Danube - Vienna to Budapest Cycling Holiday

Visit three stunning capital cities on this classic cycling holiday along the Danube River. Ride downstream from imperial Vienna to Bratislava, a small historic city with an intoxicating, cafe-culture vibe. Then it’s on, through Slovakia to Hungary and its capital, Budapest – one of Europe’s most fascinating and exciting cities.

This is a tour that combines the sights and cultures of some of Europe’s most beautiful capitals with a healthy dose of nature and the great outdoors. Following the river you’ll get a great sense of the changing landscape and enjoy the many traditional towns and villages that line its banks.

Parliament - Budapest

Highlights include the Imperial city of Vienna, the compact and fascinating old town in the centre of Bratislava, enjoying the peace and quiet of the riverside cycle path itself and of course arriving in the stunning city of Budapest.

The route is mostly flat but with the odd incline along the way. You’ll be cycling on well-maintained cycle paths and some quiet country lanes. Around cities there may be short sections along busy roads.

Danube - Vienna to Budapest Cycling Holiday

Visit three stunning capital cities on this classic cycling holiday along the Danube River. Ride downstream from imperial Vienna to Bratislava, a small historic city with an intoxicating, cafe-culture vibe. Then it’s on, through Slovakia to Hungary and its capital, Budapest – one of Europe’s most fascinating and exciting cities.

This is a tour that combines the sights and cultures of some of Europe’s most beautiful capitals with a healthy dose of nature and the great outdoors. Following the river you’ll get a great sense of the changing landscape and enjoy the many traditional towns and villages that line its banks.

Parliament - Budapest

Highlights include the Imperial city of Vienna, the compact and fascinating old town in the centre of Bratislava, enjoying the peace and quiet of the riverside cycle path itself and of course arriving in the stunning city of Budapest.

The route is mostly flat but with the odd incline along the way. You’ll be cycling on well-maintained cycle paths and some quiet country lanes. Around cities there may be short sections along busy roads.

Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrive Vienna

Once you’ve checked in to your hotel the rest of day is yours to explore this fascinating city. Visit Schönbrunn Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the Imperial Palace. You may also want to take in the ‘Riesenrad’, the giant ferris wheel, made famous in the 1949 film, ‘The Third Man’. No trip to Vienna would be complete without enjoying a coffee and cake in one of the city’s elegant coffee houses. In the evening we highly recommend trying the local speciality – Wienerschnitzel. This pan-fried breaded pork cutlet has become popular around the world but this is where it was born. Of course, this is the city of the Waltz and you might wish to attend one of the many Waltzing evenings that take place in the city.

Day 2 : Vienna – Bratislava
42 miles/68 kms

Shortly after leaving the hustle and bustle of Vienna you enter a very different world, cycling through a riverside nature reserve full of diverse flora and fauna. The city suddenly seems a million miles away with the peace and quiet only interrupted by chattering birds. The Romans left their mark around here and we highly recommend stopping at the Carnuntum archaeological park just before the spa town of Bad Deutsch-Altenburg. Thereafter you cycle across the border into Slovakia and follow the riverbank to the country’s charming capital, Bratislava. The medieval town at the city’s heart actually feels more like a large village than a city and the attractive flag-stoned streets are a delight to explore on foot or by bike. Other must-sees include the Castle, which offers fantastic views from its high vantage point and St Martin’s Cathedral, the city’s oldest church. You’ll spend the night in this enchanting city.

Day 3 : Bratislava – Mosonmagyaróvàr
28 miles/45 kms

Today you have a lovely ride along an idyllic cycle path beside the river. The Danube broadens considerably just after Bratislava and resembles a lake more than a river. It also marks the border between Hungary (southern bank) and Slovakia (Northern bank). Nature holds sway here and the only sounds are your tyres on the tarmac and birdsong. After a while you leave the river and head south to pleasant old town of Mosonmagyaróvàr where you will stop for the night.

Day 4 : Mosonmagyaróvàr – Györ
28 miles/45 kms

Today’s ride continues along the idyllic Danube cycle path in part but you’ll also cycle through the peaceful Hungarian countryside away from the river. You’ll pass Hedervár Castle and after a relatively easy ride arrive in the lovely old town of Györ where you will spend the night. The charming streets and beautiful town square of this lovely old town are a delight to explore on foot.

Day 5 : Györ – Komárno
40 miles/64 kms

From Györ you return to the Danube and begin to follow the river on the Slovakian side. A raised embankment provides a nice elevated platform for the cycle path, allowing you to admire the surrounding countryside and peaceful river views as you head further east. Your destination today is the town of Komárom or Komárno. This fortress town has two names as it straddles the river and is therefore part Slovakian and part Hungarian.

Day 6 : Komárno – Visegrád
43 miles/69 kms

The route continues along the embankment cycle path. After a few kilometres you might want to stop at the the Roman fort Kelemantia. From there you pedal on through quiet farming villages alongside the Danube. At Šturovo you cross the bridge to the city of Esztergom. Here you can visit the imposing basilica, the largest in Hungary. The town also has a beautiful town square. Then cycle on to Nagymaros where you take the short ferry ride )not included and to be paid for locally) to the town of Visegrád for your overnight stay.

Day 7 : Visegrád – Budapest
28 miles/45 kms

Your final ride leads you around the Danube Knee and down to the artists’ island of Szentendre. From here you may opt to take a train (payable locally €3 per person) or a boat along the river and into Budapest (payable locally €10 per person). You can of course opt to complete the journey by bike and cycle into the city centre.

The rest of the day and evening are yours to explore this fascinating city which is actually two cities, Buda on the west bank and Pest on the east.

Day 8 : End of trip

After breakfast it’s time to head for home or your next adventure.

Bikes

Regular bikes provided are modern alloy framed models with 21-24 speeds. The bikes come equipped with pannier and lock.

Electric bikes are also available. Important: A security credit card deposit of €180 will be requested on arrival as a ‘guarantee’ only. This will be returned when you return the bike in good condition.

Helmets are not provided and we therefore recommend bringing your own.

Accommodation

Below you will find examples of the types of accommodation typically used on this tour. Please note that the hotels we book for you may differ slightly from those described but they will certainly be of a similar standard.

Superior: Good quality hotels and guesthouses.

Vienna: NH Danube City

Bratislava: Lindner Hotel Gallery Central

Mosonmagyaróvàr: Hotel Lajta Park

Györ: Hotel Ibis

Komárno: Hotel Bandérium

Visegrád: Hotel Visegrád

Budapest: Lion’s Garden

Local taxes: Some hotels have started to charge a local/tourist tax. These taxes are not included in the sale price of the tour and must be paid directly by you at check-in or checkout at the hotels. The fee varies and is frequently changing but as a guide, you may be asked to pay between €1-€4 per person per night.

Getting there

Fly to Vienna, Salzburg, Linz or Munich – all offer good rail connections to Passau. For the journey home fly from Budapest or Vienna. The rail journey from Budapest to Vienna takes 3 hours.

Research flights from the UK here.

Research train timetables here.

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