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Danube Castles & Vineyards

Fortresses & vineyards of the Wachau
 
Cycle self-guided through the Danube’s most alluring scenery while your luggage is transported to your next high-quality hotel. Visit magnificent fortresses and abbeys en route, and sample top-quality wines from the Wachau region: one of Austria’s best kept secrets.
Danube Castles & Vineyards. 7 nights
Danube Castles & Vineyards. 7 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A cycling holiday along the Danube

Once fiercely contested because of its importance as a corridor between East and West, the Danube Valley today is gloriously tranquil. The glut of imposing fortresses, as well as many monasteries and abbeys, is testimony to those ancient struggles and is concentrated to most dramatic effect in the Wachau region. Along this winding, 40-kilometre stretch of the river, considered by many to be the most picturesque section of the Danube, you find wine-producing villages and distinctive, pastel-coloured houses clinging to hills clad with vineyards, forests and apricot orchards.
Featuring three 4-star hotels, this idyllic cycling route concentrates on the most alluring section of the Danube, between the historic town of Grein and the wine town of Krems, some 80 kilometres to the east. With bicycle tracks running along both banks and the best scenery within easy reach of the river, cycling is by far and away the best means of taking it all in. The wines of the Wachau, little-known outside of Austria, will delight and surprise you.

Is this the world's most relaxing cycling holiday?
Ben Ross from The Telegraph certainly thinks so, as he and his family take to two wheels to enjoy our cycling holiday along the Danube.
Read his full article here >
 

Book now for summer 2021

Our flexible booking arrangements, commitment to safety and financial protection mean that you can book with confidence. We are also keeping our prices the same next year, so you can book for summer 2021 at 2020 prices.

What we’re doing so you can book and travel with confidence >

This holiday is not available in 2020.
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.

Pay locally for all visits.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 2 4 10 16 20 23 26 25 21 15 8 3
    mm 31 32 45 43 62 72 68 61 42 37 46 36
  • Arrival in Maria Taferl
    Night 1: at Hotel Schachner (the first of two nights here)
    As your first night's accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of cycling.
  • Circular route from Maria Taferl: 37.5km; longer option 48.5km
    The day begins with a transfer upstream (pay locally) either by bus (Jul-Sep) or taxi, to Baroque Grein. Here, take time to explore the Old Town before boarding the small ferry with your bikes for the short crossing of the river to Wiesen (pay locally). After stopping for refreshments and to admire the 15th-century castle, you cycle back through the wooded Strudengau on the opposite bank of the Danube to reach Ybbs (there's a bike museum here) before crossing to Marbach – or you can extend your ride south of the river from Ybbs to Pöchlarn. Whichever option you choose, your route is almost entirely on the flat. Once in Marbach, you are collected and transferred the short distance to the hotel. While in Maria Taferl, take time to visit the village's Wallfahrtskirche (pilgrims' church), a splendid example of Baroque architecture with an ornate interior, two onion-domed steeples and marvellous views over the Danube.
  • Maria Taferl to Melk: 24km
    Leaving the Hotel Schachner-Krone, you cycle to the Habsburg castle at Artstetten. This was one of the homes of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and became his final resting place following his assassination in 1914, the event which sparked the First World War. Surrounded by English-style gardens, the castle now houses an extensive exhibition about his life, giving you an interesting insight into this keen huntsman and his marriage to Sophie Chotek, deemed an unsuitable alliance for the heir to the throne. After visiting the castle, you wind back to the river and into the town of Melk, western gateway to the Wachau, where you spend two nights at the Hotel-Restaurant zur Post.
    Maria Taferl to Melk: 24km
    Cycling through open farmland en route to Melk
  • Circular route from Melk: 18km
    We suggest just a short cycling circuit today so that you can spend the rest of your time exploring Melk. As you cycle – there are a few hills but the ascents are short – you can see for yourself how the views for miles around are dominated by Melk's Benedictine abbey, a huge, mustard-coloured celebration of Baroque architecture which stands on a granite bluff. The centrepiece of the abbey is its large, frescoed church with symmetrical spires and high octagonal dome. The well laid-out abbey gardens are worth a detour if only to stop off for 'Kaffee und Kuchen' in the elegant Baroque garden pavilion. Afterwards, take a stroll through Melk's Old Town, and seek out the Altes Posthaus, whose ornate stucco relief depicts horses' heads and eagles.
    Circular route from Melk: 18km
    Farmland framed by green hills on the circuit from Melk
  • Melk to Dürnstein: 29km
    Enjoy a superb riverside route through the Wachau, passing peach and apricot orchards as well as the seas of vines which yield the noble and versatile Riesling grape. You catch glimpses of the onion-domed castle of Schönbühel and, as the valley continues to narrow, you pass through the typical Wachau town of Aggsbach, beyond which are the impressive ruins and famous rose gardens of the castle at Aggstein. A good place to pause for lunch is Spitz, a wine-producing village with cobbled streets, a Gothic church with 14th-century sculptures of Christ and the Apostles, and a museum devoted to how villagers used to make their living from the Danube. Setting off once more, visit the vine-covered Tausendeimerberg, a hill named for its reputed ability to yield a thousand buckets of wine per season! One last village before Dürnstein is charming Weissenkirchen, renowned for its wines and its church, which appears more like a fortress than a place of worship. In Dürnstein, you stay two nights at the Gartenhotel Pfeffel.
    Melk to Dürnstein: 29km
    Orchards
  • Circular route from Dürnstein: 30km; longer option 37km
    Your first target on this circular route is Krems, surrounded by vine-clad hills. The sloping, cobbled streets of the Altstadt (Old Town) showcase a range of architectural styles dating from between the 13th and 17th centuries, a time of great prosperity for the town, including the Renaissance town hall, a Gothic church and a Baroque church with trompe-l'oeil masonry. It is also worth exploring the town's Stein district, with its Renaissance buildings (many with arcaded courtyards), handsome medieval squares and museum of modern art.
    Once you have explored, you have the option of continuing by bike (3.5km each way) to the exceptional Benedictine abbey at Göttweig, seated imperiously on a hill in the Dunkelsteiner Forest. Admire the abbey’s ornate Baroque interior, including the elaborate Imperial staircase, before cycling back to Rossatzbach where you catch the ferry to Dürnstein (pay locally).
    Boasting an idyllic location on the riverbank, Dürnstein itself is well worth exploring. The two main sights are the blue and white tower overlooking the water, and the castle in which Richard 'the Lionheart' was held for ransom for two years. Legend has it that he was eventually tracked down by a minstrel identifed as Jean II of Nesle, who was nicknamed 'Blondel' for his long blond hair.
    Circular route from Dürnstein: 30km
    Ripening fruit
  • Dürnstein to Maria Taferl: 34km
    Start the day by taking a river cruise to Spitz (included), a great way to enjoy a different perspective of the valley. At Spitz you pick up a leisurely, almost entirely flat, route along the sheer-sided valley back to Marbach, where a taxi will collect you for the short journey to Maria Taferl for a final dinner in the Hotel Schachner’s panoramic restaurant.
 

