Between Germany and Austria
Day of rest & exploration in Vienna
Around 200 km / 147 miles
Ships with max. 150 passengers
Indulging in a bike tour along the German and Austrian stretch of the Danube is a true pleasure — and your floating hotel will be with you the entire way! The bike paths slope gently downhill, following the river banks through gorgeous little villages and verdant Danube landscapes. Soon you’ll find yourself admiring the wondrous “Great Loop” as you make a breathtaking 180º turn on the Danube and enter the realm of Wachau, with its old-world delights including monasteries, terraced vineyards, and fairytale castles.
And then, prepare yourself for Vienna! Although we could talk about its marvelous city hall, the iconic St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the world’s oldest Ferris wheel (the Riesenrad), you really have to see it for yourself to understand the beauty. These and many more attractions are easily explored by bike, and when you need a break, drop into one of Vienna’s world-famous coffee houses for cake, comfort and carefree relaxation. Continue the culinary and cultural adventures as you see fit — perhaps stop by at the Vienna State Opera House or taste Wiener schnitzel with local wine in the bistros of its hometown.
Individual bicycle tour: You´ll receive a detailed roadbook with maps and information to the routing on board. You do not cycle in a group – you cycle individually in your own tempo and are therefore able to time your day to your needs. Only the schedule gives you a time frame.
The ship – Your sailing hotel
In between cycling excursions, you cruise along with the ship, which travels to a new destination every day. You dine, sleep and eat breakfast on board. You’ll receive a packed lunch every day, and you can usually choose between a longer or shorter bike ride. It’s also possible to spend a day on board if you like. There are rental bikes on board, but you can also bring your own if you mention it when booking.
The highlights of the tour: The Three-river City Passau, the Schlögener Schlinge or Great Loop, UNESCO World Heritage Site Wachau, baroque Linz, elegant and multifaceted Vienna.
All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours.
The tour details are barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.
2019: The tours with the Normandie and Arlene II start and end on Mondays.
2020: the Normandie tours start and end on Saturday and the Arlene II tours start and end on Sunday.
Day 1: Boarding in Passau | Passau to Engelhartszell
This historic city lies close to the Bavarian/Austrian border, and also goes by the name the City of Three Rivers. You’ll board between 4 and 5 p.m., the ship departs at approx. 7 p.m. Enjoy your first dinner on board as the ship sails on to Engelhartszell.
Day 2: Pr. Katharina: Engelhartszell – “Great Loop” – Aschach (approx. 40 – 46 km/24-27.6 mi.) | Aschach to Linz
SE-Manon: Engelhartszell to “Great Loop” to Untermühl (approx. 33 – 39 km/19.8-23.4 mi.) | Untermühl to Linz
For those still getting into holiday mode, Engelhartszell’s Trappist monastery has special cordials and liqueurs that can pep you up for the coming tour with their “special healing powers.” Following the river, you’ll pass through wonderful vistas and charming villages before having the chance to hop on a cozy ferry (€6 p.p.) to marvel at the powerful 180° turn made by the Schlögener Schlinge river loop. It’s then time to board the ship at Brandstatt/Aschach/Untermühl, from which point you’ll cruise on to Linz, the capital of Upper Austria.
Day 3: Linz to Mauthausen | Mauthausen to Grein (approx. 36-40 km/21.6-24 mi.)
Enjoy breakfast during an early morning cruise to Mauthausen, where you’ll have the chance to visit the memorial site of the KZ Mauthausen concentration camp. Later downstream, the town of Mitterkirchen will give you a glimpse into Austria’s Celtic past, and then you’ll have the choice between an easy cycle tour or a more challenging one. The first follows a flat path along the Danube, while the “Clam Castle” tour snakes through the handsome Strudengau backcountry, tackling slightly hillier terrain but making up for it with excellent views. Either way, you’ll end the day in Grein, where you can feast your eyes on the Castle of Greinburg (closed on Mondays – can only be visited as part of an optional excursion).
Day 4: Grein to Melk (approx. 51 km/30 mi.) | Melk to Tulln
The touring today will lead you through a wonderful variety of landscapes, starting with a return to the Strudengau, which is where the Danube River narrows to a treacherous body of water that was once the bane of river captains. The Danube valley starts to widen from Persenbeug onwards, and you’ll cycle on to Melk, which is overlooked by a baroque Benedictine Monastery which is also the resting place of Austria’s first ruling dynasty. Cruise on through the Wachau, taking in the sunset and dusk light with a refreshing drink in hand. At night cruising to Tulln, which is known for its market gardens and art scene — not the least because the Art Nouveau artist Egon Schiele was born here.
Day 5: Tulln to Vienna-Nussdorf (approx. 32-38 km/19.2-22.8 mi.)
Your highlight for today: Set in impressive scenery right on the footstep of Vienna, the Klosterneuburg Monastery. You’ll already spot its 900-year-old baroque silhouette from afar, its grand marble hall and lavishly-decorated interior will inspire awe, and the wine taverns of the Kahlenbergerdorf are also a must. Top it all off with a walk through the oldest vineyards in Austria, and an unbeatable perspective looking out over Vienna.
Day 6: Vienna-Nussdorf (rest day) | Vienna to Dürnstein/Rossatz
Today you’ll have plenty of time to explore Vienna’s must-see attractions, like St. Stephens Cathedral, the Museum Quarter, and the Hofburg. You can opt to take an extra city bike tour (not included), or make your own way along the monumental Ringstraβe boulevard, stopping by the town hall, the State Opera House and Imperial Palace. Give your feet a rest in one of Vienna’s world-renowned coffee houses and seek out some apfelstrudel, apple strudel, before embarking for a night cruise to Dürnstein or Rossatz.
Day 7: Wachau to Pöchlarn (approx. 40-50 km/ 24-30 mi.) | Pöchlarn to Passau
We’ve saved the best for last! You can’t help but be enchanted as you bike through this scenic portmanteau of fruit trees, villages, vineyards and fortresses, with remnants of medieval history everywhere you look. The compact but romantic town of Dürnstein is overlooked by impressive ruins, which contrast with its famous blue monastery tower — a true icon of Wachau. Carrying on, guests will re-embark in Pöchlarn, just in time for a farewell cocktail and dinner.
Day 8: Disembarkation in Passau
All good things come to an end, but you’ll have one last time to relax on deck, enjoying the peaceful Danube dawn and the first light of day. Get another perspective of the Great Donau Loop as you make your way back to Passau, arriving at approx. 11 a.m. A relaxed disembarkment follows half an hour later, with connecting trips recommended from 1.30 p.m. on.
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Bicycles on board: 28-inch unisex trekking bicycles of the brand Velo de Ville (custom built) with normal mount (ladies model), Shimano 7 gears with hand brake and coaster breaking hubs or 7 speed freewheel hubs (subject to availability, please indicate as non-binding customer request when booking), lock and pannier bag.
E-Bikes: modern high quality unisex E-bikes of the brand Velo de Ville (custom built) with 8-gear hub and Pedelec cycling support triggered by using the pedals with 3 support modes, robust wheels and comfortable to ride for both men and women. The energy supply is provided by a detachable lithium battery with a range of up to 65 km. The range is subject to body weight, amount of support used, wind, cycling style and terrain. E-Bikes with hand brake and coaster breaking hubs or 7 speed freewheel hubs (subject to availability and limited, please indicate as non-binding customer request when booking).
To bring your own bike/E-bike: On request only – due to lack of space on sun deck. We exclude any liability for loss, theft and damage – this also applies to damage caused by transportation from shore to ship or vice versa.
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