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Biking between Passau and Nuremberg on the Danube River
Normally, the powerful currents of the Danube River require large boats and thus larger group sizes. However, the small but mighty Merlijn is the exception! With just 12 cabins, this bike and boat tour is the ultimate small-group experience.
You will bike not only on the Danube Cycle Path but also on the Altmühl Cycle Path, which are two of the most favorite cycling routes in all of Germany. In between Nuremberg and Passau, you will discover Bavaria, world-famous for its rich history, gastronomy, viticulture, and art.
There are plenty of small picturesque villages to transport you back in time, and the splendid natural scenery of these river valleys will accompany you as you pedal.
- The three-river city of Passau
- Essing Timber Bridge
- Altmühltal Nature Park
- Nuremberg and its Gothic architecture
- Bavaria's historic Plankstetten Monastery
- Guided city tour of Regensburg
- Wine tasting
- Entrance & audio tour of Walhalla
Day 1: Nuremberg - Roth
Check-in onboard begins at 3:30 pm, be sure to be on time as the Merlijn will head to Roth at 5 pm. You will receive a complimentary beverage while the crew introduces themselves and the tour. While cruising to Roth, the scenic Main-Danube canal will give you a first taste of the beauty of this area. You'll eat dinner before reaching your destination, where you will disembark for a short stroll in the city.
Day 2: Roth - Berching (25 mi/40 km)
After breakfast, you will get an introduction to the bicycles and finally the pedaling will begin. Your first stop will be at a traditional German bakery where the group will enjoy a coffee, and then you'll continue on the bike through delightful Bavarian towns such as Allersberg and Freystadt.
The second part of the day will lead you along the abandoned old Ludwig-Donau-Main Canal. You’ll reunite with the Merlijn in the city of Berching at the highest point on this trip, 406 meters above sea level. Up till now, the boat has sailed upstream away from the Rhine. Now you're headed downstream towards the Danube River.
Day 3: Berching - Riedenburg (26 mi/41 km)
You will begin the day cycling to the village of Plankstetten where the iconic Benedictine monastery, founded in 1129, is located. You continue along the Main-Danube Canal to Beilngries, in the heart of the Naturpark Altmühltal. You'll have a short break before arriving at today’s destination, Riedenburg. Riedenburg has many popular attractions, including Prunn Castle, which perches on an almost vertical outcrop high above the Altmühl river.
Day 4: Riedenburg - Essing - Hall of Liberation (28 mi/45 km )
The Merlijn will continue its journey and as you approach Essing, you'll see a unique wooden bridge. Measuring 193 meters in length, this is the longest wooden bridge in Europe. Here you will start today's bike tour. You will follow towpaths along the canal before crossing the Kelheim lock and climbing the mountain to Befreiungshalle. The Befreiungshalle, or Hall of Liberation, is a neoclassical monument that was commissioned by King Ludwig I of Bavaria to commemorate the victories against Napoleon. What truly makes this place special is the view, it is spectacular!
After taking in the view, you will continue riding through the Winzer vineyards and also visit Bad Abbach, popular for its sulfur and mud baths. You will soon arrive to Regensburg, a fascinating medieval town. Here you will find many buildings of exceptional quality, hundreds of which comprise the UNESCO World Heritage 'Old Town with Stadtamhof' ensemble. At night, dinner will be on your own to enjoy some local Bavarian cuisine.
Day 5: Regensburg - Pondorf - Straubing (25 mi/40 km or 33 mi/53 km)
You will say goodbye to Regensburg this morning, setting off on the Danube Cycle Path to Pondorf. Here, the Merlijn awaits should you want to cruise onto Straubing. Cycling to Straubing is also an option. Along the way, you'll make a stop at the Walhalla near Donaustauf. Walhalla, a neo-classical building in the form of a temple, was built by King Ludwig I to honor the Germans. Your entrance and an audio tour is included.
You'll continue cycling until reaching Castle Wörth, where you will have a wonderful view of the Gäuboden Plain of Bavaria, also called ‘the granary of Bavaria’. Finally, you'll reach Pondorf where the Merlijn awaits. Still wanting to pedal a few more miles? You can cycle on to Straubing. Straubing is the gateway to the Bavarian Forest region and has both Celtic and Roman roots. You'll know it for its unmistakable green spired tower in the city center.
