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Along the Danube

Start in Donaueschingen

My wife took me to Donaueschingen by car. From there, I just set off on my own. I had stowed all my luggage in the panniers on the luggage rack - you learn to limit yourself and get by with little stuff. I hadn't booked anything! There are plenty of places to stay. This meant I could ride for as long as I wanted and adapt the length of the route to the weather conditions.

Dist: Distance
Avg: Average speed
Asc: Ascents on this day - Although the route along the Danube is basically always downhill, there are still several ascents to overcome.

Day 1, Wed, 8. 6. 05
Dist: 69.9 km
Avg: 16.8 km/h
Asc: 135 m

Donaueschingen Beuron

Die Mutter Baar weist der jungen Donau den Weg gegen Osten

Before the start, a photo at the source of the Danube in Fürstenberg Castle Park.

In Donaueschingen, the well-marked cycle tour begins in the castle park and then leads along the young Danube. You soon come to the Danube seepage point. If you want to see whether the Danube really seeps away - to reappear in Lake Constance - you have to walk the last few meters. When I was there, there was enough water for the Danube to continue flowing as a small stream.


Danube infiltration point

The small town of Mühlheim is situated on a hill. However, it is worth cycling up to admire the pretty half-timbered houses.

After Mühlheim, a very romantic section of the Danube cycle path begins. Far away from any traffic, you cycle along a secluded cycle path in a wonderful landscape in the narrow Danube valley. The soul can relax.

There are a few meters of elevation gain to Beuron (see Asc:)

There I spent the night right next to the monastery in the Hotel Pelikan (single room €40). At 18:00 I had the opportunity to attend the Benedictine monks' vespers.

Day 2, Thu, 9. 6. 05
Dist: 89.1 km
Avg: 15.1 km/h
Asc: 500 m

Beuron Obermarchtal

This part of the route is insanely beautiful and romantic. The Danube valley is all yours. Elegant cycle bridges have been built over the Danube. Almost every rock has a name and is associated with stories and legends. Castles are enthroned on the rocks.


In Sigmaringen, I visited the Hohenzollern castle. A recommendable change from cycling.

Riedlingen, a town with many beautiful half-timbered houses, was also worth a visit.

In Obermarchtal, I was impressed by the huge monastery complex with its beautiful baroque church.

Klosteranlage Obermarchtal


I spent the night in a very nice, newly renovated room in the Berghofstüble for €35.

Day 3, Fri, 10. 6. 05
Dist: 104.3 km
Avg: 18.0 km/h
Asc: 290 m

Obermarchtal - Ulm - Offingen

I almost couldn't find my way out of the town of Ehingen. Normally, countless signs indicate the route of the Danube cycle path. In Ehingen, I made several attempts and had to return to the market square again and again - until I finally consulted my bikeline cycle guide carefully.


Poppy field, in the background the village of Berg shortly before Ehingen

About 30 km before Ulm, I met four sporty cyclists from Karlsruhe. I was allowed to ride in their slipstream. That was very, very pleasing because of the headwind. At a brisk pace - around 30km/h - I cycled to Ulm.

After an individual tour of the town and cathedral, I saw my German colleagues again on the exit from Ulm and we drove together to Offingen.

I spent the night at Gasthof Krone for 29€ and drank many a beer.

Day 4, Sat, 11. 6. 05
Dist: 99.1 km
Avg: 17.5 km/h
Asc: 355 m

Offingen - Neuburg

The four of us rode the approx. 10 km from Offingen to Gundelfingen at express train speed. There, my German friends changed to the train and I continued alone and at a more leisurely pace.

The towns of Lauingen and Dillingen each have an imposing town tower. From Dillingen to Höchstädt, the cycle path runs somewhat boringly along the highway. In Höchstädt, I turned onto the side branch of the Danube path, which leads past Hochstädt Castle into the Danube meadows, before finally reaching the main road 16 again. But soon I was on side roads to Donauwörth. Remains of the town wall including the town gate and towers can be seen, as well as a Gothic - Baroque church.
After Donauwörth the sky became suspiciously dark and occasionally there were a few drops. The road was also wet in places.

