The 8 Day Danube Cycle Path Classic is for those who want to experience Europe's most popular cycle path and do it in the way that's most popular. The entire trail is very flat with fantastic infrastructure, meaning it's perfectly suited for those with moderate cycling fitness as well as families.
Starting in the city of Passau, Bavaria (a short train ride from Munich) you'll begin your journey straight away following the course of the Danube. It's quiet and tranquil as you hug the river and in no time at all, you'll have seamlessly crossed the border from Germany to Austria. You'll brush passed wood lands brimming with wildlife enroute as a. You'll stop in the city of Linz for a bit of culture before getting back into the rural lands of Upper Austria.
There is no shortage of monasteries, forts and castles to stop at during your cycle. The most famous of which is the simply breathtaking Melk Abbey which will leave an impression you won't soon forget. Continuing on from Melk, you will enter the heart of the Wachau Valley. Home to internationally acclaimed vineyards as well as it's own local specialty, Apricot brandy. We'll be stopping here for a wine tasting and vineyard tour included in your tour.
After a short train ride, we begin the home stretch to Vienna. A city often voted top in the world for quality of life, it's immediately clear why. Steeped in history, there seems to be a new palace to marvel at on every street. Finish off the evening with a Wiener Schnitzel in a traditional Austrian eatery.
With 285 kms covered in 6 cycling days and relatively flat, this is about an easy a bike tour available. If you're looking to conserve energy for sightseeing, we recommend an e-bike.
If you feel you want to cycle the entire stretch without the train transfer, check out our 9 Day full cycle Danube path tour. If you want some extra time to take a rest day, have a look at the rest of our Danube cycle path tours.
After disembarking the train from Munich or Vienna, you’ll enter into the enchanting city of Passau, Bavaria. Laying on the Austrian border and the meeting point of the Inn, Ilz and of course Danube rivers, Passau is a smorgasbord of different influences.
Having been largely destroyed by a fire in 1662, Passau was rebuilt in the post-renaissance Baroque style. The most famous example of this is St. Stephen’s Cathedral. A religious site since 730 AD, its current form was completed 1693 AD after the Passau fire. In the cathedral you’ll find the largest organ in Europe and was the largest in the world until 1993. Overlooking the city, you’ll spot the old fortress of Veste Oberhaus. Built into the hill of St. Georgsberg, today it hosts a museum and restaurant.
Distance: 41 kms / 259 m Elevation gain
After picking up your two wheeled companion, you’ll cross the Schanzlbrücke bridge. You’ve just made your first of many crossings of the Danube river, travelling from South bank to North bank. As you leave the outskirts of Passau, you’ll find yourself quickly on the peaceful cycle paths that have made this tour famous. With the slow flow of the Danube beside you, it is peaceful and calm. You’ll catch a glimpse of the pretty town of Engelhartszell, home to a monastery that produces tonic liqueurs.
We mozy on and conclude our first day’s cycle at Schlögen Bend. This beautiful feature performs a 180 degree loop, owing to the hard granite which proved too much for the river to erode. We’ll hop aboard our first ferry crossing of the tour, crossing back onto the South bank of the Danube. Upon disembarking, you’ll be treated to a stunning view of the bend with a steep hill intersecting.
Distance: 53 kms / 353 m Elevation gain
Setting off from the stunning surrounds of Schlögen bend, we will meander the course of the South Danube bank gazing across the wide river with its steep, overhanging hills. Passing through the Eferdinger Becken nature reserve, you’ll hear beautiful native bird song emanating from the trees. You’ll pass through typical Austrian country villages with their trademark steep peaked roofs, immaculate painted frontage and ornate garden flower displays.
After navigating this peaceful, quiet stretch we will arrive in the city of Linz, the capital of upper Austria. Linz is synonymous with arts and culture, so there’s much to explore. Starting at the Trinity Column in the Main Square, you can visit the Thun Mansion where Mozart resided and composed for over 12 years. Have a stroll through Donaulände park like the locals. Gaze upon lit up modern architecture at the Lentos Museum and Ars Electronica Center.
Distance: 61 kms / 298 m Elevation gain
Leaving the city lights of Linz behind, we’ll make our way along the North bank passing through some of the most remote stretches of our tour. With a small diversion away from the course of the Danube, we’ll hoover up the miles through agricultural flat lands of Machland, passing through classic Austrain country villages along the way.
Towards the end of our cycle, we’ll see the fairytale-like village of Grein emerge in the distance. You’ll pass the imposing and stunning 500 year old Greinburg castle on your left. Perched on the hill it casts a protective aura over this idyllic village. Wander around the steep cobble streets of this special place and stroll towards the Stadttheater, the oldest functioning theatre in all of Austria.
