eBike adventure along the Danube
For more than 10 years Maximilian Semsch has been travelling the world to get to know countries and people better – most of the time he is equipped with his eBike and camera. When not on the road, he lives north-east of Germany in Brandenburg and works as a travel photographer, speaker and award-winning filmmaker. Read on to find out why the widely-travelled rider loves the Danube cycle path and its various stretches so much.
The Danube cycle path runs along the river from Donaueschingen to the delta in Romania almost along its entire length. As part of the European cycle route Eurovelo 6, it is one of the most popular long-distance cycle paths in Europe. You can cycle comfortably along the river bank or nearby on the well-marked cycle paths, side roads and country roads. In Germany and Austria, the route features nearly all asphalt-covered roads and paved paths going through forests and fields. Maximilian Semsch gave it a go: From July to September 2018 he cycled through seven countries.
The 2,850 km long Danube is the second longest river in Europe and connects the cultures and traditions of ten countries between the Atlantic Ocean and the Black Sea. Sometimes the water almost stands still, sometimes the river is rushing. In some areas there are high cliffs, and in others are vast fields, vineyards and meadows: Nature is the special allure of the Danube and the Danube cycle path that runs along it. Beautiful natural scenery and unique sights such as the Upper Danube Nature Park, the deep blue water of the Blautopf near Blaubeuren or the Danube Sinkhole near Tuttlingen abound along the way. Historic sites such as the Ulm Cathedral, Weltenburg Monastery, the UNESCO World Heritage city of Regensburg, as well as impressive castles and monasteries and the Linz-Vienna-Budapest city ring make the trip an impressive "cul-tour". Maximilian Semsch made his ride here, covering four countries from July to September 2018.
1) Young Danube - Sigmaringen
2) Danube Gorge near Kehlheim
6) Iron Gate
7) Danube delta
Donaueschingen: The Danube cycle path begins in the middle of the city and will take Maximilian along the Danube for the next eight weeks. The river is still a stream and in Immendingen it is sometimes completely hidden from view for a while in underground caverns, but between Beuron and Sigmaringen the river landscape presents itself in all its splendour. There are tall limestone formations with battlements on both sides of a narrow valley, the picturesque Beuron monastery and a landscape without roads that allows you to experience enchanting nature in absolute tranquility: In the area surrounding Sigmaringen, the Young Danube will fascinate you right at the beginning of the ride with one of the most beautiful sections of the whole cycle path.
After a side trip to sights such as the famous Ulm Cathedral, Ingolstadt and the mediaeval old town in Regensburg, a special experience awaits you starting at Weltenburg Monastery. From here you get a little break from cycling: Load the eBike on the small boat called "Zille" and cruise through the impressive Danube Gorge to Kehlheim. Here the Danube meanders through the Franconian Jura Mountains. This spectacle cannot be enjoyed from an eBike. The valley is too narrow for the cycle path to follow the riverbank along this stretch. The view from the lookout point at the Hall of Liberation in Kelkheim and the magnificent panorama from the roof of the building are more than enough to make up for it, though.
From Passau a magical stretch takes you to Linz. Cultural highlights such as the "Pflasterstein Spektakel" Street Art festival in July and one of the world's largest outdoor galleries invite you to make a pit stop. The later portions of the journey towards Wachau also have many sights to offer. As a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site, the cultural landscape around the Danube Valley between Melk and Krems is one of the most beautiful sections of the Danube cycle path. The Aggstein castle ruin, situated 300 metres above the right bank of the Danube and one of the best preserved castle ruins in Austria, is an attractive stopping point. With a magnificent view of the Danube and Wachau, the castle stretching over nearly 150 metres is one of the highlights of this leg of the ride. Nearby you can easily reach the other side of the river to Spitz by jumping on a ferry. True romantics will never be able to get enough of cycling at sunset in the Wachau Valley...
After the big city flair in Vienna and Bratislava, the Danube cycle path on its way to Hungary starts with rough sections full of potholes, fissures and puddles if it's been raining. But then a wonderful river landscape opens up before you with spacious, and if you're lucky, surprisingly empty beaches offering a wonderful place to relax. Vibrant city bustle, fascinating Danube views and the allure of a lively metropolis of millions await the eBiker in Budapest – a city Maximilian Semsch immediately fell in love with during his three-day stay. Camping in the great outdoors is much more peaceful: Wild camping is allowed in Hungary, and enchanting sunsets (like this one here 80 km south of the capital), untouched shores and a lush flora and fauna are all included. Through to Baja and to the Croatian border you can cycle on largely well developed paths and enjoy a relaxing break from time to time. Maximilian Semsch shows us how it's done.
Welcome to Croatia! The Croatian section of the Danube cycle path is only 137 kilometres long. This part is mostly made up of side roads with little traffic. But beware! Even the most adventurous should not stray from the official route: Mine fields that have not been cleared are still scattered along the route. The picturesque village of Ilok near the Serbian border invites you to make a stop with its lush vineyards and old castle that offers a magnificent view. Especially worth seeing: the centuries-old wine cellar with exquisite, upmarket white wines at the foot of the castle. If you fancy more sporting activities in addition to eBiking, you can go for a round of golf in the vineyards. Afterwards you can relax and enjoy the evening atmosphere while taking a refreshing break on the banks of the Danube.
After all these highlights another fantastic stretch awaits you – for Maximilian Semsch this is "personally the most beautiful leg of the journey". Europe's longest gorge, the Iron Gate Gorge, is more than 100 kilometres long. Its cliffs and bizarre rocks flank both banks of the Danube. Lush green mountains and the deep blue Danube: These magnificent contrasts are not to be missed. If you take a little extra time here, you can enjoy great views of the colourful landscape from one of the many lookout points. One of the most beautiful spots is situated on the Serbian side of the Derdap National Park and is a good opportunity to escape the heavier traffic on the Romanian side. Just before the Iron Gate you can marvel at the widest section of the Danube. This is where the river shows off its expansive, six-kilometre-wide beauty.
Once you have crossed the hilly landscapes, the remote villages and the rather meagre tourist infrastructure in Bulgaria, you are almost at the end of the 3,500 kilometre ride that Maximilian Semsch completed from the source of the Danube in Furtwangen to the delta on the Black Sea. Romania, the last country on the Danube cycle path, is a treat for any eBiker with its magnificent landscapes like the intense golden yellow hills of the Macin Mountains, its rolling green vineyards, and friendly people. All the way to Tulcea, you are guaranteed to have a great eBike cycling experience surrounded by nature. For the last 150 kilometres to the mouth of the river you will need to take a boat. But that's not a bad thing: The gorgeous countryside teaming with more than 5,000 animal and plant species can be enjoyed from the boat in peace and quiet – for the long-distance rider Maximilian Semsch it is "the perfect end to an exciting journey".
Battery: 2 x 500 W DualBattery
Out and about with two batteries. The 2 x 500 W ensures that adventurer Maximilian Semsch has all the power he needs. Even on long rides.
On-board computer: Nyon
The Nyon all-in-one on-board computer combines navigation, eBike control and riding data in a single device.
Drive: Performance Line CX
Setting the standard for eMountain biking in sporty terrain and on the mountain. The Performance Line CX facilitates sporty dynamic acceleration even in alpine terrain.