Cycling the Danube River
The mighty Danube River traverses 1400 km from its origins in the Black Forest of Germany to its finale at the Black Sea near the Ukrainian border. It passes through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria. Not surprisingly, this substantial river has been an important connection for goods and people for many centuries and it has been the inspiration for stories and musical compositions throughout its past. A trip along the Danube is a visual display of ever-changing history and landscape.
Our Danube adventure will take in three of these countries and our itinerary will weave together the places that stand here today and the fascinating historical tapestry that created them. We begin in Vienna, the capital of Austria, a city of music and the imperial grandeur of the powerful Habsberg monarchy. The architecture is dazzling and the museums are numerous. Visit the famed Spanish Riding School where Lipizzaner stallions dance an equine ballet; enjoy numerous art galleries from the imperial art collection to ultra-modern offerings; enjoy a concert on one of the grand stages such as the Konzerthaus, home of the Vienna Boys Choir or Staatsoper, the gold-and-crystal main opera house. From Vienna we’ll join the Danube River Cycle Trail and head east into Slovakia where we will explore its capital, Bratislava, and then travel through the Hungarian countryside to the magnificent capital of Hungary, the combined city of Budapest. Budapest is known as the “Queen of the Danube” and the “Heart of Europe”. The city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in fact was named by the European Commission as “The Best European Destination for 2019 and 2020”. Budapest is steeped in history, culture and natural wonders. Its astounding architecture mirrors its varied historical rulers encompassing Roman, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Austrian and Ottoman (Turkish) influences. It is a destination for those looking for therapeutic baths with over one hundred springs bubbling through mineral-laden rock and offering an astonishing array of thermal spas ranging from authentic Turkish baths to art nouveau spas. You can even take a three-hour underground tour of the caves beneath the Buda hills.
Cycling the Danube River route is quite flat. The pathways wind along the valley of the river, sometimes right on its riverbanks. The majority of the route encompasses former towpaths, dike-top trails and quiet roads although, as always, there is some riding on busier streets near and in towns. This cycle route covers a wide variety of surface conditions, from loose gravel and broken pavement to long stretches of pristine asphalt paving. It is strongly suggested that bicycles be equipped with at least 32mm wide tires. Daily distances are variable. The route traverses 680 km in ten days of actual riding with most days covering between 60 and 90 km. While the distances may sound long, the flat terrain and the longer, uninterrupted stretches allow for more efficient cycling and a faster pace.
We hope you are able to join us on our next invigorating cycling expedition as we begin to explore eastern Europe.
TUESDAY (DAY 12) We leave Györ for a peaceful cycle through the 82.5 KM
Szigetköz lowland and on to captivating Bratislava
Maps needed: Map of Györ (North and South), Small map of Györ, C7, C6, C5, Alt. Dunakiliti 3, Alt. Dunakiliti 2, Alt. Dunakiliti 1, C3, C2, C1, Small Map of Bratislava
(Small map of Györ) - Leave our hotel and make your way to the bridge, Kossuth Híd. Cross over the Mosoni Duna River. On the other side, pass the first cross street.
We are following the alternate route, marked in orange on the map.
0.8 km - Take the second left onto Kálócsy tér and ride past the Kebap Ház on your left.
1.1 km - At the roundabout, continue straight. This road curves around to the left and becomes Vásárhelyi pál utca and then curves around to the right.
(C7) - At the fork, keep left and you’ll start your ride along an idyllic dyke along the Mosoni Duna (Little Danube).
10 km – Here the pavement ends and, for the next 4 km, the dyke trail is gravel and may be rough.
If you don’t like the sound of this you can transfer onto the main trail by turning right onto one of the roads off the trail here in the town of Györzámoly. There are three possible roads you can take – the first is Béke utca; the second and the third are both Bartók Béla utca. If you come to a T-intersection, turn left to reach the main trail along the road. Turn left onto the Velo-6 main trail when you reach it.
(C6) - 14 km - At “10” on the map, opposite a soccer field, the dyke trail merges with the roadside main trail. Veer right and ride through the town of Dunaszeg along the main road. Continue following the paved path alongside the main road (Rte 1401 – Dósza gyórgy utca) which follows the Velo-6 toward Ásványráro.
Ásványráro was founded on trades such as milling grain and towing ships and, because this little village is often isolated by flooding water, some of these ancient professions remain. The fishery still survives here. Gold panning was once very common but has mostly died out now. Some still try their luck and apparently have modest success.
(C5) 22.7 km – At “9” on the map, turn left at the roundabout by the church onto Gyóri út and follow this main road through the town. A two-lane bicycle path along the left side of the road soon begins. Ride this into Hédervár.
Hédervár boasts a 15th century Chapel of Our Lady and a palace (now a hotel) with three corner towers and a beautiful English garden.
