The Danube Bike Trail (also called Danube Cycle Path; German: Donauradweg; Slovak: Dunajská cyklistická cesta; Hungarian: Duna menti kerékpárút) is a bicycle trail along Europe’s second longest river the Danube, running from the source of the Danube to its mouth in the Black Sea. The trail passes through the following European countries: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine. The trail usually runs along both sides of the Danube, sometimes only along one side, so that one must cross the Danube several times in the course of the route. The Danube cycleway is the most popular holiday cycle route in Europe.
The Danube flows through very diverse landscapes, including mountainous terrain. The ride has added appeal through the many mountains, famous towns and monasteries, artistic buildings and geological features. The route also goes through a few nature reserves. Where the current crosses great plains, the bike path often runs along high water dams with spectacular views, beginning in Lower Bavarian, northern Austria, in Marchfeld and finally in Hungary.
The bike path is a part of the EuroVelo-Route EV6 (a river route between the Atlantic and the Black Sea). The German part of the Danube Bike Trail follows the D-Netz-Route R6 Danube route, the northern Austrian part goes alongside the R1 Danube route and the southern Austrian part with the R6 Danube route. While the section from the river mouth to Budapest is signposted in the Serbian section, signposts are lacking in much of the route through Bulgaria and Romania. Here the bike path follows mostly streets and the cyclist is instructed to follow the allocated route.
The Danube Bike Trail begins in Donaueschingen and ends in the Black Sea, making it a total of 2875km long.
The trail in Germany
The Donauroute 6 begins on the 3 country border near Basel in a place called Donaueschingen. The path follows the river route (Flussroute) EV6. Guidebooks for the route from Donaueschingen to Passau are available from BikeLine in German and English.
- In Baden-Württemberg:
- Donaueschingen ↔ Tuttlingen ↔ Beuron ↔ Sigmaringen ↔ Scheer ↔ Riedlingen ↔ Obermarchtal ↔ Ehingen ↔ Ulm
- In Bayern:
- Neu-Ulm ↔ Oberelchingen ↔ Leipheim ↔ Günzburg ↔ Offingen ↔ Gundelfingen an der Donau ↔ Lauingen (Donau) ↔ Dillingen an der Donau ↔ Höchstädt an der Donau ↔ Donauwörth ↔ Marxheim ↔ Bertoldsheim ↔ Neuburg an der Donau ↔ Ingolstadt ↔ Neustadt an der Donau ↔ Kloster Weltenburg ↔ Kelheim ↔ Bad Abbach ↔ Regensburg ↔ Donaustauf ↔ Wörth an der Donau ↔ Kössnach ↔ Straubing ↔ Bogen ↔ Mariaposching ↔ Metten ↔ Deggendorf ↔ Niederalteich ↔ Osterhofen ↔ Pleinting ↔ Vilshofen ↔ Windorf ↔ Gaishofen ↔ Passau ↔ Obernzell
The bike path follows the Donautalbahn (Danube Valley train) for long stretches, except in the region of the 5 train tunnels (Bahntunnel) that run between Donaueschingen and Ulm. This offers bikers the possibility to combine tours on the train and by bike.
The section in the upper Danube valley (Oberen Donautal), which runs between the towns on the Danube Mühlheim an der Donau and Scheer, is the heart of the Upper Danube Nature Reserve (Naturparks Obere Donau) borders on a great number of chalk cliffs as well as numerous mountains, burrows, ruins, monasteries and Baroque churches, including:
- Schloss der Herren von Enzberg in Mühlheim
- Burgruine Kallenberg
- Schloss Bronnen
- Benediktinerkloster Beuron
- Burg Wildenstein
- Schloss Werenwag
- Burgruine Falkenstein
- Ruine Dietfurt
- Burgruine Neugutenstein
- Hohenzollernschloss Sigmaringen
- Schloss Scheer
- Schloss Bartelstein
- Barockkirche des Residenzstädtchens Scheer
Past Scheer the Danube leaves the Swabian alps and the bike trail runs through the wide plains of the upper Swabian Danube valley. The bike path heads towads Ulm via Riedlingen, Obermarchtal and Ehingen, then leaves Baden-Württemberg and enters Bavaria.
The trail goes to Passau via Höchstädt, Donauwörth, Ingolstadt, the Weltenburg monastery, Kelheim, Regensburg, Straubing, Plattling and Vilshofen an der Donau. Beneath Passau both the Danube and the bike path cross the border into Austria. Below Obernzell a barrage offers the possibility to combine the border crossing with the river crossing.
For the Bavarian section of this bike trail, please see Via Danubia.
The trail in Austria
On this section there are paved paths for all but 100 meters on either the north or south banks with bridges, ferries and some dams linking the two banks. The trail is typically traveled from west to east as it is down-hill and the winds are typically from west. All along the way there are delightful small towns, placid scenery, castles on the hills, monasteries, and excursions into woods and farm country. The most scenic areas are on the north or "left" bank in the Wachau wine valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Donauradweg.|
- Cycle Touring the Danube River in Austria
- The Danube Cycleway - Donaueschingen to Budapest by John Higginson
- "Danube Bike Trail" maps series from Esterbauer