Euro Velo 6
- Euro Velo 6
- Bratislava-Slovakia-Bad Deutsch Altenburg-Austria-7-25-14
- Bad Deutsch Altenburg-Vienna Austria-7-26-14
- Aschach Austria-Passau Germany-8-3-14
This page is about Bicycling Austria on Euro Velo 6. Europe plays host to a sprawling network of bicycle trails. There are 14 long distance trails currently recognized. They are called EuroVelo Routes. We spent the summer of 2014 cycling parts of these fabulous routes.
Although numerous trails need more work to be considered complete, EuroVelo 6 has only a few regions where bicycles and heavy traffic must co-exist. It is the most complete of all the routes, with signage on much of the route and guidebooks & maps in various languages available. It is also considered to be the easiest of all the EuroVelo routes, meaning less climbing. It is 6,251 km total distance!
The entire EuroVelo 6 trail goes from the Atlantic coast in France to the Black Sea in Romania. We cycled it backwards, from Budapest to France with an add on section along the famous Danube Gorge in Serbia.
Don’t be fooled into thinking EuroVelo 6 is all flat and easy. It is not!
There are many steep hills and many sections of difficult gravel surface.
But, if you have never cycled on dedicated bicycle paths for very long distances, you are in for a treat.
Bicycling Austria on Euro Velo 6
The 270 miles section through Austria connects Bratislava, Slovakia and Passau, Germany.
It is the most popular section of the entire EuroVelo 6 route.
There are plenty of good reasons for such popularity: Excellent bicycle paths, good signage, a lot of really flat cruising, and stunning Austria scenery along the Danube River are some of those reasons.
We began bicycling Austria on EuroVelo 6 in Bratislava, Slovakia. (We were cycling the famous route in reverse.) This amazing city neighbors Austria; the border lies just a few kilometers from the city.
We spent just 2 nights in Bratislava. One could easily stay longer. The city is a European favorite. We enjoyed the city center with its beautiful architecture and lively street restaurants.
Bratislava-Slovakia-Bad Deutsch Altenburg-Austria-7-25-14
This is perfect cycling
24 miles (38 km)
Ascent: 550ft (167 m); Descent: 420ft (128 m); Max Elevation: 571ft (174 m)
World > Europe > Slovakia > Bratislavsky Kraj > Bratislava – map
World > Europe > Austria > Niederosterreich > Bad Deutsch-Altenburg – map
From our Botel Gracia, we cycled along wide sidewalks to the ramp leading up to the bridge in about 5 minutes. Once on the smooth, wide bike path, we cruised. What a joyful feeling. We were embarking on the easier part of our entire journey.
We stopped in Hainburg to visit the old town. Go through the massive stone gate to the cathedral to the information office to get a map in English. It is well worth a stop to see the old walls and the castle high above.
Although one cannot see the Danube River from the bike path, there are very beautiful marsh lands to cycle by.
Ten miles before Vienna there is a biker stop. It is full of bikers from all over the world. Beer and wine Bratwurst and all kinds of good food are available. What a perfect place for refreshments.
The closer we got to Vienna, the more cafes and parks appeared along the route. There were lots of locals out riding the variety of paths.
All the bridges into Vienna have special cycle paths and a really unique circular ramp to get cyclists up and down from the bridge.
We entered Vienna via the route to the Prater. It’s a royal entrance into the city. The tree-lined avenue was once the hunting grounds of the Kaiser Franz Joseph. He made the land open to the public. The aristocrats would come to the long avenue to see and be seen in their carriages and on their fine horses. Today the entire wide road is reserved for bicycles and pedestrians.
We stayed for three nights in their country home just on the fringe of Vienna. It was a great treat to see the city in their company.
Today our friends took us into Vienna to see the sights. It’s a big city. So we concentrated on the old town. There are so many bicycle paths in the city, one could easily cycle to see all of the sites. There is a special bicycle path around the old city itself a circular route that is called Radweg Ring Rung. It follows along the shore of the Danube canal and makes a circle around the more important older buildings of the city. Also within the city itself there are cycle paths going everywhere. Because we were with our friends, we walked through the city. There are so many old buildings of grand stature, it’s hard to count them all. Here are some of the sights:
St Stephen’s Cathedral is a famous landmark in Vienna
We rode the left bank from Vienna because our friends lived north of Vienna on the left bank. It’s a beautiful ride from Vienna towards Melk. This is listed as one of the more scenic sections of the Danube. We rode down to a dam and then crossed the river over to the right bank. Almost the entire distance is on a very wide smoothly paved bike path. The Danube valley is wide and open as we leave Vienna; the terrain is very flat.
