Prepare yourself for a memorable journey down the infamous Danube River on a boat and bicycle touring adventure through four magical European countries: Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.
The Danube Waltz Boat & Bike Tour with Rad & Reisen is a unique cycling/cruise ship holiday that, over the course of eight enjoyable days, takes you from beautiful Passau, Germany (in the north-west) to the historic city of Budapest, Hungary (in the south-east). Along the way you will travel through the cities of Linz and Vienna, Austria; Bratislava, Slovakia; and many more charming towns and villages along the way.
While on tour, you will eat and sleep on board the MS My Story, a 105 meter-long ship with 87 total cabins and a maximum passenger capacity of 174. This spacious river cruiser also has a full restaurant/dining area, hotel reception desk, bar, sauna, book and magazine library, and a panorama salon on the boat’s top deck.
Passengers who choose to participate in this unique cycling-themed holiday come from multiple countries all around the world, although German-speaking travelers are most common. Therefore, the two languages spoken on board the ship are German (first) and English (second). The mix of cultures and backgrounds makes for an exciting and enjoyable experience for everyone on board.
If you’re looking for a relaxing, yet memorable bicycle holiday to partake in this spring or summer, consider a journey on the MS My Story and waltz your way from Passau to Budapest on an incredible boat and bicycle touring holiday with Rad & Reisen.
Important Tour Information:
- Total Number of Days: 8
- Price: €598 Euros ($815 USD) and up per person
- Tour Languages: German and English
- Tour Participants come mainly from: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Finland and Norway.
- Age of the average tour participant: 60
- Starting location: Passau, Germany
- Ending location: Passau, Germany
- Total days of cycling: 4 (plus optional city bike tours in Budapest and Vienna)
- Approximate distance cycled throughout the tour: 235 km+ / 149 miles+
- Average daily cycling distance: 47 km / 30 miles
Who Is This Bike Tour Designed For?
The Danube Waltz Boat & Bike Tour with Rad & Reisen is a relaxing bicycle-themed holiday designed for even the most inexperienced bicycle rider. With the average tour participant being around the age of 60, this tour is not meant to be a difficult or fast-paced sprint along the Danube River, but is meant to be a slow, easy, and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
The sections of the river that you will be cycling during the course of this tour are incredibly flat, with only a few very gradual up or downhill sections. If you can ride a bike, you can probably complete this bicycle tour with little to no difficulty. The average daily distance of 30 miles per day may be a bit of challenge for some, but due to lack of terrain on the selected routes, and because of Europe’s incredible network of bicycle paths, this is a tour that even the most inexperienced bike riders can tackle with relative ease.
If you are not a cyclist, or you find that you simply aren’t up to riding one day, that’s okay as well. Many of the people who join the Danube Waltz boat and bike tour opt to stay on the ship throughout the tour, or to only get off the boat when it docks in a city of particular interest.
If you are a cyclist with loads of experience and are looking for a serious bike riding adventure, this is probably not the tour for you. But if you want to have a peaceful, scenic and enjoyable riverboat cruise while eating delicious food, interacting with friendly people from all over the world and also spending a fair amount of time riding your bike along one of Europe’s most iconic rivers, then this might just be the cycling-themed holiday you’ve been dreaming about!
What Is Your Typical Day On Tour Like?
Breakfast begins around 7 AM each morning and runs until around 9 AM. The meal consists of a buffet-style breakfast with bread, deli meats, yogurt, fruit, orange juice, coffee, tea and a whole lot more. You simply take what you want and then return to your table to eat with those who have come with you on the tour, and those you have met on board the ship.
There are then two different types of days on board the Danube Waltz boat and bike tour. The first type of day is that in which the mail goal is to cycle along the edge of the Danube river. The second type of day is when you take a rest from the bikes and instead, stop to explore one of the major cities along the way (Bratislava or Vienna).
