Experience four countries, four vibrant historic cities and Europe’s best-loved river valley on a relaxing cruise down the Danube dotted with excellent opportunities for some superb stretches of scenic cycling. From Passau to Vienna, Bratislava to Budapest there are world-famous castles, monasteries, vineyards and picture-perfect villages waiting to be explored at your own pace by bike, or you can simply sit back on board the comfortable MS Normandie or MS Arlene II, enjoy the stunning views and perhaps sign up for an excursion or two (payable locally). A wonderful treat of a tour to enjoy with family or friends including those who might just prefer to dip a toe in the water when it comes to exploring on two wheels.
2019 Prices now available
is on board the cruise ship, MS Normandie or MS Arlene II, in a standard, outside-facing 2 bed cabin with private facilities and air-conditioning. Standard cabins are situated on the main deck. Upgrade to an upper deck cabin available.
Full details about the cruise ship MS Normandie including layout plans are available here. Full details about the cruise ship MS Arlene including layout plans are available here.We are pleased to discuss details on request.
Please note features images are of the MS Normandie.
Combining a cruise with cycling stretches is a truly classic way to discover the treasures of the Danube including Passau, the City of Three Rivers; musical Vienna; Slovakia’s Bratislava and unbeatable Budapest. Pedal out from your floating hotel as you stop off for easy day rides packed full of new discoveries, from the castles and vineyards of the über-impressive Wachau to the massive basilica at Esztergom and beautiful baroque villages nestling in the wooded Hungarian hillsides. All cycling is optional, allowing you to experience this iconic river valley up close, or simply sit back and watch the show from the comfortable deck of MS Normandie or MS Arlene II.
Due to navigation conditions, the exact details of itineraries are confirmed daily at the morning briefing meetings. All cycling itineraries are optional. All overnights are on board your floating hotel, the MS Normandie or MS Arlene II and some overnights may include transit to the next destination.
Day One – All aboard!
They say that the best way to see historic Passau, the city of Three Rivers and confluence of the Donau (Danube), Inn and Ilz is from the water. Before you embark for your cruise however, take time to explore the bishop’s fortress perched high on the crest between two rivers or the delightful old time and Baroque beauty of Sankt Stephansdom. Boarding time for your cruise and cycle adventure is 5pm, setting sail for Englehartszell at around 7pm whilst you enjoy a welcome cocktail and first dinner on board.
Day Two – Unwind around the ‘Schlögener Schlinge’
Start the day quietly perhaps in Engelhartszell with a visit to Austria’s only Trappist Monastery, famed for its heady, health-promoting cordials and liqueurs. The famous Schlögen loop will have you in a spin of sorts next. One of the most beautiful and original river sections, it’s where the Danube meets a granite rock bed and does a 180 degree turn in one mighty meander. The route to Brandstatt where you rejoin the ship is dotted with charming little villages and welcoming ‘Keller’, typical taverns just right to stop a while and watch the world cruise by. Once back on board, the ship sets sail for an overnight passage to Bratislava.
Miles: 32 Kms: 46
Day Three – Bike around Bratislava
Arriving around noon in the impressive Slovakian city of Bratislava with its massive, square castle and pretty pink Primatial Palace, pedal off to explore, pointing your pedals towards Hainburg and on to the Imperial Palace of Hof with its world-renowned Baroque terraced gardens. The manor farm is charming here too, but the mighty medieval castle ramparts at Devin with its legendary Maiden Tower are calling. Situated on a cliff-top edge of the confluence of the Danube and Morava Rivers, it is undoubtedly the place for panoramic views before heading back to Bratislava. In the evening there is an opportunity to tour the city on an optional mini-train/walking tour excursion (payable locally) if you wish. Overnight, the MS Normandie or MS Arlene II sails on to Budapest.
