Seven nights; seven days. A bicycle tour from the banks of the Danube through the backbone of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to Krakow. Visit six UNESCO World Heritage sites.
“The trip was FANTASTIC, better than I ever could have imagined!” – Dolly R.
WHY THIS TRIP?
- The village of Vlkolinec to see the largest undisturbed collection of traditional architecture in Slovakia
- The awe-inspiring salt mine at Wieliczka.
- Visit six UNESCO World Heritage sites
Requiring moderate fitness levels, these cover terrain with hills and valleys, and tend to include distances of 50-80km (30-50mi.)/day cycling, or 3-6 hours of walking per day. Most Freewheeling Adventures fall into this category, and are suitable for most ability levels.
This ride begins fairly easily and becomes considerably more challenging on days 3 to 6. There are level stretches along the Danube then several long mountainous climbs as you approach Poland. More relaxed options are available with van support on guided trips. There are two unpaved sections on forest trails make hybrid bikes the most appropriate choice.
- DAY 1: Introductions
- DAY 2: ~58 km
- DAY 3: ~62 km
- DAY 4: ~42 km
- DAY 5: ~59 km
- DAY 6: ~66 km/li>
- DAY 7: ~47 km
- DAY 8: Farewells
(Click image to enlarge)
Start: Szentendre, Hotel Bukkos, 17:00, day one. Szentendre is easily accessible from Budapest by train, bus or boat on the Danube.
Finish: Dresden, 16:00, day eight.
Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.
Meet your group and guides just outside of Budapest at your inn in the beautiful town of Szentendre. Szentendre has a unique atmosphere with two dozen museums, seven churches, 13 galleries and countless coffee shops and pubs. The nearby open air museum offers visitors a look at traditional Hungarian village architecture. There may be time to get acquainted with your bicycle with a short ride away from traffic on Szentendre Island before dinner. D (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfast only)
Hotel Bukkos, Szentendre
Szentendre to Esztergom ~58km
Your destination, Esztergom, lies just around a bend in the river. You will cycle quiet roads of Szentendre Island then ferry to the mainland, following a bike path on the riverbank with fantastic views of the Danube Valley and the castle town of Visegrád. Reach the historical town of Estergom whose history dates to medieval times. Esztergom is the historic seat of the Hungarian bishops and home to Hungary’s largest church and one of Europe’s grandest pipe organs. BL
Pension Basilica, Esztergom
Esztergom to Dudince ~62km
Cross the Danube between Esztergom and Sturovo and ride north into Slovakia. The route is fairly easy today following the Ipel River Valley as it passes through a rolling landscape of forests and fields along the border between Hungary and Slovakia. You will experience the true spirit of Socialist Realism in the spa town of Dudince. The healing springs here have been popular since Roman times when Marcus Aureliu’s legions carved bathtubs out of the travertine rock to soothe their battle wounds. BLD
Spa Hotel Mineral, Dudince
Dudince to Banska Stiavnica ~42km
Today’s route follows a gorgeous little path through the forest running parallel to the Ipel River tributary. The cycling will become more challenging after lunch as you climb into the silver laced Stiavnica Hills. You will rest in Banska Stiavnica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with an extraordinarily well-preserved historical center once key to the Austro-Hungarian Empire thanks in part to the regions abundance of silver ore. If medieval mining techniques interest you, a visit to the open air mining museum is a must. BLD
Hotel Grand Matej, Banska Stiavnica
Banska Stiavnica to Banska Bystrica ~59km
The first leg of today’s ride takes over Stiavnicke Hills. The short climb will be rewarded by a 10 km descent to the Hron River Valley, where the almost flat riverside ride begins. Do not miss a UNESCO enlisted wooden church in Hronsek on your way to Banska Bystrica, the cultural center of Central Slovakia known for its role in Slovak National Uprising during WWII. You’ll have time to explore the central plaza and marvellously restored historic buildings before dinner. B
Hotel Arcade, Banska Bystrica
Transfer from Banska Bystrica, Vlkolinec to Liptovsky Mikulas ~66km
