Day 1: Arrival in Vienna
I arrived in Vienna on an early train from Salzburg. We reached Vienna's main train station by 11 am and took public transport to our hotel, Arcotel Wimberger. Fortunately, our room was ready for check-in, so we could drop off our suitcases.
Then, we had a late lunch at the 'Donauturm' tower, which offered a breathtaking view of Vienna. We enjoyed a classic Viennese dish: breaded fried chicken with potato salad.
At 6 pm, we had a welcome meeting with our tour guide and fellow guests. We received important tips and hints for our cycling tour and then returned to our hotel by tube.
Day 2: Vienna - Bratislava
On the second day, we started early in the morning and passed numerous sights. We cycled along Mariahilfer Straße, the Museumsquartier, and the Ring-Straße. We took a short photo break at St. Stephen's Cathedral. Jozef, our guide, had advised us to bring plenty of water and a packed lunch since there were few restaurants along the nature reserve.
Following the Euro 6 waymarking along the Danube River, we headed southeast. We passed through the Lobau area and the Danube Island, a popular local recreational area where some people were even bathing in the nude.
The Lobau area is part of the Danube wetlands and is now a conservation area. The cycle path was well-paved and ran along or on top of the dam. After cycling 28 km, we reached 'Hermis Radlertreff' for a well-deserved pit stop. It was our last opportunity for a break before Hainburg, located directly along the cycle path.
We could also choose to visit the surrounding villages by leaving the cycle path. Shortly before Bratislava, we cycled along a short section of the road and caught sight of the castle in the distance. After a brief stroll through the city, we cycled to Hotel Apollo, where we were tired and looking forward to a nice dinner and bed.
Day 3: Bratislava – Mosonagyaróvar
We started the day by purchasing snacks and water for provisions. We set off on our next stage of the tour, encountering numerous places to stop for cyclists along the way. The well-maintained, asphalted cycle path led us through the wetlands along the dam.
After cycling for about 1.5 hours, we took a break at the 'Radlertreff' inn. Looking back, we should have taken the side road with less traffic, as it led to a small lake where we could have cooled off with a swim. We crossed the Hungarian border and entered a dense broadleaf forest, providing shade from the sun. Continuing our cycling tour to Rajka, we encountered the shortest cycling path I have ever seen, and we had a great time cycling up and down it.
The cycle path continued parallel to the road, offering views of corn and sunflower fields until we reached Mosonmagyaróvar, known as the 'stronghold' of Hungarian dentists. We stayed at the Thermal Hotel and enjoyed the afternoon in the public thermal spring next to the hotel, filled with curative water.
We also discovered that it was easier to converse in German than English at the kiosk in the thermal spring. In the evening, we had a pleasant dinner in the centre of Mosonmagyaróvar.
Day 4: Mosonmagyaróvar – Györ
We returned to our route 'Euro 6' through the town and continued along the cycle path, which ran parallel to the A-road. Since we passed through several villages, we had the opportunity to buy food and drinks along the way.
However, we also faced some headwinds due to the Pannonian climate. In Duaszeg, we took a well-deserved lunch break. Afterwards, we could already see the outskirts of Györ in the distance, and before we knew it, we reached the historic centre. We took a break at the promenade, where I even took a little nap under a tree.
Then, we headed to Hotel Klastrom, a former monastery, where we enjoyed the peaceful courtyard shaded by ancient chestnut trees. The centre of Györ was within walking distance, and we had a delightful dinner at a restaurant along the Monsoni-Duna, creating a Mediterranean atmosphere.
Day 5: Györ – Komárom
We started our tour at 9 am, and the cycle path led us along the railway lines in an adventurous manner, with streetlamps positioned in the middle of the path. We slalomed around them, feeling like we were skiing. During our lunch break in Böny, we were amazed by the grandeur of the pub owner. We passed through an impressive wind turbine field after Böny and followed a minor road until Nagyszentjános.
After about 3 km on a sandy dirt path, we returned to riding on asphalted roads. Here, we met a young French couple who had cycled from Lyon to Budapest with only a few train journeys in between. We recommend taking the alternative route after Ács, as it is better to negotiate.
In Komárom, we stayed at Hotel Forras, which had a public outdoor swimming pool. Later, we walked across the Danube to Komárno for dinner, which took about 30 minutes.
Day 6: Komárom – Visegrád
Finally, the cycle path followed the Danube again. We cycled past fortresses and boatyards along the well-developed cycle path on the dam. We were thrilled to see the Esztergom Basilica towering on the hill, and we looked forward to the boat ride to Visegrád. While waiting at the promenade, we enjoyed a cold beer on the Danube.
We saw the MS Carissima, a river cruise ship offering Bike & Boat holidays along the Danube. The boat ride from Esztergom to Visegrád was a fantastic highlight of the cycling tour. It provided a great view of the villages and hills along the Danube, and it was a pleasant change from cycling.
Our accommodation, Hotel Visegrád, offered evening entertainment, including a spa area with saunas, relaxation cabins, and six swimming pools. We ended the day with a nice dinner in the hotel's in-house restaurant.
Day 7: Visegrád – Budapest
In the morning, we took the ferry to the Slovakian side of the Danube. The ferry only runs once an hour, so we made sure not to miss it (although we did miss it, it was okay since we were on holiday). We cycled along a beautiful, shaded cycle path along the Danube and quickly reached Vác. This tour section was diverse due to the numerous villages along the way.
In Vác, we took another ferry to the island of Sziget, which we rode across until we reached Thitótfalu. Szentendre gave us the feeling of being at Hungary's Riviera with its stunning promenade along the Danube Canal and many restaurants. As we continued along Sziget Island, we realized we were approaching Budapest’s outskirts. The cycle path was lined with numerous bars and restaurants.
Following the signposting along the Danube, we entered the centre of Budapest. Before reaching the city, we made a photo stop to capture the magnificent view of Budapest's nine bridges, with the chain bridge being a particularly stunning motif. Our hotel, Atrium Fashion, was modern and conveniently located near the train station Budapest-Keleti.
The train connections from Budapest to Vienna, Salzburg, or Munich were excellent, which was especially appreciated when travelling with luggage.
Day 8: Departure from Budapest
Our hotel was just a short walk from the train station Budapest-Keleti, making it convenient for our departure. The onward train connections to Vienna, Salzburg, and Munich were excellent.
I thoroughly enjoyed this cycling holiday. Hungary is a warm and welcoming nation. Everywhere we stopped, we were greeted with open arms, and we had engaging conversations right away.
The signposting of 'Euro 6' in Austria and Hungary, as well as the red 'C' in Slovakia, was excellent, making it easy to navigate the entire tour with the help of maps. This allowed us to ignore some short sections that were in less-than-optimal condition. Overall, it was a memorable and enjoyable experience.