Great for Solo Females!
I am a 33 year old female from the US, I did this tour by myself in April 2018 and I LOVED it.
I opted for the regular bike instead of the e-bike, and I was happy I did, as the route is mostly flat and the regular bike is much lighter than the e-bike. My bike seat was padded, and with padded bike shorts as well I was never uncomfortable. The bags I was provided had plenty of space for changes of clothes, hat, water, cameras, everything (bring lots of sunscreen!).
My luggage was always at the hotel ahead of me, even when I thought I was early to arrive. The days did get long towards the end of the trip, it's a long way! But I got stronger as I went, and ended up with some calves of steel. Everyone I met along the way was super nice, most people wanted to chat with me and were very friendly.
I never felt unsafe. The local bike tour company was always just a text or phone call away. They checked in with me throughout the week, I had zero issues whatsoever! There were plenty of people on the path, even in the shoulder season. In fact, I recommend going in the shoulder season because it is less crowded, I imagine it gets super busy in summer.
Definitely stop by the monastery in Engelhartzell where the monks brew their own beer, do the hike above the river bend at the Donauschlinge hotel in Schlögen (it's short and worth it), get to Melk early so you can enjoy the beautiful village, and make lots of stops of food and drinks! On that note - I opted not to get the dinner package, and I usually ended up having dinner at the hotel anyway because it was convenient, but I enjoyed the freedom of getting to choose.
I am new to cycling, but it is a fantastic way to travel and see a new place. These self-guided tours are perfect opportunities for solo cyclists (especially solo females) to get into bike touring. This is definitely just the beginning for me.
P.S. German Lesson 1: "Donauradweg" means Danube bike path, just follow the green signs :)
A Great Austrian Cycling Adventure
The trip met or exceeded our expectations. We travelled in the shoulder season but still expected the bike trail to be packed. It wasn't, except for perhaps the last day of our ride into Vienna, which was a Sunday so there was a lot of locals enjoying the beautiful trail and scenery. That would likely be mitigated by planning one's arrival in Vienna for a weekday.
Generally the accommodations lived up to the "upscale" designation, but there were two exceptions that were for us, just mediocre at best. That could simply be that there wasn't anything nicer in those locations.
The local tour company was great, and very responsive to our needs. The bikes were fine--clearly built for wear and tear. The luggage service was perfect, and our bags were always waiting for us when we arrived.
The Danube bike trail lived up to our expectations in beauty and condition. We'd recommend this ride to anyone who enjoys bicycle travel.
Perfect Danube Bike Tour
Very enjoyable tour of a lifetime without crowds, with beautiful scenery, and with great lodging. My wife, whose last biking adventures were in her middle and high school days, proved a super biker, enjoying the exercise, scenery and challenge of biking the scenic Danube bike path. The bikes, delivered at our start hotel along with the tour package, were in excellent condition and functioned perfectly. A knowledgeable in-country guide met us at the start hotel to explain the tour information, the route instructions, bikes and equipment. The provided materials allowed us to effortlessly self navigate. After hours each day on the bike the upscale lodging met or exceeded our expectations and was greatly enjoyed. The weather mostly cooperated, spring beauty abounded, and the temperatures were perfect. We are planning our next biking adventure on the Mosel and Rhine and plan to again use BikeTours.com.
The Danube from Passau to Vienna is a wonderfully scenic and historic adventure and there is no better way to experience all of the sights and venues then by bicycle. We found the distances easily manageable for a couple in our 60s, the bikes were very comfortable and reliable, and the route directions were generally easy to follow. The accommodations were great, with the Schloss Durnstein particularly enchanting and staffed with wonderful people who were very welcoming and treated us royally. We've only been back a bit over two weeks and would love to repeat the journey.
Danube Bike Ride
Four of us rode down the Danube from Passau to Vienna. It is a great route with many Austrians of varying ages on the trail, as well. Our hotels were all quite nice and the service for moving luggage and making sure that our bikes were perfect for us was all top notch.
