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The Danube from Passau to Vienna

danube silhuoette.jpg

There are 6 things you dream of on a cycling holiday: flat, smooth tarmac, beautiful scenery, easy
navigation, delicious food, a welcoming bed and an enticing final destination. The Danube River has it
all. Flowing thousands of miles through Europe down to the Black Sea, the Danube is one of the World’s
majestic rivers, dividing nations, uniting them by trade and creating a perfect cycle route at the same time.
It is a heady mix of history, landscape, wildlife and delicious beer and wine.
The Danube is not just for long-distance loonies. It is for everyone. Today alone I rode past families,
young couples, septaguanarians and even a lady with a pair of crutches on the back of her bike, all
enjoying the traffic-free cycle paths. Every junction is perfectly signposted, whether the path is winding
through head-high cornfields, beside the river, through whitewashed, red-roofed villages, vineyards,
orchards or deep in spectacular forested gorges past imposing castles.
The journey is a cruise -20, 40, 60 miles a day- any distance is realistic. It is entirely up to you. Flat
tarmac solely for bicycles and warm autumnal days mean the miles flow easily. It is impossible to
imagine a set-up more suited for cycling. Beer gardens lie beside the trail, tempting you with morning tea,
lunchtime beers and meals and afternoon cakes and coffee. All this and the glorious Danube sliding by
may well seriously limit the number of miles cycled each day! For those whose appetite outstretches their
wallet (like me), village stores and supermarkets guarantee regular breaks for enormous cheese and ham
baguettes on the river banks. Every two or three miles is a small village, each with several guesthouses
welcoming weary cyclists with Austrian hospitality and fine food. Frequent campsites cater for those on a
tighter budget.
From Passau (near the German-Austrian border) to Vienna is 200 miles, an ideal distance for a
relaxing week away, or why not spend a few days in Vienna as a memorable climax to your journey? As I
continue my round the world journey, this stage will really take some beating.

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