Throughout our time bike touring across Europe we could clearly see how cycle tourism has created successful businesses and kept small towns thriving. The Danube path between Linz and Vienna is on both sides of the river to combat the large numbers of cyclists. In quite a few sections we could see bars, grills, penzions, hotels and bike friendly signage. Countries are now rolling out kilometer after kilometer of perfect cycleways to encourage this type of tourism.
In between Bratislava, Slovakia to Budapest, Hungary there are still large sections of Eurovelo 6 to be realised. We had read that EV6 ‘bike paths’ were farm tracks and roads, that signs were few and that picking your own route was better. However our usual way of Maps.Me and Google wasn’t showing enough information ie. entire roads weren’t appearing, shops, hotels, camping etc weren’t mapped. We had to rely very heavily on Eurovelo signs which was a little nerve-racking since we didn’t have much visibility for this section.
In some areas things were a little rough. We cycled along very bumpy dirt tracks, gravel and had to keep an eye on deep cracks and pot holes which could wrench a wheel. Also there was a bit of riding on main highways with no shoulder and huge trucks thundering past.
In other places we came across brand new bike paths. This path and road wasn’t even on our map.
Campsites were a mixed bag. One campsite was nothing more than a backyard with a pond. After realising the pond was full of swimming snakes, we hurriedly moved the tent back a few metres. The next campsite was the complete opposite. Gleaming rows of campervans lined the sites with our little lone tent in between.
But the scenery was always beautiful.
All in all definitely doable with not too much stress. We followed the EV6 signs with little trouble and crossed into Hungary.
You could see that there were brand new improvements and clear signs that this route is and will be consistently upgraded. All in all we did about 60km to 85km a day and was quite happy with that.
We had been sending messages back and forth to AirBnB hosts trying to lock down a week in Budapest and were waiting on replies. We got an approval! But our host could only do 5pm as she was picking up her mother from the airport after that. Hmm… Calculating the distance from Komarom to Budapest and adding in fat we could gauge it was about 100km. The Big 100. It would be the furthest we’d have ever done in one day and the clock was ticking. If we missed our 5pm window we would have to wait until 10pm when our host returned. Giving each other a brave high-five we locked it in.
6am was our wake up call. We could see there was one highway leading straight out with road signs stating 87km to Budapest. Crossing our fingers we hoped that Eurovelo 6 followed it. Which it did for a good while.
But then Eurovelo began to do exactly what it was created for. Following the most scenic and safe route possible. Which is usually absolutely encouraged by us if it wasn’t for our time restraint. We had to choose. Risk riding on a highway with trucks at 100km/hr with no shoulder or try to smash through the scenic route. Safety won.
Eurovelo worked its magic, slowly torturing us with its safe and unhurried demeanour. We were led into switch backs and green forests. Forced into idyllic town detours that put us back 30km. Pretty little ferry crossings with no ferry for an hour. National park paths filled with sand that we had to get off and push our bikes at agonising snail pace. All the while the clock was ticking.
Then Cleave’s phone along with the GPS died. Blindly riding into the city with 20 minutes left, Cleave dropped his bike and raced into a shopping complex hoping there would be free WiFi to throw the address into my phone. We flew into our AirBnB courtyard at five minutes to 5pm and ran smack bang into our host.
And our final kilometer count? 125km
Camping fees: Ft4100
Total: €35.77/$51.80 AUD
Camping fees: Ft5200
Total: €45.84/$66.40 AUD
AirBnB: $45.86 AUD
Total: €57.29/$82.98 AUD