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Hungary & Slovakia: The Best of the Danube

Cycle into the Old World on this unique active vacation where we’ll crisscross the fabled Danube river to pedal amidst undulating farmlands and traditional Hungarian and Slovakian villages and stay at two of the Leading Small Hotels of the World.

  • 10 Days
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Daily Mileage: 15 - 35 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 4 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking Activity
  • Perfect for those trying a bike vacation for the first time.
  • Airfare Packages Available

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Hungary & Slovakia: The Best of the Danube

Civilization has long flourished along the Danube, and you’ll experience three vibrant cultures as you explore both sides of the river. You’ll cycle on a river lock and through a forest protected by UNESCO, picnic on a royal landscape, and observe a traditional lifestyle at a horse farm. Other traditions enrich our way, as well, from a tasting of local brandy and a pastry-making demonstration to the hearty cuisine you’ll sample on generous included meals. You’ll also enjoy time to explore on your own and relax at our exceptional selection of accommodations, which include two of the Leading Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

Cultural Highlights

• Stroll the historic pedestrian streets of Bratislava
• Take a leisurely ride along the top of a dam
• Sample pálinka—Hungary’s national fruit brandy
• Roll through the Fertod lake region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
• Picnic in a park along the former Iron Curtain
• View a mix of Roman, medieval, Baroque, and modern architecture in Sopron
• Tour the 18th-century Esterházy Palace—“Hungary’s Versailles”
• Learn the secrets strudel-making during a cooking demonstration
• Enjoy spectacular views along the International Danube Bike Path
• Savor a typical Hungarian feast cooked over an open fire
• Embark on a boat ride on the Danube
• Thrill to a display of horsemanship at a horse farm
• Immerse yourself in Hungarian culture at the Skanzen open-air museum
• Meet a local artist in Szentendre
• View the gardens of one of the finest parks of Europe

What to Expect

This tour offers easy terrain throughout the trip and is ideal for beginning cyclists.

Average Daily Mileage: 15 – 35
Average Cycling Time: 2 – 4 hours

Climate Information

Average High/Low Temperature (°F) – Budapest
May 70°/51°  Jun 75°/56°  Jul 79°/59°  Aug 79°/59°  Sep 71°/52°  Oct 59°/43°

Average Precipitation (in.) – Budapest
May 2.8  Jun 2.4  Jul 1.6  Aug 2.8  Sep 2.8  Oct 2.4

What’s Included:

Bicycle Tour Only – without Air

  • 6 nights in a countryside manor house and 3- and 4-star inns
  • 13 meals – 6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners

Air Package Plus

  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • 8 nights in a countryside manor house and 3-, 4- and 5-star inns
  • 15 meals – 8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Transfers
  • Day pass to the Budapest public transportation system
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions: Pre-trip: Bratislava – 2 nights for only $245* • Post-trip: Budapest – 2 nights for only $245

Both Vacation Options Include

  • FREE use of our custom VBT bicycle and helmet
  • Service of two bilingual VBT Trip Leaders
  • FULL VAN SUPPORT
  • Daily route directions and maps
  • Welcome reception with local brandy and hors d’oeuvres
  • Sightseeing and cultural activities
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation
  • Special Good Buy Discount
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Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $295 | Land Only Single Supplement: $195

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2016/2017 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

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Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Depart from home / Fly overnight to Vienna

Depart from home for Austria. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed in your flight itinerary.

DAY 2: Arrive Vienna / Transfer to Bratislava, Slovakia

VBT Air Package guests: Upon arrival at Vienna International Airport, proceed through immigration, claim your luggage, and clear customs. If your luggage is delayed, fill in a PIR form before leaving the customs area; VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. (Please note: Also make certain that your VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag so your VBT representative can identify you.) After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative, who will be holding a VBT sign. He or she will transfer you by van to your Bratislava hotel. (Transfer time is approximately 60 minutes, depending on traffic.)