We stopped in Tulln which is a little bit larger town. They have many cafés to choose from for lunch. We had lunch on a floating boat on the Danube.
From Vienna, we were bicycling Austria Euro Velo 6 on the right bank heading west all the way to the power station at Altenworth. We met some Hungarian bicyclists who told us there was a very lovely campground in Krems. We did not bother to look at our map to see that Krems was a very big city. They mentioned the old town of Krems, but we did not realize that we would be cycling through a very busy city that took extra time to get around on bicycle paths.
We wish we had not done that; we wish we had stayed on the right bank instead of going to Krems. Finally we got through the city of Krems to the bridge and crossed back over to the right bank. We never saw the campground.
The campground is small but it only cost us €17 including Internet. They have a restaurant there for supper. We were planning to have breakfast there, but what we did not know until the morning was that you’re supposed order your breakfast the night before. So, we went without.
We have not seen any grocery stores so far bicycling Austria along Euro Velo 6 route. Undoubtedly, we could find them further into the towns, but along the bicycle paths are cafes where you spend a lot more money!
We turned up into WeiBenkirchen a very nice easy tour through the streets of another historic town from the main bicycle path.
EV 6 makes a sharp turn up into the town of Wosendorf as well. These are all historic towns with cobblestone streets and authentic buildings.
After bicycling Austria through these charming towns, the route then turns back down to the main road. In just a short distance, we would arrive in front of St Michael’s church.
St. Michael’s church was started in the 10th century and completed around 1500. It’s the oldest church in Austria. It is in pristine condition for something so old. Built in the Gothic tradition, it stands as a unique reminder of former civilizations.
Our last visit was in Spitz where there is a fine old castle perched on the hilltop. Spitz castle is a medieval fortress that now lies in ruins. It had an impregnable position high above the Danube in the Wachau Valley. That makes accessing it if riding bicycles a bit of a challenge. But a visit is well worth the effort as the ruins are still quite spectacular.
Although there were still more charming towns along the route, we headed straight for Melk. It would be 4:00 before we would finish our tourist day! On entering Melk, it is impossible to not have a great view of the fabulous Melk Abbey. The abbey was founded in 1089 when Leopold II, Margrave of Austria gave one of his castles to Benedictine monks from Lambach Abbey.
We stopped in Melk for the night. There is a very nice campground right on the river with lots of nice grassy spots, but no shade. There is a restaurant at the campsite and they have internet. There is a gas station about 10 minutes walk away where one can get a few beers or other supplies, the grocery store was a bicycle ride away up in the main center of town.
The right bank was very quiet from the traffic as the bike trail was removed a good distance from the main road most of the day. We could see lots of very nice villages on the left bank, but it also looked like the main traffic road and the bike trail could have been very close together hence more traffic noise if you are riding on that side.
We did come across several wonderful garden restaurants which we could not refuse for a lunch time stop.
The bicycle path goes right through the commercial center of its Ybbs. There we found our first real grocery store in many days, and an ATM. The little towns along the Danube have been shy of these amenities.
It rained hard after Ybbs, but we kept on riding as the bicycle path was so incredibly lovely.
From Ybbs to Grein on the right bank is awesome riding on the nicest bicycle path and on quiet roads through more towns.
A large group in-line skaters were on this wonderful, smooth path.
Grein is incredibly picturesque town on the other side of the river as have been so many of the towns all the way along the route. Bikeline mentions that from Grein south the bicycle path is really the busy highway, thus confirming that the right bank is a splendid choice.
It’s a steep hill to get up into the Wallsee where the churches are in the center of the town.
So we rode around town asking about a camping area. Someone told us of the sports club at the bottom of the hill so we followed their directions and found a sports club on the edge of town. There was a bar/restaurant nearby so we pitched our tent. Sports Clubs have been good places to camp.
Camping in Au a. d. Danube is very nice. But it was too early in the day to stop so we cycled on. They have a power box down in the tent area where it would be possible to recharge your technical goodies. It’s on a waterfront; there are picnic tables. We had an excellent breakfast/lunch at noon. They have lunches at the café; we did not ask if they had dinner. There were no grocery stores in the immediate vicinity, however there is a very large grocery store 3 km away in the direction of Lintz on the bicycle path.