Accommodation

You stay in three family-run, high-quality hotels.

Please note: most beds in Austrian hotels are normally one large base with two mattresses/duvets. We refer to these as 'Austrian Twins' and they are locally regarded to serve requests for both double and twin bedded rooms. Separate twin beds or traditional double beds with one large mattress are rare and cannot be guaranteed.
 

Extend your stay

 

Summer 2021

We are keeping our prices the same, so you can book for summer 2021 at 2020 prices.
 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 7 nights: 02 May 2021 - 04 October 2021

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    2 - 21 May 2021 £1145 £195
    22 May - 27 Sep 2021 £1195 £195
    3rd & 4th person discount -£100
    Single traveller supplement £100

    Includes accommodation, meals, bike hire, luggage transfers and any other services integral to the holiday as described, plus cycling notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Electric bikes available: add £95 per person

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

    7 nights: 02 May 2021 - 04 October 2021

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    2 - 21 May 2021 £1215 £195
    22 May - 27 Sep 2021 £1265 £195
    3rd & 4th person discount -£155
    Single traveller supplement £155

    Includes all elements in the 'cycle price', plus a return ferry crossing between Dover and Calais with P&O Ferries for your party and one car.

    > More information about travelling self-drive

    Electric bikes available: add £95 per person

    A supplement of approximately £35 per car per single journey applies on certain dates over the Easter holidays. A supplement of approximately £47 per car per single journey applies outbound on Fridays & Saturdays and inbound on Saturdays & Sundays in late May/early June and during the school summer holidays. Please contact us for more details.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Hotel-Restaurant zur Post, Melk
    Junior suite: 02 May - 04 Oct 2021 £26
    'Komfort': 02 May - 04 Oct 2021 £16
    Suite: 02 May - 04 Oct 2021 £34
    Gartenhotel Pfeffel, Dürnstein
    Superior: 02 May - 30 Jun 2021 £35
    Superior: 01 Jul - 31 Jul 2021 £45
    Superior: 01 Aug - 04 Oct 2021 £35