On a cycling day, you will eat breakfast and then be asked to make a sandwich for your packed lunch, which you will carry with you on your bicycle and eat at any point you wish throughout your bike ride. After packing you lunch, you will exit the ship and be given a bicycle, which is assigned to you for the duration of the tour.
After you’ve found and prepared your bicycle for the day, you’ll then be free to travel the pre-designed path on your own. You can choose who you ride with each day, how fast you wish to cycle, which particular route you wish to follow, and when you’d like to stop and rest or eat along the way. Each day of cycling on the tour is different and there is a good mix of scenery on each of the bicycle rides.
You’ll need to be back on the ship in time for dinner, so you’ll need to be back on board the ship before 4 or 5 PM each day. The boat staff will take your bicycle for you and load it back onto the ship. You are then free to return to your cabin, take a shower, and prepare for dinner.
Around 7 PM each night, dinner is served in the ship’s large and impressive dining hall/restaurant. You’ll be assigned a particular table to sit at at the start of the tour, and you’ll be asked to stay at that table for the duration of the week. When dinner begins, a three-course meal will be presented to you. You will have chosen your dinner the night before from three distinct options, so you will have the choice of a meat, fish or vegetarian meal option, as well as from two different types of desserts.
After dinner, you have the choice to return to your cabin, hang out on the top deck of the boat, or socialize in the ship’s entertainment room, where live music is played and dancing is known to occasionally break out. Eventually, however, everyone on board the ship soon goes to bed and you wake up the next morning to do it all over again!
On non-cycling days, the schedule is very similar, but ever-so-slightly different. On the two major rest days in Budapest, Hungary and Vienna, Austria, you will have the choice of participating in one or two of three extra activities, you may choose to simply stay on the ship, or you are free to roam around the city on your own.
In Budapest you have the choice of participating in a guided bike tour around the city (€22), a hop on-hop off bus tour of the city (€22), or a nighttime city tour by bus with an included Hungarian folklore show. (€36)
In Vienna, you have the choice of participating in another guided bike tour around the city (€24), a city tour by bus (€24), or an evening Waltz and Operetta concert (€40).
Additional excursions are also available during the stop in Bratislava (an old-timer city walk for €15) and a wine tasting in Wachau, Austria (for €6).
If you choose to participate in any of these extra excursions, you will return to the boat each night in time for dinner and dessert, and then you will retire to your cabin on board the MS My Story at the end of the day.
Highlights From The Tour
During the course of the week, there are so many wonderful memories to take away from the experience. For me, however, these are just some of the wonderful highlights from the boat and bicycle tour down the Danube River with Rad & Reisen:
Exploring Passau, Germany on foot at the start of the tour.
Cycling along the Danube’s Schlogen Loop.
Exploring the Devin Castle in Slovakia.
Exploring old town Bratislava.
Our rest day in Budapest, Hungary.
Bike rides and ferryboat crossings in the Hungarian Countryside.
Pirate night in the dinning room.
Exploring the Ring Road in Vienna, Austria.
Hiking to the top of the Kuenringer Castle.
Cycling through dozens of charming Austrian villages.
Meeting so many lovely people throughout the duration of the tour.
What Are The Meals Like?
When you return to your cabin each night after dinner, you will find a piece of paper has been left for you. On this piece of paper will be laid out the meal options for the following day. If you are staying on the boat for lunch (rather than taking a packed lunch with you), then you will be presented with three meal choices. Dinner as well consists of three meal choices (a meat option, a fish option, and a vegetarian option). Finally, two dessert choices are made available.
Below, for example, is a detailed breakdown of the meal options on just one day of the Danube Waltz boat and bike tour:
Buffet Breakfast: Bread rolls, sliced bread, butter, jams, Nutella, cheese, sliced meat, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggs, various juices, french toast, coffee, tea, granola, various nuts, dehydrated fruits, croissants, yogurts and more.
Packed Lunch: Sandwich of your own making using the ingredients available at the breakfast buffet (bread, sliced cheese, deli meats, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, butter), plus a granola bar and an orange or apple packed in a paper bag.
