Danube Cycle Path: Self-Guided

Our popular, easy self-guided Danube Cycle Path Tour offers you a trip on the Danube bike path along the rivers, mostly flat or slightly down hill. You’ll bike a total of 350 kilometers from Schärding to Vienna. Highlights include: visits to wonderful Vienna, the “world capital of classical music”, beautiful Baroque Schärding, historic Linz and Passau, the City of Three Rivers; visits to other charming medieval towns, castles and splendid abbeys and the incomparable Benedictine Monastery in Melk; delightful, flat biking mostly on separate bike paths or on small rural roads through the forested Upper Danube Valley and the scenic vineyards of the Wachau Valley; visit to the unusual “Donauschlinge”, a textbook meander in the Danube River.

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Schärding
Arrive on your own at your comfortable hotel in Schärding. This afternoon you will have time to pick up your bikes in our nearby office in Scharding. Located in the region of Oberösterreich (Upper Austria), in the Innviertel area close to the border with Bavaria, the Baroque town of Schärding is a truly extraordinary place. Its architecture is a mix of many styles and periods, the highlight probably being the Baroque “Silberzeile” row of houses, an astonishing ensemble of Baroque buildings. Rich market traders used to live there, lending its name to the place because they had pockets full of silver. The late-medieval colors of the old gates, the narrow and mysterious side streets – all this makes Schärding such a very special place indeed.

Day 2: Schärding – Passau – Upper Danube Valley – 27-36 miles (43–58 km)
You’ll pedal along the peaceful River Inn and cross for a short time into Germany to Passau, once a prestigious and wealthy center of Roman Catholicism. The Inn and the Ilz flow into the Danube at Passau, which is why the city is also called the “Three Rivers Town”. On its impressive Market Square you’ll find St. Stephan Cathedral containing the largest church organ in Europe. Here you can attend the noontime organ concert (daily except on Sundays), quite an exciting experience. After lunch bike on to your comfortable hotel in the Upper Danube Valley, located near the famous meander in the Danube River.

Day 3: Upper Danube Valley – Linz – 31-40 miles (50-65 km)
Today you continue over an easy path along the river and later on small country roads through lush countryside. You can stop for lunch in picturesque Ottensheim. In the early afternoon you’ll reach Linz, the capital of Upper Austria and Austria’s third largest city. It was here in 1783 that Mozart wrote one of his most beautiful symphonies, the Linz Symphony, which he dedicated to the city. Mozart resided in the house of Count Thun during his Linz engagements and ever since the Thun Mansion has been known as “Mozart Haus”. You can visit it today! Also Anton Bruckner, a great Austrian composer of church music, was closely associated with Linz. For 12 years he was the resident-organist at the magnificent baroque cathedral. Each September Linz holds its most important music festival, the Bruckner Festival dedicated to its namesake. You’ll have time for a delightful stroll in the handsome center of Linz before or after a tasty meal in one of its many fine restaurants. You should remember to try the delicious pastry – the Linzer Torte and check out a lively Austrian Beergarten in the evening!

Day 4: Linz – Ardagger/Grein – 31-40 miles (50-65 km)
Today you’ll bike from Linz along the Danube (Donau) to Mauthausen, now a friendly village but once the site of a WWII concentration camp or Enns, the oldest town of Austria. Via Ardagger you’ll cycle on through the fertile Machland region to the old barge town Grein, where you’ll find a wonderful castle from the 15th century and the oldest (1791) theater in Austria, still in use today. You can visit the Grein Castle and the small theatre and marvel that Napoleon sat in one of the same seats long ago! Your respite this evening is another cozy, family run hotel also known for its fine food.

Day 5: Ardagger/Grein – Melk/Emmersdorf – 31-42 miles (50-68 km)
Today you’ll take a peaceful, romantic ride through the relaxing countryside along the Donau, passing though tiny Austrian villages. Shortly after Marbach you’ll pass by the Maria Taferl, for centuries a Christian pilgrimage destination, located on a rugged hilltop on the other side of the river. You’ll bike on to Pochlarn where you could stop at a nice café for lunch. Then on to ancient Melk on the Danube River, the beginning of the Wachau Valley. Here you can visit the incredible Benedictine Monastery, the Stift Melk, founded in 1089 high above the river. It was rebuilt between 1702 and 1726 in splendid high baroque style. Melk is the entrance to the most popular part of the Danube Region, the Wachau, well known for its delicious white wines.