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Prices include an extra day’s hire of a standard bike. If you are upgrading to an e-bike, add a further £6pp per day.
    Hotel-Restaurant zur Post, Melk (B&B) Double room Single room
    02 May - 04 Oct 2021 £90 £120
    Gartenhotel Pfeffel, Dürnstein (with dinner) Double room Single room
    02 May - 30 Jun 2021 £125 £155
    01 Jul - 31 Jul 2021 £115 £145
    01 Aug - 04 Oct 2021 £125 £155
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Vienna or Linz
    As an alternative to flying, we can arrange rail travel from London

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Vienna or Munich.  To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Vienna Austrian Airlines,  Eurowings 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Vienna easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Vienna easyJet,  jet2 
    Edinburgh - Vienna (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Vienna British Airways,  easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Vienna Austrian Airlines,  British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Vienna easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Vienna Eurowings,  Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Vienna Austrian Airlines,  easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Vienna (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Vienna or Munich.  To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £35 per person for our flight booking service (£60 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Unless otherwise stated, connecting travel by rail or bus tends to be from the city centre station, rather than from its airport, and connections between the two should be paid for locally.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Vienna

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Vienna Airport to Pöchlarn (1h30), hotel transfer Pöchlarn to hotel (0h15) £44 1700
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    hotel transfer to Pöchlarn (0h15), rail from Pöchlarn to Vienna Airport (1h30) £44 1230

    Connecting travel options - flying via Linz

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Linz Hauptbahnhof to Pöchlarn (1h-1h15), hotel transfer Pöchlarn to hotel (0h15) £44 1700
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    hotel transfer to Pöchlarn (0h15), rail from Pöchlarn to Linz Hauptbahnhof (1h15) £44 1300
What is included
  • 7 nights
  • 5 dinners
    7 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • high-quality bicycle
  • river cruise Durnstein to Spitz
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help.
  • We sincerely hope that your holiday experience will be as enjoyable as it would have been before the pandemic – cycling holidays are ideal in these times of social distancing, and we’re not operating holidays if the key highlights can no longer be delivered – but, naturally, there will be some changes to ensure your and other people’s safety.
    Your holiday experience: what to expect >
    Safety measures being taken by hoteliers & others >
  • Our chosen bike rental shop will provide you with a city trekking bike with 21 gears, panniers/saddlebags and a lock. Electric bikes are available as an upgrade (see price panel), subject to availability, and must be requested at the time of booking.
  • No. We recommend that you bring your own. (Helmets are obligatory for under 12s in Austria.)
  • Yes, we will provide GPX tracks for this holiday prior to departure so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. (We also provide maps and our tried-and-tested route notes.)
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. On mornings when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation so that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.
  • You do need to make sure you’re covered, because it’s you who is responsible for any damage to or loss of the bike during the holiday. You should always lock it (preferably to an immovable object) and remove any easy-to-steal accessories when leaving it unattended. The travel insurance policy that we offer covers you for loss and damage (provided you’ve locked or stored it appropriately). If you are arranging your own insurance, but it doesn’t cover bikes, we can provide bike-only cover. See the FAQs section of the main cycling holidays page for more details.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £35 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £60 per person. More information on flights >
  • Absolutely! We are experts in tailored rail travel. Making use of sleeper trains or stopovers in cities along the route, we can get you from London to virtually anywhere in mainland Europe. We can even make arrangements to Mallorca, Sicily and Norway with a combination of ferries and rail. Please contact Abi and Lizzie to discuss your plans.
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted to book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our travel insurance policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    We'll ask you for the details of your alternative policy (insurer, policy number and medical emergency phone number) so that we can help out if the worst happens while you are on holiday. It's up to you, though, to check that your policy covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs; we don't check alternative policies.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Austria, but not a visa. If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice for UK citizens can be found through the Travel Health Pro website. You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance.
  • (Austrian) German is the most commonly spoken language. The currency is the Euro. Austrian time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • At Inntravel we work in close partnership with our hoteliers, taxi drivers and other local suppliers to provide our self-guided holidays directly to you. We are entirely confident that you will continue to receive the usual warm welcome from them, regardless of what is happening in the European political sphere.

    When the UK withdrew from the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020, it entered an 11-month transition period that will last until the end of December 2020. During this transition period there will be absolutely no changes to current arrangements for UK citizens travelling to an EU destination, so you can book your 2020 holiday certain that there will be no disruptions or complications caused by Brexit.
  • The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
Last fetch time is : 10/21/2020 4:27:50 PM