There is plenty to discover along the Danube, whether you are a nature-lover, a gourmet or a fan of castles and palaces.
Stop one, after about 60 kilometres: Grein
About three to four hours after setting off from Linz on the Danube Cycle Route, you will reach the small village of Grein. There, you will find Greinburg Castle, where you can enjoy a fantastic view over the Danube Valley from the Gobelwarte lookout platform. If you are looking for a shady spot in the summer, you can cool off on a short hike in the nearby Stillenstein Gorge.
Like almost all places along the Danube, Grein offers a wide selection of traditional wine taverns, known as Heuriger or Buschenschänken, and the Schörgi café and confectioners is a vegan-friendly alternative. If you want refreshments for your journey, you can buy sustainably produced goods in the local organic shop ‘Natur und Wissen’.
Stop two, 45 kilometres from Grein: Melk
Further down the river lies Melk, also known as the ‘Gateway to the Wachau’. In addition to historical buildings and protected natural sites, the Wachau Valley is known for its apricots – called marillen in Austria. Speaking of historic buildings, Melk is home to the famous Stift Melk, a baroque Benedictine Abbey and UNESCO World Heritage Site. About half an hour by bike from Melk is the Schallaburg castle. If you want to stock up on provisions for the onward journey, go to Gerdas Bioladen. Right on Rathausplatz, the little shop offers a range of organic products, complete with fresh pastries and a small organic bistro.
Stop three, 37 kilometres from Melk: Krems
In Krems, as in the whole region, everything revolves around the apricot. Every year, the apricot festival, ‘Alles Marille!’, takes place in the centre of Krems, with every possible product of that fruit, such as apricot schnapps and apricot dumplings. And there are often vegan alternatives. Krems is also the white wine capital of Austria. If you want to spend more time in the region, you should try a Weinwanderung – a short wine-themed walking tour.
The small town has plenty to offer for fans of art and culture: the Kunstmeile Krems (Krems Art Mile) comprises many museums, such as the Landesgalerie Niederösterreich, the Kunsthalle and the Filmgalerie. In the Wachau Valley along the Danube there are also two special castles: the ruins of Dürnstein and the castle Kreuzenstein. Kreuzenstein Castle has often been used as a setting for films and television, such as Ken Follett’s ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ and the fantasy series ‘The Witcher’.
For a quick snack between meals or for the final stage of your ride to Vienna, two shops in particular stand out: EVI-Naturkost, an organic supermarket, and WIllMa, a small shop and café with a regional and low-packaging range.