Decisions of a Self Guided Cyclist on the Danube Bike Path

Passau in the southeast of Germany is located at the Austrian border at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers
Passau in the southeast of Germany is located at the Austrian border at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers

Decisions of a Self Guided Cyclist on the Danube Bike Path

Tough choices to make: beautiful viewpoints or peaceful valleys on the Danube Cycle Path?

This UTracks Traveller explains the daily pleasantness that is life on the Danube by Bike and Barge tour, where the biggest decisions that her and her partner must face are which charming destination to explore.

The Danube near Schloegen on the Danube Bike Path
There’s a section of the mighty Danube River, an immense volume of water that courses through 10 Eastern European countries, where the river slows down and gently winds back on itself, creating an elegant, cursive loop in the landscape. 
The Danube Loop (or Schlönger Schlinge) is considered a geographical rarity on the river’s 1,700-mile journey from the Black Forest in Germany to the Romanian Black Sea Coast. The complete 180-degree bend in the river in Upper Austria is so spectacular it has been declared one of that country’s “natural wonders”. It’s also one of the most photographed sections along the popular Danube Bike Path that follows the river between the Bavarian city of Passau and the Slovakian city of Bratislava. 
Cycling along the Danube Cycle Path in Hungary |  <i>Lilly Donkers</i>
However, it’s at this particular bend in the river between Passau and Linz, on the last cycling day of an eight-day Danube by Bike and Boat trip, that my cycling companion and I, are about to have our first falling out. And to be honest, it’s caught us both by surprise. 
Despite this being our first-ever cycling trip, my first-ever cruise of any kind, and a self-guided holiday (requiring some degree of problem solving skills and adaptability), we seem to be making decisions about where we go and what we want to do each day, with great efficiency and very little discussion. 
We have been setting out early from our boat each morning along the Danube Cycle Path long before most of our fellow passengers have finished their breakfast. 
We have followed the mostly flat path, travelling at our own pace through protected forests, fertile farmland and vineyards; stopping when and if we feel like it; for coffee breaks, photo opportunities, water or a quick snack. 
Most days we opt for the suggested ‘alternative routes’ that take us off the bike path to ancient ruins, medieval castles, cider-houses and even a Celtic village; our electric bikes allowing us to easily cycle the extra miles up and down the quiet country roads normally deemed for the “sporty and ambitious”.
Discover quaint villages as you cycle the Danube Bike Path
On average we cycle 50 kilometres each day, always finding time for a long lunch, indulging our seemingly endless appetite for regional specialties (smoked trout, crumbed schnitzel and potato dumplings) washed down with steins of cold beer and the occasional Riesling. 
We follow the river, like sunflowers following the sun, absorbing the ever-changing landscape; through fields of ripening corn, alongside apricot orchards and bumping over the cobblestones in ancient villages whose names we have trouble pronouncing let alone remembering. 
Slowly, but surely we succumb to the Danube’s timeless charms. But now, mid-morning on our final cycling day we find ourselves in a Mexican standoff on an Austrian riverbank. 
The day before, at our regular briefing, our cruise director, Andreas, had outlined our route through the Danube Valley, presenting two possible itineraries along the Loop. The first option was to cycle past the bicycle ferry at Schlögener Schlinge, lock up our bikes and hike up a steep forest trail to a lookout where Andreas assured us, we would be rewarded with a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the Danube Loop. 
Alternatively, we could take the ferry to the other side of the river and stop for a cold ale, coffee or cider at Pumburger Farm, a little family-run restaurant and guesthouse, which Andreas had described as the “quietest, most peaceful place in the valley”. 
The lookout seemed the obvious choice. But this particular morning my cycling companion has other ideas. While I had sped past the bike ferry with the lookout hike firmly in my sights, he had stopped dead in his tracks, straddling his bike, his feet planted on the ground, with a fierce “where are you going?” look on his face. Having started the trip as “the reluctant cyclist” he was now declaring he wasn’t going anywhere he couldn’t cycle. I was speechless.
Even the most reluctant cyclist will enjoy the Danube Bike Path
Time seemed to stand still as we stood glaring at each other, metres apart. Neither of us dared to speak lest we say something we might regret, but I could feel the angry words forming in thought bubbles above our heads. 
We stood our ground both silently willing the other to give in. 
Suddenly the impasse was broken by the chugging sound of a wooden ferry pulling up to the riverbank below us, ready to transport a waiting group of cyclists to the other side. Without a word, we looked at each other, grabbed our bikes and raced down the path to jump on the waiting ferry. 
Twenty minutes later, we were sitting under the shade of an apricot tree on a small hill, tucking into freshly baked bread and homemade jam, in the quietest, most peaceful place in the Danube Valley. With chickens roaming at our feet, a coffee in our hand and the sparkling river in the distance, we watched as three young children tumbled in and out of a hammock and chased each other around the fruit trees, clutching brilliant blue and green hued peacock feathers in their tiny hands. 
It was then I remembered the conversation we’d had before we left for our European adventure nearly five weeks ago. We had agreed that nothing, short of a natural disaster, would ruin our holiday. Long queues, train delays, crowds of tourists, bad weather - whatever happened, we would take it all in our stride. And indeed we had. 