Our bicycle trip from Passau to Vienna was absolutely wonderful. BikeTours performed flawlessly for which we were very thankful.
We purchased the "Upscale Lodging" which was well worth the money. Some of our hotels were stunning chateaus, others ultra-modern glass edifices, but all were very nice and located in desireable locations.
The bikes are big and heavy but ride comfortably and smoothly.
Some advice to first-timers.
1. The bikes are very big. If you are not at least 5'8" you should probably consider getting the women's bike as the cross bar on the men's bike is unusually high compared to the typical American bike.
2. Bring a little pen light to help you find the bathroom at night without waking your partner. Staying in a different hotel each night can be a little disorienting, especially at 3 AM.
3. Bring good rain gear, gloves, and a layer of warm clothing. Our last day's ride into Vienna was cold and rainy and we were all freezing by the time we reached our hotel.
4. European hotels do not typically provide sheets. Instead, you get a single plush and very warm comforter. However, if the hotel room is warm it is hard to get the covers situated so you are not too warm or too cool. I would recommend packing a small sheet--or better yet a sleeping sack--to provide that "just right" sleeping temperature.
5. BikeTours will provide you a packet of maps and directions for your trip. Study them thoroughly before each day's ride to avoid making wrong turns, especially in the bigger towns or cities. (We made some wrong turns in Vienna.)
6. You will not have access to washers and dryers. To wash your underwear and socks bring a two gallon plastic storage bag and some liquid laundry detergents. (I used Woolite.) At your hotel fill the bag with water, detergent, and your dirty laundry. Agitate, soak, agitate, soak, agitate, soak, rinse, and then hang dry. If something is still wet in the morning affix it to your bike rack and let the wind and the sun dry it while you ride. It works perfectly.
7. Be gracious. Germans and Austrians are kind, friendly people. Compliment the many things they do well, they will be very appreciative.
8. Be excited, because you'll love the trip.
Austria Bike Trip
This was the second bike tour that we have completed; and compared to the first tour, this one felt like the local tour operator was more of a logistics company. The route was spectacular, I feel like we could have maximised the experience if we had more information, particularly when it comes to different options along the route. On several occasions we either ran out of time to see things later in the day, or arrived at the hotel around lunch time because we didn't know where we should be budgeting our time. During our Portugal trip, our local contact, Nuno, was incredible, speaking with us several times a day to ensure that we were getting the most out of the experience - this time we were flying blind on our own.
Responses from Biketours.com
We really appreciate your detailed review! We'll work with our operator partner on adjusting the daily recommended stops to maximize time for future clients. We hope to help you plan another tour in the future!
A great tour with good friends
Overall, a wonderful trip. Highlights included the Engelzell and Melk Abbeys, the towns of Dürnstein and Tulln, and the finish with an extra night in Vienna. The best scenery was in the Wachau, where we cruised through beautiful vineyards and lovely villages. On a couple of days the scenery was rather ordinary, and made the short rides seem longer out of boredom. Although the route was very flat, we did have a couple of short but steep climbs, the biggest being out of Melk to cross the bridge. This being our third bike tour in this region, I'm not sure the "upscale" lodging was worth the extra cost - some of the hotels were great (Schloß Dürnstein and Steigenberger Vienna) but most were not of any better quality than the standard tours. Biggest disappointments were the Hotel am Domplatz in Linz (where they charged us 20€ to garage our four bikes) and the Diamond City in Tulln, which was not "upscale" at all. The local tour operator was great - they provided us with a face-to-face briefing the night before we started riding - and the bikes were solid. We had a great time on this trip, despite two days of steady rain, but if I had to do it again I'd seriously consider the 7-night standard tour and save a few hundred Euros.
Responses from Biketours.com
Thanks for your helpful feedback and great photos! I'm glad you had a great time. We'll pass along your comments about the hotels and also bear that in mind when advising future clients.