Please consider that this page is just an ongoing collection of my ideas and plans for our trip next summer. It's nice to have everything in one place and I thought some may benefit from getting an inside look at my outlining process as I put together a trip. Later, this will be the page where I will add our photos and trip recap of what is already shaping up to be a spectacular bike tour through Europe!
Pre-ride: Berlin (June 28-July 1)
Berlin Accommodations (3 nights): Hotel Indigo Alexanderplatz (booked for 60,000 IHG points instead of $450)
Section 1: Berlin to Prague (July 1-4)
Berlin to Dresden (July 1) is the first and longest day of the entire tour at 74 miles, but features very little climbing and is followed by several short days. The day begins with a train ride from Berlin to Lubben to avoid urban riding and then takes in mostly the countryside of Southern Germany.
Dresden Accommodations: Park Inn (booked for 15,000 Club Carlson Points instead of $80)
Dresden to Decin (July 2) is 40 miles, mostly following the Elbe River, but departing at one point to avoid an extra 1,000ft of elevation gain at the sharp bend near Pirna. This area is known as "the Czech Switzerland."
Decin Accommodations: Zlata Lipa Hotel (booked through Hotels.com; pay at 1900cz at the hotel). The hotel features a beautiful spa area that is free to guests from 7-10am, for a $10pp fee until 7pm, and then rentable from 8-10pm for private use as "the Blue Lagoon."
Decin to Melnik (July 3) is 44-57 miles, depending on route taken. The longer way follows the Elbe, while the shorter route takes a more bucolic route without adding any climbing.
Melnik Accommodations: Residenz Libechov (booked through booking.com; pay 78EU at the hotel)
Melnik to Prague (July 4) is 35 miles, following the Elbe River the whole way.
Rest Day: Prague (July 5)
Prague Accommodations (2 nights): Radisson Blu Alcron (booked Royal Club Room for 66,000 Club Carlson points instead of $240 + second night Standard Room for E-CERT instead of $165). Royal Club Room includes $40 daily credit in the Be Bop Lounge + Free Breakfast (even room service).
Section 2: Prague to Linz (July 6-8)
Vlatava River Route
Southern Czech Hills
Train from Prague to Tabor
Prague to Cesky Krumlov (July 6) the plan for this day is to take a train out of Prague that connects to Ceske Budejovice. From there, we will head to Holasovice and several other UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Zlata Koruna on the way to Cesky Krumlov. The day's ride should be about 25 miles and 2,000 feet of elevation gain.
Rest day in Cesky Krumlov (July 7)
Cesky Krumlov Accommodations (2 nights): Pension Faber (Arrival+ Points redeemed instead of $130)
Things to see: Marionettes Museum, Museum Fotoatelier Seidel, Cesky Krumlov Castle, Mirror Maze.
Info about the surrounding area at the Cesky Krumlov UNESCO website
Laundry service at Laundromat Lobo
Cesky Krumlov to Linz (July 8) involves more climbing-per-mile than any other day on the tour, covering approximately 3,500ft of elevation gain in 52 miles. This area is known for its hills and should provide a nice alternative to the riverside riding that forms the backbone of the trip.
Linz Accommodations: Warmshowers.org (lots of hosts)
Section 3: Linz to Vienna (July 9-11)
Danube River Route
Linz to Melk (July 9) finally begins the section of Danube bike path around which this trip was initially planned. This ride is about 64 miles with less than 1,000 feet of elevation gain.
Melk Accommodations: Cafe Hotel Madar (booked through booking.com; pay 82EU at hotel)
Melk to Krems an der Donau (July 10) is a shorter day (22 miles) that visits the Wachau Region of Austria, known for its wine. Also, this weekend features an apricot festival in the town of Krems (more information here).
Krems an der Donau Accommodations: Steigenberger (20,000 FlexPerks Points instead of $275)
Krems an der Donau to Vienna (July 11) would be a 50-something mile ride along the Danube bike path, but the Danube experience would not be complete without a ferry ride and this seems the most logical place.
Rest Days: Vienna (July 12-13)
Vienna Accommodations (3 nights): Hilton Vienna Danube Hotel (booked for 36,000 HH points + $150 instead of $520, plus we should be upgraded and have executive lounge access as Hilton Diamond members)
Section 4: Vienna to Budapest (July 14-15)
Danube River Route
Vienna to Bratislava (July 14)
Bratislava Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Bratislava for 20,000 IHG points instead of $150.
Points and Miles Details
IHG Hotel Points: 4 nights for 80,000 points with top-tier (Spire) status
Club Carlson Hotel Points: 3 nights for 81,000 points + 1 E-Cert Free Night with mid-tier (Gold) status
Hilton Hotel Points: 3 nights for 36,000 points + $150 with top-tier (Diamond) status
American Airlines Miles: 60,000 for two one-way economy class tickets LAX-DUS-TXL on Air Berlin (consider upgrading to business class for no change fee +20,000 per person)
United Airlines Miles: 60,000 for two one-way economy class tickets BUD-FRA-LAX on Lufthansa