ExpeditionPlus! Bicycling the Danube River from Germany's Black Forest to Romania's Black Sea Coast
For anybody who can't take time off for the whole thing, we'll split this tour in two for you so you can do just the first fifteen days from the Black Forest to Budapest, Hungary , or you can do the last two and a half weeks from Budapest to the Black Sea.View Day-by-Day ItineraryHide Day-by-Day Itinerary
Day 1: (Thursday, Jun 26) - Gather in Donaueschingen, Germany, on the edge of Germany's Beautiful Black Forest Region
Highlights: Bike fitting and welcome dinner
Our tour begins in the Donaueschingen where two small streams, the Breg and the Brigach flow together to form the Danube River, Europe's longest. Flowing almost 2900 km (about 1800 miles) through Central Europe, the Danube is Europe's longest river. After exploring town we'll have dinner together tonight.
Day 2: (Friday, Jun 27) - Bicycle Donaueschingen to Sigmaringen, Germany
Highlights: The Swabian Alps of Middle Europe
The Danube has carved a sinuous valley through the Schwabian Alps, affording great bicycling in the valley bottom or short, steep climbs for those who wish. We're pedaling though the heartland of the Jurassic limestones of Central Europe. Castle ruins line the bluffs along the Danube and Beuron Abbey, dating to the 11th century, is a major stop along our route. Enjoy wandering the streets of Sigmaringen this afternoon. Distance: about 97 km (60 miles).
Day 3: (Saturday, June 28)- Ride Sigmaringen to Ulm
Highlights: Historic Medieval Ulm
The city of Ulm dates to the 9th century and is one of southern Germany's most important historic cities. The Ulm cathedral has the tallest steeple in the world so you should plan to hike to the top to view the terrain we just pedaled across! Explore the half-timber houses in the fisherman's neighborhood this afternoon. Ulm's modern university has made this city a leader in alternative energy production.
Distance: 110 km (68 miles).
Day 4: (Sunday, June 29) - Pedal from Ulm to Ingolstadt in Bavaria
Highlights: Explore the Walled Town of Ingolstadt
As we pedal today we are tracing the northern border of the Roman empire in Germany. Gunzburg, for example, still preserves the straight streets of a Roman military outpost dating to 70 BC. Ingolstadt, too, is an historic center with its 12th century Medieval wall well preserved.
Distance: 110 - 148 km (68 - 92 miles).
Day 5: (Monday, June 30)- Bicycle Ingolstadt to Regensburg
Highlights: Beautiful bicycle rides, Historic Regensburg
Regensburg is, perhaps, the most historic city we bicycle through until we get to Vienna. It was a Roman outpost under Marcus Aurelius in 179 AD and marks both the northernmost point of the Roman Empire in Germany and the northernmost extent of the Danube. Its Medieval center is wonderfully preserved. From Regensburg we turn southeast to head towards Austria.
Estimated distance: 89 km (55 miles).
Day 6: (Tuesday, July 1) - Bicycle Regensburg to Deggendorf
Highlights: Walhalla Temple, and Benedectine Monasteries near Metten
More Roman settlements mark our route today along with Benedictine monasteries, including one near Metten. Bibliophiles will want to stop for a tour of the library in the Abbey of St. Michael of Metten as among the 160,000 volumes in this historic collection is one of the earliest bibles printed in Germany and a 1493 "Nuremberg Chronicle," one of the earliest printed world history books (printed in German and Latin).
Distance: 93 km (58 miles)
Day 7: (Wednesday, July 2) - Bicycle from Bavaria to Austria along the Danube
Highlights: Benedictine Monastery, Passau and the Inn River as we into Austria
We pass another Benedictine Monastery as we leave Deggendorf this morning on our way to Passau, gateway to Austria. In Passau we see the Danube nearly double in size as it is joined by the Inn River, flowing out of Austria and Germany. Our destination today is Schlogen, on a meander of the Danube 50 km. from Passau.
