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Danube tour advice

Old 06-21-20, 06:01 AM
  #1  
ciquta
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Danube tour advice

This July I'm planning to tour the Danube (Passau-Budapest) in early July.
While I am an experienced bikepacker (9 countries under my belt) this is the first trip for my GF, so we decided to leave the camping stuff at home and go light sleeping in B&Bs.


I have 2 main questions:

​​​​​​1) is it easy to find cheap accomodations day-by-day along the route? Online I don't see many options but maybe there are a lot more unlisted? Booking in advance is needed this time of the year?

2) I've heard the Bratislava-Budapest segment is not as interesting as the previous one and the bike path quality degrades as you go further from Austria. Is the true? do you suggest to skip that portion of the trip?


thanks
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Old 06-21-20, 06:54 AM
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My wife and I rode Donaueschingen-Wien in Fall2018; trip of a lifetime, for sure. We stayed in zimmers and hotels, we totally relied on the Bikeline books for the phone numbers and locations. We bought a 30 Euro phone in Tutlingen (first town E of Donauschingen) and used it to phone ahead to make reservations. We made reservations a day or two in advance and had the German weather app on my wife's iPod touch. This allowed us to time our layover days for rainy days.
I spent months trying to decide whether to ride the Bratislava-Budapest stretch and finally decided against it. The main reason was my wife's bike has 28mm tires and the path gets into dirt and a wee bit of singletrack. Folks who do that stretch tend to have tires more like 40mm wide. Also, what we read about Budapest was that it is a big place to take in and you need to range around a fair bit to see all the sites. Wien is delightfully compact and easy to see by bike or public transport. That being said, we would have loved to have taken in Bratislava and gone to concerts there, and I would also say for folks younger than us (we're up near retirement age) the trip to Budapest would have a more down-home rural vibe, a bit humbler and thus exotic feel that would be adventurous. The hot baths there also look pretty nice to soak in.
The signage on the route is outstanding. We had the Bikeline books and I did read them a lot before leaving, but on the road we just followed the signage like little puppies and had no problem with navigation. If you pull a map from your bag along the way be prepared to a local approaching you asking, "Alles gut?" and wanting to help you find your way. The folks we met were generous and friendly.
Gearing: On the route itself you could probably ride an old paper boy bike and be fine. However, we have pretty low gears and used them all to climb out of the valley to see sights (Stift Gottweig above Krems, for instance, totally fantastic).
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Old 06-21-20, 08:35 AM
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Thanks, we are well equipped in the tire width department (47mm and 66mm), I'm more concerned about how enjoyable it could be.

​​​​​​Let's say we'll stick on the Passau-Bratislava (maybe departing from Salzburg sice we arrive from Italy), so is it easy to find accomodations once we arrive or we should book days in advance?

I'm afraid July is peak time on the Danube
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Old 06-21-20, 10:19 AM
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My wife and I have ridden the Danube twice from Salzburg to Vienna but not on to Budapest, Our trips were in the high months yet as I recall we saw Zimmer-Frei signs every day.
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Old 06-21-20, 10:37 AM
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i did that route (passau-wien) almost 40 years ago, so of course my route
and lodging details may be past the best-by date. had a hostel pass and
some paper maps.

way back then, i was heading off to attend college.....from wien turned south
to follow the border, stopping in graz and klagenfurt. very nice ride in the
countryside, good roads with minimal traffic.

from villach, just past klagenfurt, there is a road that crosses the border
towards udine if your plan is to return to italy.
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Old 06-21-20, 10:38 AM
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Levee top road is well surfaced , its abundant with commercial campgrounds, I used them on a sector of my tour , long ago in 91.
Popular for families so about like a MUP. in a city..
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Old 06-21-20, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by ciquta View Post
This July I'm planning to tour the Danube (Passau-Budapest) in early July.
While I am an experienced bikepacker (9 countries under my belt) this is the first trip for my GF, so we decided to leave the camping stuff at home and go light sleeping in B&Bs.


I have 2 main questions:

​​​​​​1) is it easy to find cheap accomodations day-by-day along the route? Online I don't see many options but maybe there are a lot more unlisted? Booking in advance is needed this time of the year?

