Headwater - Self-Guided Cycling along the Danube from Passau to Vienna

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Reviews
  • Dates
  • Exodus

Ride on dedicated cycle routes through Austria and Germany

Follow the curves and bends of the Danube as it flows through steep-sided valleys and wide riverside woods towards beautiful Vienna. The densely wooded slopes and ravine forests help to create the setting for one of the most significant river landscapes of Central Europe; with the largely flat landscape perfectly suited to self-guided cycling. You will pass many delightful castles, ruins and abbeys whilst visiting historic towns such as Linz, Melk and Krems. The final destination of Vienna is the perfect place to explore, enjoy some great food and perhaps take in a concert.

* Discover the rich culture and historical architecture of Vienna * Ride on dedicated cycle routes * Visit infamous castles, ruins and palaces along the Danube * Sample the fine wines of the Wachau Valley

All breakfasts and one wine tasting included. Breakfast: Buffet style breakfast will usually consist of fresh bread, cheese, ham, croissants, butter, jam, tea or coffee. Lunch and Dinner (not included): there are numerous restaurants along the route with a selection of menus of two or more courses and the route notes will provide more details to help you decide. Self-guided cycling also lends itself really well to picnics. You can stop wherever you please, in a spot that suits you and eat your lunch taking in your chosen view.

* 7 nights family-owned and tourist class hotels * 6 days cycling with luggage transfers * 99% cycle path, 1% road * Mainly flat cycle paths with some gentle hills * Self-guided holiday. Min age 5 yrs
  • Austria
  • Germany
  • Melk
  • Krems
  • The Danube
  • Passau
  • Vienna
  • Danube
  • Europe
Tour Types
  • Self Guided
  • Family
  • Active
  • Cycling
  • Road Cycling
  • Mountains
  • Multi-Country Cycling Holidays
  • Scenic
  • Cultural
  • Walking
  • Multi-country
  • Winter
  • Singles
  • Adventure
Day 1

Start at your hotel in Passau, the city of three rivers. If you arrive with time to explore be sure to visit the well-known cathedral; housing the world's biggest church organ. In the evening receive your bikes and a personal welcome briefing.

Day 2

Leave Passau, and cycle from Germany into Austria amidst one of the most significant river landscapes of Central Europe. The trail runs beside densely wooded slopes and ravine forest passing the only Trappist monastery in Austria at Engelhartszell before continuing to the famous Schlögener Loop. Here the Danube does a U-turn around a granite mountain before changing the direction of its flow twice, providing spectacular views from the surrounding hills.

Day 3

The valley narrows as it continues downstream and has a wilder appearance passing the beautiful castle of Ottensheim, also one of the oldest places in Austria. A day of river crossing and cycling along country lanes, entering the fertile plains of the grand Eferdinger basin before reaching the historic Cistercian Abbey at Wilhering. The trail continues to Linz, where the central Hauptplatz is a good place to start exploring the old town.

Day 4

A change of scenery today as the route guides you away from the Danube, via St Florian (an Augustinian abbey) to Enns. See the town square with its 60 metre high tower, the landmark of the oldest town in Austria. Back along the Danube you reach the beautiful baroque town of Grein; with a chance to visit the oldest municipal theatre in Austria, the maritime museum or Greinburg Castle.

Day 5

Historically Grein marked the beginning of the river's most treacherous stretch, often feared by sailors. The cycling is through the fascinating landscape of tall and densely wooded rock formations on both sides of the Danube. The journey takes you through quiet riverside towns, with numerous examples of castles that were positioned to exert power over the area, collecting tolls from those following its path. Your journey will end as one of the most striking edifices on this whole route comes into sight, the Benedictine abbey at Melk - stunning both inside and out, you can't miss it!

Day 6

This morning you ride through the magnificent Wachau terraced vineyards, which give this area its distinct and beautiful appearance. It is one of Austria's best known wine growing regions, with centuries old tradition of wine production. The route winds between the pretty villages of Spitz, Weisenkirchen and Durnstein; castles continue to dot the landscape. In Durnstein you will find another spectacular monastry and also the ruins of a castle where King Richard the Lionheart was held for ransom. All along the route there are opportunities to experience Austian hospitality in small taverns offering local food and drink. Finish your journey in the 1000 year old town of Krems and enjoy a wine tasting to showcase some of the delightful local produce!