Estimated distance: 105 km (65 miles).
Day 8: (Thursday, July 3) - Schlogen to Linz, Austria
Highlights: The Famous Danube Valley of Austria
The Danube River and the valley it has formed shape the central transportation artery of Austria. Today and tomorrow we ride through the heartland of Austria. Castles perch above the river and after Linz we begin to see more agriculture on alluvial farmland washed out of the Alps far to the south.
Approximate distance: 55 km (34 miles)
Day 9: (Friday, July 4) - Bicycle the Danube Valley to Krems
Highlights: Vineyards of the Danube; the Abbey in Melk
We continue through farmland, including vineyards on our way to Melk, where you'll want to stop and photograph the spectacular baroque Abbey of Melk. We'll be in Krems tonight. Estimated distance:147 km (92 miles)
Day 10: (Saturday, July 5) - Bicycle to Vienna along the Danube
We'll have an easy day along the Danube today though not without bicycle traffic since this stretch of the Danube Bicycle Path is one of the busiest in the world. Estimated distance: 80 km (50 miles)
Day 11: (Sunday, July 6) - Rest day in Vienna
Highlights: Vienna, former capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
This is a rest day in Vienna, one of the great imperial cities of Europe. You've earned a rest after nine cycling days. There is so much to see here we'll provide a briefing this morning, then you are free to wander and explore at your leisure. Be sure to explore the Hofburg imperial palace, home to the ruling Habsuburg family for over six centuries. The rest of the day you can go on a quest for the best Viennese pastries!
Day 12: (Monday, July 7) - Pedal Vienna, Austria to Bratislava, Slovakia
Highlights: Vineyards along the Danube and Slovakia
An easy ride today takes us to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Czechoslovakia was formed from parts of the historic Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918 and came under Soviet domination in 1948. Not until 1989, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, was the country freed from the Soviets. Bratislava became capital of Slovakia when it separated from the Czech Republic during the "velvet divorce" in 1993.
Estimated mileage: 76 km (47 miles)
Day 13: (Tuesday, July 8) - Bratislava, Slovakia to Gyor, Hungary
Highlights: Bicycling along the Danube to Hungary
While Gyor was a border town early in its history under the Romans, it was an imperial city under the Austro-Hungarian empire. It was also right in the way of barbarian invasions through the centuries. Much of the present city was built by Italian architects after the retreat of the Ottoman empire in the 17th century. Distance: 90 km (56 miles).
Day 14: (Wednesday, July 9)- Gyor to Esztergom
The region we bicycle through was so much of a frontier region that the towns here were destroyed and rebuilt repeatedly. The bridge over the Danube in Esztergom, for example, was first built in 1895, destroyed by the Germans in 1944 and only rebuilt in 2001. Esztergom was the capital of Hungary for two and a half centuries until mid 13th century, was occupied by the Ottoman Turks for 150 years and enjoyed a period of rebirth with lots of baroque architecture after 1700.
Estimated mileage: 105 km (65 miles)
Day 15: (Thursday, July 10) - Esztergom to Budapest
Highlights: Bicycling along the Danube into Budapest
We have a fairly short ride into Budapest today so you'll have most of the afternoon to explore and tomorrow is a rest day, as well. Our hotel is near the center of Pest so you'll be close to most of the sights. We have a special dinner tonight including a cruise on the Danube.
Estimated distance: 67 km (42 miles)
Day 16: (Friday, July 11) - Rest day in Budapest
Highlights: No packing today; enjoy Budapest
Split in two by the Danube, Buda Castle sits on the west bank high above the river and Pest (say "Pesht") is on the lowland across the river. You'll want to visit the castle, the parliament, and just wander the banks of the Danube which so dominates this city. Enjoy a relaxing day and give your legs a rest!
Day 17: (Saturday, July 12) - Bicycle down the Danube to Kalocsa
Highlights: Cycling an island of the Danube
The Danube divides into two channels south of Budapest, forming an island nearly 30 miles long. We bicycle this island to Rackeve, once a part of Serbia and site of a beautiful Greek orthodox church - historic evidence that we are nearly in the Balkans! We are in Kalocsa tonight, the paprika capital of Hungary.