Shortly before Riedensheim, the dark clouds caught up with me and the drops became heavier. I decided to switch to rain gear and looked for a suitable spot. Suddenly I heard the water behind me. In front of me was a tiny Marienmarterl with a canopy. At the last moment, I scurried under the canopy. I was now under the protection of the Blessed Mother. The bike and I had just made room and a huge hailstorm was already pelting down. Under the shelter of the canopy, I was able to get out my rain gear, change my clothes, put on my new acquisition - the rain gaiters - and protect my panniers with their rain covers. It all took time. By the time I was finally equipped for the rain, the storm had already passed. Nevertheless, I continued with my rain gear. - Just as well, because a few more light showers were to follow.

In Neuburg I looked for a place to stay in the old town and found a cozy room in the Altstadtcafé. I had had enough of the omnipresent egg spaetzles and went to a Greek restaurant for dinner

They were rehearsing for the knights' games at Neuburg Castle. One of the dancers raved to me about the upcoming festival. The entire old town of Neuburg will be transformed into a medieval village.

Day 5, Sun, 12. 6. 05
Dist: 116.4 km
Avg: 17.3 km/h
Asc: 240 m

Neuburg - Regensburg

A long, dead-straight road leads from Neuburg to the Grünau hunting lodge. I had to take a photo of this, as it adorns the cover of my bikeline cycle guide.


Hunting Lodge Grünau

From there, the route leads through a beautiful avenue and then through forests and across fields to Ingolstadt. As we entered the city, the tranquillity was never the same because of a huge roadworks site. Detour for motorists were signposted, but cyclists had probably been forgotten.

Nevertheless, I found my way into the old town and cycled back and forth through all the alleyways and even attended the end of a church service in the Liebfrauenmünster. Finally, I paid a quick visit to the 'New Castle' and wanted to get back on the Danube cycle path. But between me and the Danube cycle path was the city wall, and I first had to look for a way through.

On the way to Regensburg, I passed a huge hop-growing area between Sittling and Staubing. Then I came to Weltenburg. This is a popular excursion area. It was Sunday and there were thousands of day-trippers here. The last part of the road to Weltenburg Abbey is closed to cars and belongs entirely to pedestrians. As a cyclist, I had difficulty making progress. There is a huge garden restaurant in the inner courtyard of the monastery and hop products are used here in huge quantities to quench thirst.

In the church, a Benedictine monk explained the baroque decorations and told me a little about the life of the monks.

The journey continued by boat on the Danube through the impressive Danube Gorge to Kelheim. Shortly before Kehlheim, the somewhat kitschy Liberation Hall, which King Ludwig I of Bavaria had built here, appears on one of the hills.

I never thought I would ride so far, but the weather was glorious, the headwind not too strong and there were already signs for Regensburg. By now it was a bit late and I started looking for accommodation in the old town and ended up at the Hotel Orphee.

Day 6, Mon, 13. 6. 05  
Dist: 83.7km
Avg: 15.9 km/h
Avg: ohne Straubing 16.3 km/h
Asc: 130 m

I sat on the saddle for 5 hours and 15 minutes and burned 4974 calories

Regensburg - Loham (bei Mariaposching)

Regensburg is a beautiful city. I spent a long time in the Gothic cathedral, visited the most beautiful squares and admired the Thurn und Taxis palace, at least from the outside. It must have rained while I was in the cathedral, because everything was wet when I came out again. But the rain was over. I left the city via the Stone Bridge. After a few kilometers I passed the Walhalla, a kind of Greek Acropolis temple that Ludwig I had built as a hall of fame. The climb was too difficult for me, so I continued along the Danube. At Wörth Castle, I was surprised by a rain shower. It still takes far too long to switch to rain mode.

