While travelling in Europe for four months with a Campervan in 2018, I (Lisa) also got the opportunity to experience a day of cycling along the Danube River in Austria. If you've ever considered a cycling holiday, the Danube is a great place to do so. So how and why did we go from travelling by Campervan to cycling along a river you might ask? Well, my cousin from the UK had arranged a 10-day long cycle holiday from across the width of Austria, along the Danube River. We couldn't say no to the opportunity to meet up and while doing so, I decided it would be a good idea to work on my much-needed cycling skills!
We planned to meet at the little town of Au an der Donau, where we could park our Campervan at the same camping grounds that they were staying at. From there, I would cycle the 34km stretch along the Danube River with them to the town of Grein, where we would all spend a few nights on a countryside apple farm before moving on. It was a good reason to visit Austria and also gave us the opportunity to visit the incredibly beautiful cities of Salzburg and Vienna. More about those cities in our other posts...
After more than a year and a half since their relocation to the UK, it was great seeing my cousin again. We enjoyed the lovely summer weather by swimming in the river and lazing around on the grassy riverbanks of the campsite. I was excited and also a little nervous for the next morning and the seriousness of the cycle that lay ahead! Despite feeling rather inadequate on my very old loaned bicycle (with broken gears) and with no professional cycling gear, I was up early and ready to put my endurance to the test. Luckily, the 34km route along the river turned out to be a lovely day's cycle with only a few gradual inclines along the way.
To my surprise, the route was not that busy. For some reason, with the increasing popularity of cycling holidays, I had imagined that there would be lots of very serious cyclists. Instead, cycling along the Danube River was really beautiful and scenic and we even made time along the way to stop for a well-deserved ice-cream! We cycled right along the river's edge for most of the way but also cut inland at times where we got to cycle through a cornfield busy being harvested. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty tired at the end of the day, and although my buttocks may not have agreed with me, I would have loved to have been able to continue cycling for another few days. Perhaps another time.
Once we reached Grein, we were invited to park our Camper at the lovely apple farm that my cousin and friends were staying at. Having a Camper gives one such flexibility as to where you can park and overnight and this was no exception. We had the most stunning view out over the farmlands and woke to the sounds of the goats groaning in the morning. Of course, being on an apple farm, meant that there was an abundance of apples for us to enjoy. With the weather turning on us, we decided to keep the kids entertained by filming a short video parody of us making apple strudel!
While Austria has some truly beautiful cities, I really enjoyed this experience of cycling along the Danube and camping out in the countryside. Austria, we'll definitely be back again soon!