VBT provides you with City Information that includes information and recommendations on what to see and do in Bratislava during your stay.

Hotel: Hotel Arcadia

DAY 3: Bratislava, Slovakia / Warm-up ride along the Danube / Pálinka tasting & welcome dinner

VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet your VBT Trip Leaders at the Hotel Arcadia (Frantiskanska 3, Bratislava; tel: +421 2 5949 0500) in Bratislava at 10:00 a.m. Please contact the hotel to advise of any travel delays or changes so the staff can pass the message on to your VBT Trip Leaders.

VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: This morning, join your fellow travelers and VBT Trip Leaders in the lobby of the hotel at 10 a.m. for a brief orientation and a short walk with your bicycle through Bratislava’s historic pedestrian streets. The Danube bike path is just a short walk from your hotel. You’ll begin your tour by cycling across the Danube under Bratislava’s Novy Most (New Bridge), which is famous for its striking UFO Café offering panoramic views from the top of the bridge.

Continue on the bicycle path along the Slovakian (south) shore of the Danube. After a short ride, you’ll arrive in the town of Cunovo, where you’ll find a Danube lock and dam whose wall is perfect for a leisurely ride. At the end of the dam, the unusual Danubiana Meulensteen Modern Art museum (closed on Mondays) juts into the river. Enjoy lunch on your own at one of the restaurants on the dam. Upon returning to the Danube shores, you may notice one of Slovakia’s Olympian rafters practicing in the artificial rafting canal.

Leave Slovakia via small country roads and pedal across the border into your first Hungarian town, Rajka. From Rajka, enjoy a quiet ride on back roads through the beautiful Hungarian countryside before arriving in the town of Dunakiliti-Tejfalusziget. Here, you’ll stop at a local distillery to learn about and sample pálinka—Hungary’s national fruit brandy. Afterward, shuttle to the village of Röjtökmuzsaj and settle into your accommodations in a Hungarian manor house.

In the evening, get to know your fellow travelers and Trip Leaders at a welcome reception, followed by a hearty Hungarian dinner.

Hotel: Szidonia Manor House
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 24 miles (38 km)

DAY 4: Pan-European Memorial Park / Fertod Lake UNESCO World Heritage Site / Sopron

After breakfast, cycle to the thermal city of Balf, where you’ll pass the UNESCO-protected linden tree alley of the Nagycenk Szechenyi castle—once home to the noblest family in Hungary’s history. A scenic ride leads you further into the Fertod lake region, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll pause at the Pan-European Memorial Park for a picnic lunch. This park along the former Iron Curtain commemorates the dramatic year of 1989, when most of the communist regimes collapsed in Europe. Hungary played a major role in this historic period as the country opened its borders to Eastern German tourists who did not want to return to their homeland after their summer vacation in Hungary. On this very spot, many East Germans found their freedom on August 19, 1989.

After lunch, you’ll cycle to Hungary’s westernmost town, Sopron. Its unique history is reflected in a blend of Roman, medieval, Baroque, and modern architecture. After your independent exploration of Sopron, you may either shuttle back to your hotel or continue riding for the afternoon.

Tonight, enjoy dinner on your own.

Hotel: Szidonia Manor House
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 20 or 41 miles (32 or 66 km)

DAY 5: Esterházy Palace / Cooking Demonstration / Esztergom

This morning, you’ll ride to the spectacular 18th-century Esterházy Palace—often referred to as “Hungary’s Versailles.” Your tour of the castle includes insight into the famous composer Josef Haydn, who worked in the palace as a court musician for the royal family.

Next, transfer to the small village of Neszmely, where a resident with a love of her country’s hearty cuisine invites you into her home. She will share her secrets for making the perfect strudel during a Hungarian cooking demonstration.

Later in the afternoon, as you approach Esztergom, you’ll be amazed by distant views of the city’s colossal Basilica. Esztergom was Hungary’s capital for over two centuries, and you’ll have time for a short ride in the area. This evening, explore Esztergom at your leisure from your ideally located accommodation. Dinner is on your own this evening.

