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.
Once in a lifetime trip
The service and bikes were great! The map given was I little hard to read and follow but gave good information to take you on your way. The route signs were easy to find, for the most part, but that isn't the tour groups fault. The hotels along the way we're very good with special charm attached with each one. The short verse is that I would recommend his group to anyone thinking of taking this trip!,
Responses from Biketours.com
Gary, I'm so delighted you had a great time! Thanks for your feedback and comments!
Really well organized from booking to arrival. The bikes were great and easily made the journey from Passau to Vienna a comfortable one. All of the lodging and towns exceeded expectations. We wouldn't have changed anything. In fact we are already looking into booking another tour for next year.
Danube Bike with upgraded hotels
Great scenic routes in Austria. It is one of our best vacations and almost feel like an adventure everyday! Many thanks to the great services from the local bike company to accommodate my last minute hotel change when we arrived in Passau. They really go the extra mile to accommodate you to make your trip a success. We are looking forward to sign up for another trip next year with the same company.
Good experience overall
We enjoyed the tour from Passau to Vienna very much, it was very scenic and overall a great experience. I would have rated the experience higher except some of the hotels were not really 4 star or better and the directions need to be improved.
In particular the Römerhof Hotel in Tulln (regardless of assigned rating) is just not very nice. The property is needs updating and painting. Our room was small, had ineffective air conditioning, needed painting and was really a 2 or 3 star experience. The Römerhof Hotel was by far the least desirable overnight stay on the trip, and we would not want to stay there again. I suggest the tour company reconsider this location for the "upscale lodging" tour.
For the most part the directions and maps were outstanding, except for the last day. The final day directions could really be improved for the area around Korneuburg and into Vienna. This is the most difficult section of the journey but the directions are the least descriptive. It was very hard to stay on track with the directions here. We met several other travelers that got off course in this section.
All in all we liked the tour and would recommend it. Thanks for the opportunity to provide feedback, we appreciate it! Marko and Janet