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 families
Day 1 (Sat):
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 4.30pm, ready for an evening cruise around 7pm to Engelhartszell in Upper Austria. Enjoy a drink at your welcome meeting.
Day 2 (Sun):
Engelhartszell - Brandstatt – Bratislava & Great Loop
29 miles (46 km)
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. Rejoin the boat at the charming village of Brandstatt and cruise through the night to Bratislava.
Day 3 (Mon):
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.
Day 4 (Tue):
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.
Day 5 (Wed):
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.
Day 6 (Thu):
Vienna - Nussdorf
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.
Day 7 (Fri):
Wachau - Rossatz - Melk – Pöchlarn
26/32 miles (42/52 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. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner on board, before sailing back to Passau.
Day 8 (Sat):
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.
Dates & Prices
Please click on a departure date for price options at a glance - 2018 dates (2017 sold out)
- 7 nights accommodation: MS Normandie with en-suite and air-conditioning
- Board basis: Full board including breakfast, packed lunch for cyclists and three to four course dinner
- Services of an English speaking on-board guide with daily briefings of the bike tours
- Maps and route information plus daily briefings
- Welcome meeting with drink
- Local contact number for assistance
- Daily cabin cleaning
- Harbour fees
- Coffee in the afternoon
- Daily live music
- Bike rental insurance
- 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!
A good trip overall that covers lots of different landscapes. The rides are all easy but are sometimes a bit rushed for time. A very enjoyable holiday.Gill Pearson, September 2016
We were incredibly impressed by this tour; every small detail was taken care of and we were very well looked after. The route was simply amazing with gorgeous views of the 4 countries that the Danube passes through; there is a briefing each evening about the forthcoming day's cycling and the route is explained very well so you are very well prepared. There is a choice of distance and we took the advantage of a shorter 25 km ride on one of the days so that we could see more of various towns. We visited Brastislava in Slovakia, Budapest and a brilliant cycle tour round Vienna. Great food onboard as well as company. Highly recommended and we shall certainly book with Freedom Treks again.Robert and Sarah Cook, Hong Kong, August 2016