Retrace the steps of the Roman, Ottoman and Turk Empires on this adventure along the mighty Danube River. Journey through picturesque villages, forests and lush farmlands as you cycle from Vienna to Budapest, passing through Slovakia and it's cosmopolitan capital. Live it up in Baroque style at the elegant Schönbrunn Palace or get lost in the cobbled laneways of Komarom, a city with one foot in Hungary and the other in Slovakia. Visit the architectural jewel of the Danube River, the Esztergom Basilica, and pass by the imposing white-hued Bratislava Castle. Celebrate a day in the saddle with a luxurious soak in one of Budapest's iconic baths.
Day 1 - Vienna
Welcome to Vienna! Your cycling adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm. Arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please confirm with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception noticeboards. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If arriving early make sure you go for a walk around this beautiful city. Perhaps even take a spin on the famous old Prater Ferris Wheel. Following the group meeting, maybe head out for an optional welcome dinner at a Viennese Heurigen (wine tavern). Heuriger means "this year's wine", and the Heurigen originated as a way for winemakers to offer samples of their new wine with a few snacks. Fortunately this now also includes a hearty meal, which will be much needed for the days of cycling ahead.
Please note that many shops, including bicycle shops close at midday on Saturday, and all of Sunday so it is difficult to purchase a bike helmet before the cycling begins on Day 2 - please bring your own helmet with you.
Cycle distance: none
Day 2 - Vienna
After breakfast there will be a bike fitting for the group followed by a short test ride. Then take a tour of Vienna by bike (approximately 3 hours). Follow the path of the Habsburg and explore the rich artistic and cultural icons like the Gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Hofburg Palace and all that the Ringstrasse has to offer.
Cycle distance: approx. 10kms/6 miles, mostly flat with approx. 180m/590ft of elevation gain.
Day 3 - Bratislava
Leave Vienna’s city centre and ride along the mighty Danube to the tiny hamlet of Hasslau an der Donau. From here, journey east along the riverbanks to one of Austria's most important archaeological sites, Carnuntum, and its eclectic mixture of Roman ruins and modern reconstructions. Spend some time wandering among the remains of Roman life on the Danube before climbing back onto your bike and slowly winding along the riverside bike paths to the Slovak border. In the afternoon arrive in the Slovak capital, the cosmopolitan Bratislava. See firsthand how bordering two independent countries has left its mark on Bratislava with an introductory walk.
Please note that the Bratislava Castle is closed on a Monday so we are unable to enter it.
Cycle distance: approx. 76kms/47 miles, flat for the first 40kms, then undulating, with approx. 400m/1310ft of elevation gain.
Day 4 - Hedervar/Lipot
Follow the Danube as it turns south and re-enters Hungary. Pass by picturesque villages, lowland forests and across lush farmland to the tiny village of Hedervar, home of the charming 13th century Renaissance and Baroque style Héderváry Castle. Afterwards it's only a short five kilometre ride to the tiny village of Lipot. While the village is certainly quiet, it has a laidback atmosphere that makes for a perfect end to a day in the saddle.
Cycle distance: approx. 63kms/39 miles, slightly downhill with approx. 130m/430ft of elevation gain.
Day 5 - Komarom
Leaving the quiet ambience of Hedervar behind, cycle most of today on paths free of traffic. Stop to visit the Baroque city of Győr for a quick tour, including a visit to Káptalan Hill, Bécsi kapu tér square, and the picturesque Király Street. Afterwards, track back to the banks of the Danube and on to the city of Komarom, which straddles the borders of Hungary and Slovakia. While Komarom is known for its forts and strategic position on the Danube River, it is also a beautiful city housing many museums and historical sites. Take part in an introductory walk with a stroll across the Elizabeth Bridge, the pathway between two counties. To add some pampering at the end of a long day why not try an optional spa visit to soothe those leg muscles.
Cycle distance: approx. 80 kms/50 miles, flat with approx. 210m/690ft of elevation gain.
Day 6 - Esztergom
Today there is an early departure to ensure a timely arrival into Esztergom (approximately 55 kilometres). The former capital city of Hungary, Esztergom is the seat of the Hungarian Catholic Church and boasts an amazing array of architectural gems such as Royal Palace, the Víziváros, and Watertown, which is built on the banks of the Danube itself. The crowning glory of Esztergom is undoubtbly the Esztergom Basilica, a stunning example of Classicism and the third largest church in Europe. Reflected in the still waters of the Danube Bend, the Basilica is a sight to behold from outside and within. Take part on an introductory orientation walk of this beguiling city.
Cycle distance: approx. 54kms/33miles, flat with approx. 140m/460ft of elevation gain.
Day 7 - Budapest
Cycle the famous ‘Danube Bend’ beneath the wooded hills of Visegrád. Here the river turns south towards the Hungarian capital city of Budapest. Today is our longest day in the saddle but be sure to enjoy a stop half way for a picnic lunch on the river bank. To help end the day on a high, an afternoon visit to one of Budapest's famous spas is included. There is ample free time in the evening to explore at your leisure.
Cycle distance: approx. 93kms/58miles, mostly flat with approx. 590m/1935ft of elevation gain.
Day 8 - Budapest
The final day starts with an early morning city cycling tour in Budapest (approximately 3 hours) that takes in the best that this remarkable city has to offer, including a visit to the food market. Return to the hotel with ample time to shower and say goodbye to your newfound friends. If you want to spend some extra time in Budapest or require a later checkout, we strongly recommend booking extra accommodation at the time of booking.
Cycle distance: approx. 15 kms
As we spend the morning riding it is not recommended to book a flight out of Budapest before 5pm.