If you are looking for a family adventure that you will remember for the rest of your life, this tour is for you! Our family had a truly enjoyable experience on the Danube family bike tour. It was a unique family holiday where we all worked together as a team - cycling along the Austrian countryside - to reach our destination. The scenery was breathtaking! The hotels were good to very good (what we expected). The pre tour arrangements, communication and maps provided were excellent. The bike service was excellent and assistance was provided promptly for the few challenges we had.
We are a family of 5 with kids aged 13, 11, and 8. The cycling, coupled with the heat (up to 28-30C most days) was a big challenge for our 8 year old but she did it and is very proud of herself. We had planned to get her a trail bike - to go behind my husband's bike - but it did not work out. The trail bike provided for her was tipping over when she was on it - attached to the adult bike. Maybe it was because the equipment was not good, maybe she was too big for it? That hiccup set us back 2 hours on our first morning which was frustrating. By 10:30 a.m. we were on our way, each of us on our own bike. The tour company linked us up with a bike shop that gladly swapped our trail bike for a 'real bike' for my daughter. Overall, the equipment provided was of excellent quality. The bikes were simple, but that's all we needed with the non-hilly paved terrain. We did not 'train' for our tour. Bring cycling shorts (padded) and gloves to help prevent chaffing. We used ours every day.
Another challenge was map reading. We were given detailed map books of roads and cycle trails. They were excellent maps. But in this digital age, we are used to using Google Maps to tell us how to get to our destination. It was sometimes a frustrating challenge to read the maps correctly.
The bike route we took was mostly along either dedicated bike paths along the Danube, or on country roads with little traffic. There were just a few areas where we needed to bike along a major road. In studying the map carefully, we chose to take the routes with less busy roads. One side of the river tended to have busy traffic roads and the other did not. The map was colour coded accordingly as to the type of path/road/country road. There were not many hills at all.
The hotels were all good. Some were more simple than others. We were not on this vacation for a luxury experience. We were worried that, being a family of 5, the hotels would squish us into one small room. On the contrary, we usually had two rooms or a suite, which was fabulous. The 'spa hotel' where we stayed for 2 nights mid-tour was nice. The pool was welcome, since the weather was quite warm. It was a true European experience when we saw two naked senior citizens enter the pool. At first, my family was shocked (being from modest Canada), but then, two of our kids jumped in naked as well (after the seniors left). When in Rome...
The bike days were quite long. It took us about 6 hours of biking each day to reach our destination. Our speed was limited by my 8 year old daughter. She went as fast as her little legs could take her. I would recommend 8 as the youngest age for this tour. Ideally, kids would be age 10 and up - in order to ride a bigger faster bike.
Due to our 'slow' biking, we were not able to stop at many of the sights along the way. A few highlights were Pöstlingbergbahn and Grottenbahn in Linz, the Melk Abbey, town of Dürnstein (where we spent two nights), the Burgruine castle ruin in Dürnstein, and a lake between Dürnstein and Tulln where we enjoyed a picnic lunch and jumped in for a swim.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable and unique family experience for us. We would highly recommend it to family with kids age 10 and up (age 8 and up if your child is tall + athletic). A moderate fitness level is recommended.