Review: Cycling the Austrian Danube
Specialist Holiday - Cycling
Passau - Vienna, Austria
A Danube cycling holiday
12 people found this review helpful
I have always wanted to cycle along the banks of the river Danube so when an opportunity came to join a cycling tour arranged by Mercurio Cycle Tours, I jumped at the chance.
It involved cycling along one of the most scenic parts of the Danube between Passau to Vienna covering about 140 miles over 6 days. Mercurio Bike Travel is a small cycling holiday company and the tours are led by the German owner Andre Volkel. What is different about Mercurio is that their tours are inclusive and include hire of bikes, half board accommodation, transfer of luggage, picnic lunch on most days and tours of city centres.
I joined the tour at Munich train station and we then went on to pick up more people at Munich Airport before continuing to Passau. In the evening we all went to a local restaurant for dinner. It was a lively restaurant with typical German atmosphere and the food was plentiful and excellent. We all ate at one table and met the remaining members of the tour. The group comprised eleven people in all and included a family from Singapore, two ladies from America and people from the UK. We soon got to know each other and got on very well.
The next morning we had a tour of Passau led by an excellent Bavarian guide who gave us a run down of the various architectural styles. In the afternoon we were allocated our bikes, and one waterproof pannier. Andre took great care to see that everyone was happy with their bikes and then it was time to be on the road to our first stop – Schogen.
The cycling was easy as Andre set a gentle pace of about 8 or 9 miles per hour and we also had two refreshment stops where he handed out sweets or bananas. Most of the cycling was along tarmac cycle paths that ran along both sides of the river. The scenery was beautiful and it was totally relaxing cycling along the river and looking at the boats that passed, both big cruise liners and long cargo barges. Just before we reached our hotel we had to cross the river and we all pilled into a small wooded boat that ferried us across the river to our hotel.
Over the next three days we had overnight stops in Linz, Grein and Metz. Each day we started about 9 O’clock in the morning and had a couple of short refreshment stops before stopping for a picnic lunch that Andre had arranged. These were quite lavish affairs with a good range of cheeses, meat and cake. Once again the cycle path along the riverside was beautiful and the scenery changed all the time. There were a number of other cyclists on the route who usually exchanged a friendly greeting as they passed. The only busy part was the approach to Linz as it is a big industrial town.
One of the highlights of the holiday for me was Metz. It has a glorious baroque Abbey which is set on a hill above the town and which you could see from the cycle path as we approached the town. We had an most interesting tour of the Abbey which including the splendid library and Church and the views from the veranda were simply breathtaking.
On our last day of cycling we had a shorter ride to Durnstein and the route took us above the river and through some vineyards and small villages all decked out with beautiful flowers. We had our last picnic lunch and tour of a winery. Then we said a reluctant good bye to our bikes before boarding the coach for Vienna. In Vienna we were all accommodated in good central hotels, and had a lovely final meal together sitting outside at a local restaurant..
It had been a great holiday, cycling through one of the most scenic parts of Austria with good company, and all the hotels were fine. It is a holiday likely to appeal especially to those who want a gentle cycling pace with everything well planned and organised.
12 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.