After Au, the bicycle route gets quite confusing. We weren’t the only ones standing at various junctions looking at our map to determine which way to go. Interestingly, on the left bank after we passed Au, the EV 6 route signs changed to R1. We have no idea why and I’m sure a lot of other people were just as confused as we were. After the campsite at Au, the route wound back and forth on car streets. There were a few hills, although not significantly steep, they were hills. It was not a particularly pleasant route to cycle after all the time on the bicycle paths.
We found grocery stores through the little towns that this route traveled through away from the Danube. By the time we got back to the Danube, we saw more people standing at the junction confused as to what happened to EV 6. Anyway, we proceeded and closed in on Lintz. Glad we are on the left bank of the river opposite Lintz.
We couldn’t imagine the cycle path coming into Lintz from the North. It looks like Gary, Indiana with its industry along the Danube.
But we were on the beautiful side of the river with a wonderful bicycle path and even though we had a strong headwind in the afternoon, the skies had cleared and it seemed as if the rain had ended. It was Friday; the paths were flush with day cyclists and touring cyclists.
We have been completely amazed by the quality of the cycle paths and the expense the Austrian government has gone to provide safe cycling paths. There are sections which certainly took a great deal of commitment to construct. So far, we have met touring cyclists from Austria, Germany, France, Hungary, England, America, Australia and Canada.
We cruised along the cycle path to a series of small lakes where we knew there was a campsite. The campsite has at least two restaurants right in the vicinity, and a grocery store within a couple kilometers away. The campsite had picnic tables, reasonably nice grassy spots with some shade trees. It has a very nice view of the lake, even though you look through the fence that separates the campground from the park. We were glad to be camping. Prices for Pensions had skyrocketed to $90 or $100 a night. The campground was about $15. We had a delicious supper at the campground restaurant. By evening, the grounds had filled with tenting cyclists.
The left bank of the Danube is the best side to cycle on when you are in the vicinity of Linz. The bike path is in excellent condition and it gets you through Linz with absolutely no problems of any kind. It’s actually a very pleasant ride on the bank opposite the city.
After Ottensheim, the bike path winds and twists its way through the town before it comes back to the Danube. It’s a little bit hilly and a little bit confusing. But the bicycle path takes cyclists through the busy streets in style.
It is a beautiful ride along the Danube on good bike paths with great views of picturesque towns and through pretty forests.
A very worthwhile stop along the route is Feldkirchen Lakes. There is a big sign on the Danube bike path that marks the entrance to the Lakes. There are five or six lakes grouped together, restaurants, cafés, golf course, tennis courts and other summer recreational facilities.
We had an excellent lunch at one of the restaurants there and made a ride around the lakes which are very pretty. There is a campground, but it is not on any of the lakes. It was full of motor homes and just didn’t seem like the place we wanted to stay so we continued on.
Once again the bike path leaves the Danube and goes a bit inland through some pretty countryside. The signs for R1, not EV six, are clear to follow even though sometimes it seems you’re going in an off direction.
We came out at the bridge that crosses over to Aschach which is the direction we took. Aschach is a charming small town right on the waterfront with lots of cafés and restaurants. There is also a very good grocery store that was easy to access from the bike trail.
We stopped at the campground which is really a motor home park for retirees. But there is a lovely grassy section right in front of the restaurant where one can set up camp.
Last night a horrendous wind came down the Danube about 7 pm. It brought with it torrential rain, the kind that you see in the Brazilian jungle. We never knew it could rain so hard in this part of the world. We were glad our tent withstood the wind and the rain.
Today, we noticed that we were going up river perhaps for the first time on this entire trip. It just felt like momentum could not be maintained without a constant pedaling. It felt that way leaving Linz as well. More than likely, the Danube will rise more steeply as we progress from Passau.
We also had the last three days of mild headwinds. For a short time the headwinds were quite brisk. Still, it is nothing compared to climbing hills in other parts of the world. It just seemed more noticeable after cycling the very flat terrain in Hungry and the flat plains west from Vienna.
We left early in the morning and are riding on the right bank of the Danube through the famous s- curve. It is an absolutely beautiful area of forest and cliffs with the Danube flowing gently. The sky is overhung with the morning clouds; the forest seems as if it rains here all the time with the ferns and the thick foliage. We are the only ones on the beautiful bicycle path this morning.
