FATMAP difficulty grade
North or south route - this is the question you have to ask at the beginning of your first stage, as you can reach your destination on both banks of the Danube.
No matter what you decide: Before you start, you have ample opportunity to visit Passaus sights such as the Old Town, the Residenz and St.
Stephen's Cathedral (see also E1-S).
As soon as you have crossed the Ilz on the Luitpoldbrücke, the Vesten Ober- and Niederhaus greet you as you leave the Dreiflüssestadt.
The sunny southern slopes of the Donauleiten nature reserve soon become extremely impressive, where the delicate cyclamen, the magnificent Turkish lily and the shimmering emerald lizard are native.
Through the village of Erlau to Obernzell, where a ceramics museum is housed in the massive castle directly on the river.
Your onward journey will be accompanied by a view of the mighty keep of Vichtenstein Castle (12th century) on the opposite bank, where the Haugstein (895 m) also rises as the highest elevation from the Upper Austrian Sauwald.
The nature experience centre Haus am Strom, shaped by architects such as "Welle und Kieselstein", welcomes you with a special water lift.
And a series of interesting and eventful nature tours will acquaint you with the fauna and flora of the region.
If the sight of Engelszell Abbey then lures you to the other bank for a flying visit (see also E1-S), you could cross the Danube over the Jochenstein power station.
On the northern bank, however, you will soon reach Niederranna (Danube bridge), where an old-established boat builder invites you to a Zillen excursion on the water.
Now it is not far to the ferry, which translates you to Schlögen.
Route description: From Passauer main station we first keep north until we meet the Danube.
Here we turn right and follow the road to the glass museum, where we turn right again into Schrottgasse.
Here it is worth making your first detour to St.
Stephen's Cathedral, which has been home to the world's largest cathedral organ since 1928.
After crossing the river Inn, we continue downstream along narrow and winding paths to two small wooded islands, where the Danube makes a striking left turn near Erlau, a village on the other side of the river.
Here is the castle Krämpelstein, which is often also called the tailor's castle.
It consists of a residential tower and an adjoining palace.
The walls are only partially preserved.
Already here we can marvel at the Donauleiten nature reserve on the other bank: It marks the southern edge of the Bavarian Forest and offers an enormous biodiversity and impressive botany.
In Pyrawang, a short visit to the small Petrus Church is worthwhile, where Gothic wall paintings from the 14th century were discovered during restoration work.
In Engelhartszell, the highlights are the Trappist Abbey and the Mini-Danube (with large aquarium).
Here we should change with the ferry the river side, in order not to have to cycle on the much frequented federal highway.
Until the new cycle path on the south bank is completed, we will remain on the north side.
In Niederranna we drive back towards the bridge to the south side of the Danube, where we cross the river bank and can cycle on the newly built Danube cycle path (from spring 2014) to Schlögen.
Soon we take a first look at the ruins of Haichenbach and then reach the first stage destination: Schlögen.route description:Passau - Innstadt - Pyrawang - Kasten - Engelhartszell - Kramesau - Niederranna - Wesenufer - SchlögenOther characteristics:- Recommended season: from April to November- stage tour, route tour- panoramic, cultural/historical, geological highlights, botanical highlights, faunistic highlights- experience: 5 of 6 possible stars- technique: 1 of 6 possible stars- experience: 5 of 6 possible stars- technique: 1 of 6 possible stars- technique: 1 of 6 possible stars- technique: 5 of 6 possible stars- technique: 1 of 6 possible stars- technique: 5 of 6 possible stars- experience: 5 of 6 possible stars- experience: 5 of 6 stars- experience: 5 of 6 possible stars- experience: 5 of 6 possible stars- experience: 1 of 6 possible stars- experience: 1 of 6 possible stars