Itinerary

River Danube: Highlights Along Europe's Second Largest River

8 days / 7 nights | MS SWISS CROWN | Self guided or guided bike tours

Highlights of this Bike & Barge Tour

✔ Staying on the premium ship 

✔ Cycling and sailing along the enchanting Danube

✔  Europe' s most charming capitals on a glorious cycling holiday

✔ Discovering wines from the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Landscape WACHAU


Accompanied by a comfortable new cruise ship you cycle along Europe's second largest river Danube from the charming Bavarian “three river city” of Passau straight into the heart of the once glorious Imperial and Royal Monarchy. Enjoy three of the most enchanting European capitals: the lively Vienna, the Slovak coronation city of Bratislava at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains and Budapest, the "Hungarian Danube Queen"! By bicycle you discover the stunning natural spectacle of the Schlögener Donauschlinge ("Great Loop"), the legendary Wachau with romantic towns and mighty castles amidst lovely vineyards, the untouched alluvial forests of the Danube National Park, as well as the picturesque Hungarian Danube bend where the important cupola of the basilica in Esztergom salutes from the distance. On board your "floating hotels" during this trip you will enjoy the comfort of a cruise ship and delicious regional specialties! Short routings for leisure cyclists available!

Ability level: Level 1 - the cycle route is completely flat, at times on a gentle downhill slope, and is ideal for bikers with less experience, leisure cyclists and children.
Travel Information available in English or German.

Route 2022

Day 1 (Sun): Arrival and embarkation in Passau

Arrival in the "Three River City" with boarding starting at 4:30 p.m. Passau attracts many with the world's greatest church organ at the Stephansdom and it’s charming Old Town. Departure will be at 6 p.m. Enjoy your first dinner on board and an evening sail to Engelhartszell.

Day 2: Great Loop – Aschach (Cycling 42 km / 26 miles)

The day starts in Engelhartszell (the only Trappist monastery in Austria), where we head towards the "Great Loop" - one of the most beautiful and original sectors of the Danube. Your cycling will encounter small villages and cozy must-see taverns (relaxing 15-km-roundtrip for leisure cyclists available). You'll board again in the charming village Brandstatt. Then, you "sail into the night" towards Devin.

Day 3: Devin – Bratislava (Cycling 43 km / 27 miles)

The cycle tour takes you from Devin through Austria’s „vegetable garden“ to the imposing Imperial Palace of Hof beautifully terraced gardens and idyllic manor farm. After crossing the green line you cycle along the former “Iron Curtain” towards the coronation city of Bratislava at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains. During a bus tour and walkabout in the evening (optional) you can discover hidden alleys of Bratislava, places and all the sights of this ambitious metropolis.

Day 4: Budapest | roundtrip to Szentendre  (Cycling 54 km / 34 miles)

In the morning, you enjoy the panoramic view of the Danube's gorgeous landscape on the Sundeck. The gateway to Budapest is overwhelming, as many of the famous tourist features are situated directly next to the river bank. Nearby, you find the Margaretheninsel which is outstandingly qualified for small bike tours or the charming town of Szentendre with Mediterranean atmosphere and lively art life. A very close experience of Hungarian culture you will get at an evening show with traditional music and dances (optional).

Day 5: Danube Bend – Esztergom (Cycling 43 km / 27 miles)

The Danube bend is definitely one of most delightful and attractive parts and is called the Hungarian Wachau. Today's bike leg starts at Visegrad with its famous fortress and the ruins of the former palace. You can choose from 2 different routes: the longer one includes a side trip to the island of Szentendre and the baroque village of Vác which has been influenced by the architects of the Austrian empress Maria Theresia. The other route leads you directly to the bishop-town of Esztergom with its gorgeous basilica – Hungary's largest Catholic Church – overlooking the village.