Hotel: Bazilika Alatt Panzio
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 6 or 21 miles (10 or 33km)

DAY 6: Slovakian countryside / Danube / Visegrad

Cross the bridge over the Danube from Esztergom to the Slovakian city of Sturovo today, and spend the morning reeling through bountiful farmlands before descending back to the shores of the Danube. As you continue along the International Danube Bike Path, enjoy some of the most spectacular vistas of the Danube.

Re-enter Hungary at the town of Nagymaros. Here, you’ll board a ferry for the short ride across the Danube to the historic village of Visegrad. As you view Visegrad Citadel towering above you, you’ll understand how the city got its name—Visegrad is Slavic for “High-Castle.” Cycle through the lush forests at its base toward VBT’s picnic spot and a special lunch. You’ll help your host and chef prepare a typical Hungarian feast over an open fire. While lunch is cooking, you might stroll along one of the forest paths to view the beautiful streams and waterfalls.

After lunch, set off on your return ride to Esztergom. Tonight, you’ll dine in a local restaurant.

Hotel: Bazilika Alatt Panzio
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 29 or 47 miles (47 or 76 km)

DAY 7: Danube cruise / Vac / Szentendre Island

Cross back into Slovakia this morning for a relaxing boat ride on the Danube. Arriving in Nagymaros, you’ll cycle around the Danube Bend to the town of Vác. There’ll be time to explore this quaint town before taking a ferry to Szentendre Island, set in the middle of the Danube. With peaceful villages and a pastoral setting, this island is a cyclist’s heaven. You’ll stop at a wonderful horse farm to enjoy lunch and watch a show performed by skilled riders in traditional Hungarian costumes.

After lunch, wheel around Szentendre Island before crossing back to the mainland and the bike path. Your accommodations for your final two nights are directly on the bike path, overlooking the Danube’s shores. Enjoy a wonderful swim in the hotel’s pool before dining on your own, either on the hotel’s terrace overlooking the Danube or in the town of Szentendre.

Hotel: Holiday Beach Budapest
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 21 or 29 miles (34 or 47 km)

DAY 8: Skanzen / Szentendre

This morning’s spin along the Danube Bike Trail leads to the Skanzen open-air museum. Here, recreated villages reveal the typical architecture and lifestyle of each of the seven regions of Hungary. Enjoy time to explore the museum, then cycle back to the town of Szentendre. Here, you’ll meet a local artist and have time to explore the many stores and art galleries, with time to pause for lunch on your own.

Return to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure. This evening, gather with your fellow travelers for an unforgettable evening and a farewell dinner.

Hotel: Holiday Beach Budapest
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 12 or 20 miles (19 or 32 km)

DAY 9: Aquincum / Margaret Island / Budapest / VBT No-Air Package ends

After breakfast, conclude your Danube odyssey with a ride on the Danube Bike Trail, passing the third-century Roman ruins of Aquincum. Continuing toward central Budapest, cycle through Margaret Island, one of the finest parks of Europe, enjoying views of its beautiful rose and Japanese gardens. You’ll arrive at your hotel in Budapest—the Andrassy Mamaison—at about 11:00 a.m., and your tour comes to an end.

VBT No-Air Package guests: Your tour concludes at the hotel after this morning’s bicycle ride. The hotel will help you book a taxi at your own expense to the airport. Important: Train or air departures from Budapest prior to 1 p.m. are not recommended. If you depart earlier, you are responsible for your own transfer arrangements from the last hotel.

VBT Air Package: Spend tonight at the Mamaison Andrassy Hotel, one of the Leading Small Hotels of the World. VBT provides you with City Information containing recommendations on what to do during your stay in Budapest. Your included day pass for Budapest’s renowned public transportation system makes it easy to explore.