Estimated mileage: 134 km (83 miles).
Day 18: (Sunday, July 13) - Kalocsa to Mohacs
Highlights: Szekszard wines and Danube-Drava National Park
We pedal through the lowlands north of the confluence of the Drava and Danube Rivers today, a marshy area near the border with Croatia. Szekszard is famous for it strong red wines. Mohacs, where we will be tonight, was the site of an important battle against the Turks in 1526 when the Ottomans defeated the Hungarian army and began a century and a half occupation of the region.
Estimated mileage: 91 km (57 miles)
Day 19: (Monday, July 14) - Mohacs, Hungary to Osijek, Croatia
Highlights: Crossing into Croatia
We cross the border into Croatia today, a lost corner of the plains of Hungary that have gathered Germans, Greeks, Serbs, and Croatians over the centuries. This is a small wine-producing region centered on Osijek, where we will spend the afternoon and evening. Osijek is situatied on the Drava River. Distance: 70 km (43 miles).
Day 20: (Tuesday, July 15) - Osijek, Croatia to Novi Sad, Serbia
Highlights: Bicycling into Serbia
We continue through this corner of Croatian Slavonia today on our way to Serbia, the core of Marshall Tito's Yugoslavia. Novi Sad is the second largest city in Serbia.
Estimated mileage: about 117-134 km (73-84 miles)
Day 21: (Wednesday, July 16) - Novi Sad to Belgrade, Serbia
Highlights: Belgrade, capital of Serbia and formerly the capital of Yugoslavia
A short ride today takes us to Belgrade. You'll have the afternoon to relax and explore this capital city, with its Kalemegdan Fortress overlooking the confluence of the Sava with the Danube, with its relaxed cafes and delicious pastry. Distance: 96 km (60 miles)
Day 22: (Thursday, July 17) - Belgrade to Golubac, Serbia
Highlights: Pedaling to the Iron Gates of the Danube
We've traced the path of the Danube east, then south through central Hungary. As the river forms the boundary with Hungary and Serbia it turns eastward to push its way through the great mountain chain of the Transylvanian Alps. Here, the famous "Iron Gates" of the Danube formed over millions of years. We follow the river through Serbia today and stay the night right where the Danube enters the "Iron Gates." Distance: 113 km (71 miles)
Day 23: (Friday, July 18) - Golubac, Serbia to Portile de Fier, Romania
Highlights: Bicycling the Iron Gates of the Danube
The great backward "S" arch of the Carpathian Mountains (Transylvanian Alps) sweeps through the border lands of Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia forming the only real obstacle as the Danube flows toward the Black Sea. Here a great gorge - the "Iron Gates" has been carved through the mountains. We follow the river through this gorge to our destination across the river in Romania.
Distance: 135 km (85 miles)
Day 24: (Saturday, July 19) - Portile de Fier to Calafat, Romania
Highlights: The Plains of Walachia, Romania
We are out of the Iron Gates now and the majestic Transylvanian Alps tower above us far to the north. We pedal through densely settled farm lands in Romania on the north side of the Danube.
Distance: 103 km (65 miles)
Day 25: (Sunday, July 20) - Calafat to Corabia, Romania
Highlights: Bicycling the plains of Wallachia, Romania
We continue through farmlands and small villages on this low-lying plain of the Danube River in Romania.
Distance: 146 km (91 miles)
Day 26: (Monday, July 21) - Corabia to Ruse, Bulgaria
Highlights: Bicycle lowland Romania
Our route today takes us to Giurgiu on the Romanian border and then across the Romanian-Bulgarian "Friendship Bridge", completed in 1954. We arrive in one of the most famous Bulgarian towns, where we will be for the next two nights. Approximate distance: about 162 km (101 miles).