Lunch on board the boat: Wiener-Schnitzel with parsley potatoes and salad Triple… or Vegetable stuffed cabbage leaf in tomato sauce… or Pure polenta with Provincial vegetables.
Dinner: Tafelspitz with root vegetables… or Milled fish steak with herb couscous… or Tagliatelle with broccoli and blue cheese.
Dessert: Homemade apple strudel with vanilla-sauce and mint cream… or a cheese plate with grapes and crackers.
Overall, the food on board the MS My Story is really, really good. When I asked everyone at my table, and various other people on board the ship to rate the food on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, I was given a consistent rating of 8 in response.
My favorite meals of the day were breakfast, because there was a great variety of food available and you could pick and choose whatever you liked.
The packed lunches worked well when we were cycling. We got to make our own sandwiches in the morning, using the bread, cheese, vegetables and other items that were included with the breakfast buffet, and we combined that sandwich with a granola bar and a piece of fruit for the perfect on-the-road meal.
Finally, dinners were the largest and most extravagant meals each day and surely required the most preparation from the kitchen staff. With three different choices of meals each evening, there was almost always something to choose from to make you happy.
If you have an allergy or are simply unable to eat a certain food, the kitchen staff went out of their way to please you. One woman at our table was unable to eat anything with lactose in it, so she simply notified the kitchen staff in advance of her arrival and special meals were prepared for her each night. She was extremely impressed with just how well the ship’s cook and kitchen staff did in preparing her meals each day.
As a vegetarian myself, I found the vegetarian meals on board the ship to be quite delicious. However, there are several different types of vegetarian (those that eat eggs, fish, chicken, cheese, dairy products… and of course, those that don’t eat animal products of any kind). Many of the vegetarian meals on board the ship included eggs or cheese and were therefore inedible for those with very specific dietary wishes (For example, I will eat cheese, but not eggs). I think the vegetarian meal options could be improved in the future if they were prepared as a solely vegan meal, as this would keep almost every type of “vegetarian” on board the ship happy. Plus, optional food items (such as eggs and cheese) could easily be added to most vegan meals if they were truly wanted.
Overall, I too would give the food a rating of 8 out of 10. I’m an extremely picky eater, but I never went hungry and I thoroughly enjoyed most of the meals I ate on board the ship.
What Are The Bicycles Like?
When you participate in the Danube Waltz boat and bike tour with Rad & Reisen, you have the choice of using one of four different types of bicycles:
- a 7-speed cruiser bike
- a 21-speed cruiser bike
- an electric assist bicycle (that has a small motor in it)
- or a bicycle of your own that you bring with you on the tour
The bikes that are used on this tour may not be the type or style of bike that you have at home, but the bicycles that Rad & Reisen makes available on this tour are perfectly designed for the type of riding that you will be doing over the course of the week. The bikes are designed to be comfortable on your back, neck and body, but not to get you to your destination in any type of record setting time. And because the routes that have been selected for this bicycle tour are almost entirely flat, these bicycles are all you really need to get you over the short distances that are covered on this type of bicycle tour.
The bicycles that Rad & Reisen provides are in good condition, but my only complaint with these bikes is that that seats are incredibly uncomfortable after a full day of riding… and I know that other tour participants were complaining about the seats as well. The large, cushy seats that are mounted on these bicycles may be comfortable to older individuals going on just very short, local bike rides. But on longer rides (like the 30 mile rides you are required to do on this bike tour), your butt will be pretty sore at the end of the day. Therefore, if you are concerned about the comfort of your bicycle while you are on tour, I suggest you consider packing your own bicycle saddle. It’s an easy thing to pack and, if positioned correctly on your provided tour bicycle, will ensure you enjoy every minute of your cycling experience along the Danube River.