Day 6: Straubing - Deggendorf (24 mi/39 km or 31 mi/49 km)
Today you will cycle from Straubing to Deggendorf. You will pass through Bogen, situated at the foot of the Bogen mountain, and Pfelling, a significant town that monitors the water level in this shallow section of the Danube. In Metten, there is a beautiful abbey to be admired. From here, you can cycle an additional 10 km to the stunning Castle Egg or continue directly to Deggendorf. The old town of Deggendorf is characterized by both Gothic and Baroque styles, and is a lovely place to take a stroll.
Day 7: Deggendorf - Vilshofen - Passau north - Passau (24 mi/38 km or 38 mi/60 km)
For your last day on the Danube cycle path, you'll pass through Niederalteich, home to one of the oldest Benedictine monasteries in Bavaria, to Vilshofen, where the Merlijn waits to cruise onto Passau. You can stay on your bike if you wish, and meet up with the boat in the vicinity of Passau. Whatever you choose, you will spend the last part of your bike and barge tour the same way you started it; enjoying the passing scenery aboard the Merlijn with drink in hand. The three-river city of Passau awaits, here is where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube meet. In the evening, a captain’s dinner will be served.
Day 8: Passau
You will say good bye to the Merlijn and your new-found friends after breakfast. If you have some extra days to spend, Pasasu is a great place to extend your holiday!
Day 1: Passau - Vilshofen
Day 2: Vilshofen - Deggendorf (24 mi/38 km)
Day 3: Deggendorf - Straubing (24 mi/39 km or 31 m/49 km)
Day 4: Straubing - Pondorf - Refensburg (25 mi/40 km)
Day 5: Regensburg - Essing - Riedenburg (34mi/55 km)
Day 6: Riedenburg - Berching (25 mi/41 km)
Day 7: Berching - Roth - Nuremberg (28 mi/45 km)
Day 8: Nuremberg
Surface and terrain
This is a leisurely bike and barge tour. You will cycle from 35 to 60 km in a day. You will cycle mainly on dedicated bike paths and secondary roads. The distances listed are approximate. The itinerary is subject to change and sometimes without prior notice, as some waterways are prone to flooding or drought. The captain reserves the right to make changes.
How to get there
Tour start and end
Nearest Airport: Munich International Airport (MUC)
Nearest train station: Passau HBF or Nuremberg
For tours starting in Nuremberg, you can take a train from the airport to Nuremberg with one transfer in the city of Munich. This takes approx. 2 hours.
For tours starting in Passau, train travel time is approximately 2 1/4 hours.
Tips for getting to and from your tour.
From Nuremberg: Aug 05, 2023
From Passau: Sep 16, 2023
Per person, double occupancy €1740 Single-use cabin (1 person/1 cabin) €3132
Electrically assisted bike (payable onboard) €180
Vegan meals €50
- 7 nights aboard the Merlijn
- Welcome drink
- 7 x breakfast, 6 x packed lunches, and 6 x three-course dinner
- Coffee, tea, and water
- Supply of bedding, towels, facial tissues, hand soap, soap, shampoo, sewing kit, vanity kit, bathrobe, and slippers
- Daily cabin cleaning
- Tour guide and daily tour briefing
- 27-speed bicycle which includes waterproof pannier, towel, and helmet
- Complimentary water bottle
- GPS-tracks on majority of routes
- Canal, bridge & harbor fees
- All ferry fares
- Entrance and audio tour of Walhalla
- Guided city tour Regensburg
- Wine-tasting session
Touring bicycle - Sensa Superlite (or similar brand/model)
Unisex model with lightweight aluminum frame (4 different sizes).
All bikes have 27-speeds, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, and Sportourer FLX saddle.
The bikes come with a pannier bag, helmet, lock, water bottle, and towel.
Electric bicycle* - Gudereit Brand (limited number)
The electric bikes feature 7 gears and a Bosch engine. The bikes come with a pannier bag, helmet, lock, water bottle, and towel.
*More about electrically-assisted bikes >
Bike protection can be purchased at the time of booking. You can read more about that HERE.
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