What to expect
Cycle beside the blue waters of the Danube River as it passes through Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. Sleeping on a traditional riverboat, you’ll cruise to new stretches of river overnight, waking up to some of the Danube’s most striking scenery and spectacular cities, including the musical landmarks of Vienna, the cobbled streets of Bratislava, and the romantic buildings of Budapest. Look forward to untouched forests, dramatic river bends and pristine islands, stopping off in idyllic villages and cosy taverns along the way.
As you tour through Austria’s UNESCO listed Wachau region, you’ll pass castles and palaces embedded in a landscape of rolling vineyards and rugged peaks – overlooking the river, Melk Abbey is one of the most breathtaking monuments here and the grand dome of the basilica in Esztergom is a highlight before you cruise back to Germany.
Alternatively, travel on the MS Carissima which has a slightly different itinerary.
At a glance
- Spectacular city tours in Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest
- Green riverbanks, rolling vineyards and idyllic villages
- Breathtaking castles and stunning palaces in the Wachau region
- Relaxed cycling along easy terrain that’s ideal for occasional cyclists
Arrive in Passau – Engelhartszell
Make your way to the river-town of Passau, which sits at the crossroads of three rivers. Check in to your cabin from 4.00pm, Normandie customers take an evening cruise around 7pm to Engelhartszell in Upper Austria (for 2019 departures Arlene II customers remain in Passau for the night). Enjoy a drink at your welcome meeting.
Engelhartszell (or Obernzell) - Brandstatt – Bratislava (or Devin) & Great Loop
29 miles (46 km) or 25 miles (40 km)
Normandie customers tour through the romantic fluvial landscapes of the Danube’s Great Loop – one of the river’s most beautiful sections and home to idyllic villages and cosy taverns. Normandie customers rejoin the boat at the charming village of Brandstatt and cruise through the night to Bratislava.
For 2019 departures, customers on the Arlene II boat will leave Passau in the early morning to cruise to Obernzell have the following itinerary today: Passau – Obernzell (by boat) - Great Loop – Aschach – Devin (40km)
34 miles (54 km)
Arrive in Bratislava around noon and cycle via Hainburg to the imposing Imperial Palace of Hof, with its beautifully terraced gardens, and on to Devin, before returning to Bratislava. Discover Bratislava’s small alleyways during an evening tour on foot. Sail to Budapest during the night.
Customers on the Arlene II will arrive in Devin in the morning and cycle from Devin to Bratislava (54 km).
Free day in Budapest or cycle to Szentendre
0/25 miles (0/40 km)
Awake to a fantastic view of the Danube and spend a day exploring Budapest, pedalling past riverside palaces. Join a choice of optional tours or explore by yourself, visiting the market hall, restored old town and stunning churches. Alternatively, ride to the galleries and pretty houses of Szentendre, a modest cycle out of the city. Sail to Visegrad during the night.
Danube Bend & Visegrad – Esztergom
16/37 miles (25/60 km)
Cruise through the picturesque, slightly hilly landscape of the Danube Bend, also known as the Hungarian Wachau. Arrive at the castle town of Visegrad and choose either a shorter or longer cycle, with an optional detour to Szentendre Island and the Baroque village of Vác. Experience the basilica at Esztergom before sailing to Vienna overnight.
Vienna - Nussdorf / Korneuburg
Take a bike or bus tour of Vienna and experience the famous architecture of the Hofburg Palace, St Stephen’s Cathedral, Ringstrasse boulevard and colourful Hundertwasser house. Enjoy an optional evening concert or operetta in the Hofburg, State Opera House. Sail on to Rossatz or Durnstein in the Wachau during the night (Krems for Arlene II 2019 departures)
Wachau - Rossatz - Melk – Pöchlarn or Emmersdorf
26/32 miles (42/52 km) or 22 miles (35 km)
Tour through a region of soft hills, idyllic villages, apricot trees and wine terraces, passing fortresses and monasteries. Visit the blue church tower of Dürnstein and try wine tasting in Spitz (optional). Continue on to the small village of Pöchlarn and re-join your boat (Arlene II customers join at Emmersdorf - 22 miles /35 km). In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner on board, before sailing back to Passau.
Depart from Passau
Arrive in Passau around late morning or noon after a last look at the “Great Loop” arrive at approximately 10am, ready to disembark at approximately 10.30 am. We recommend arranging connecting trips from noon onwards.