Day 6: Vienna (day of rest), Sightseeing tour by bike or bus – Evening Waltz concert (optional)

You should be sure to see the most famous places of interest like the Prater, the St. Stephens Cathedral and the Hofburg. You can take a city tour by bike or bus (optional, not included). The gorgeous boulevard "Ringstraβe" with the Burgtheater, the State Opera House and the town hall takes you back to the past. The evening ends impressively with a Waltz and Operetta concert and a glass of wine at a Viennese wine tavern or at the Castle Schönbrunn (optional, not included).

Day 7: Wachau | Krems – Melk (C ycling 37 km / 23 miles)

Your last biking day is a special highlight! Amidst small dreamy villages, apricot trees, vineyards, castles, monasteries and ruins, this gentle hilly landscape enchants everybody. You'll be biking on cloud nine! A powerful ruin looms above the small Baroque town of Dürnstein, while the blue tower of the monastery church is a landmark of Wachau. In Weißenkirchen (possibility for a wine-tasting – optional) you will find comfy wine taverns right along the bike path. You owe it to yourself to take a break! After a ceremonial gala dinner, lots of fun and entertainment can be experienced during a crew show.

Day 8: Passau

Every journey draws to an end. Once again you enjoy on deck the first sunbeams and the peaceful silence of the Danube Valley. Take a last sight at the Schlögener Schlinge ("Great Loop") before you arrive relaxed at Passau. Arrival: approx 10 a.m., disembarkation half an hour later. We recommend to arrange connecting trips from 11:30 a.m. onwards.


Route 2023

Day 1 (Sun): Arrival and embarkation in Passau

Boarding time at 4:00 p.m. Located at the meeting point of the Danube, Inn and Ilz Rivers, Passau has numerous of interesting sites to visit. Use your free time and stroll through the cobblestoned 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 – Aschach (Cycling 42 km / 26 miles)

Your first day’s cycling 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 cozy 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 (Cycling 43 km / 27 miles)

You pedal along the former ‘Iron Curtain’, cross the green line and reach the imposing Imperial Palace of Hof with its beautifully terraced gardens. Follow the bike path through Austria’s ‘vegetable garden’ to the coronation city of 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 | roundtrip to Szentendre  (Cycling 54 km / 34 miles)

You pedal along the former ‘Iron Curtain’, cross the green line and reach the imposing Imperial Palace of Hof with its beautifully terraced gardens. Follow the bike path through Austria’s ‘vegetable garden’ to the coronation city of Bratislava and the slopes of the little Carpathians and discover the hidden alleyways and sights of Bratislava on an optional city tour.

Day 5: Danube Bend – Esztergom (Cycling 43 km / 27 miles)

You pedal along the former ‘Iron Curtain’, cross the green line and reach the imposing Imperial Palace of Hof with its beautifully terraced gardens. Follow the bike path through Austria’s ‘vegetable garden’ to the coronation city of Bratislava and the slopes of the little Carpathians and discover the hidden alleyways and sights of Bratislava on an optional city tour.

Day 6: Vienna (day of rest), Sightseeing tour by bike or bus – Evening Waltz concert (optional)

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 colorful "Hundertwasserhaus". Take time to relax in one or more of Vienna’s famous cafés, while the evening ends impressively at a classical concert (optional) in one of Vienna‘s most famous palaces.

Day 7: Wachau | Krems – Melk (Cycling 39 km / 24 miles)

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. Amidst dreamy towns, apricot trees, vineyards and castles, this hilly landscape enchants everybody who visits ... you will be biking on cloud nine! In Spitz (possibility to do a wine-tasting – optional) you will find comfortable wine taverns along the bike path. After the Captain’s farewell dinner, lots of fun and entertainment can be experienced during the popular crew show.

Day 8: Passau

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. Amidst dreamy towns, apricot trees, vineyards and castles, this hilly landscape enchants everybody who visits ... you will be biking on cloud nine! In Spitz (possibility to do a wine-tasting – optional) you will find comfortable wine taverns along the bike path. After the Captain’s farewell dinner, lots of fun and entertainment can be experienced during the popular crew show.


Please note: All cycling distances stated above are approximate only.