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Ultimate Danube by Bike and Boat 1

Ultimate Danube: Passau to Belgrade by Bike and Boat

Overview

We invite you to a bike and boat adventure through six countries and widely differing cultures revealing the beauty of the majestic Danube river in all its glory. Discover the breath-taking natural scenery of the Iron Gates, one of the most spectacular gorges in Europe, the vast expanse of the Pannonian plains, cycle through the Danube Bend in Hungary and the breadbaskets of Croatia and Serbia, through idyllic wine-growing regions and past commanding fortresses high above the river.

On this tour you will also visit Belgrade, the “white city”, fall in love with charming Budapest, the “Paris of the East”, marvel at the Baroque palaces in the picturesque Old Town of Bratislava and let yourself be carried away by the elegant charm of Vienna, the City of Waltz. Scenic and cultural highlights, excellent food and a crew that caters to your every whim, guarantee that your cycling holiday will be a unique and unforgettable experience.

  • The four capital cities along the Danube: Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade
  • The mighty canyon of the Iron Gates National Park
  • Kalocsa, the “Paprika Capital”
  • The Petrovaradin fortress
  • Novi Sad, the magnificent capital of the Vojvodina region
  • The Basilica in Esztergom
  • The Drava-Nemzeti National Park
  • The countryside of the Danube Bend
  • The fabulous Wachau

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Passau

Embark in the late afternoon and enjoy the views of the beautiful city of Passau as you glide serenely into the sunset, past dark green forests before entering the lock at the Jochenstein power plant on the border between Germany and Austria.

Day 2: Schlögen Danube Bend / Obernzell – Obermühl | 35 km

Enjoy a delightful day’s cycling from Obernzell through the ruggedly romantic Danube Bend at Schlögen, one of the most beautiful sections of the river lined with sleepy farming villages and a natural landscape. Get a break at Austria’s only Trappist monastery in Engelhartszell and refill your energy with home-distilled drinks. Along the way, you can drop in at one of the many inviting cider taverns. At the charming village Obermühl, you go aboard the barge and sail into the beautiful sunset.

  • Cycling for the day: approx. 35 km

Day 3: Devin – Bratislava | 15-43 km

A narrow cycle path runs along the Iron Curtain from the castle ruins in Devin to the splendid palace of Schloss Hof, which boasts one of the most magnificent baroque gardens in Europe. After a stretch of untouched countryside is followed, and a short time later, you arrive in the vibrant city of Bratislava. Our little train tour of the Slovakian capital in which Hungarian kings were once crowned (optional) begins with a glorious view from the fortress perched on a hill overlooking the city and ends with a walk through the beautifully restored historic city centre.

  • Cycling for the day: approx. 15 – 43 km

Day 4: Budapest / Excursion to Szentendre | 27-54 km

Savour the entrance to Budapest and the stunning views of the city‘s most famous buildings. Discover the city that straddles the Danube on a guided tour (optional) or take a detour to the delightful little town of Szentendre with its many artists and galleries. Get a taste of the fiery Hungarian temperament at a Hungarian folklore show with traditional music and folk dance accompanied by wine and local food (optional).

  • Cycling for the day: approx. 27-54 km (or day of rest)

Day 5: Baja – Mohacs | 37 km

From the quiet Baroque town of Baja that is famous for its fish soup, you’ll cycle along the flood protection dykes in the Gemenc floodplain, through sleepy river landscapes past fields of sunflowers. At the end of today’s stage, you take the ferry to the little town of Mohacs, Hungary’s southernmost town on the Danube and famously the site of two battles with the Turks.

  • Cycling for the day: approx. 37 km

Day 6: Belgrade

Explore the fun-loving Serbian capital at the confluence of the Sava and the Danube by bike or bus, take a journey in time from the past to the present and learn about the rise and fall of Yugoslavia (optional). In the evening, Belgrade is bathed in a sea of light. Visit a colourful folklore show with traditional dances from all parts of the country, followed by typical regional specialities in the well-known Bohemian district of Skadarlija with lively folk music from a Serbian band (optional).

Day 7: Cataract Canyons / Iron Gates National Park

Experience the stunning fjord-like landscape at close quarters from the ship’s deck. The river cuts through the Romanian Carpathian mountains and the mighty foothills of the Balkan mountain range. A spectacular landscape with steep gorges, dark forests with historical monuments and impressive fortresses on the shores reflected in the blue waters of the river: this miracle of nature will take your breath away.

Day 8: Novi Sad – Ilok | 48 km

The imposing Petrovaradin fortress perches high above the provincial capital of the Vojvodina. After cycling upstream along a flat cycle path, you take a ferry to reach the gentle foothills of the Fruska Gora, with its orchards, vineyards and idyllic farming villages. Everything in the medieval town of Ilok is about wine. In the evening, you will have the opportunity to sample some famous Croatian wines at a local wine cellar (optional).

  • Cycling for the day: approx. 48 km

Day 9: Batina – Mohacs | 42 km

In the border triangle, you cycle through the never-ending „Backa“. Small, idyllic villages and endless canola fields accompany you from Croatia to Serbia and Hungary. Farmers stop their work to greet you, and now and then, you will meet a carriage. You will experience untouched nature in the Nemzeti National Park, and after the ferry ride to Mohacs, there is enough time for a visit to the White Stork Museum or the Memorial of the Battle of Mohacs.

