I was lucky enough to spend some time out of the office and cycled along the Danube river in April on our Passau to Budapest Bike and Boat tour. I traded my flat for a river cruiser and called ship MV Carissima my new home for the week. 4 countries, 3 capitals and countless charming tiny villages later I returned home, with a list of my personal favourites, hidden gems and delicious food that I am about to share with you.
If you have a pre-tour night or some time before making it to your river cruiser, the St Stephen’s Cathedral in the old town of Passau won’t disappoint. Established in 1668, this old church in baroque style is an architectural gem. Fun fact: It has the largest pipe organ outside of the USA.
Have you even been to Hungary if you haven’t tried their national dish? You should try the authentic ‘Gulyás’ while visiting. It’s typically a soup or stew of meat, vegetables, potatoes, and seasoned with paprika and other spices. I found a great place that served goulash, not far from the mooring location of the boat in Budapest called Café Dumas.
In my opinion, one of the most charming and authentic villages along the route in the Wachau region of Austria. It’s famed for its vineyards, saffron and apricots. Apricots really are its signature product, with a wide range of apricot liquors, jams, shampoos, soaps and pastries. Enjoy a short break before leaving the town as the views here are unique.
With limited time, it’s difficult to know what you must-see. Having had the castle in your view at the end of your cycle from Devin, you must agree it’s a stunning sight. Save some energy in your tired (read: trained!) legs to climb the many stairs that lead to the castle. You will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the entire city. Trust me, it’s worth it!
On your cycle from Rossatz to Melk, you will cycle through the Wachau Valley that’s famed for its Grüner Veltliner. Very few wine lovers outside Austria have heard about this white wine, which is a grape variety known for its quality and character. As you cycle through historic St Michaels, you will reach a restaurant called Klosterhof, where a glass of locally produced Grüner Veltliner can be enjoyed!
Budapest is incredible, and easily one of the best European cities that I have visited. After having explored most of its unique UNESCO sites, and having explored both sides of the river, there was nothing nicer than enjoying views over the illuminated city from the comfort of your river cruiser.
Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna is one of Austria’s most important cultural heritage sites. Whether you visit for the day, a few hours or you catch a glimpse of it from the Hop On/Hop Off bus, you have got to experience its sheer size. Top tip: If the classical waltz and operetta concert in Vienna (optional!) is held at this venue, you must experience it.
There are so many unique experiences like these along the way and I would recommend this cycling adventure along the Danube to anyone, it really is a great way to see so many countries and cultures in just one week. For more information, you can contact one of our destination specialists who will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have about the Danube Bike & Boat: Passau to Budapest.