Day 7

Today starts with a train ride from Krems to Tulln, then ride past Greifenstein and Klosterneuburg.This area has always been important culturally, politically and economically with settlements in existence before the Romans moved to the area. Again you will pass many castles, including the Kreuzenstein Castle in Korneuburg. There is also the famous story of the Korneuburg Rat Catcher, a similar story to the Pied Piper. Arriving into Vienna, enjoy a cup of coffee and a piece of typical Viennese cake, 'Sachertorte', in one of the numerous coffee houses. Enjoy an evening stroll around Stephansplatz or walk along the famous shopping street Mariahilfer Strausse.

Day 8

End Vienna. The city is a metropolis with unique charm, vibrancy and flair. It boasts outstanding infrastructure, is clean and safe, and has all of the culture, architecture and inspiration that you could wish for in this wonderful part of Europe. Highlights that you may consider include visits to the grand Schonbrunn Palace, Sigmund Freud Museum and a tour in the Vienna State Opera House. Don't miss a visit to one of the many wonderful coffee shops to enjoy the typical cake Sachertorte!

* All breakfasts * All accommodation (see accommodation section) * All luggage transfers * Route notes and maps * Local bike hire

Very beautiful and easy

A wonderful trip on perfectly manicured cycle path and very very flat, short hops each day and its an ideal beginners trip, a couple of bike ferry crossings which break the day up and the ferry goes when you get there and if you miss it then its back in ten minutes. Hotels were of a good standard and a real mix and match and you just never sure what you going to get or if any of the people whos on your trip will be there or not as they seem to put everyone in different hotels if possible. weather wasn't great when we were there and some nasty wind and rain, and i imagine this would have been even better in nice weather, Please note its self guided and not run by Exodus travel and the company werent even to sure who Exodus were, but it still all went smooth.

Rating: 5

Beautiful scenery, safe cycling

The vast majority of this trip is in cycle paths separated from road traffic with some lightly trafficked roads and only very occasional roads with significant traffic, and even then you are usually separated from them by a barrier of some type: in fact, if none of the above applies, you're probably 'lost' although that, too, is really difficult to do as the river is hard to lose and the signage is excellent! A large proportion is on a Euro cycle path from the Black Sea to the Atlantic and it is very well maintained: UK councils could learn a thing or two about maintaining safe cycling environments from the Austrians. The scenery is at times spectacular and varies from day to day as the river meanders across Austria. The accommodation we got was generally very good and there was usually somewhere good to have dinner in the evening. Lunch stops were a bit thin on the ground but we usually found somewhere. The bicycles were heavy but in very good nick: the route is mostly flat and any slight downhills outnumber the uphills - which often related to gaining the altitude required to cross over the bridges over the river rather than anything else. There are churches in abundance, from big to small and most towns have a schloss (castle). There are some spectacular monasteries and when you get to Vienna, it is clear that it was the centre of the world for quite a long time with monuments and buildings to show for it! The distances are manageable - on the last day, you can get a train to cut the distance down to about 50 km but we decided to cycle from Krems to Vienna (about 90 km) and we survived!

Rating: 4

Excellent trip

This is an easy ride; and the route is varied and very attractive. Virtually none of the cycling is along roads with motor traffic; and I appreciated how the sign-posted Danube cycle path diverted, from time to time, away from the river bank to go through fields, woods and quiet villages. The hotels, baggage transfers and logistics worked very well. I was impressed by the quality of the accommodation -- and its variety.

Rating: 5

The title of the trip was appropriate.

The organisation worked well. Trip notes and maps together made route finding easy. The route was varied and interesting; opportunities for eating and drinking were many. The quality of hotels was good, though only two provided tea or coffee making facilities in the room. The bikes were well-maintained, but are rather heavy, so it was a good job the route was mostly flat. There were no bottle cages provided, which made stopping for water a bit of a faff! Overall, a very enjoyable week.

