Day 1: Arrival in Schärding
Arrive in Schärding by train or car. Stroll through the charming little Baroque town and treat yourself to a lovely Austrian meal in one of the numerous restaurants. Spend the night in Schärding.
Day 2: Schärding – Passau – Upper Danube Valley
Distance: approx. 30-58 km
After picking up your rental bike, if booked, cycle to the “Three River City” of Passau. Visit the beautiful Baroque Old Town, stroll through its narrow alleys, and get a sense of its 2000 year old history. The fortress, the “Veste Oberhaus”, towering high over the inner city and the cathedral with the world’s largest church organ are the most important of the many points of interest. You can take a boat ride and experience the convergence of the Danube, Ilz, and Inn Rivers. Or you can cycle on the southern bank of the Danube to Engelhartszell where you can visit Austria’s oldest Trappist monastery. In Engelhartszell switch to the northern bank of the river via ferry or the cycling passage at the hydro-electric power plant, Jochenstein (1 km / 0.6 mi before Engelhartszell). In the “Haus am Strom” exhibition you can ride the only water-driven elevator worldwide, observe the impressive Danube valley model, and learn more about the extraordinary nature along the river. Continue through the narrow Danube valley and between the Sau Forest and Bavarian Forest to the extreme river bend and impressive natural spectacle, Schlögener Donauschlinge. The river bends around granite rock which rises above 200 m / 656 ft. If you are a fan of art and architecture you may want to visit the monastery church, Engelszell. Spend the night in the Upper Danube Valley.
Day 3: Upper Danube Valley – Linz & Surroundings
Distance: approx. 50-65 km
Leave the Danube Valley today and enter the wide and fertile Eferdinger Plains. Cycle past farm houses with lovely vegetable gardens. Take an excursion to Eferding and walk in the footsteps of Parcelsus and Johannes Kepler. There is a Cistercian monastery in Wilhering that is worth seeing. Your destination today is near the capital of Upper Austria, Linz. The view from the Danube Bridge onto the main square with its Baroque houses is fabulous. In the centre stands a magnificent Holy Trinity Column, a landmark for Linz. The congress centre, the “Brucknerhaus“, is situated right on the river bank. Bruckner’s work is honoured at the yearly Bruckner Festival. Stay overnight in or near Linz.
Day 4: Linz – Ardagger/Grein & Surroundings
Distance: approx. 50-65 km
Cycle through the Machland Plains to the Strudengau Valley. The landscape there is fascinating. At one narrow part of the Danube, the current is so strong that sailors once feared passing there. Before you reach that area, be sure to visit the small town of Enns, one of Austria’s oldest settlements. Admire the pretty homes in Mauthausen on the opposite river side. The former concentration camp there serves as a reminder of a dark chapter in history. Continue on the charming river bank to the Medieval small town of Grein. The Greinburg Castle overwhelms the small town and offers an excellent place for taking pictures of the surroundings. Spend the night in or near Ardagger/Grein.
Day 5: Ardagger/Grein – Wachau
Distance: approx. 50-68 km
Cycle on the old tow path through the wild and romantic Strudengau Valley to the old Roman city of Ybbs. The route takes you through the winding alleys of Persenbeug’s city centre. You can visit the impressive hydro-electric power plant there. The landscape changes, becoming milder, as you enter the Nibelungengau Region. You can see the beloved pilgrimage church, Maria Taferl, from a distance as it towers high above the Danube Valley. Pass the town of Pöchlarn and continue to Melk. The Benedictine monastery is a must-see. The most impressive gem of the region is the monastery library. Spend the night in or near the Wachau Valley.
Day 6: Wachau – Traismauer/Tulln & Surroundings
Distance: approx. 54-76 km
The Wachau Cultural Landscape is probably the most beautiful part of your tour. Natural beauty and a pleasant climate come together to create a picturesque landscape which enchants its visitors at any given season of the year. Take in the beauty of emerald-green vines covering the terraces on the soft rolling hills and the lush yellow-gold apricot orchards. The small wine villages along the Danube, such as Schallaburg, Spitz, Weissenkirchen, and Dürnstein – “the pearl of Wachau” - are a feast for the eyes. Take a break in one of the taverns selling home grown wine. You may want to try the famous Riesling or Grüner Veltliner. The landscape changes again as you enter the vast meadows of the Tullner Fields. The Benedictine monastery, Göttweig, towers high above the landscape. Stay overnight in or near Traismauer/Tulln.
Day 7: Traismauer/Tulln – Vienna
Distance: approx. 36-64 km
Cycle along the foothills of the Vienna Woods on your way to the Danube metropolis, Vienna. If you prefer you can take the public commuter train from Tulln to Vienna (fee not included in tour price). Today’s leg of the tour allows time for you to enjoy the city of Vienna. Highlights include the Schönbrunn Castle, the Spanish Riding School, the Ferris wheel (“Wiener Prater”), St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the playful and colourful paintings and work of Friedensreich Hundertwasser. There are numerous museums and attractions to visit, all the while walking in the footsteps of the legendary imperial and royal monarchy. Discover the city by horse-drawn carriage, taste sweet specialities in one of the cafés, and crown your day with a local “Heuriger” wine. Stay overnight in Vienna.
Day 8: Departure from Vienna
Depart after breakfast unless you’ve planned an extended stay. Travellers are responsible for their homeward transportation.