Danube River trail - advice please!

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Danube River trail - advice please!

Postby sbullett » Tue Jun 19, 2007 13:00 pm

Hi there

We're thinking of having a go at a chunk of the Danube river trail, for the whole of the summer holidays in either 2008 or 2009.

"We" = me, the missus, and 3 kids, aged 11, 9 and 6 (if 2008). The 6 year old will be on a tag-along, the others have new, lightish bikes.

We are already doing 30+ mile rides most weekends during the summer and plan to do a week long tour somewhere in the UK before heading overseas.

My questions are:

1. Does anyone know whether (and where) it is possible to get an Engligh language guide to ther trail? When we were in Germany last summer we enquired but the guide was only in German, Dutch and French.

2. What sort of accomodation is available on the route and does this vary a lot in the different countries? We were thinking of hostels but open to ideas - must be reasonably cheap though. Not sure about camping - lots of heavy kit?

3. Which bits of the route are the most interesting / scenic? We won't be able to do the whole route and I must admit that I like the idea of reaching the Black Sea?

4. Is the route really as flat as the guide book we saw suggests?



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Postby ankev1 » Tue Jun 19, 2007 13:23 pm

You need the Bikeline guide books. Go to the publisher's (Esterbauer Verlag) website and click on the English language bit. I think they do the Passau to Vienna stretch in English. That said, you don't need German to use these guides if you can't get the English ones as the maps are clearly irrelevant to language and hotels for each town etc are listed at the back. You could get the books now to start your planning. They divide the Danube Bike Path into four sections:

Donaueschingen - Passau (by far the best IMO)
Passau - Vienna
Vienna - Budapest
Budapest - Black Sea

(not to sure about the start and end points of the last two vols - see the website).

I live on the first bit of the route and there are hotels galore and a fair few campsites. Accommodation ranges from hostel type stuff to luxury levels in the big cities. Austria is similar and I believe that points east are catching up.

Although I've by no means done the whole route, I can't imagine anything beating the stretch from Tuttlingen to Sigmaringen for scenery. If you do decide to start from Donaueschingen fly either to Stuttgart or Friedrichshafen or possibly Basel.

There are no serious hills, just a few bumps over side valley spurs in the upper reaches. It's a very flat route after Ehingen.

I just checked the Esterbauer website. Vol I is not available in English, Vols II and III are. I wouldn't let this put you off though as the first leg is IMO the one to do.

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Postby TheDoctor » Tue Jun 19, 2007 13:25 pm

Esterbauer http://www.esterbauer.com do guides in English, although the translation isn't the best in the world.
Accomodation-wise, I can only speak for the Passau - Vienna part, and we were in hotels. Organised through the Upper Austrian Tourist Board, who also transferred the luggage about.
Scenery was ace in places , and quite nice the rest of it.
The path was generally quite flat. The river has locks, so in terms of flatness it's not unlike the mother of all canals! The most hilly thing you'll find is a bridge, probably. Climbing out of the valley, however, could be a bit serious.[:D]
It'll certainly be an adventure. Chapeau!

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Postby Lebkuchen » Wed Jun 20, 2007 13:32 pm

Hi Sbullett

I bought an English Language Guide called 'The Danube Cycleway' published by Cicerone and it cost around œ10. I have not yet cycled the trail but it certainly seems like a good introduction and gives you sketch maps of the whole trail from Donauschingen(?) in Germany to Budapest and plenty of information on the journey and what you need. I bought the book from the travel section of Waterstones but I think that the Sustrans shop sells it by mail order too.

It suggests that there are lots of tourist information points along the route (especially in Austria) and you can can book your accommodation (B&Bs and hostels) as you travel along, (although they say it gets very popular in the Summer holiday period).

I can't comment about its scenic qualities yet as I haven't been along the route. I was in Bavaria a few years back and have seen the route where is passes through Regensburg and it is quite pretty there although I expect Austria will be particularly nice. From recollection the guidebook says that the route is quite easy and usually downhill although sometimes it is diverted away from the River (for example where there are gorges) and you might get a few uphill bits on the detour. Also, some of the interesting towns near to the route can involve an uphill ride to reach them.

Also, I did note that from Passau to Vienna there are regular cruise boats which travel along the river and they take passengers with bikes quite cheaply. They seem to stop off in quite a few places and could be useful if you fancied having a break and enjoying the scenery.

Hopefully Mrs L and I will get a chance to do a bit of the route in August and if we do i'll post another message and let you know how we found it. Good luck with your plans in the meantime!

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Postby mercsport » Wed Jun 20, 2007 14:15 pm

I can only comment on my trip out of Budapest , my turnaround point , on my way to Zagreb and beyond , where I followed the east bank of the Danube as far as Baja where I crossed over to Mohacs etc . I seem to recall it was a relentlessly monotonous day riding the road upon the top of a fairly high raised embankment the whole way I think . Exposed and windy as heck on the day .( above the flood plain I suppose ) Is there actually a cycle way immediately by the river ? I certainly wasn't aware of it as the river was only glimpsed , distantly , a few times only . It's certainly flat around there and agriculturally fertile . Brew shops and ale houses are thin on the ground in Hungary .
I was certainly eager to get to the Croatian coast and catch the ferry back to Italy .


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Postby Brains » Wed Jun 20, 2007 14:18 pm

I did the section of the trail from Regensburg to Vienna a few years back, I would suggest the Bikeline/Estebauer books in any language are essential as the maps are the best you can get. The route is flat, very senic arout Passau, and accomodation is in every village

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Postby Hairy Jock » Wed Jun 20, 2007 17:22 pm

The German and Austrian sections of the route get VERY busy throughout the summer, so do book you accommodation well in advance.

A hirsute Scotsman.


Best advice I ever got was "better get a bike then"
Cycle commuting since 1994. Blog with cycle bits.

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Postby magfos » Wed Jun 20, 2007 23:50 pm

I would recoomend starting at Donaueschingen. The first part of the trip in Germany is the generally the most scenic although the bit from Passau towards Linz is pretty good.

The Bikeline books are very good. I would recommend that you get the German ones as they are updated more frequently than the English version. Ours (for the section from Passau to Vienna)was rather dated compared to the German one we purchased in Passau.

check out our website at www.magfos.com for stories and photos of our trips.
Ride to Live; Live to Ride

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Postby jc4lab » Thu Jun 21, 2007 13:00 pm

I asked about this on the forum about a year ago..the entire route is over 1200 km which needs maybe several trips .Its horses for courses which part is best but maybe worth noting that Explore Cycling holidays do 10 days of the route starting at Passau which may have some merit in it...Check their intinery and do it yourself..I got my Cicerone guide from "Gearshift" in Sheffield but had to wait over 6 weeks after ordering it.If their catalogue is still on line it maybe worth a look if it still obtainable..

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