The day will begin with a 50-minute transfer by van to the UNESCO site village of Vlkolinec, home of the most undisturbed and complete collection of traditional architecture in Slovakia. Climb by bike up from Vlkolinec into the thrilling terrain of the Low Tatras. The 11 kilometer ascent is well worth the climb rewarded with spectacular views on the way up and an invigorating descent to the foot of Tatra Mountains. Before arriving to the historical town of Liptovsky Mikulas stop at one of the biggest wooden churches of Europe at the village of Svaty Kriz (Saint Cross). BD
Hotel Steve, Liptovsky Mikulas
Liptovsky Mikulas to Dolny Kubin ~47km, transfer to Sucha Beskidzka
Begin today with an easy warm up cycling beside the Liptovska Mara reservoir. The route becomes more challenging as you head into the undulating terrain of the Chocske and Oravske Hills. This is considered to be one of the prettiest rides in Slovakia. Bicycling through the rolling hills you’ll experience two short climbs with the reward of dramatic vistas which you will not soon forget. This afternoon you will arrive to Dolny Kubin, then transfer by vehicle across the Polish border to Sucha Beskidzka. BLD
Hotel Kasper Suski, Sucha Beskidzka
Sucha Beskidzka to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska ~21km, transfer to Krakow
Your final day of cycling will lead you through the picturesque village of Lanckorona. Today’s destination is the famous town of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, another UNESCO site, where the Stations of the Cross consisting of 32 chapels and chaplets end at an imposing Bernardine monastery. From here you will be transferred by van for a moving tour of the famous salt mine in Wieliczka, yet another UNESCO site and a memorable highlight of this tour. Final transfers into Krakow will arrive by 16:00. If you plan to visit Auschwitz, plan on an extra day or two in Krakow. BL
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE COST OF YOUR TRIP?
Guided: C 4745 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches, 5 dinners, luggage handling, tour of salt mine at Wieliczka, van and guide support, maps, route notes, taxes
Does not include bike rentals & single supplement charges (pricing can be found in next booking step), airfare to/from tour, and guide(s) gratuities.
Self-Guided: C 3695 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, relevant van transfers, luggage transfers, maps, route notes and taxes
Does not include bike rentals & single supplement charges (pricing can be found in next booking step), airfare to/from tour, and support driver gratuities.
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
2022 Guided dates:
- May 29-Jun 5
- Jun 26-Jul 3
- Aug 28-Sep 4
- Sep 25-Oct 2
2023 Guided dates:
- May 28-Jun 4
- Jun 25-Jul 2
- Aug 27-Sep 3
- Sep 24-Oct 1
Self-Guided available any dates, except for those listed above. New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.
Interested in custom or private departures?
Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.
1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.
2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, price remains the same as advertised if you have at least six. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.
Slovakia – the Czech Republic’s poorer partner in the days of Czechoslovakia – came out of the Velvet Revolution, quiet and mysterious. She removed the Eastern bloc uniform to reveal a refreshingly sincere, kind place, so far unencumbered by many trappings of the Western World. You will begin in Hungary just outside Budapest. After visiting Esztergom’s massive cathedral, the historic seat of the Hungarian church, you will cross the Danube River and enter Slovakia, stopping at Banska Stiavnica to fathom its legacy of mining and minting. You will visit Kremnica, with its castle and seven peaks, and the village of Vlkolinec to see the largest undisturbed collection of traditional architecture in Slovakia. Climb from there into the thrilling terrain of the Low Tatras before an unforgettable descent to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska where the Stations of the Cross end at an imposing Bernardine monastery. The final stop before Krakow is the awe-inspiring salt mine at Wieliczka where an intricately sculptured salt cathedral attests to generations of workers who toiled and worshipped underground. This is a land where folk traditions have survived foreign attempts at dominance, to which a plethora of castles and watchtowers pay testament, but whose people have maintained their welcoming spirit!
We recommend that you consider staying an extra day in Krakow if you want to visit Auschwitz.