Other Important Things To Know About This Bike Tour
- In addition to the cost of the bike tour itself, you will need to get yourself to and from Passau, Germany for the start and finish of the tour. This means paying for your flight, train, bus, food and/or hotel reservations along the way.
- Navigating the routes on this bike tour via GPS is not necessary, although the company will provide you with that information if you want it.
- At the start of the tour you will be given a well-designed booklet containing all the information you need to know for the duration of the tour. This booklet contains maps of the routes you will be cycling each day, information on the sights you can expect to see throughout the tour, and details on the optional excursions that the company has made available.
- The excursions that are offered throughout the bicycle tour do cost extra. If you were to do all the optional excursions, you would end up paying approximately €143 Euro ($192 USD) extra per person. That being said, there are excursion packages available (€57 and €127) that make it slightly less expensive should you choose to participate in all or most of the possible excursions.
- The cabins on board the ship are small, but comfortable. In the cabins on the main deck there is one bed that folds out of the wall and another bed that folds out from underneath the couch. A small closet, sink and bathroom with a toilet and shower is also found in each cabin. The larger rooms on the upper deck of the boat feature a slightly larger room with larger beds and storage areas.
- You will have to pay extra for any drinks that you consume on board the ship when you eat lunch or dinner on board the ship. Wine, soda, and even still water are billed to your room over the course of the cruise. (Personally, I think still water should always be free, and I know several others on board the ship found finding water to be quite difficult.)
- You will need to pay for almost everything in Euros on this bike tour. Only when you are in Hungary will you need to pay for things in Hungarian Forints – but even in Hungary you can get away with Euros most of the time. Obtaining the local currencies is easy, as ATMs are available at multiple locations along the Danube.
- There is a full cleaning staff on board the ship. These staff members are not only responsible for cleaning your towels and linens, but will enter your room when you are at breakfast in order to make up your beds and clean your rooms. They will enter your room again at the end of the day, when you are at dinner, and prepare your beds for the evening. If you wish to do your laundry while you are on board the ship, this can also be done for you, at an additional cost.
- There is no smoking on board the ship (in your cabin, the restaurant, bar or lounge areas), although smoking is allowed on the open sundeck at the top of the boat. As a non-smoker, I only once saw (or smelled) someone smoking on the top deck of the boat.
- Phone and Internet access is available on board the ship in certain locations – at an additional fee (about €2.50 per hour).
- If you are a vegetarian, vegan, or have any other special dietary needs, it is best that you notify the company at least 14 days before the start of the tour, so that they have the time necessary to make the needed adjustments to their regular meal plan.
- A tip/gratuity will be collected for the entire boat staff at the end of the cruise. It is suggested by the company that an amount of €5-6 Euros ($7-8 USD) per person, per day, be gifted at the end of the tour. This amounts to approximately €40-48 Euros ($55-65 USD) per tour participant. The cruise director is not included in this tipping system, however, so an additional tip/gratuity may also be necessary.
- If you have any additional questions about participating in this unique and memorable bicycle-themed holiday along the infamous Danube river, just get in touch with the Rad & Reisen bike tour company directly. They are very quick to respond to any messages that you send them and they go out of their way to help you in any way that they can.
Would I Recommend The Danube Waltz Boat & Bike Tour?
Absolutely! The Danube Waltz boat and bike tour with Rad & Reisen is a wonderful bicycle touring experience. A superb mix of luxury and adventure, this week-long holiday will allow you to travel through four different European countries while dining like a King or Queen, making new friends from all around the world, and having the time of your life!
Whether you are a cycling fanatic or someone with very little cycling experience, this is a fun, relaxing and enjoyable bicycle touring adventure that almost anyone can enjoy.
To learn more about the Danube Waltz boat and bike tour with Rad & Reisen, or any of the other bicycle tours that the company has on offer, be sure to visit the official Rad & Reisen website at: www.radreisen.at or contact the company directly through their European hotline at: 0043-1-405-3873
Click here to see more photos from my experience on the Danube Waltz boat and bike tour.