Hotel: Mamaison Andrassy Hotel
Meals: B
Daily Options: 10 miles (16 km)

DAY 10: Depart for home

After breakfast*, transfer to the Budapest airport (approximately 30 minutes) for your departing flight**. Please ensure that you are ready in the hotel reception area at the designated time.

Please note*: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

Please note**: VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder” or with the hotel’s reception desk the night before your flight. VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: B

Hungary Slovakia Bike Tour Map

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Accommodations

Szidonia Manor House

Originally constructed in the 16th century, this simple manor house was rebuilt in 1750 into a romantic and classical-style castle. In 1926, the Hungarian ambassador to the Vatican became the new owner of the castle and renovated it to incorporate 20th century comforts. Under his ownership, a park and swimming pool were developed on the castle grounds. The main salon furniture comes from the Amsterdam palace of Louis Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon. The home played host to royal counts, archbishops, and prime ministers throughout the ambassador’s stay until the deportation of his family in the 1950s. A classic, even nostalgic, atmosphere remains amid modern comforts and amenities, including free WiFi.
Free WiFi Included

Holiday Beach Budapest

This unique, boat-shaped hotel was designed to provide recreation for body and soul. It is set in a picturesque area on the “Roman Bank” of the Danube River, a perfect setting for its full-service spa. Stroll its tranquil gardens and relax in the outdoor swimming pool, bathing house with sun terrace, pool bar, sauna, and Jacuzzi. Savor both international and Hungarian cuisine in the restaurant and at the open-air grill-terrace. You can enjoy the outdoors in privacy from the balcony or deck of your room.
Free WiFi Included

Arcadia Hotel

VBT is proud to offer accommodations at the Arcadia Hotel, one of the Leading Small Hotels of the World and the first 5-star hotel in Bratislava. Set in the middle of the Old Town and close to the city’s main attractions—such as the Opera House, St. Martin’s Cathedral, Bratislava Castle, and Hviezdoslav Square—this lovely, carefully restored 13th-century building exudes a rich historical ambiance while providing modern amenities. The foyer’s graceful arched hallways and painted-glass ceiling provide an artistic touch, and the 34 guest rooms are furnished in a classic historical style with oversized marble bathrooms and free wireless Internet service. At the hotel’s Restaurant L’Olive, choose from Slovakian and international delicacies and excellent wines from all over the world. While here, you might also enjoy the open fireplace of the 24-hour Library Bar, the relaxing lobby lounge, and the Arcadia Spa, featuring a fitness center, whirlpool, sauna, steam bath, and private Jacuzzi.
Free WiFi Included

Bazilika Alatt Panzio

After complete reconstruction, this intimate and charming inn reopened in December 2007 with a modern and sleek décor. Its location puts much of Esztergom within easy reach, including the town’s museums, galleries, and restaurants. The centuries-old Basilica of Esztergom is also nearby, just up an adjacent hill. Enjoy the breakfast restaurant and perhaps take advantage of the spa and wellness center on site. Your room offers tiled bath, a minibar, satellite TV, and Internet connection.
Free WiFi Included

Mamaison Andrassy Hotel

Located in Budapest’s exclusive Embassy neighborhood on the Pest side of the city, the Mamaison Andrassy Hotel was designed and built in a Bauhaus style by Alfred Hajos in 1937. It was renovated in 2007 with a sleek contemporary interior design. During your stay here, you will discover why it was the first hotel in Hungary to be accepted to the collection of Leading Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Admire the stunning Art Deco style of the hotel’s Baraka Restaurant, which features creative cuisine that blends East and West. Its sunny terrace overlooks the chic and trendy Andrássy Avenue. Your spacious room, with its warm and cozy décor, includes a satellite TV, direct-dial telephone, and minibar. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel.
Free WiFi Included
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Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With LOw-Cost Trip Extensions

Bratislava Hungarian Bike Trip Pre Extension

Pre-Trip Extension - Bratislava

2 nights for only $245*

Budapest Hungarian Bike Trip Post Extension

Post-Trip Extension - Budapest

2 nights for only $245

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