Active holiday in Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, Austria

Bike cruise on Danube through several countries

On this amazing cruise through 4 countries: Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, it's now the 4-star boat, MS Carissima, that sails the route, and this is also the most luxurious boat we have on offer.

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A wonderful tour from Passau to Budapest and back again with MS Carissima

For several years now, Ruby has had this popular cycling cruise on offer. Both the sailing and cycling route follows the beautiful Danube (Donau) river, which winds its way through the former imperial and royal monarchy, Austria-Hungary. The bike cruise starts in Passau in Southern Germany and goes through Austria's diverse and beautiful landscapes, mysterious Slovakia and Hungary known for its Puszta steppe and colourful spices. You'll visit no less than three capitals: Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest, before returning to Passau.

The daily self-guided cycling stages are on almost flat cycling paths along the banks of the Danube river. You decide the pace, when to take breaks and the sights you wish to see along the way. Everywhere there are cosy villages, impressive castles, mighty castle ruins and lovely green vineyards in the Wachau area, which is a UNESCO natural heritage site.

If there are days when you do not want to go cycling, you can stay on board the 4-star boat MS Carissima and enjoy the views from the sun deck. 

We also offer a bike holiday going from hotel to hotel along the Danube river from Passau to Vienna incl. luggage transport - Read more here.


Again in 2018, the tour will be with the 4-star boat MS Carissima. It was built in 1998 and renovated during winter 2016/17.  
75 outside cabins spread over 3 decks: main deck, middle deck and upper deck. The cabins are larger (14 m2) and more luxurious than on our other boats on the Danube. The double bed can be converted into two single beds.  
All cabins have air conditioning, private bathroom with shower and hairdryer, TV and safe. The windows can be opened in the cabins on the middle and upper decks. The windows on the main deck are a little smaller and cannot be opened.  
A few cabins at the front and aft of the ship have more engine noise. These cabins cost 525 DKK/person less on the main deck and 750 DKK/person less on the middle deck.

In addition to the restaurant, a panoramic lounge with bar and a library, there is a spa area with jacuzzi and sauna.
On the sun deck there are sun loungers and a swimming pool (available June-August).

Wi-Fi is available on board (the quality of the connection may vary depending on the ship's location - payment on board). 

The tour is with full board: buffet breakfast, small lunch on board or packed lunch for the bike ride, and in the evening, a 3-course dinner where most days you can choose between two main courses. There is live music every evening, and on the final evening there is a gala dinner with a 4-course festive menu, a farewell cocktail and entertainment by the ship's crew.

Please keep in mind that the boat caters to an international crowd, and that you will meet many different nationalities on board. 
Every day the tour guide on board will hold an information meeting in English and German.


Day 1. Arrival in Passau
Passau is located where the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers meet. If you arrive in Passau with time to spare, we recommend you take a stroll through the cobblestoned streets and listen to the town hall carillon or check out one of the world's largest pipe organs in the amazingly beautiful cathedral.
Check-in on the boat is at 16.30h and departure for an evening sail to Engelhartszell is at 18.00h.

Day 2. Engelhartszell – Aschach  approx. 42 km of cycling
In Austria's only Trappist Monastery, located in Engelhartszell, you can taste their delicious locally produced liqueurs and cheeses. From Engelhartszell you cycle through the romantic river valley "Donauschlinge", where the river turns 180 degrees, and which is one of the most beautiful landscapes on the whole tour. After crossing the river with one of the small bicycle ferries, you can enjoy the most beautiful panoramic sceneries while cycling through pleasant villages with winding streets and "beer gardens", tempting you to make a stop and get a well-deserved and refreshing radler (half beer, half soda). In the charming market town of Aschach, you again board the Carissima and sail to Devín in Slovakia.

Day 3. Devín – Bratislava, 18-43 km of cycling
You cycle along the former Iron Curtain and across the "Green Belt ", which was a no man's land during the Cold War, where nature was allowed to flourish without outside influence, and where wildlife could travel freely through Europe. You will pass by the impressive Imperial Palace, Schloss Hof, with its terraced park. The route also runs through Austria's 'vegetable garden' and along the slopes of the Little Carpathians mountain range. After arriving in Bratislava, you have the choice of going on a guided city tour (not included). Late in the evening we'll sail to Budapest.