I arrived back in Straubing around midday in beautiful weather and bright sunshine. I took a short break at the market square near the town tower. The Gothic Basilica of St. Jacob and the Romanesque St. Peter's Church were well worth a visit.

Around midday, I arrived back in beautiful weather and bright sunshine. I took a short break at the market square near the town tower. The Gothic Basilica of St. Jacob and the Romanesque St. Peter's Church were well worth a visit.

I continued with a sometimes strong headwind. After about 20 km to Straubing, I had had enough of battling the wind and followed a tip for accommodation at the GH Stöberl in Loham. Other Danube cyclists arrived there and we had some interesting conversations.

Day 7, Tue, 14. 6. 05
Dist: 100 km
Avg: 16.9 km/h
Asc: 210 m

Loham - Kohlbachmühle

Cyclists are tired in the evening, go to bed early and are therefore awake again at 7:00 am. Freshly fortified, I set off in beautiful weather to first make a detour to Metten Monastery. I got to know the Benedictine monastery in the 3Sat program about the Danube monasteries. Now I wanted to see it in real life. The next stop was Deggendorf. The town square there with the old town hall in the middle is well worth seeing. 10 km further on was the next monastery in Niederaltaich. Here I joined a guided tour and was able to admire parts of the monastery and the church. It is interesting to note that an Orthodox church is integrated into the monastery grounds.

The Danube cycle path between Hofkirchen and Vilshofen is being rebuilt at great expense. I was able to cycle on the new, freshly asphalted path in places.

I arrived in Passau in the afternoon. Although I had already been to Passau several times, I enjoyed a short tour of the city by bike, visited St. Stephen's Church with its famous organ and rested a little over a coffee in the town hall square. It was still too early to spend the night, so I cycled a little further and thought about riding as far as Engelhartszell

However, the constant headwind made me tired and so I drove past the Kohlbachmühle, which is located directly on the Danube, saw the beautiful guest garden, saw the cool beer in my mind's eye and decided to stay here. Luckily there was one last single room for me and I was sitting by the Danube enjoying a well-earned beer.



Day 8, Wed, 15. 6. 05
Dist: 112 km
Avg: 17.3 km/h
Asc: 290 m

Kohlbachmühle - Mauthausen

Once again I set off early in the morning, crossing the Danube at the Jochenstein power station to get to Engelszell Monastery. This monastery of the taciturn Trappist monks is worth a detour for its fine herbal liqueurs alone. The cycle ferry took us back to the left bank of the Danube, where we reached the Schlögener Schlinge in no time at all. The longitudinal ferry to Inzell/Grafenau had just left and I didn't want to wait an hour, so I was the only passenger to take the transverse ferry to the right bank of the Danube.

The section up to Aschach is simply unspeakably beautiful. I saw a red jacket lying somewhere, thought someone had lost it and I could take it with me to GH Kaiser, but I wasn't sure whether the person who had lost it was really travelling downstream, so I left it behind. Too bad, because several kilometres later a lady came pedalling towards me and asked if I had seen a red jacket. I hope she found it again.

Weg nach Aschach

I wanted to take a break in Aschach but couldn't decide which restaurant to go to. In the end, I bought a Leberkässemmel and an Almdudler at Spar. In Aschach, I crossed the Danube bridge to the left bank of the Danube, as I was not yet familiar with this route. After a short detour via Feldkirchen, I reached the Danube again, where the cycle path runs along the embankment - and there was a tailwind. I was delighted and cycled quickly to Ottenheim. Then the Danube cycle path leads along a busy main road to Linz - not so much fun.

St. Martin

I have always wanted to visit the Romanesque church of St Martin in Linz. It is one of the oldest churches in Austria. As luck would have it, a school class happened to be there at the time, so I was able to enter the otherwise closed church and listen attentively to the teacher's words.

