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Business News/ Mint-lounge / Features/  How to plan a cycling holiday

Getting there

The return airfare to Salzburg is around 58,000 (this is for Bangalore-Frankfurt-Salzburg-Vienna-Frankfurt-Bangalore on Lufthansa in June next year).

Before you apply for a visa, you will need a traveller’s medical insurance, which is available for approximately 1,500.

A Schengen visa application costs approximately 4,170. Apply for the visa through VFS

Do/eat and drink

Entry to museums, castles, gardens, a small city tour of Vienna, etc.: a recommended minimum would be €75.


Schloss Greinburg in Grein (entry fee, €4-6)

Stadtamt der Stadtgemeinde Ybbs an der Donau—the bicycle museum in Ybbs (€12)

Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (children and teenagers under 19 free, the rest pay €12, plus €4 for the audio guide)

A half-day bus tour of Vienna (€39).

What you need to do

Follow instructions with regard to clothes, packing and size of suitcase, etc., provided by the bicycle tour company before you set off. Use a vacuum bag to compact your clothes.

It is important to carry a change of clothes in your pannier because you could get soaked in rain and reach your hotel, but your luggage may still be on its way.

Ensure that your money, maps, hotel vouchers and travel documents are in rainproof packets.

Carry some medication for minor cuts, bruises, headaches and swellings (from minor sprains).

You don’t need to carry a GPS. The cycling routes across Austria (and Slovenia, Germany and Switzerland) are well-marked. Just stay on them. Ask for directions when uncertain.

What does a bicycle tour company do?

The tour company will make all your bookings. It will direct you to a bicycle rental company (we had Touristik in Salzburg) from whom you will need to pick up a suitable bicycle.

The bicycle will include panniers (to carry a change of clothes, some food and water, passport, money, camera, phone, etc.), a puncture repair kit, pump, bicycle lock, maps with directions, vouchers for your hotels, and tickets for en route boat and train journeys. In case your bicycle breaks down, the travel documents will have numbers to call. They will replace your bike anywhere on the route.

The company will arrange to have your luggage picked up each morning and delivered to your next destination.

Bicycle expenses

Bicycle rentals and hotel stay (with breakfast) for a self-guided tour: approximately €499 for seven nights, eight days. There are many bicycle holiday companies that will organize the bicycle rentals and hotels. We used Bike Tours Direct . Search on the Internet for the one that meets your needs. You could decide to use a tour guide and it will cost you a little more (but you won’t get lost). You can also choose from two categories of hotels. This, naturally, changes the cost of the holiday. Motorized, electric bicycles are also available. These cost a little more and need to be recharged every night.

Other helpful stuff

• We added two weeks of cycling through Slovenia, Germany and Switzerland for only 1 lakh more. Do extend the time you spend on the road.

• Pick up fruit from the breakfast buffet to carry along.

• If you get soaked in the rain (a frequent occurrence), dry your clothes and shoes with the hairdryers at the hotel.

• Buy mountain-biking (MTB) shorts (baggy padded shorts, best worn without underwear).

• Take a light riding jersey, add a warm jacket on top of it. Carry a rainproof jacket as well.

• Austrian law does not require you to wear a cycling helmet, but it can prevent head injuries.

• The best time to cycle through Austria is June, when the tracks are almost empty. By July, there can be about 5,000 cyclists on any route.

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Updated: 30 Nov 2012, 05:22 PM IST
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