2) I've heard the Bratislava-Budapest segment is not as interesting as the previous one and the bike path quality degrades as you go further from Austria. Is the true? do you suggest to skip that portion of the trip?
thanks
how are the flights into Germany and required quarantine issues, or with Austria at this moment and or in the new few weeks? Are the border crossings open to all traffic?
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Old 06-21-20, 11:39 AM
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You are very correct, we were there in fall, not peak time, you will be there July, you might not be able to reserve one day in advance, might need more days in advance. I know we had a harder time finding a place in Wien and booked that before leaving the US.
Coming from Italy? Have you looked at Alpe Adria Radweg?
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Old 06-21-20, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Davet View Post
My wife and I have ridden the Danube twice from Salzburg to Vienna but not on to Budapest, Our trips were in the high months yet as I recall we saw Zimmer-Frei signs every day.
thanks that's hellpful!!
i really don't like to plan in advance, I tend to decide at lunchtime where to stop
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Old 06-21-20, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by randallr View Post
You are very correct, we were there in fall, not peak time, you will be there July, you might not be able to reserve one day in advance, might need more days in advance. I know we had a harder time finding a place in Wien and booked that before leaving the US.
Coming from Italy? Have you looked at Alpe Adria Radweg?
yes for Wien i'm going to book in advance, I wonder about small places along the route
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Old 06-21-20, 06:12 PM
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I think you may be missing the big picture here... Can you even go there to start the trip...? and if you can, can you even cross into like 3 or 4 countries along the river, because of the covid 19 border closers...??? We were going this June and everything got cancelled...
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Old 06-21-20, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
I think you may be missing the big picture here... Can you even go there to start the trip...? and if you can, can you even cross into like 3 or 4 countries along the river, because of the covid 19 border closers...??? We were going this June and everything got cancelled...
He or she doesn't appear to be addressing these concerns, which may or may not be a problem. I haven't a clue myself, only know the border issues here.
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Old 06-21-20, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
He or she doesn't appear to be addressing these concerns, which may or may not be a problem. I haven't a clue myself, only know the border issues here.
No, he or she is not addressing those issues... Thus my pointing them out because it seems very relevant to me for him or her to worry about those issues, first... as I can't even see anyone going there without a huge problem at the borders...
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Old 06-21-20, 09:27 PM
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As above, the OP really needs to get to grips with travel & border crossings. Are they even sure they can fly into Europe then?

On the assumption that there are no border issues, the unfortunate fact of the matter is that others' previous experience with respect to accommodation is irrelevant this year.
​​​​​​
First of all, all usual vacation patterns are up in the air - I'd be expecting far more people to be vacationing at home than abroad with a knock on effect on availability.

A lot of accommodation will possibly be operating at limited capacity, again reducing availability

Some options, I'd imagine would be totally off limits such as hostels, again reducing availability.

The Danube is a great ride but it could potentially kill off your girlfriend's interest in ever doing anything similar again.

Finally, have you contemplated the prospect of a resurgence of the virus, a localised lockdown and the difficulty of dealing with all that in a foreign language?

It's a great idea....but for another time.
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Old 06-21-20, 09:32 PM
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That's the whole thing here. In post 7 I asked them these basic questions, and they answered others questions but didn't address my questions.
I hope they use proper judgement in planning this very soon to be (July) trip.
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Old 06-21-20, 11:55 PM
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Of course I checked. I live in Italy (not in the area hit by the virus btw), Austria is 3 hours driving from my home and there are no borders within EU.
There was only a temporary restriction until 15 June.

I can't be sure is how this thing will affect vacancies. I can see how it looks online, I'm asking how online compare to the local availability, if there's enough unlisted Zimmer to count on.



Originally Posted by HobbesOnTour View Post
The Danube is a great ride but it could potentially kill off your girlfriend's interest in ever doing anything similar again.
how's so?

Last edited by ciquta; 06-22-20 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 06-22-20, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by randallr View Post
Coming from Italy? Have you looked at Alpe Adria Radweg?
yes I did but doesn't look good for beginners.. too much climbing
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Old 06-22-20, 03:49 AM
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[QUOTE=ciquta;21546791]Of course I checked. I live in Italy (not in the area hit by the virus btw), Austria is 3 hours driving from my home and there are no borders within EU.
There was only a temporary restriction until 15 June.