Rating: 4

A relaxing diversion, with interesting things to see on the way

My wife has been keen on a trip through vienna for a while. We chose the passau to vienna trip as other reviewers rated it higher than the similar vienna to Budapest. Both follow the danube. The best thing about this trip is that being relatively gentle paced it allows time to visit places on the way, which is really the whole point. We saw a WW II concentration camp (utterly horrific) , visited a trappist monastery and tasted their beer and spirits, saw an awful lot of other churches, monasteries and gardens. The whole cycling route is dotted with pleasant cafes. The route plan recommends good restaurants and we were not disappointed. Austria is accustomed to vegetarian and vegan diets. The palaces and museums of vienna are spectacular, the kaisers crypt is worth a visit. We recommend a great veggie restaurant in vienna called Tian. The guide notes are very simple but in a good way. I recommend having a phone with Google maps or similar when you get to the cities though... Much easier to navigate the busy streets. The bikes on hire are a good standard, though we like to bring our own saddles and pedals. We took the option of an extra few days in vienna, I knocked a star off because the information on this part was not so well organised. We were given turn by turn instructions but no accompanying map and there was some confusion about whether we were supposed to have a vienna pass. (this would have saved us a lot of money it turned out later)

Rating: 4

A fantastic Austrian Experience

This trip was perfect. From forests and mountains to wine producing valleys this stretch of the Danube provides stunning scenery and lovely villages and towns such as Grein and Melk along the way. Well sign-posted purpose built, smooth cycling paths made this trip effortless and friendly, comfortable hotels along the way made this trip one I'd highly recommend if you are looking for an easy-going trip. As there are only a few stretches on quiet roads and a couple on paths alongside busy roads (the rest on quiet cycle tracks) and the distances are manageable you don't need to be a confident cyclist to enjoy this trip.

Rating: 5

A excellent first self-guided cycling trip

We cycled this route in May 2016 and we had a wonderful time. The cycle route is well maintained, the navigation was very clear with the resources provided and the scenery was spectacular. Vienna was a suiting end to a very scenic trip.  A great first self-guided cycling trip to try. 

Rating: 5

Cycling the Danube.

What a great trip, we had great weather for the cycle ride, we met some lovely people too.

Rating: 5


My partner and I did the self guided ride and enjoyed it very much. It gave us the chance to feel we really experienced the lovely Austrian scenery, pretty villages and towns with a sense of achievment to have done a 300 +km ride. My partner is 79!

Rating: 4


Thoroughly enjoyed this holiday . In general the accommodation was good and staff were friendly.

Rating: 4


You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

Dates Price Single Availability
31-Aug-2019 for 7 Nights Land only Visit Website
07-Sep-2019 for 7 Nights Land only Visit Website
14-Sep-2019 for 7 Nights Land only Visit Website
21-Sep-2019 for 7 Nights Land only Visit Website
28-Sep-2019 for 7 Nights Land only Visit Website

Touring with Exodus

With over 45 years’ experience of taking people on amazing adventure holidays, Exodus can help you reach some of the most incredible destinations on 500 itineraries across more than 90 countries around the world. All staff at Exodus have a passion for travel and adventure, and some team members have been professional archaeologists, wildlife guides, overland drivers, mountain leaders, diving and ski specialists and mountain bike gurus. But that’s not all. This reputable company is a Which? recommended escorted tour provider and has won many prestigious awards, including Best Activity and Sports Holiday Company at the 2018 British Travel Awards.

Exodus is all about adventure and helping others to achieve their travel dreams by offering a fantastic range of guided group holidays, self-guided trips, tailor-made getaways and escorted tours. So, if you’re looking to discover different countries, cultures, environments, cities, mountain ranges, deserts, coasts or even jungles, the expert team at Exodus can help you plan an unforgettable solo, group or family adventure.

Each tour and adventure has been created to give you maximum value for money, often including authentic activities, as well as flights, accommodation and a tour guide. And as the team has developed one of the very best and most exciting collections of guided-group tours and self-guided holidays, you’re guaranteed the adventure holiday of a lifetime, no matter which one you pick. Trips include everything from family adventure holidays and walking and cycling tours to mixed-activity tours and seasonal getaways. You can also ask Exodus to plan a tailored itinerary from scratch or tweak an existing one, which means you can book a bespoke holiday that is designed just for you.

Need some inspiration? You can enjoy varied walks in the stunning Spanish mountains, experience the magic of Italy in Tuscany or explore the rich Sri Lankan history and culture by bike. Try a host of different activities in glorious Turkish surroundings, ski through the magnificent Norwegian wilderness or embark on a journey through India’s tropical south. Visit Iceland and East Greenland, see the spectacular marine wildlife in the Maldives or cruise along the mighty Amazon River in Peru – the options are endless!

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tour details

This tour is operated by Exodus

7 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Difficulty:Leisurely / Moderate
Meals:7 breakfasts, 0 lunches, 0 dinners.
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