We stayed on the right bank until Schlogen. The entire route was on a beautiful bicycle path. There is a beautiful guesthouse and restaurant and a lovely campsite at Schlogen where you catch the ferry to the left bank. There is much less traffic on the left bank going north from Schlogen. It is a beautiful road to cycle.
We crossed over the river again at Engelhartszell to the south bank using a ferry. The ferry charges two euros for person and bicycle. We could have gone upstream about another 2 km and crossed on the dam. But we weren’t certain that the dam allowed bicycles to cross so we went by the ferry over and back.
In the long run, we should have stayed on the north bank all the way into Passau. It is a much easier route to enter the city. We chose to come in to Passau on the right bank or South route because there were three campgrounds showing on the Bikeline map before you got into the city.
The first campground north of Engelhartszell was a Park for permanent residents. We cycled around the park but did not see an area for tenters. A sign marked the turnoff for the Vichtenstein campground which is 4 kilometers off of the bike trail from Kasten. We did not go there. The campground on the river north of Kasten was also a residential motorhome Park with no restaurant and no tent sites. The third campsite in Pyrawang we never saw. So we ended up coming into the city which we did not want to do to spend the night.
We had a terrible time getting into Passau from the south route. The R1 signs disappeared and the EV 6 signs we hadn’t seen since we entered Austria. We do not recommend that route. The signs completely disappeared as soon as we entered Germany. There were only signs with a bicycle on it, but it did not delineate whether it was a local route or the EV 6, or R1 route. Part of the path that we traveled was narrow, rough gravel. At one point, it led to a narrow staircase; we opted for the road with traffic. It was extremely confusing.
A cyclist we had met in the campground last night came in on the northern route. She said it was a piece o’cake. The signs showed her where to go and she crossed the bridge into the city. If you come in on the north bank or the left bank into the city you would be closer to the tent sites marked on the map. They are very close to the city and would be very convenient. We wished we had come in on the North route and found those sites.
We wound our way through the city and cross the bridge into the center of the city area, but we were lost at all points. Finally after asking a local how to get to the information office, she sent us on a bicycle/pedestrian path that was cobblestone and dirt. Wow. Brutal!v
The information center on the right bank has a view of the city on the left bank to die for. How absolutely thrilling a city it was to explore. Getting a city bike map is essential for following the network of paths.
The information Bureau in Passau showed us directions to the hostel near the railroad station, and the Rotel Inn, just a little bit further. We never saw the road turning off to the railroad station and ended up at the Rotel Inn.
Now here is really something unique. For 50 Euro a night for two people you can get a room the size of a 5 x 6’ bed +4 more feet to enter the room. This is a new concept, as we read in their brochure, that is gripping the nation.
What a pity. It seems to be based on the Japanese idea of stacking bodies into the tiniest space you can possibly get.
The redeeming factor is that they have a very large lounge room with tables and power outlets and Internet. There is also a balcony overlooking the river. But somehow, there is something missing in this equation, because hostels have been offering the same amenities for years. The rooms have always been small, but there is a lounge area for the guest.
We are exhausted and too tired to look for the Bikeline book from Passau to the end of the Danube. We will do that tomorrow. We have been a little disappointed with the Bikeline books. It would seem a simple task to state if the campground has tent sites or is just motorhomes or for retirees. It would also seem a simple task to state if there was a restaurant or Internet at the campground.
There are so few campgrounds along the entire route, it could not be a difficult task to research the ones that would be appropriate for cyclists.
An additional thought would be to mark the south and north bank routes on the same map. Many cyclists have complained about having to page back and forth to compare the two routes. Bikeline makes little effort to suggest a better side for scenic or for traffic reasons.
We met another cyclist from the day before who showed us his map system that he used instead of Bikeline. It is a downloadable map he uses on his Ipod without the need for Internet. The maps are called Pocket Earth and cost $4. We have yet to investigate, but he says he can plot his entire route for each day using the program. It is bike specific routing maps with excellent detail.
No worries. We are in beautiful Passau where winding streets lead to hidden restaurants. We bump into our favorite cuisine: asian, and feast like kings.
Passau ends our journey bicycling Austria and marks the beginning of our cycling adventure through Germany. How beautiful this has been.
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