Cycling Infrastructure in Hungary

Starting in May, 2017, my partner Jean and I did a longish bike tour between Budapest and Amsterdam. We would like to share some of the good examples of cycling infrastucturethat we encountered along the way. We srart with Hungary.

Budapest is a fairly good cycling city. On leaving the airport, we quickly encountered a path of almost cycling highway quality which lasted for about 5 km.  The path was located between a railway and a freeway, so it had few cross streets.

Rest of the 20 km route from the airport was mostly on quiet streets and on separated and on-street bike lanes.

We encountered an interesting treatment for a one way street with 2-way bike traffic. Most of the street was rougher paving stones but the two bike “lanes” were quite smooth. The bike symbols appears to be brass inlays!

Signage was quite good for the major routes.  We followed EuroVelo 6, an internatinal cycling route which extends between the Atlatic Ocean in France and rhe Black Sea. We first encoutered this route on the South side of the Danube on the western edge of Budapest. For more information on EuroVelo cycling routes please visit www.eurovelo.org .  These routes are mostly on either off road paths and quiet streets, though some bits are still along busy highways without shoulders – they don’t do shoulders in Europe, exept on freeways. EuroVelo 6 is sceduled to be completed in 2019.

Signage on EuroVelo Route 6 ln Budapest

Lots of separated paths, especially along highways. Since highwsys don’t have shoulders, amount of paved surface is about the same as a highway with shoulders but safety and convenience is improved for all users.

A nice touch in a village we passed throgh – a cyclist friendly speef bump! Why do they almost always cover the entire width of the street?

Bike Tour 2017 – Bratislava to Znojmo Section

June 6 – Bratislava to Devin – 14 km

A short ride along and near the Danube to the village of Devin which is located at the confluence of the Danube and Morava Rivers. Above Devin is the ruins of a castle. This site has evidence of human habitation going back to 5000 BC and including the Romans.

More pics here

June 7 – Devin to Jakubov – 64 km

Here is a pic that sums up a lot of local history

Section of preserved barbed wire fence along EuroVelo 13 cycling route

My bike is parked against a preserved section of the Iron Curtain – here it is a high barbed wire fence. The bike path is a section of Eurovelo 13 – the Iron Curtain route. This section is along the Morava river which separates Slovakia and Austria. In the background is one of a string of bunkers which were never used but caused the Nazis to annex the Slovak side of the river before WW2. This section of EV13 was likely a former border patrol road. The bridge is a newish ped cycling bridge crossing the river between Slovakia and Austria. Not too long ago, this area was a no go zone and a person would be shot if attempting to cross the river. Now it is all about the joy of cycling

Lots of nice rest stops along the way

More pics here

June 8 – Jakubov to Lednice

Followed EuroVelo 13 mostly along dike-top paths. Starting at Devin, there ate lots of information boards along the route – one every km or two. The boards contain lots of local and historical information -this one is about bats.

After skirting through a small corner of Austria near Hohenou, we went along a portion of EuroVelo 9 to Breklav and ended our day in Lednice in the Czech Republic.

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Palace in Lednice

More pics here

June 9 – to Lednice to Hevlin

Checked out historic John’s Castle. Followed combined EuroVelo 9 and 13 part of the way. Also went along a section of the Vienna-Prague Greenway. Here is a movie of a superb section of the route. It was doubly good since we had a strong tailwind.

 

 

 

Came across an interesting sculpture commemorating those who died while attempting to cross the Iron Curtain.

A memorial for those that died while attempting to cross the “Iron Curtain”

Later we saw an info board listing names as well. I find it fascinating that this border area which caused no much conflict and misery in the past now has a delightful cycling route which brings people together instead of a barbed wire fence to keep people apart

More pics here

June 10 – Hevlin to  Znojmo
Followed EuroVelo 13 most of the way.  Paved farm roads and a short section of dirt farm path.

Znojmo has a nice central square

More pics here

Bike Tour 2017 – Budapest to Bratislava Section

May 22 – Arrive in Budapest

My partner Jean and I landed in Budapest on May 22 after a long flight from Vancouver, Canada.  We brought along our bikes so first order of business was to assemble the bikes.  This was made more difficult due to a KLM restriction that requires squeezing each one into a bike box.

Prior to travelling, we searched high and low for a bike route from the airport to downtown and were assured that this was impossible to achieve legally without walking 500m along the edge of a freeway. Thanks to maps.me – a great little bike route app, we managed to find a good 20 km route and soon were cycling along a separated bike path located between a freeway and a rail corridor which was close to cycling highway standard.

After 5 km, the route switched to quiet streets.  Near the end of the route, we chose a direct route to our destination and used sidewalks on the busier sections since it was getting late and dark.

We spent 3 days exploring the city.  A must do is to buy a one day transit pass which allows use of all transit facilities including a river ferry system.

Highlight is the beautiful parliament building. Here is the view from the ferry boat:

More pics here

May 25 – Budapest to Visegrad – 55 km

Rode out of the city past the beautiful Parliament buildings.

Then through Margaret Island. After crossing the bridge to the south side of the Danube, we soon encountered the EuroVelo 6 bike route.

This international bike route extends between France and the Black Sea and much of the route is along the Danube River.  For more information on EuroVelo cycling routes please visit www.eurovelo.org .  Most of the route is either off road or on quiet streets, though we did have a bit along a busy highway with no shoulders – they don’t do shoulders in Europe, except on freeways. Quality of route ranged from dirt paths which would have been challenging in rainy conditions to super delightful paved paths beside the river. There were also sections along quiet streets and also a short section on a narrow highway.

More pics here

May 26 – Visegrad to Komarno – 55 km

We followed EuroVelo 6 along the south/west side of the Danube until Esztergom. Portions of the route were on idyllic paths beside the river. Visited big cathedral in Estergom.

We then crossed the Danube River to Sturovo, Slovakia.  We continued on the Slovak side until Komarno. A large portion on the Slovak side was on relatively new paved paths of high quality.  Every 5 to 10 km, we encountered a rest area which had a shelter, bike racks and an information board – very civilized!

More pics here

May 27 – Komarno to Gyor – 55 km

We stayed 2 days in Gyor.  Gyor has a lovely old town centre which is car free.

More pics here.

May 29 – Gyor to Bratislava – 45 km

We stayed three days in Bratislava.

Castle with Danube River in foreground

More pics here

June 1 to 6  – Side trip by train Tatra Mountains 
The Tatra Mountains are a small range of mountains located in the northern section of Slovakia.  We discovered that rail travel is free for those 62 and over but you have to provide a 2×3 cm photo for the pass.  Very good rail service!

We took the train to Poprad and then cycled up to Tatranska Lomnica where we stayed for 5 nights.

More pics here