Distance: 51 kms / 261 Elevation gain
From one storybook village to another, it’s hard to pick our favourite. This section of the cycle is also one of our most enjoyable. Great variety of wide open stretches, bustling forest and small flowing waterfalls. After passing through the town of Ybbs, you will also catch a glimpse of the Maria Taferl church looking down over the valley from the North bank.
At the home stretch you’ll come across the cycle bridge into Melk. Greeting you will be the iconic Melk abbey. Pictures will never do the abbey justice, it really will leave you speechless. Almost 1000 years old, it has been in its current form since 1736 and still today is a functioning school for local children. At night wander the baroque cobbled streets with a range of traditional Austrian meals being served.
Distance: 38 kms / 263 m Elevation gain
This day is a real treat. Leaving Melk, we will enter into the heart of Wachau valley, a UNESCO world heritage site. Orchards and terraced vineyards as far the eye can see. You’ll pass through some of the most stereotypical Austrian country villages you can imagine with Spitz, Weißenkirchen & Dürnstein. Cobbled alleys and overhanging flower boxes greet you as you feel like you’re pedalling through a dream. Keep an eye out for mediaeval relics including the famous Durnstein Castle ruin, which traces back to the 12th century. After brushing shoulders with ancient grape vines, apricot and apple trees, it would be rude not to sample the local produce.
An array of wine and spirit shops line the streets selling their world famous Apricot brandy. The day would not be complete without a visit to a Wachau winery which we’ve arranged for you at the prestigious Weingut Lagler winery.
The day finishes in the 1000 year old city of Krems, the twin city of Passau where it all began. At night, pass through the Steiner Tor gate and enter into the old town, where you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back into a mediaeval village.
Distance: 38 kms / 120 m Elevation gain
We begin the day with a short train ride to the town of Tulln. Coming into Tulln (The City of Flowers) it really is a magical and serene place that lives up to its reputation. You’ll arrive in the Donaulände park set along the Danube bank to have a stroll and see the Nibelungendenkmal. This sculpture and fountain depicts the meeting of Kriemhild, Queen of Burgundy, and Etzel, King of the Huns, in Tulln circa 1200 AD. The show piece of this town is Die Garten Tulln, a curious botanic garden with some very unique and abstract displays to navigate
It’s now time to take it home for the final stretch of what’s been a once in a lifetime adventure. Leaving Talln, we’ll hug the Danube tight for the first stretch before cutting inland. You’ll pass the Greifenstein castle on your right before coming to Klosterneuburg with its famed monastery. We highly recommend a pitstop here as this ancient abbey is a real spectacle. Passing through the Wiener Wald (Vienna woods), you’ll arrive at the door of Vienna city before you know it. We’ll split to follow the course of the Donau canal on a bike lane highway. You’ll pass some amazing street art along the way. You’ll be navigated to your bike drop off so that you can rest up and explore this remarkable city. Vienna often tops the charts for quality of life and it’s immediately transparent why. The architecture, the food, the cycling network, safety and culture are all world class.
You may have had a few Schnitzels at this stage but Vienna is synonymous with the best you can get, with the torch passed from one restaurant to the next every year. To finish off the evening, take a ride on the Wiener Riesenrad, a 65m ferris wheel offering stunning views over the city.
Vienna is often nicknamed the City of Music due to Mozart and Beethoven having made it their home during most of their composing years. But here at Rooster, we call it the European City of Palaces. It seems no matter what corner you take, there is another grand palace awaiting. We recommend starting the day with a quick coffee and pastry at the famous Café Central. With its opulent old world interior you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back into the mid 1800s. A short stroll will take us to Kärntner Strasse, Vienna’s historic shopping street that has origins tracing back as far as the Roman Empire.
We’ve made an itinerary for you to see our favourite selection of Vienna’s landmarks including St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna Opera House and Schönbrunn Palace. To finish off the day, swing by Belvedere palace around dusk. Today the palace is a striking art museum, specialising in Austrian art. But our favourite part about the palace is the grounds. With its manicured stepped gardens, it offers a sweeping view over this beautiful city just as the sun begins to go down. It’s serene and peaceful, so time to take a breath and reminisce on the incredible adventure you’ve just brought to a close.
includes & excludes
- 7 nights accommodation in charming B&Bs, Guesthouses and Hotels
- A hearty breakfast each morning
- A visit to a world class winery and vineyard
- Train transfer from Krems to Tulln
- Luggage Transfers from one accommodation to the next
- Detailed itinerary, GPX files and printable maps of your route
- Tips on local attractions, history & evening meals
- Rear panniers and one way rental fee (when bike rental is selected during booking)
- On call support before and during your tour
- Flights and transfers to and from the trail heads
- Lunches & Dinners
- Bike rental (costs are added once you select your preferred bike type during the booking process)