Self-guided cycling holidays on the Danube cycle path

Going on a self-guided cycling holiday is the perfect choice if you like to cycle at your own pace while enjoying the comfort of having accommodation prearranged and luggage forwarded each night. Of course, map reading skills are essential.

Included in a self-guided cycling holiday package is pre-booked accommodation, a set of maps and daily luggage transfer. You also receive a phone number that you could ring in a case of emergency. Additional services like rental bicycles with panniers, extra nights and dinner packages are available. The prices of the packages mainly depend on the type of accommodation that you chose. The higher the chosen category - the better the hotels promise to be.

How does a self-guided cycling holiday work?

After booking and paying for your self-guided cycling holiday you receive an information package. Amongst other information, the package answers the most important two questions:

  • What hotels are you booked in?
  • Where to pick up you rental bicycle?

Anything else is pretty straight-forward: Have your luggage packed and ready to be picked up before 9 am every day. You will receive a label that you attach to your suitcase(s). So the van driver knows where to take it. The hotel reception will tell you where to deposit your luggage.

You also receive a set of maps that comes at a very detailed scale. Additional touristic information and recommended day-time activities and places to eat will help you every day. It is recommended planning (at least) one day ahead: What route to take (if there is a choice)? What to visit along the way? When to pass certain waypoints in order to keep in time?

Once you get to your next hotel, check in with the hotel vouchers that you received and pick up your suitcase(s) from where the driver put it. Your luggage is supposed to be there by 5 pm. Usually it is there before that time.

From our experience with self-guided cycling holidays

Until you made the booking, you don't know for sure what hotel or inn you will be staying at. So you might end up in a small village where there is no restaurant providing an English speaking menu. If you don't speak German or don't like translating the menu with your smartphone, you better take a package of a higher hotel category.

An app that is advised to have on your smartphone while being on a self-guided cycle tour is a <map app>. Get one that lets you download maps of the region. Do so before leaving home. Those maps will assist you not only if getting lost but also when your hotel don't want to be found. This might happen in big cities or when arriving later than expected. The maps that are provided, although perfect for cycling, sometimes don't show the exact way to your hotel.
If you don't trust your smartphone's battery, print out a street map of the area around every hotel that you are booked in (from Google maps, bing maps or OpenStreetMap).

What luggage is allowed to bring? The tour operators got different rules about that. In general, think of a limit of 20 kg (44 lb or 8 st) and a maximum of two pieces per cyclist.

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