Beautiful cities and hidden gems of Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary

Tour advisor Wes cycled the popular Vienna to Budapest (Classic) tour in September of 2019. While the appeal of this tour for many is the rustic cycling through forests, farmlands, small towns, and farming villages, Wes found the cities on the tour particularly endearing, as he details in his tour review (with tips and recommendations) below.

The Vienna to Budapest (Classic) tour is a popular option for our clients who have already experienced the Passau to Vienna tour and wish to further that journey. The Vienna to Budapest tour follows EuroVelo 6 along bike paths, quiet roads, and a few sections of gravel and dirt roads. 

Wes and his trusty stead

Scenery and surroundings

It is important to note that while this route follows the Danube River, most of the time you cycle through the river valley, out of sight of the river. There is a lot of farmland, quaint villages, and small towns in this part of Europe so for large stretches of the route, this will be your surroundings. If you prefer cycling along the river, I’d suggest a tour from Passau to Vienna.

Lots of cycling through farmland – some with windmills!

The route starts and ends in two of the great cities of Europe: Vienna and Budapest. But I’ll tell you a little secret, the hidden gems of this tour are the picturesque towns and cities that you visit along the way! My favorites were Bratislava and Gyor.

The Courtyard of Europe in Komárno, Slovakia

Gyor

If Wes Anderson was looking for a European city to film his next movie, it would be Gyor. This pastel wonderland is not well-known, but it may have been my favorite city on the tour. Be sure to set aside a few hours to walk around the historic old town where there are many shops, restaurants, and bars. The dollar greatly outweighs Hungary’s currency, the forint, so don’t be afraid to tour all the little pubs and restaurants. The local food and beers are great and incredibly inexpensive. 

Bratislava

In Bratislava, it is a must to take the short hike or bike up to Bratislava Castle. A beautiful view of the city and the Danube River await you at the top. The castle itself is astonishing and it is easy to spend 2 or 3 hours just walking around admiring the garden, the castle, and the views. The old town of Bratislava is another area worth exploring on foot. Make sure you visit St Martin’s Cathedral and Michael’s Gate. 

Bratislava Castle. As someone who finds symmetry very intriguing, this was a really fascinating monument to photograph. The building’s bright facade contrasts beautifully with the orange roof tiles.
Michael’s Gate. In Medieval times, the city of Bratislava was only accessible through one of its four fortified gates. Michael’s Gate was the North gate and was built around the year 1300.

Difficulty and terrain

The cycling for most of the route is flat and leisurely with a few shorter stretches of more moderate, slightly uphill cycling. Be prepared for a few sections of gravel roads as well as single lane dirt roads which can get a little rough at times. The distances vary from day to day with the longest day being 42 miles and the shortest being 25 miles. 

Bonus cycling recommendation

On Day 6 of the classic program, you cycle to Visegrad from Komárom. If you are interested in getting some extra mileage, my recommendation is to skip the boat ride and cycle the entire route. The cycling is uphill at certain points, which makes for a long day (about 53 miles) but the last 10-12 miles of the route as you cycle into the town of Nagyarmos are absolutely gorgeous! This was my favorite section of the entire route. I highly recommend getting a drink and exploring Nagyarmos before you take the ferry across the river to your final destination, Visegrad. 

Extra nights

My final recommendation is to add a few extra nights throughout the tour. If you love big cities then consider adding extra nights before and after the tour in Vienna and Budapest. If you are like me and love smaller cities that are walkable and have a lot of character, Bratislava and Gyor would be my suggestions for extra nights. We can assist you in booking any of these extra nights.

Originally, Budapest was two cities. Buda on the western bank of the river and Pest on the east. This picture of the Parliament building was taken from the Buda side of the river from Fisherman’s Bastion.

This tour is good for…

Open-minded clients. The cycling scenery each day is simplistic and rustic, and the destinations are truly the highlight. Navigation skills are advantageous for clients on this tour. The Vienna to Budapest (EuroVelo 6) path is less developed than the Passau to Vienna portion and therefore requires attention to the maps and directions. Finally, this tour requires a sense of adventure. If you’re willing to explore the destinations each day, you’re sure to discover some hidden gems.

Vienna to Budapest classic tour details >
Vienna to Budapest service plus tour details >
More Danube tours >

 

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