  • Cycling for the day: approx. 42 km

Day 10: Kalocsa – Solt | 50 km

Kalocsa is the “Paprika Capital” of Hungary, and the character of the town is strongly influenced by colourful houses with hand-painted, bright floral patterns and the cathedral with its towers that can be seen even from a distance as they rise into the sky from the flat Hungarian plain. Visiting the Paprika Museum, you’ll learn a lot about Hungary’s favourite spice. Continue your journey on the well-built cycle path along the flood protection dyke through the vast expanse of the Puszta. You will cycle through fields and orchards that stretch as far as the eye can see until you reach Solt, the birthplace of the famous conductor Sir George Solti. Vecsey Castle and the library with some 34,000 books are especially worth seeing.

  • Cycling for the day: approx. 50 km

Day 11: Danube Bend – Esztergom | 43 km

Steep wooded hills frame the Danube as it flows through the picturesque, hilly landscape of the “Hungarian Wachau“. Set in the middle of the Danube, the delightful island of Szentendre radiates real Puszta romance. As you continue your journey on idyllic cycle paths through picturesque villages, you’ll be able to experience the Hungarian zest for life at first hand. The dome of the imposing basilica in Esztergom can be seen from far. With its Tuscan-style high altar and a side chapel with red marble walls, Hungary’s largest church is especially worth seeing.

  • Cycling for the day: approx. 43 km

Day 12: Vienna (Bike excursion to Klosterneuburg)

After so many action-packed days of cycling, you deserve some relaxation. Enjoy the breath-taking view of the idyllic floodplain forest of the Donauauen National Park and the impressive skyline as you sail to Vienna. Go for a bike ride on the Danube Island – Vienna’s popular recreational area, cycle to the nearby Klosterneuburg Abbey or wander through the idyllic vineyards of Kahlenberg (with magnificent views over the city and the Danube). The day ends traditionally with a concert of classical waltz and operetta music at a famous Viennese Palais (optional).

Day 13: Vienna

Discover Vienna: from the saddle on a guided bike tour or your own with the HOP ON HOP OFF bus (optional). Ride through the historic city centre at a leisurely pace and see the sights at point-blank range. The magnificent Ringstraße boulevard will remind you of times a long time ago, and inviting coffee houses will tempt you with delicious Viennese cakes and pastries. Afterwards, there’s enough time to stroll through the quaint lanes or visit the Naschmarkt. Let your day in Vienna end at a rustic wine tavern.

Day 14: Wachau / Krems – Melk | 37 km

The gentle hilly countryside of the Wachau valley with its picturesque villages, historic castles and palaces surrounded by apricot trees and terraced vineyards is one of the tour’s loveliest sections. In Weißenkirchen, the cycle path is lined with cosy vintner’s taverns, and you should have a break in this area (optional wine tasting)!

  • Cycling for the day: approx. 37 km

Day 15: Passau

Enjoy the first rays of sunlight and the early-morning tranquillity of the Danube valley one last time. Catch a final view of the Danube Bend at Schlögen – before you reach Passau, your heart bursting with memories and impressions. Disembarkation at approx. 10.00 a.m. Independent homeward journey. We recommend not to make any arrangements for onward connections departing before 11.00 a.m.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is on a comfortable riverboat for the duration of the whole tour.

Click to view default ship

  • MV Carissima: The first thing you’ll experience when boarding is the friendly atmosphere and the cosiness of the 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, with its bar, 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 want to stay a little longer. After an exciting day of cycling, you can relax in the spa with a 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 from the library! The comfortable ship will make your journey unforgettable. Wi-Fi is available onboard (connection speed can vary, payable locally).

Meals

Package includes full board: breakfast buffet, lunch on board (non-cyclists) or packed lunch (cyclists), afternoon coffee break, dinner (2-3 dishes to choose from), late-night snack.

Difficulty & terrain

The route mainly follows the Eurovelo 6 cycle path. In Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, it runs asphalted paths over flat terrain; in Croatia and Serbia, country roads with little traffic and cycle paths, not all of which are asphalted. Only one stage runs over hilly terrain; if you don’t feel like cycling on this day, you can reach your destination easily by remaining on the boat (read more about difficulty grades). Upon arrival, you will receive detailed travel information with route maps or overview maps, route descriptions, tourist attractions and important telephone numbers (1 set per room). The package also includes daily information meeting as well as a tour guide on board.

When to go

This trip is available from May until September/October. Weather is best in July – August. The tour departs on Saturdays.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice on Austria, Germany, Serbia, Hungary and Slovakia.

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airports for this tour are Munich (MUC) and Vienna (VIE).

By train or bus
  • In case you travel by train, the best connections are from Schärding and Passau train stations. At Passau the parking costs between €109 (outdoor area) to €123 (parking garage), including shuttle transfer to and from pier; payable locally.
  • For more information, use the Omio planner above.

Inclusions

Included

  • 14 nights in simple but comfortable main deck cabins with private facilities and air conditioning
  • Port charges
  • Programme according to itinerary from/to Passau
  • Captains greeting and welcome cocktail
  • Captain’s dinner and farewell cocktail
  • Daily cabin cleaning, change of 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 from), late-night snack
  • Tour guide on board (does not cycle with the group)
  • Daily information meeting
  • One detailed roadbook per cabin

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single cabin & to solo travellers (upper deck only)
  • Cabin upgrades (upon request: middle and upper deck)
  • Bike rental
  • Guided supplement including a private guide while cycling and bus city tours in Budapest, Belgrade and Vienna. Only available on the following departure dates: 22 May, 17 July, 7 August 2021 & 7 May, 11 June, 16 July, 13 August, 17 September 2022.

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