Cycle Hungary: 5 reasons why you should

Why cycling along the Danube is the best way to explore Hungary

Gyor, home to some fine architectureGyor, home to some fine architecture Hungary is well known for its architecture.  But for those who want to get out and explore her natural beauty my hot tip is to hop on a bike and just ride, like my mother and I just did. We’ve returned to Vienna after a fabulous 8 days cycling along sections of the Danube Cycle Path between Vienna and Budapest. This was my mum’s first time on a self guided cycling holiday. I doubt that it will be her last. If you are planning a trip to Hungary make sure you consider a self guided cycling trip like the Hungarian Rhapsody - here are 5 reasons why: The Danube Bend Esztergon BasilicaCycling the Danube in Hungary - Esztergom Basilica Ah yes, the magnificent Danube. It’s not the only reason to come visit Hungary but it certainly plays a central theme in everything you see and do. The Danube Bend, where Europe’s second longest river takes a sharp right turn and begins its journey south, this iconic river is at its most beautiful. Magnificent Hungarian cities, such as Esztergom, Gyor and Vac, sit right on the banks and this section of the river is extremely wide and clean. The Danube Bike Path runs right along the shore. We thoroughly enjoyed cycling here and the views of the Danube, more than anywhere else along our 8 day route. We stopped frequently to take photos, have a swim, and just admire the river (again something impossible if we were on public transport!). Self Guided Freedom Cycling past sunflowers on the Danube Cycle Path, HungaryCycling past sunflowers on the Danube Cycle Path, Hungary Bicycles give you a freedom and feel for a place that no other form of transport can. A self guided bike trip unshackles you completely. Our well maintained 21 speed bikes took us down back country roads of small villages, through fields of sunflowers, past vineyards, by the locals fishing in the river... by places my mother and I would have missed if we took the bus. We came across wild goji berries, plums, apples, and pears. The freedom to ride at our own pace and choose our own directions meant we could stop to say hello to farm animals or buy fruit at small stalls (perfect mid-bike snack). Taking it slow meant we didn’t miss the deer feeding in a corn field and that we could stop to meet local farmers tending to their gardens. These are all Hungarian experiences we wouldn’t have known existed if we were on the main road in a bus or on a train… and they showed us a beautiful side of Hungary that we’ll never forget. It’s flat as a millpond! It's flat we tells ya! Cycling the Danube in HungaryIt's flat we tells ya! Cycling alongside the Danube in Hungary   We didn’t know this – but happily found out soon after arriving – that Hungary is fabulously flat… perfect for a relaxed cycling pace! Hungary has no point over 1000m; riding along the northern section of the Danube our greatest incline was only about 20m. This sure made mum happy! We could pedal along enjoying the river-views instead of panting, sweating and staring down at the front tyre. It also meant we had plenty of leg-energy left at the end of the days… necessary for side trips like the walk up Castle Hill in Eszergom to see the Basilica – Hungary’s largest church (a definite must do!). Bike friendly barges Cyclists taking the ferry to SzobCyclists taking the ferry to Szob across the Danube To see as much of the Danube as possible we caught the barges that cross from town to town on either side of the river. It’s inexpensive to catch the barge. There are plenty of them and the barge drivers happily welcome cyclists aboard. Catching a barge is a fun way to see the Danube from a different angle! This barge is taking us to Szob. We highly recommend the barge-trip to Szob, on the northern side of the river, as it takes you away from the highway and onto a beautiful track heading through a beautiful forest right on the river-bank! Cyclists are welcomed with open arms Cycling through a Hungarian villageCycling through a Hungarian village The Hungarian people we encountered were extremely welcoming of us and our bikes. Drivers would slow down to a crawl and gave us tonnes of space if we came to a road. All pathways had a designated cyclist section; hotels have bike storage areas; the town centres were full of cyclists riding or pushing their bikes down the cobbles streets… But, most importantly, every cafe had a long line of bike racks out the front! This photo is our first stop in Hungary after crossing over from Slovenia; many other cyclists had the same idea! If you ever want to experience the true magnificence of the Danube your way, then Hungary is the place, bikes are the way and UTracks are the people who can make it happen for you. Lilly and her mum travelled with us on our 8 day Hungarian Rhapsody.  
Hungary

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