Day 4. Budapest or Szentendre, approx. 54 km of cycling or free day
From the sun deck you can enjoy the stunning scenery when entering Budapest.
World-famous sights are located right on the river, such as the impressive government buildings, the Market Hall with Hungarian specialties and crafts, the small Margaret Island, which is ideal for a short bike ride, and parks with lovely green spaces.
The day is at your disposal and you can choose between two different excursions, by bus or by bike. You can also choose to cycle to the charming town of Szentendre which exudes atmosphere.
The evening can be enjoyed with music and a great view of the illuminating parliament buildings located right on the river.


Day 5. Budapest – Esztergom, approx. 43 km of cycling
The cycle route from Visegrad to Szentendre is beautiful and romantic, after which you take a ferry following the curves of the river. After the day's cycling, it's a must to explore Esztergom where Hungary's largest Catholic church, the Basilica, is a great piece of cultural heritage and a beauty in itself. In Esztergom you again board the boat to enjoy your dinner and sail to Vienna/Nussdorf.

Day 6. Vienna, Free day
You can spend this day in several ways depending on your wishes and interests. An interesting guided tour of Vienna is offered, either by bike or by bus. You can also choose to do a city tour on your own with a possible visit to the amusement park Wiener Prater. Or you can bike to the Viennese car-free vacation paradise, Donauinsel, an artificial island in the middle of the river with crisscrossing bike paths, swimming possibilities and cosy rest areas everywhere. Late in the evening we sail to Krems.
In the evening it's possible to go to a classical music concert (not included). 

Day 7. Krems – Melk, approx. 37 km of cycling
The last beautiful cycling stage of the tour starts in Krems and goes through one of Austria's most beautiful landscapes, the Wachau wine region, which is now a UNESCO natural heritage site. You will experience the magnificent village of Dürnstein with its mountaintop castle and old winding cobblestone streets, beautiful vineyards, lovely vistas and small wine villages with cosy 'gasthöfe' and a local atmosphere. This is the heart of Wachau where you can taste the local Marillen liqueur or maybe just enjoy the ambiance and landscapes before boarding the boat again in Melk.
After a wonderful day of cycling, we'll celebrate this last evening of the tour with a gala dinner and entertainment on board.


Day 8. Passau, Checkout
During breakfast you can enjoy the last beautiful sailing through the Danube Valley, before arriving in Passau at approx. 10.00h, followed by your individual return journey home. It's recommended that any train tickets you wish to book is with departure no earlier than 11.00h, as delays may occur.

Travel Info

The cycling distances are subject to change. Often it is possible to make the cycle route shorter or longer.

In case of e.g. changed water levels on the Danube, the itinerary may vary but the programme above will always be endeavoured to be completed.
You can book extra nights at a hotel in Passau before or after the tour if you wish to extend your vacation with a few days. 


- City tour by train and on foot 

- City tour by bike or with the HOP ON HOP OFF bus
- Budapest by night + traditional Hungarian folklore show 

- City tour by bike or by bus
- Classical music concert in one of Vienna's famous palaces

- Wine tasting at a local wine producer

Prior to departure a more detailed excursion program with prices will be sent. The excursions are booked and paid for on board.
Departure every Sunday from 29th of April to 7th of October 2018.

Degree of difficulty and maps

The week's total cycling distance is approx. 200 km in easy and flat terrain along the river. The daily stages vary from approx. 18 to 54 km, with the possibility to shorten the route on the longer stages. There are two free days, one in Vienna and one in Budapest, where you'll only go cycling if you've signed up for a guided tour.

In Austria the route is on paved cycle paths without car traffic, so you can really enjoy the view, nature and clean air while riding your bike and relishing the absence of car noise. In Hungary, however, you'll also cycle on gravel roads or on small secondary roads with little traffic.

