Vienna to Budapest

The River Danube bike trail is promoted as one of the best routes to cycle and we have cycled alongside the river from Bavaria to Hungary.

The River Danube is about 1700 miles and is the second longest river in Europe – River Volga is the longest.

There are some great books providing detail of the bike trail.

However, it was very clear that beyond Vienna it is more complicated, and the route would depart from alongside the River! So I did spend quite long time planning the tour, and where we would stay which I really enjoyed. I developed the plan on a long piece of wallpaper.

Starting in the German Black Forest, The River Danube eventually empties into the Black Sea. We have cycled from Donaustauf in German Bavaria to Passau also in Bavaria through Vienna, the capital of Austria, and Bratislava the capital of Slovakia to Budapest the capital of Hungary. We would like in time to cycle the next part but are waiting for the cycle path alongside the river to be improved!

This post details the cycle tour we did in July 2016 from Vienna to Budapest.

We started the trip by getting the overnight ferry from Hull to Rotterdam. We had a bit of a scare in the morning as on the TV it showed flooding in Austria!  We sent an email to our reserved hotel and they confirmed all was Ok!

We drove to Wurzburg in Germany (Northern Bavaria) and stayed in the Hotel Gruner Baum which is really good – food in the town was great – we had roast pork and roast onions! There is a lovely bridge where everyone stands drinking delicious wine.

Next day we drove on to Vienna and stayed in the same hotel in Klosterneuburg which is on the outskirts of Vienna close to the river in which we had finished the last Danube cycle. We got the Landrover into a garage, took the cycles off and then had a fabulous Viennese Schnitzel – the same as we had on the last day of the previous Danube cycle!

So, we were starting in the same hotel near to Vienna in which we had finished the previous Danube Cycle and now cycled for 9 days for about 230 miles to Budapest. There were some challenges and very interesting places. As expected quite a lot of the cycle was not quite alongside the river as the path by the river was impassable!

After a great breakfast we set off, getting onto the river cycle path was easy, just under the railway bridge and onto the bike path which went through the park alongside the edge of Vienna. Lots of people were having a BBQ in the park. Many very serious and we saw at least two whole pigs. Lots of the BBQ’ers looked like middle east immigrants rather than Austrians. We cycled about 26 miles and stopped at a hotel in Orth which I had pre planned (the only hotel pre planned except the first and last

Once we arrived the rain got very heavy and we had mushroom soup then fried Perch (probably locally caught in the Danube) it tasted good but was very bony!

The next part of the cycle was mainly on top of the flooding protecting pathway almost all the way to Bratislava. The surface was quite knobbly and very tiring! We did about 26 miles and found most of Bratislava alongside the river under construction. We hadn’t arranged a hotel but decided to stay in the Grand Hotel River Park. It was our 20th anniversary! What a lovely hotel! The couple of photos below are more recent and there has obviously been lots of work done alongside the Danube!

When we saw the hotel and decided to stay there to celebrate our anniversary it was very funny when several hotel porters dressed in uniforms came and took the panniers off the bikes and took the bikes into safe custody! Probably the most impressive hotel we have stayed in during all our cycle touring!

After a great breakfast we were ready for off and the porters returned the bikes and fitted the panniers. As we were leaving several immaculate Rolls Royce’s arrived containing several immaculate black men – interesting!

The path now went along the top of the dyke away from the Danube although the scenery was quite spectacular. We bought bread and cheese for lunch at Rajka and then went onto Mosonmagyarovar which is in Hungary but is very close to the borders of Austrian and Slovakia. Another 26 miles and we found an Ok hotel which was very basic compared to the previous night!

Today we were on the Eurovelo 6 route, it did go away from the Danube in parts and at times took us on the road which considering how poor the roads are was quite a challenge at times! Big holes needed to be avoided with great care!  

 Some of the route was close to the Danube which was quite reassuring! Nearly 30 miles today and onto Gyor. A lovely city and we found a hotel, so we were able to go out into the city square for drinks and a good dinner of Italian Salami and then pork Schnitzel  

The next day we decided to get a train and avoid about 35 miles which the book recommended to avoid a dangerous route along a road rather than a tour path alongside the River Danube. So, we got a train from Gyor to Komarom. Although the town is in Hungary the hotel we had chosen was in Slovakia! We cycled about 5 miles from the train station and then walked into the town where we had a beer and crepes with Nutella! For dinner we had smoked salmon with beetroot cake, Fillet steak and then cheese with Blueberry jam and blueberries – very nice but a little odd!