Miles: 33Kms: 54
Day Four – A tale of two cities - Budapest
Spend the morning up on the sundeck of the ship, wondering at the views on the final few kilometres of Hungarian countryside on the approach to Budapest. As arrivals in cities by river go, this has to be one of the best, with many of the impressive sights lined up along the river bank. The embankments of both Pest and Buda are incredible and it’s hardly surprising that the view of the Buda Castle district and Danube embankments are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In the afternoon, there’s a chance to join a tour of the city by coach (optional – payable locally) or take yourself off on two wheels to explore Margaretheninsel or the attractive little town of Szentendre with its almost Mediterranean feel, home of many Hungarian artists and rich in folk traditions. Overnight, the MS Normandie or MS Arlene II sails on to the Hungarian town of Visegrád.
Miles: 24 Kms: 40
Day Five - Round the bend again - The ‘Hungarian Wachau’
Just north of Budapest, the wooded hills of Pilis, Visegrád and Börzsöny make for beautiful backdrop at a sharp bend in the Danube which is often referred to as the ‘Hungarian Wachau’. Saddle up in Visegrád to visit the town’s famous fortress and ruins of its former palace before choosing from two different cycle tour routes. For the shortest option, head directly to Esztergom with its über-impressive basilica, the largest Catholic church in Hungary, or maybe take the detour en route to visit Szentendre and the Baroque village of Vác influenced by the architects of the Austrian Empress Maria Theresia. Overnight, the MS Normandie or MS Arlene II sails back into Austria to Vienna.
Miles: 15-37 Kms: 25-60
Day Six - All of a whirl – Time out in Vienna
You might choose to take up the chance to attend a Waltz and Operetta concert (optional, payable locally) during your stay in Vienna, but whatever you choose to do, this is a city so full of amazing cultural offerings that you’re sure to be all of a whirl. Must-sees include the big wheel and St Stephen’s Cathedral as well as the Hofburg, but the coffee houses are seriously tempting and the exquisite cakes displayed in the windows even more so! Take a guided city tour by bike or bus (both optional, payable locally) to see the impressive ‘Ringstrasse’ including the historic Burgtheater, State Opera House and town hall. Overnight, the MS Normandie or MS Arlene II sails on to Rossatz in the Wachau.
Day Seven - The unique Wachau Valley
Perhaps this Danube cruise and cycle leaves the best until last? Nothing compares with the enchanting landscapes of the Wachau Valley: its apricot orchards and vineyards, picturesque hillside villages and monasteries, captivating castles and impressive ruins. Cycling out from Rossatz, Dürnstein is a must, the little Baroque village is famed for the blue tower of the monastery church its ruined castle where Richard the Lionheart was held hostage whilst returning from the Crusades. The Wachau Valley has a chequered and complex history and UNESCO World Heritage Site status: it is a place for wonder and reflection. Don’t miss the mighty monastery at Melk and get a real taste of the place at one of the many vineyard taverns around Weissenkirchen. Finally, your floating hotel awaits you at Pöchlarn – and a farewell dinner and cocktail as you start sailing back to Passau.
Miles: 26-32 Kms: 42-52
Day Eight - One last look…
Sit back and relax into a final morning with the Danube as you enjoy its famous mighty meander, the ‘Schlögener Schlinge’ for the last time. The MS Normandie / MS Arlene II arrives back in Passau around noon, in readiness for onward travel from around 2pm… but perhaps you are still enchanted by the magical Danube and can’t resist staying in City of Three Rivers just a little while longer?
Extra nights can be booked to allow more time to explore Passau at your leisure.
On board programme of activities included in the price are:
Captain’s greeting and Welcome Cocktail
Farewell Dinner - Dinner with Farewell Cocktail
Daily live music
Daily information meeting
Services of a tour guide on board
Price includes bicycles (discount given if not required) and port fees.
Optional excursions (bookable on board) are:
City tour: Bratislava
City tour: Budapest
City tour: Vienna
Guided city tour by bike, Vienna
Waltz & Operetta Concert, Vienna
Wine tasting, Weissenkirchen
Once you have decided on the ideal Cycle Break in England or Europe, please fill out your details on our booking formProceed to Book
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