Good, detailed cycling maps are provided (1 set per cabin), so it's easy to find your way. In addition, every evening the following day's stage is reviewed in English and German by the boat's tour guide.  

Bikes and cycling equipment

You can rent bikes or choose to bring your own.

The rental bikes are 21/24-gear UNISEX bikes with low entry. These only have hand brakes.  

When booking the tour, please indicate your height (and the desired bike type).  
You can also rent an electric bike (without foot brake) if you need a little extra help with the pedalling. 

The bike rental includes: bike bag, 1 bicycle patch kit, 1 bicycle repair tool kit and 1 lock.

We recommend using bicycle helmets. If you don't bring your own, helmets can be bought on board. Pre-order, if applicable.

In Austria it is mandatory for children up to 12 years to wear bike helmets while it is voluntary for adults.
In Slovakia it is mandatory for all cyclists to wear a helmet except when cycling through villages.
In Slovakia and Hungary you must wear special safety vests as a cyclist. These are free to borrow on board.

If you choose to bring your own bike, a handling fee of 15 € will be charged (to be paid from home in advance). 

How to get there

As a rule, you must arrange your own transport to Passau in Southern Germany where the tour starts and ends. 

Munich is the nearest airport. Transport onwards from Munich to Passau by bus and train, approx. 2 hours travel time.
Alternatively, you can fly to Vienna. From Vienna to Passau it's approx. 3 hours travel time.
A summary of flight options can be found here: Momondo  

Ruby can assist in booking airfares at the daily rate plus a handling fee of 300 DKK per ticket. The plane ticket must be paid together with the deposit and will be purchased only upon registration of payment. The price quoted is therefore subject to change until the ticket has been purchased.

Check departures and prices on Deutsche Bahn’ website (German rail service). Please note that the cheapest ticket prices are continuously adjusted according to the demand.
Please contact Deutsche Bahn’s sales office for further assistance.

You can find driving directions on Google Maps.

Parking in Passau in parking garage
Parking is available to book online up to 10 days prior to arrival at, and you will receive a receipt by email. Bus and luggage transfer to the boat is included in the parking fee.  
Outdoor parking costs 66 EUR/week and indoor parking costs 77 EUR/week and is to be paid locally.

Your travel information will contain more detailed information about arrival and departure.

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Practical information

The price includes:

  • Accommodation in outside double cabin with air conditioning and private bath/toilet
  • Daily cleaning of the cabin (change of towels and bed linen when needed)
  • Full board - breakfast, lunch buffet or packed lunch, 3-course dinner menu with a choice of 2-3 main courses 
  • Daily afternoon coffee and cake
  • Bedtime snack
  • 4-course festive dinner, cocktail and entertainment on the last night
  • Welcome meeting and welcome drink
  • Detailed travel information
  • Detailed cycling maps (1 set per cabin is provided on board)
  • Guidebook with descriptions of route, sights and practical information
  • English/German-speaking tour guide on board
  • Daily information meetings (in English/German)
  • Port fees, 63 EUR for people over 12 years old
  • Contribution to the Danish Travel Guarantee Fund
  • Best Price Guarantee



  • The journey to/from Passau
  • Bike rental – 21 gears: (Bikes with 7 gears are on request)
  • Bike rental – electric bike
  • Riverboats when crossing the river. Estimate 2-3 EUR per crossing per person (about 14 EUR in total)
  • Cancellation and travel insurance


The tour price does not include gratuity (tips). It's standard to tip the crew. The level is approx. 5 EUR per person per day.


NB: All cabins are on request. We therefore recommend that you book the tour with us before arranging flights/trains/buses to the destination. 


Terms & Conditions:

Ruby is the agent and intermediary for this tour. The organizer is Rad & Reisen, and the tour takes place according to the organizer's terms & conditions.

See terms & conditions and read about Rad & Reisen here

Your tour is still covered by Ruby's membership of the Danish Travel Guarantee Fund, member no. 206.

Ruby has a price match guarantee, so we'll match the price if it is cheaper with another provider at the time of booking. 


And remember - you can always take advantage of our expertise and guidance. 

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