This day was quite a challenge although we did stop early and have a nice coffee!

We cycled over 40 miles today and the majority was along roads with cars, lorries and buses thundering past with very little care for two vulnerable cyclists! At times it was very scary. We found the Hotel Bellevue in Esztergom and had a very unusual Buffet Dinner! The hotel was a spa type with lots of people walking about in dressing gowns!

This seems to be a very popular hotel style in Hungary which attracts lots of people in their dressing gowns who are experiencing a spa and having a variety of treatments!

Before dinner we managed to have a relax and a drink in the hotel!

Today we set off having had breakfast with lots of people who were very large in their dressing gowns – particularly the women! We set off to Zebebeny and Nagymarou where we crossed the river on a ferry and onto Visegrad where we checked into another Hotel thermal spa at lunch time.

We were still very tired and stressed from the previous day so about 20 miles was enough, and we had a very relaxing afternoon amongst the folks in their dressing gowns again! The hotel was very similar in what it was offering to the previous days although it was much newer and sophisticated.

The next day we both felt a bit “dicky” perhaps caused by two buffet dinners which were really lots of pork roasts! However, we cycled over 25 miles today part of which was along another road, but the majority was alongside the river and quite spectacular.  In the afternoon we had to cross the river again by ferry and then we had to cross an island and the river by an incredibly busy and frightening bridge! We decided to find a hotel in Szentendre (Hungary) it was a waterfront hotel and we went into the town for dinner which was very basic – fried pork and chips.

Breakfast in the hotel was unusual as they were having a business breakfast with lots of local business people there! This was the last leg of the tour into Budapest which was about 15 miles along a lovely path along the Danube!  Turning a corner and seeing Budapest for the first time was very dramatic!

We checked into a lovely Novotel on the Buda side of the river for one night only and went out and found a celebratory drink!

The view of Budapest at night from the hotel bedroom window was quite spectacular!

The next day we found a hotel on the other side of the river (Art Hotel) so we cycled down to the bridge crossed over and checked into a lovely fashionable hotel on the Pesto side of the River Danube!

It was quite a lovely hotel.

We spent the day exploring Budapest and decided not to go further as the book suggested that the next part was so dangerous that a train or bus should be taken to get out of Budapest!

Our plan now was to get a hydrofoil boat back to Vienna – this would just take one day! So we got that arranged! And then we had a great meaty Hungarian dinner starting with meat pancakes and then a Beef Stew!

We spent all the next day exploring Budapest – see the pictures of the Food Market on this website. Parts of the city are stunning and other areas are very run down.

It was quite stormy and so it was a little cooler. For dinner in a street restaurant we had fillet steak and mushroom sauce which was quite excellent! And great Hungarian music!

The next day we got the hydrofoil back to Vienna. It took about 6.5 hours and was a Russian boat! It was not too comfy, and the music was a little too loud! However, it was great to see the river……………

The bikes secured on the hydrofoil in a lock!

The fabulous Hotel Grand Hotel in Bratislava where we stayed!

When the boat got back to Vienna, we got the bikes off and cycled about 15 miles back to the hotel where we had started the adventure! It had worked well, and we had another lovely Vienna Schnitzel for our dinner!

The next day we got the landrover and loaded all our equipment and the bikes. We had booked Hotel Bonnershine quite near to Frankfurt, so we set off after a good breakfast. We had used the hotel previously as a Cincom hotel when working at the Cincom Frankfurt office. We had a lovely dinner of pork cordon bleau and chips!

The next day we drove to Rotterdam and got the ferry back to Hull and drove home!

This has been quite an adventure! We keep a diary of all our holidays, and this is exactly what we wrote as a final entry!

This trip was a fantastic adventure – certainly in terms of the surface and variety, the most adventurous yet!

We cycled for 9 days for a total of about 230 miles and we drove 1689 miles. We stayed in 17 hotels and travelled on 2 channel ferries, I hydrofoil and 4 river ferries.

The food was monotonous, too much fried pork. We did try the pike perch but found it very bony.

For us this trip had too much busy road – it was really Eurovelo 6 once we had got through Vienna.

However, a great holiday adventure.

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