Make your own way to the hotel, where hire bikes will be waiting. The rest of the day is left free to explore Vienna at your leisure. It is a metropolis with unique charm, vibrancy and flair. It boasts outstanding infrastructure, is clean and safe, and has all of the culture, architecture and inspiration that you could wish for in this wonderful part of Europe. Highlights that you may consider include visits to the grand Schonbrunn Palace, Sigmund Freud Museum and a tour in the Vienna State Opera House.
On leaving Vienna the route takes you through extensive flood plains, which have turned into small ponds offering a rich habitat to countless species of birds, animals and insects. You will follow the Donauinsel, a long, thin island and continue to one of Austria's most important archaeological sites, the Roman remains at Petronell-Carnuntum. Much of the track is gravel/grit but is comfortable to ride on.
Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, not bad for a day's ride! It is worth making a short detour into the old city of Bratislava. It's quaint old city centre with numerous sites, lovely pedestrian zones and countless restaurants and cafes will pursuade you to take some time to explore Europe's youngest capital city. Our cycle route then begins to move away from the water to follow roads through villages and woods on the way to Halaszi, which is close to the attractive old town of Mosanmagyarovar, a good introduction to the complexities of the Hungarian language.
The beginning of the ride today will continue through the area known as 'Little Alfold', a plain of around 8000 square kilometres which covers the area where the boarders of Austria, Hungary and Slovakia come together. The Danube and its tributaries divide up the land as do the rural communities which dot the landscape, making it an enchanting area to cycle. From Dunaszeg a riverside gravel track leads to the historic city of Gyor. Gyor is one of the most important cities in the Hungarian lowlands with a glamorous and historical city centre. You can spend the evening walking along the narrow lanes and past the cathedrals and palaces of this beautiful Baroque city centre. There is also a longer route available today, detailed in your route notes.
Today you will leave the River Danube for the day and ride the undulating countryside to Tata, located at the foothills of the Gerecse Mountain Range. You will pass through many pretty villages, including Babolna, famous for its Arabian horse breeding Studs. Here you can visit the Studs and the Stud Museum and get an insite into the secrets of Hungarian horse breeding. It is possible to extend your ride today to visit the Basilica of Pannonhalma, a masterpiece of Hungarian architecture. Today your ride will end in Tata or Komarom depending on your accommodation.
This morning you may want to take the train to Komarom to avoid the busy road from Tata, otherwise take care as it can be busy. From Komarom you will begin your cycle along the Slovakian side of the river bank through quaint villages and past the archaeological site of Kelemantia, the remains of a Roman Fort. Your destination is Esztergom, the 'town of the Bishops and Kings' or the 'Rome of Hungary'. The Basilica of Esztergom is the largest Catholic cathedral in Hungary. Its beauty, standing guard over the Danube is a highlight of the tour.
Ride around the Danube Bend past Visegrad, once the corner of the Roman empire. Its impressive royal palace dominates the scene over the river, known as the 'knee' of the Danube. From one cultural highlight to another, you will quickly approach the artists' town of Szentendre, considered an open-air museum, it is the perfect place to stop, have a drink and a bit of relaxation before you make the final push onto Budapest. The route crosses the river by ferry at Vac, and includes a short section on an island in the middle of the Danube. Arriving in Budapest, you are greeted by the impressive parliament building. Try to arrive in time to return your bike and have a few hours to explore the city.