Day 27: (Tuesday, July 22)- Rest day in Ruse
Highlights: Ruse, 19th and 20th-century Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture
We have a rest day in Ruse today; enjoy a walk around the center of town. Ruse is the most important river port of Bulgaria and is famous for its 19th to 20th century Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture.
Distance: no biking today
Day 28: (Wednesday, July 23) - Ruse, Bulgaria to Calarasi, Romania
Highlights: Bicycling Downhill through Walachia
We cross the "Friendship Bridge" again this morning and re-enter Romania (keep your passports out!) We'll be in Calarasi this evening. Distance: 163 km (102 miles).
Day 29: (Thursday, July 24) - Calarasi to Braila, Romania
Highlights: Bicycling through the countryside along the Danube
We follow the river or different branches of the river through numerous farm villages to Braila. This is a long ride today but we'll start early and take our time as the ride is entirely flat. Distance: 170 km (106 miles).
Day 30: (Friday, July 25) - Braila to Tulcea
Highlights: The Heart of the Danube Delta
Our ride today begins with a ferry crossing of the Danube; we arrive in Tulcea (say "tool-chuh") this afternoon. Not only have we traveled nearly 3,000 kilometers but we have also traveled back in time nearly three thousand years as Tulcea was inhabited by the ancient Greeks who built their settlement on that of earlier settlers dating to the 7th century BC. At various times in history Tulcea was controlled by the Byzantines, the Genoese, and the Ottoman Turks.
Distance: about 96 km (60 miles).
Day 31: (Saturday, July 26) - Boat from Tulcea to Sulina
Highlights: Ferry along the Sulina Branch of the Danube
We say goodbye to our bicycles this morning and catch a boat to complete our last leg down the Danube to Sulina. We'll take a swim in the Black Sea and enjoy an evening on the seashore.
Day 32: (Sunday, July 27)- Transfer to Bucharest
Highlights: Sunrise over the Black Sea
We catch an early boat this morning and then a bus to Bucharest for our last evening together. Maybe you'll have some extra days to take a walk through this historic capital which has some Ottoman architecture but is also marked by the hand of the authoritarian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu.
Day 33: (Monday, July 28) - Tour ends today in Bucharest
Highlights: Tour ends with a transfer to the Bucharest Airport
Our journey ends this morning with a transfer to the airport. Alternatively, maybe you are headed into the interior of Romania to explore Transylvania, the land of Dracula. Have a great trip!
HighlightsRegensburg, Vienna, Budapest, Black Forest, Ulm, Belgrade, Bucharest and the Black SeaKeep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.
Includes33 days, 32 nights accommodation, 22 dinners (excluding drinks), all breakfasts, dinner cruise in Budapest plus "The Usual""The Usual" (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)
CountriesGermany, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Austria, Serbia, Bulgaria
Begin/EndDonaueschingen, Germany/Bucharest, Romania
Arrive/DepartZurich or Frankfurt, Germany/Bucharest, Romania
Total DistanceAbout 2880 km (1790 miles)
Daily Distance55 - 169 km (34 - 105 miles)
TermsTerms & Conditions
Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes
* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.
History and Geography of the Danube River
The Danube River has been one of the most significant cultural and historic boundaries in Europe.
- History and Geography of the Danube River
My favorite experiences: Riding through and experiencing so much in all of these countries. I met and talked with so many locals that were so kind, helpful and interesting. Budapest was by far my favorite city. I have told many friends your company name should be Experience Plus, Plus, Plus!Judy B., Bridgeport, NY
Thanks to Rick (ExperiencePlus's founder)for providing the lon ExpeditionPlus! trips.Harold M., Centerville, UT
My favorite things: High-fiving the kids along the rural route in Romania and being treated like royalty by a bunch of Romanian men enjoying their morning beer. It was a hot day and they found me a table in the shade, brought me a bag of plums and a handful of pears, and conversed as best they could about their dreams of going to America and making money to bring back to their families.Susan W., Stillwater, OK