Want to experience the peaceful Danube Cycle Path for yourself? Take a look at all of UTracks' affordable self guided tours by clicking here
Our highly rated trips are the Blue Danube Cycle (8 days, Germany to Austria), the Danube by Bike and Barge (8 days, Germany to Austria) and the Danube Cycle (14 days, Germany to Hungary). 

Have you had any moments of indecision on a trip? Let us know in the comment section below, we love to hear from you.
Austria, Danube, Germany, Slovakia, Danube Bike Path, Danube Cycle Path

Comment (0)

Your comment will be visible after the administrator's approval.

b i u quote

Save Comment
Join Newsletter
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/ADS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Adventures South"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Adventure South</div>
Adventure South NZ is unrivalled in their geographic coverage, originality and overall quality of adventures holidays in New Zealand. Choose from walking, cycling, winter or multi-activity holidays, on either the North or South Island.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/AWH.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Australian Walking Holidays"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Australian Walking Holidays</div>
Australian Walking Holidays specialises in small group guided walking adventures. Since 1982 we have been guiding small groups of travellers on Australia's finest walks across our tropical, coastal or red centre landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/GCT.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Great Canadian Trails"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Great Canadian Trails</div>
Great Canadian Trails specialises in active holidays in Canada. With both guided and supported self-guided options available, our unique itineraries draw upon some of Canada's most inspiring parks, trails and landscapes from coast to coast.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/HUM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Humac Challenge"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Huma Charity Challenge</div>
Huma enables those with adventurous spirits to challenge themselves and make a difference for a cause close to their heart. Travel, fundraise and meet life-long friends on one of Huma's meaningful and unique challenges around the world.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WB.jpg?v2' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Walkers’ Britain"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Walkers' Britain</div>
Walkers' Britain (formerly Sherpa Expeditions) have specialised in walking and cycling trips in the United Kingdom and Europe since 1973. Explore iconic trails and destinations on a self guided or small group active holiday with Walkers' Britain.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WB.jpg?v2' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Walkers’ Britain"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Walkers' Britain</div>
Walkers' Britain (formerly Sherpa Expeditions) have specialised in walking and cycling trips in the United Kingdom and Europe since 1973. Explore iconic trails and destinations on a self guided or small group active holiday with Walkers' Britain.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/TAS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Tasmania Expeditions"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Tasmanian Expeditions</div>
Tasmanian Expeditions is the most experienced operator of treks and adventure travel holidays in Tasmania. We own and operate the most comprehensive range of adventure holidays available across Tasmania's varied landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/UTX-new.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Utracks"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>UTracks</div>
UTracks are the active European holiday specialists. Whether you prefer cycling or walking, 2-star or 4-star, small groups or self guided, land, river or sea – UTracks can help you to explore Europe exactly the way you want.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WYA.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="World Expeditions Schools"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>World Expeditions Schools</div>
World Expeditions Schools is our specialist division dedicated to organising tailor made overseas school group adventures. Specialists in Service Learning projects, choose from more destinations than any other school group provider.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/YOM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Yomads"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Yomads</div>
Yomads offers adventures for the 20s and 30s on six continents. Designed as a way to bring young and likeminded travellers together, Yomads caters to those interested in lightly structured and active trips that allow freedom to roam and explore.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/ACT.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Australian Cycle Tours"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Australian Cycle Tours</div>
Australian Cycle Tours specialises in high quality self guided and guided cycling experiences in a selection of the most beautiful regions in Australia.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WEX.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="World Expeditions"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>World Expeditions</div>
The pioneers of original, worldwide adventure travel holidays since 1975
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/TJX.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Trail Journeys"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Trail Journeys</div>
Self-guided cycling experts on New Zealand's Otago Rail Trail and more
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/BMAC.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Blue Mountains Adventure Company"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Blue Mountains Adventure Company</div>
The original Blue Mountains canyoning, hiking, climbing and abseiling experts
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/GWNZ.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Great Walks of New Zealand"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Great Walks of New Zealand</div>
Explore New Zealand's most spectacular wilderness regions with the self-guided hiking experts
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/NAA.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="North America Active"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>North America Active</div>
USA Canada hiking & cycling tour specialists, choose from self-guided or guided trips