The Danube Valley

Danube Valley Bike Trips

On this page, you will find...

Yes, the Strauss waltz is the first thing everyone thinks of when they think of the “Blue Danube.”  It’s a fitting symbol, even if the Danube really looks more gray-green to us.  Maybe in the right light....

But a more gracious river, set in a more gracious land, is hard to imagine.

We start our route in Steyr, a provincial capital at the foot of the Alps, and the confluence of two of the great river’s most important tributaries.  And we end it in Vienna, the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s crown jewel.

In between lies the prettiest of the Danube Valley, lined with Baroque abbeys, Rococo town halls, terraced vineyards, churches topped with onion domes, ruined castles, and the most charming of little villages.

Fans of Wagner’s “Ring” (or Tolkien’s, for that matter) will enjoy passing through the Nibelungengau, which you would think might have something to do with dwarves, but which turns out not to.

Wine enthusiasts will love the Wachau, home to the beautiful vineyards where most of the fashionable grüner veltliner takes its root.

And all of this following Europe’s first long-distance cycle path, still one of her most beautiful.

Our ride ends with a night in the Austrian capital. Trade your bike for a day on the city’s characteristic red trams, which will tie it all together for you, literally and figuratively....

The following trips visit the Danube Valley:

Biking Transcontinental (5 weeks)
Visits France (Northern Burgundy), Switzerland, the Italian Lakes, and Austria.

Mozart & the Matterhorn (3 weeks)
Visits Zermatt (Switzerland), the Italian Lakes followed by Austria.

The Salzburgerland & the Danube (2 weeks)
Visits both of our Austrian routes:  the Salzburg Hinterland, and this one.

Kaiser Kapers (2 weeks)
Visits the Danube Valley, spends two nights in Vienna, and continues to the Dolomites

Biking the Blue Danube
follows this itinerary exclusively.
Departure dates and prices are in the table, below.


Our Cycle Trips

Overview Map
of the places we stage trips

Departure Calendar
of our scheduled trips

Trips by Length / Title

Short Trips from Paris

What's Included
... the Trip Cost

Additional Services...
...which you can add to your trip.

Other Trips We Offer


Day-by-Day Itinerary:  Danube Valley

Day of the Week
Typical distances, in km
Saturday & Sunday
Whether your ride begins with this itinerary, or comes through from the Austrian Alps, you will arrive in Steyr on Saturday evening, in time for dinner.  Our usual hotel looks out on the rapids where the Steyr and Enns rivers meet, a sight which inspired Shubert’s “Trout.”

If you come in early, there is much to see in Steyr itself.  Visit the Stadplatz, Steyr’s eliptical Renaissance town plaza.  Abandoned tissue of the industrial revolution now forms an edgy district of galleries, nightclubs, and artisianal workshops, linked by a boardwalk which criss-crosses the river.  The entertaining “work museum” is a centerpiece.

Our Sunday ride takes us up one or another of the river valleys, following tiny lanes and cycle paths along the river banks.

Half Baggage
0 - 60 k
on Sunday
Along a mix of cycle paths and country lanes down to the Danube, which we cross via a ferry dedicated to cyclists.  On the far side of the Beautiful Blue You-Know-What, a surprise:  a veritable river of cyclists flowing down a path laid out along the river of, well, water.  The Danube bike route is certainly the greatest, and the most used, of all of Europe’s cycle arteries.  Join the fun!

The day is marked by some disturbing history, flat terrain with the wind at your back, and the satisfaction that comes from fresh air and care-free exercise in beautiful surroundings.  Not really even a hint of what is to come.
60 k
The valley briefly widens into the Niebelungengau.  Wagner set parts of the world’s first soap opera here.  Unless you think that the “Ring” was about Socialism, or Jungian psychology.  Or maybe dwarves.  It’s pretty confusing.  But then, 15 hours of Wagnerian opera leaves anyone a bit woozy.

Ponder all of this as you sail along the river bike path, passing cheerful groups of Austrians riding clunky uprights and dragging the kids behind.

Stop in riverside taverns for an apfelsaft.   Visit the bicycle museum in Ybbs.  Or cross the river to brush up on your World War I history at Schloß Artstetten, residence of Archduke Franz Ferdinand before his Sarajevo assassination.  Our destination is Melk, where a glorious Benedictine abbey greets your arrival.
45 k
The high point of the trip:  we ride into the fresh and fruity white wine region of the Wachau. The valley narrows, the villages become more frequent (and oh-so-picturesque)....  Stop often in the heurigen along the way and sample happy local elixirs in cordial backyard settings.  A wurst and a bretzel at every stop make for a delightful all-day lunch, and the bike path keeps you from getting too banged up if the buzz knocks you off your bike.  A day to wear your helmet, and not as a vessel for wine tasting!

Richard the Lionheart was held for years in the castle at Durnstein, but by the time you get there, it won’t seem like such a bad fate.  Nightfall brings us to Krems, the regional capital, where our usual hotel is a postal relay, centuries old.

Half Baggage
40 k
but if you play your cards right, this will be one of your longest days
Pretty much as many k as you want:  you can cycle into the center of Vienna if you choose, or instead get on the train after a quick, flat, morning ride, and be there for lunch.  If your time in Vienna is short, you can even catch a train directly from your hotel’s front door.

Half Baggage
70 k
Spend as long as you can afford with the music, the wine, the palaces and their gardens. Vienna is one of our favorite cities, with the wealth and beauty of the center of empire it was for so long.

Take in an opera or a concert, visit the beautiful Cathedral or one of the great art museums, hunt down a stallion or two....  And be sure to make time for the delightful cafés in the north end of town, where you can catch a couple of the hundred or so houses Beethoven apparently lived in.

Those continuing their trips with us board overnight trains (also available in our Access Package”), so to make the most of a day in Vienna.  Sleeping accommodation provided on board.

Half Baggage

Or out to the airport and home.  Sniff, sniff.
>1,000 k

Biking the Blue Danube — Facts & Figures
2018 Dates
Baggage Services Offered**
Difficulty of the Ride
Schedule Pending
Follow this link to help choose the trip dates
$1,975 US
$2,395 C
1,450 €
Daily, Half

Most of the riding is flat, and stages are not too long (there is a lot to stop for), though extensions are on offer.  Back-ups are excellent.  To find “walking” hills you have to follow detours out of the valley, some of which are fun, but all of which are optional.

* Prices in $ and € do not include precisely the same things.  Click here for details.

Prices of Optional Extras (links lead to explanations)
$ prices include the bike.
See here for information on bringing your own.
§ At least 4 riders must subscribe to a given baggage service for it to operate.  The services listed are those currently offered on the departure in question.  Services which appear in bold already have at least 3 subscribers (so, one more would ensure their operation, if it is not already confirmed).

Reaching & Leaving Your Trip:  General Information on Access Packages
Specific information on reaching your trip’s start in... Steyr
Specific information on departing from your trip’s end... Vienna