Please Note: The captain reserves the right to alter the itinerary due to changes in water levels and local conditions.
The MS Normandie is a comfortable, spacious boat with a panoramic salon and bar on the upper deck and restaurant on the main deck. On deck there are deck chairs and ordinary chairs and tables, perfect for relaxing and watching the scenery float past and chatting to fellow cyclists. There are 49 twin-bedded cabins, all with single beds (one of which can be folded against the wall to maximise space during the day) and two single cabins. All have shower, wc, hairdryer, TV, safe, air-conditioning and a picture window. Cabin windows on the upper deck can be opened. *Guests in rear upper deck cabins will hear engine and generator noise when the boat is moving.
MS Arlene II
The Ms Arlene II is being refurbished for 2019 departures. The restaurant is on the main deck and the saloon/bar with panoramic windows is on the upper deck. The large partly shaded sun deck is a great place to relax on a deck chair and enjoy the scenery. The upper deck has 8 suites (15m2) with a twin bed, a small sitting area and panoramic floor to ceiling windows. . There are 16 upper deck twin cabins (10m2), six rear twin upper deck cabins (you will hear engine and generator noise when the boat is moving) and two upper deck single cabins (8m2) – both the twin and single cabins have windows that open . On the main deck there are 24 twin cabins with a ventilation window that partially opens. All the cabins are en-suite with a shower, hair dryer, TV, safe and air-conditioning.
Dates & Prices
Please click on a departure date for price options at a glance - 2020 departures on sale
- 7 nights accommodation: MS Normandie or MS Arlene II with en-suite and air-conditioning
- Board basis: Full board including breakfast, packed lunch (for cyclists) or light lunch on board (non-cyclists) and three course dinner
- Services of an English speaking on-board guide with daily briefings of the bike tours
- Maps and route information plus daily briefings (GPS tracks available on request)
- Welcome meeting with drink
- Local contact number for assistance
- Daily cabin cleaning
- Mooring fees
- Coffee in the afternoon
- Daily live music
- Flights and transfers
- Cycle helmets
- Bike hire
- Transfers to/from the docking in Passau
- Entrance fees and excursions
- Child up to 12 years sharing with one full paying passenger - 20%
Pannier per bike, handlebar bag, repair kit, spare inner tube, pump and lock per cabin all included at no extra cost when you hire a bike
7 gear with pannier
News, Reviews & FAQs
Simply click on a question to reveal the answers
Will the itinerary ever change?
For Boat & Bike tours the boat will generally keep to the advertised itinerary, however the captain may have to adapt the itinerary due to the river or sea conditions.
How much space will I have in my cabin?
There is limited space in the cabins, so pack light and take a soft suitcase.
What are the average temperatures for this tour?
Can I stay on the boat during the day and not cycle?
Yes, you can relax on the boat or explore when you arrive at each destination instead of cycling.
Can the boat cater for special dietary requirements?
Please advise us of any special requirements at time of booking and we will notify the boat operator in advance. Understandably, kitchen galley space is limited and it may not be possible to provide specialist products (eg. Gluten free). We suggest you bring a few items with you and, in some cases, these can be provided at a supplement.
Will I be cycling with other people?
Although there is no organised group, self-guided guests regularly find they come across their fellow passengers along the route during the day and may even get together to form their own cycling groups.
What does my on-board Tour Leader do?
Your on-board Tour Leader provides daily briefings ahead of the next day's ride. These are always beneficial, including information on the local area, main sights, and tips on good places to stop en route.
Can I book by myself?
Absolutely! Boat & Bike tours are very sociable and a good choice for single travellers wishing to mix with other guests and share your common interest of cycling.
What other customers have said
Been on this tour? Add your review!
This is a well-organised trip, with a good combination of healthy exercise in the fresh air and sightseeing in places we were unfamiliar with - here the guided tours were a useful way of getting a quick idea of a place, better than wandering around on your own. The bicycles were good but I couldn't handle the braking system. The cabins were well planned and comfortable. The food was excellent - I am sure that the problem with the goulash was a one-off.Jessica Tyrrell , UK, October 2018
This was a great holiday and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. We all thoroughly enjoyed it. The ship was very comfortable and the guide, Jan, was exceptional with his extensive knowledge about the areas. He is also a keen cyclist and had to quickly improvise trips as the itinerary had to be changed due to the level of the river. It was all very efficient and most of our needs were catered for with the exception of some vegetarian options.Dorothy Burns-Brown, UK, August 2018