(Alt. Dunakiliti 3 map) - 25.7 km – At “8” on the map, we are going to part from the main route again. The main road turns left at this point; we will continue straight along Kossuth Lajos utca/Rte 1411). This road will swing to the right and then to the left. Follow this country road to Lipót. The route is marked in orange on the map.
Szigetköz (“island alley”, aka “Gift of the Danube”) is this watery floodplain scattered with villages which is bounded by the Danube River on the north and the Mosoni Duna to the south. It is the largest island of Hungary and is actually moorland which has been partly drained and recovered through canalization. It is noted for fishing and a wide array of flora and fauna. The Danube has built up many islands in the upper third of the Szigetköz and settlements were built on the larger islands. NOTE: Sziget means “island”. You’ll notice many szigets along the next part of the route.
29.2 km – Reach a T-intersection in Lipót. Turn left on Fó út. This road skirts a marsh, veering right at Rte 1405, and heads to Dunaremete.
(Alt. Dunakiliti 2 map) - 33.2 km - When Rte 1405 rounds a left-hand curve and heads towards Püski, do not follow it. Turn right onto an unpaved pathway along a dyke and beside a marshy area. Soon you will cross a small bridge and enter the town of Kisbodak along a road called Felszabadulás utca. At the intersection with the crucifix on the right, veer left; then, at the small roundabout, turn left onto Petöfi Sándor utca/Rte 14105 and ride towards Püski. At the outskirts of Püski follow the road as it turns right and becomes Rozmaring utca.
36.7 km – Very soon you will meet a small road, Petöfi utca – turn right onto this somewhat rough road. After about 2 km, you’ll see a dyke. Climb onto that with a slight left turn and continue riding. When the dyke ends, veer slightly right and continue along the unpaved road towards Nagysziget for about 1 km. The road makes a left turn and then a right turn onto Cikola utca. Now in Nagysziget, turn left at the next crossroad and you’ll soon cross a small watercourse. Follow this road, Dósza gyórgy utca, into Cikolasziget. At the intersection, veer right onto Cikoa utca again and follow the road around a left curve. At the T-intersection, turn left onto Szent István út and head into Dunasziget.
(Alt. Dunakiliti 1 map) - 44.7 km - At the T-intersection turn right onto Park utca and follow this road around a left curve as it becomes Serfényó utca/Rte 1407 then follow this main road into Doborgazsziget. Cross the river and continue on this road as it turns to the left and soon arrives in Tejfalusziget. The road turns right in the middle of the town and continues on around a large left bend and over a river (Zátonyi Duna) and into Dunakiliti along Kossuth Lajos utca.
52.2 km – Reach the center of Dunakiliti. At the church, turn right onto Rajkai utca/Rte 1408 and cycle along this country road toward Rajká.
(C3) – Cross a bridge over the river and follow Kiliti út into Rajká as it bends right then left and becomes Kossuth Lajos utca.
60.2 km – At “3” on the map, the alternate route meets the main route and Euro-Velo 6 at Svent István utca. Turn right and join the main route.
(C2) - At the small canal, turn left towards Čunovo. Just before the border, turn right and go over the bridge to the other side of the canal, then turn left to follow along the other side of the canal. Cross the border into Slovakia.
64.2 km – At “2” on the map, at the bridge to Čunovo, turn left to cross over the canal and then right to join the bicycle path along the other side of the canal. Continue along this path, sometimes on the dyke and sometimes beside the dyke towards Bratislava.
71.7 km – Here the bicycle trail passes a restaurant and begins to run alongside the highway for a short while, passing through an underpass beneath a new major highway. Continue along the path beside the river and soon the bike path follows the Danube River and leaves the highway.
(C1) - Once again, the bike trail nears the highway and, after a couple of kilometers, veers back towards the Danube and away from the road. Pass under another major overpass and follow the trail on a left curve.
79.7 km – Pass under another road bridge. The trail is now nearing the Danube riverside. Bratislava is across the Danube here. Soon there is another bridge overhead. Follow the left bend in the road and then right onto Viedenská cesta. Follow this road to the large UFO tower at the end of the next bridge, Nový Most (New Bridge) or Most SNP (“Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising”), honouring the 1944 resistance movement against Nazi forces).
Note the interesting UFO Observation Deck topping the pylon on the south end of the bridge. More info on this later. Nový Most is the worlds first, and only, asymmetrical suspension bridge. It was built in the post-war Soviet area on a single pylon, with no pillars to hold it up and is prone to shaking, vibrating and wobbling with heavy traffic. Building began in 1969 and it opened in 1972.
(Small Map of Bratislava) - 81.5 km - At “1” on the map, turn right and cross over the bridge via the pedestrian/bicycle section under the road section. Exit the bridge into the pedestrian zone, then walk parallel to the bridge road (Staromestská), crossing under the road, when able, to be on its west side and travelling north on Židoská/Mikulášska.
82.5 km – Turn left onto Zámocká/Škarniclova, walk past Skalná, and our hotel should be visible on the left.
Our hotel for the night is …..