In 2011, Austria’s Danube Bicycle Path has remained the most popular of the more than 200 bicycle-tour routes in 35 European countries offered by...

In 2011, Austria’s Danube Bicycle Path has remained the most popular of the more than 200 bicycle-tour routes in 35 European countries offered by BikeToursDirect, which represents more than 50 local European bike-tour companies in North America.

Bicycle tours along the Danube Bicycle Path represent nearly 20 per cent of the company’s 2011 bookings, according to BikeToursDirect.

The well-marked Danube Bike Path offers car-free cycling through some of Austria's most beautiful towns and the picturesque countryside beside the River Danube

Offering cycling on a dedicated, paved bicycle path, tours along the Danube take cycle tourists through medieval towns, farmlands and vineyards. BikeToursDirect represents five Austrian and German bicycle tour companies that operate tours along this route and offers 14 different Danube tours.

“The Danube Bike Path is by far our top seller and has been since BikeToursDirect started eight years ago,” says Jim Johnson, BikeToursDirect founder and president. “It’s especially popular among families and first-time cycle tourists because it’s flat, well-marked and on a dedicated asphalt path away from traffic. Daily distances are also low, so there’s plenty of time to explore and sightsee.”

A couple relaxes next to the Danube Bike Path. The River Danube runs behind them and a medieval village can be seen in the background, overlooked by the ruins of an ancient castle

The typical tour along the Danube Bike Path lasts one week and begins in Passau, Germany (known as the “City of Three Rivers”) and ends in Vienna, Austria’s capital city.

“Cycle tourists can choose a variety of tour options, including self-guided, guided or bike and boat tours,” says Johnson. “The Danube also offers good ‘bail-out’ options if a cycle tourist gets tired. In some places cyclists can roll their bikes onto a train or boat to the next town.”

Austria's Danube Bike Path is well-marked, so cycle tourists can enjoy the landscape without fear of getting lost

Low tour prices are also a factor in the route’s popularity. Self-guided tours start at under $800 for one week and include hotels, breakfasts, luggage transfers, detailed maps, route information and a service hotline in case any questions or problems arise. Danube tours take four primary forms:

● Self Guided: The self-guided tour from Passau to Vienna is the most popular tour and can be customized based on preferences for interests, daily mileage and trip duration. Rest days can be built in along the way so cycle tourists can explore an area in greater depth and return to base each night;

● Guided: The guided tour from Passau to Vienna is a popular choice for cycle tourists interested in a more structured schedule in a group atmosphere, with a guide to point out historic sights. Guided tours also add dinners and a support van;

● Bike and Boat: Cycle tourists stay on a comfortable boat (cabins with private facilities and air conditioning), while cycling at different locales on the Danube Bike Path each day. Cyclists (or non-cyclists) have the option each day to take a break and travel by boat to the next destination; and

● Family Tour: The family tour, which can be guided or self-guided, offers shorter daily distances, due in part to scheduled boat rides along the route on many days. The tour features stays in family-friendly hotels, and incorporates child-friendly attractions and activities such as a fairy-tale ride on the grotto railway, visits to zoos and an adventure park, and a ride on the giant Ferris wheel in the famous Prater amusement park in Vienna.

The Danube Bike Path takes bicycle tourists past riverside castles and through picturesque medieval towns

Two of BikeToursDirect’s other top three tours for 2011 are also along dedicated bike paths: the Lake Constance Bike Path in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and the Mosel Bike in Germany.

Now in its eighth season, BikeToursDirect offers a variety of resources to help travelers choose bicycle tours and the company handles the entire booking and payment process. For more information, visit, or telephone 1-877-462-2423 or 1-423-756-8907.