Linz St. Martin Innenaufnahme

As it was still early afternoon, I decided to cycle a little further. At Steyregg there was a sign: Danube cycle path diversion. As the diversion had already taken me quite a way north and was now turning south and then north again, I thought I knew better and continued on what I thought was a straight and shorter route to St. Georgen. Unfortunately, what I didn't realise was that I had to tackle a strenuous hill near Luftenberg. In Mauthausen I had had enough of cycling and found accommodation in the GH Traube. Over dinner I met an Australian couple who were travelling to Vienna by car and visiting sights along the Danube. I was able to give them a few more ideas to take with them.

Day 9, Thu, 16. 6. 05
Dist: 104 km
Avg: 18.9 km/h
Asc: 110 m

Mauthausen - Spitz

From Mauthausen to Spitz I had a tailwind and my average speed rose to 21.5 km/h. I was already familiar with Grein. As I already knew Grein, I cycled straight over the Danube bridge to the south bank. I was delighted to see that the Danube cycle path had been resurfaced and was now a smooth ribbon of tarmac. This makes cycling fun - with little effort, gliding smoothly along with a light tailwind and enjoying the marvellous landscape.

In Ybbs I stayed on the right bank of the Danube, cycled through the town and then back along the Danube to Pöchlarn. To get back to the left bank, I used the new Danube bridge with its huge ramps for cyclists. There is a cycle information centre near Emmersdorf. There, with the help of the nice lady, I looked for and booked a room in Spitz.

In Spitz, I was superbly accommodated at the Hotel Goldenes Schiff. In the middle of the Wachau, I wanted to go to a wine tavern in the evening. I stopped off at Höllmüller, above the church, and found some nice neighbours to chat to.

Day 10, Fri, 17. 6. 05
Dist: 100 km zum Stephansplatz,
dann 11 km bis Ober St. Veit
Avg: 17.3 km/h
Asc: 225 m

Spitz - Vienna

The next morning I met the Australians from Mauthausen again. They had also stayed in Spitz and in the same hotel. They were surprised that I had travelled the long distance by bike. It had taken them that long with several stops by car. We had set off pretty much at the same time.
The cycle path through the Wachau is simply beautiful. I quickly reached Dürnstein, where you have to push your bike through the town. Shortly afterwards came Stein. To get to Krems, I cycled along the bumpy Steiner Landstrasse and enjoyed the many ancient houses. I cycled through the Steiner Tor gate into the pedestrian zone of Krems. Who was there to meet me? The Australians! After Krems, I stayed on the left bank of the Danube and only turned right again at the Altenwörth power station. At Zwentendorf, in the shadow of the nuclear power station that never went into operation, I took a short break at a cycling rest stop.

At Tulln, I decided to cycle through the town instead of along the Danube cycle path. Who did I meet in the centre of Tulln? The Australians, of course! They couldn't believe that I was already there. They drove straight from Krems to Tulln in their car.

Now the destination was already close, Greifenstein and Klosterneuburg flew past. The city limits of Vienna were already there. After Nussdorf, the cycle path leads along the Danube Canal into the city centre. But Spittelauer Lände was the end of the line. Closed due to construction work. No-one had thought to provide any information about where cyclists should continue. Fortunately, I had obtained a Vienna cycle map from the City of Vienna, which was very helpful. For me, a Danube cycle tour in Vienna only ends at Stephansplatz. Satisfied, I got off my bike there for a short break. Now it was only a short distance home. The cycle map helped me to find a cycle path from Stephansplatz to Ober St Veit and the Trazerberg. It was a marvellous feeling when I arrived HOME in our Viennese flat after a 1200 km ride. The evening ended at a Heurigen in Ober St Veit.

Wolfrathplatz mit Ober St. Veiter Kirche

The routes

More tour books

Passau - Krems

Danube cycle tour 2001

Passau - Wien

Danube cycle tour 2002

Impressions of the Danube cycle tour with lots of pictures and background information about the sights.

Cyclist symbol

Start in Donau­eschingen

Cyclist symbol

Start in Passau