Day 6: Melk/Emmersdorf – Traismauer – 33-47 miles (54-76 km)
Today cycle through the impressive Wachau region, a scenic stretch of winding river and vine-covered hillsides in lower Austria. Small winding village streets with flower-covered houses make this a photographer’s delight. The area is well known for its choice wines. The route takes you through Spits and Weissenkirchen and the best known town in the Wachau, Dürnstein. It has a ruined castle where Richard the Lionhearted was imprisoned in the 12th century. After reaching Krems, it’s a pleasure to stroll through the renovated section, now a pedestrian zone, with its 17th century pastel houses. Here you’ll cross the Danube again and ride to Traismauer, a lovely Roman town whose history can be traced back to the 1st century A.D. On the charming market square you’ll find many friendly wine taverns (“Heurigen”) where you can sample a variety of Wachau vintage.

Day 7: Traismauer – Vienna – 22-40 miles
Today you bike to Vienna. Before reaching Austria’s capital city you’ll encounter numerous gardens and the well-known Augustinian convent, Klosterneuburg. The bike path ends only a few minutes from the Cathedral of St. Stephen, one of the signature landmarks of Vienna. Hopefully you’ll extend your vacation with a few days in Vienna so you have time to explore this elegant city, for a thousand years the capital of the far-flung Holy Roman and Habsburg Empires. The city is still dominated by the palaces, squares and other vestiges of the imperial capital. Vienna is one of Europe’s undisputed centers of art, music, architecture, fashion, theatre and literature as well as a site of political and social significance in the international arena. Its history is reflected in its magnificent buildings and some of the world’s most glorious music was created here. Think of Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Schubert, Brahms, Mahler, Bruckner, Schoenberg and the Waltz King, Strauss – no other country has made such enormous musical contributions to the world! Besides fantastic music Vienna offers lush parks, fine shops, elegant restaurants and some of the most beautiful Renaissance, baroque and rococo buildings in all of Europe, as well as many structures that embody the “Jugendstil”, the Austrian version of art-nouveau architecture. Also recommended: the Spanish Riding School to see the world famous Lippizaner horses; Schönbrun Palace, the lavish 1441 room summer palace of the Habsburg family just outside of Vienna, the house of Siegmund Freud. The list is endless.

Day 8:
The tour ends in Vienna after breakfast.

Getting There

You can easily reach Scharding by train from Vienna (about 3.5 hours) or from Salzburg (about 2.5 hours). The hotel is located in the center of historic Scharding, a short cab ride away from the train station.

Meals

Daily Breakfast is included.

Prices and Dates

Check out “Austria Tours” in our GUIDED Tour Calendar

Tour Length

8 days/7 nights

Included
      – Accommodations with private facilities in the best 4-star hotels (3-star in Grein) along the Danube
      – Daily breakfast
      – 21-speed hybrid bike with 2 side panniers, lock, and repair kit
      – Daily luggage transfer
      – Detailed route descriptions and maps
    – Emergency phone number access
Bicycles

Included in the price of the tour is a 21-speed hybrid bike with 2 side panniers, lock, repair kit
Note: It is not possible to change pedals or saddles on the bikes!

Level of Difficulty

Easy to Moderate; The Danube Cycle Path only leads you through flat or slightly downhill countryside. The trail is signed and very well developed. Nearly everywhere there are cycle paths or roads with less traffic.

Excluded

– Airfare
– Lunches and dinners
– Transportation back to Scharding
– Entrance fees to any museums or places of interest

Weather

Austria has a land climate. Average High and Low Temperatures in Salzburg: April: 58/39, May: 68/47, June: 72/53, July: 76 / 56, August 76 / 56, September: 68/50, October: 59/42. Average rainfall is about 8 days per month, with less rain in the spring, and more in the summer and early fall.

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