Aschach.
Day 3 - Devin – Bratislava
Approx. 43 km
You pedal along the former ‘Iron Curtain’, cross the green line and reach the imposing Imperial Schlosshof Palace with its beautifully terraced gardens. Follow the bike path through Austria’s ‘vegetable garden’ to the coronation town Bratislava and the slopes of the Little Carpathians and discover the hidden alleyways and sights of Bratislava on an optional city tour.
Day 4 - Budapest - Excursion to Szentendre
Approx. 54 km (or day of rest)
The entrance to Budapest, Hungary's capital is stunning. Savour the beauty of Budapest during a coach tour or a guided bike tour (optional) to discover many of the highlights of this beautiful city. You can also choose to cycle to the charming town of Szentendre with its Mediterranean atmosphere and lively art scene. You will get a very close experience of Hungarian culture at an evening Folklore show with traditional music, local appetisers and dance (optional).
Day 5 - Danube bend – Esztergom
Approx. 43 km
Situated in the middle of the Danube River the idyllic isle of Szentendre exudes silent Puszta romance. History, folklore and Hungarian way of life will accompany you on your way to Esztergom where the gorgeous basilica – Hungary’s largest Catholic Church – impresses its guests.
Day 6 - Vienna (day of rest)
Discover Vienna's most beautiful attractions. During a city tour by bike or bus (optional) you will experience Vienna’s most famous examples of architecture: the imperial Hofburg, St. Stephens Cathedral, the gorgeous ‘Ring’-boulevard and the State Opera House, the Burgtheater and town hall, and of course the colourful "Hundertwasserhaus". Take time to relax in one or more of Vienna’s famous cafés, while the evening ends impressively at a classical concert (optional) at a famous Viennese Palace.
Day 7 - Wachau - Krems – Melk
Approx. 37 km
Your last biking day is a special highlight! A powerful ruin looms above the small Baroque town of Durnstein, while the blue spire of the monastery church is a landmark of the renowned Wachau Valley. Amidst dreamy towns, apricot trees, vineyards and castles, this hilly landscape enchants everybody who visits ... you will be biking on cloud nine! In Weißenkirchen (possibility for wine-tasting – optional) you will find comfortable wine taverns along the bike path.
Day 8 - Passau
As you cruise back up the Danube enjoy the early morning sunshine as you wind your way to Passau, where you’ll disembark at approx. 10.00 a.m. Connecting travel should be booked for 11.30 a.m. onward.
Optional excursions (not included in the price of your tour) can be booked individually or as a package at a discount on board only.
Bratislava: City tour with scenic train and walking tour
Budapest: City tour by bike or HOP ON HOP OFF bus Budapest by night + folklore show at a traditional Hungarian Csarda
Vienna: City tour by bike or by bus Classical waltz & operetta concert in one of Vienna’s famous palaces
Wachau: Wine tasting with a local wine grower in Wachau Valley
Hybrid bikes in both man and woman frames, with all sizes available (including child frames), are included in the cost of this tour. We suggest 'hybrid' type bicycles to hire on this tour, as they are ideal for the nature of the route and the terrain involved, as well as offering a reasonable level of comfort over the daily distances shown. However, upon request, road bikes can be provided for a little extra supplement of £10 / $15 per day, while fun and popular electric bikes are also an option at £15 / $20 daily too.
Bikes are provided fully equipped with helmets, pump and puncture repair kit, pannier bags, handlebar map holder and bike computer, included in the total cost.
Please note, should you have specific questions related to the bicycles on offer, don't hesitate to ask.
This is a SELF-GUIDED cycle tour, while comprehensive maps and route notes are provided. It is available from around mid-March to mid-October, while the months of July and August are of course the busier times and the weather can be very warm to cycle, however this does not mean it would not be enjoyable! We ask for 48 hours to confirm our tours (as per the Pedal & Break booking guarantee*), yet this may be slightly longer in the aforementioned peak July and August period.
The first thing you´ll experience when boarding is the friendly atmosphere and the coziness of this river ship. In the restaurant you will start your culinary excursion through the Danube countries – the fantastic view of the beautiful scenery will sweeten the diversity of flavours you taste. In the Panorama-Lounge, where the bar is located, you can enjoy a glass of wine with your new friends and travel mates while the gorgeous landscape is passing by. Comfortable lounge chairs and discreet colours make you stay a little longer.
After an exciting day of cycling you can relax in the spa with sauna and whirlpool! For pleasant refreshment, jump into the pool (June-August) on the sun deck, from where you can enjoy a magnificent view. And if you are in the mood for reading, just borrow a book in the library! The comfortable ship will make your journey unforgettable.
