This summer I cycled through eight countries along the River Danube. I took it slow and was on the road for four months in total. Six weeks of this I spent in Hungary. Here are my highlights:
1. Border region
You will already realize how abandoned and beautiful this region is when cycling towards the Slovakian-Hungarian border. This area is full of fields of colourful flowers and lonely roads that are perfect for cycling and for getting lost in time.
On the way to Györ, which was the first big city in Hungary for us, we stopped at a camping site à la “Ibiza Day & Nightclub”. A beach club atmosphere in the middle of nowhere. Brilliant! In Györ you will find three rivers near the newly renovated city centre: the Rába, the Rábca and the Danube. As well as that, you can visit one of the many museums or thermal pools.
3. Ács and Komárom
Don’t miss a stay at Natura Camping in Acs where you will meet a lovely camping site owner Laszlo who speaks many languages! A very nice guy who even took me to a great fishing spot. Cross the Elizabeth Bridge in Komarom and you will be in Slovakia in only five minutes. Perfect for an afternoon break.
4. Ghost towns
On your way to the camping ground called Eden you will cycle through ghost towns. Abandoned factories, supermarkets, hotels and streets and the deserted train stations – no single person in sight. Mysterious and a bit unreal, but highly interesting and a rare experience.
5. The Idyllic Danube Bend
The scenic section of the Danube cycle path EuroVelo 6 through the towns of Esztergom, Visegrad and Szentendre is the most beautiful one in Hungary. Don’t miss these three picturesque and historical towns; especially Szentendre. If you still have time, visit the open air museum in Skanzen which shows agricultural life in Hungary over the past centuries.
Wow, the long driveway towards the city which stretches along the numerous peers, beach bars and restaurants puts you in quite a holiday mood. During the day, the best thing to do is take a free tour to explore the city. In the evening you should immerse yourself in Budapest’s nightlife. To warm up, drink and eat in the 360 Rooftop Bar. This is also the place to be for a spectacular sunset above the rooftops of the houses. Next stop is the Akvárium nightclub and districts 5 and 7 where you can party all night long together with Hungarian beauties, locals and students. On the next day I took it easy and spent a day at Palatinus Thermal pool on Margareth Island on the Danube. Budapest is safe and easy to explore by bike. When leaving the city go and cycle along EuroVelo 6 and you will be rewarded with a stunning view when crossing the Chain Bridge.
7. Romance in Rackeve
The best thing to do here is to stand on the river bridge and watch the sunset. Once done, you cycle a bit further along the EuroVelo 6 and look out for one of the many hidden and comfortable peers where you can pitch your tent – a unique experience.
8. Party & nature in Dunapataj
The beautiful Szelidi Lake is located just next to Patrick’s camping site Napsugár Üdülő not far from the Danube cycle path. During the day this is the ideal place for swimming, boating, fishing or simply relaxing in the nature. In the evening you can go celebrating in one of the three big bars by the lake. At weekends you will find a lot of Hungarians who rent one of the many apartments here to party hard by the lake. A party mood and meeting locals is guaranteed.
Starting from Gemenc Vándorpont, a service station for cyclists and hikers, you can explore the Gemencer Forest by bike or on foot. I saw so many wild and rare animals in this large lonely territory and had fun cycling through it. Apart from visiting Gemenc Forest make sure you try Baja’s famous fish soup in the Sobri Restaurant on Petöfi Island. A world-famous food tasting experience.
10. Mohacs and Hercegszántó
In Mohacs I enjoyed a stroll through the colourful, clean and cosy city centre. Last stop is Hercegszanto. It is an idyllic ride to this city. Once there, follow the signs which will guide you to the world’s largest statue of the Virgin Mary made of high-grade steel – impressive!
Well, and now it’s time to tell you why you should not proceed to Croatia from Mohacs but to cycle straight to Serbia instead. (Later, on the EuroVelo 6, you will be able to see Croatia anyway).