I can't be sure is how this thing will affect vacancies. I can see how it looks online, I'm asking how online compare to the local availability, if there's enough unlisted Zimmer to count on.
/QUOTE]

I'm glad to see that it will be easier for you to get there.
I did not know you live in Italy, I thought you were American. Totally different story.

here in Canada my wife and I are wondering the same things about availability of both indoor and camping availability for some in Canada trips. It's probably going to be harder booking hotels campgrounds etc because a lot of people will be doing vacations locally.
I hope all your planning works out.
River routes are certainly nice, we did a part of eurovelo 6 and I'm sure the Danube is the same.

If you do this trip, come back here and give a quick report of how much day to day cycle tour activities are affected in a covid Austria and Hungary.
Have you done bicycle touring before?
ciao
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Old 06-22-20, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by ciquta View Post

how's so?
Things that have a higher chance of happening this year than last;
Probable reduced access to bars, restaurants, cafes
Possible less backup in the form of public transport availability (especially with bikes)
Rolling into town to find no accommodation
Denied permission to cross borders - on the way out or on the way home
Caught up in a regional/local quarantine

Again, it doesn't matter what the availability of zimmers was like last year - this year is going to be very different. You'd be better off asking on local sites since this is mainly US.

Good Luck!
​​​​


​​​
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Old 06-22-20, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ciquta View Post
yes I did but doesn't look good for beginners.. too much climbing
Maybe you should look again there are a few short climbs, but rather easy. I have seen riders of all types and ages ride the whole path.
It is also the most well laid out for accommodations. There are also alternative paths through Slovenia. I am going to try that one next week.
I want to do the Danube one day, but more on the southern part

PS
Apologies, I should have taken into consideration which direction your are travelling. North to south is easy, south to north can be more challenging. But there is a train that takes you to the northern end

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Old 06-23-20, 01:56 AM
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Citizens from "non-safe countries", such as Belgium or Italy are required to present a negative Corona-test (max 4 days old) on the Slovakian, Czech and Hungarian borders, or failing that go in quarantine for 2 weeks. This situation may change on 1 july and since I'll be traveling east as well this summer I do hope so, but I haven't found any official sources that announce this will be the case.
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Old 07-12-20, 02:45 AM
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I'm back

Despite coronavirus and everything it wasn't so easy to find accomodations day by day as I hoped.
Many were already fully booked the day before, some had vacancies but were too distant or too close.

Towns are small, once you got as far as you want you may find yourself in a place that only have a couple of options and it's not nice to find out it's fully booked or out of budget.

I felt like I had to book 1 day in advance and so I did.

YMMV

​​​​​​
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Old 07-12-20, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by ciquta View Post
Despite coronavirus and everything it wasn't so easy to find accomodations day by day as I hoped.
Many were already fully booked the day before, some had vacancies but were too distant or too close.

Towns are small, once you got as far as you want you may find yourself in a place that only have a couple of options and it's not nice to find out it's fully booked or out of budget.

I felt like I had to book 1 day in advance and so I did.

YMMV

​​​​​​
Sorry thst you couldn’t easily find accommodations daily.

Other than that how was your tour? To me riding the Danube is fascinating and fun because its relative ease and you can more focus on sightseeing and the experiences along the way. We will likely do it a third time.
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Old 07-12-20, 12:41 PM
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Yea , with Mobile phones, & the Internet, these days , it couldn't be simpler...
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Old 07-13-20, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Davet View Post
Other than that how was your tour? To me riding the Danube is fascinating and fun because its relative ease and you can more focus on sightseeing and the experiences along the way. We will likely do it a third time.
Nice but not exciting, probably because I've already been many times in Austria it wasn't nothing new to me.
I must say the bike path is very well maintained and signaled, we never lost once.
On the other hand it was crowded with ebikers and hard roadies, sometimes it felt like a real road where you had to squeeze on the right side coz there are others vehicles much faster than you coming from behind.

Funny to think some urban roads have a 30km/h speed limit, whereas in the tinier bike path people are free to go faster than that (I've nearly collided with a TT coming probably at 50km/h).

I enjoyed more the part from Salzburg to Passau on the right side of river Inn. Still well signaled but more vary, more forest and much less mainstream.
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