Wifi is available on board (connection can vary, payable locally). Main, Middle or Upperdeck ? On the MV Carissima YOU have the choice. All 75 de-luxe staterooms have 14 m² and feature a hotel-style double bed, which may be converted to two single beds. The half-height windows on the Main deck cannot be opened, the staterooms on the Middle and Upper deck provide full-size picture windows which do open. All cabins are equipped with a private bathroom with a shower or bathtub, hair dryer, TV, safe and full air-conditioning. ECO cabins are located in the front/rear part of the ship (operating noises possible).
- 7 nights in outside cabins with private facilities and air conditioning
- Port Charges
- Program according to itinerary from/to Passau
- Captain‘s greeting and welcome cocktail
- Daily cabin cleaning, towels and bed linen
- Full board: breakfast buffet, lunch onboard (non-cyclists) or packed lunch (cyclists), afternoon coffee break, dinner (2/3 dishes to choose), late night snack
- Gala dinner and farewell cocktail
- Farewell crew show
- Daily live music
- Cruise director onboard (does not cycle with the group)
- Daily information meeting
- Detailed roadbook per cabin Comfort Relax Package ADDITIONALLY includes
- Cycling tour guide
- Tasting of homemade cider at a cider producer in the Upper Danube Valley
- Ferry rides
- Guided city tour by bike in Vienna & by HOP ON HOP OFF bus in Budapest
- Wine tasting with a local wine grower
On the one hand, a riverboat is a “holiday hotel”, while on the other, it is also a means of transport that moves with motor power and must always be operated, even at night (partially with lock and bridge passages and the retractions and extensions of the structures caused as a result). Mistakes can happen with lock passages. This is the case for all Danube journeys and cannot be avoided. Please bear in mind that riverboats are restricted (bridge passages, locks) in size (length, height, width) and therefore cannot be compared with cruise liners in the sea. The cabins are limited in space but are nevertheless comfortable and furnished. In the event of extremely high or low water, the shipping company reserves the right to bridge stages by bus or even to cancel the trip at short notice without any legal claim arising therefrom (water levels are force majeure). The same applies for officially decreed repairs to locks or bridges, not announced in advance, or in the event of motor or propulsion damage to the ship without attributed fault.
Most of our tours are available from early April until the end of October to enable you to make the most of the weather and scenery with some available year round. There is no ‘best’ time to go, this is really down to personal preference and your requirements however, peak summer months like July and August can be warm in southern Europe and busier so we would recommend these to sun worshippers. We would suggest that around May, June and September are the preferable months for comfortable and optimum cycling experience.
What clothing and kit should I bring?
Each individual tour provides slight variations in kit provided so we would always recommend checking your individual booking. In all cases bicycles are provided along with full puncture repair kit. In the majority of cases helmets will be provided and you will be given this information as part of the booking process. Where these are not provided there is the option to add this on or bring your own. Clothing is not provided but we would recommend suitable, comfortable clothing to cover all eventualities! Lycra and padded short are not mandatory but we would recommend these for your comfort. Breathable fabrics and light layers with a shower proof jacket will enhance your experience and we would also recommend comfortable footwear.
How do I carry this clothing and kit from A to B?
You don’t! Whilst we would recommend taking a small backpack or loading your panniers with daily essentials such as a light cycle jacket, water, snacks and your phone and camera the great news is your main luggage will be transported by ourselves between your accommodations allowing you to enjoy you day baggage free. We usually ask you to leave this the morning of the day you depart the particular hotel and should arrive by late afternoon at your next destination but we always aim to have this there before you.
How fit do I need to be to do the tours?
Every tour description gives an indication of the level of suitability along with details on the distances and terrains covered. However, the majority of our tours on Pedal & Break are open and suitable for all with a reasonable level of fitness and all age groups. As we say Lycra is optional and we actively encourage and truly welcome those on a first time cycling holiday. You also do not all need to be the same level to enjoy our holidays as a group. A basic level of cycling is a must in order to be confident on the roads and routes and we would recommend a good base level of fitness. Our routes are designed to enjoy the scenery at a leisurely pace with sightseeing and refreshment stops factored in, after all this is your holiday! The days should not be viewed as a leg of the Tour de France and don’t require you to cycle flat out from dawn till dusk. The e-bike is also an excellent option for those needing a ‘boost’. As a husband and wife partnership on our first holiday this worked perfectly for us and enabled us to enjoy our holiday together stress free.
What is an e-bike?
An e-bike is an electric bike and does not require a license and nor should it be confused with a moped or scooter! An e-bike will be available on most of our tours and is the perfect option for the slightly more apprehensive cyclist, simply as these bikes provide the ideal boost when the legs feel a little tired or when facing a hilly section. You are still required to pedal as the bike is a modified standard bicycle and the e-bike merely gives you a helping hand. The electric element can be turned on and off as you like but from personal experience having this at a low level throughout with an extra boost added for setting off at junctions and up hills enabled my wife to enjoy her first cycling tour alongside me throughout and gave her the confidence she needed.