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  • VISITEUROPE.COM

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Biking and Cycling in Central Europe

See Central Europe from the quiet seat of a bicycle and you’ll catch details you’d never get from a car or bus; really see how history has progressed and life is lived here. There’s no better way to meet the people and see the details of this vast and untrammelled region of Europe than by cycling through it.

Cycling in Hungary keeps getting better and better, thanks to avid interest from riders enchanted by the Hungarian countryside and culture. Today, Hungary has more than 2,000 kilometres of cycle track with another 200 in Budapest. In addition, cycling services have risen to European standards, with repair shops, and hotel, camping and catering outlets dotted along the cycle tracks. Cycling is permitted in a number of hilly and woodland regions, including national parks, but remember that you must keep to marked routes to protect the magic for future visitors. Go for a big ride all the way around Lake Balaton and the Danube Bend or show your strength on the Buda Hills!

When you cycle in Poland, head for the protected areas for the most stellar scenery and best bike trails. Suwalki National Park is a favorite with both experienced bikers and hikers. The route begins in Smolniki, where you head out through a splendid region of meadows, stony paths, lake trails, and mountain vistas. (Take lots of trail mix). Upland from Krakow and Czestochowa lies the Aeries' Tourist Route, a 25-mile stretch passing through the Ojcow National Park whose forests and rocky hills are crowned by ruins of fortified castles. How much better can a bike ride get?

Slovakia will share its best tips for bike trips so that you can roll right by the most beautiful places in Slovakia. The recommended routes take you mostly on marked cycle routes or other suitable roads, so hop on your double-wheeled partner and start a journey to see castles and beautiful views of the Tatras Mountains’ imposing peaks.

Keen cyclists love the Czech Republic because the terrain is always changing and boredom never threatens. Hundreds of well-marked cycle paths encompassing thousands of kilometres give you vast choices; among these routes are long-distance paths that link up with the EUROVELO routes and breathtaking paths in the Jizera and Šumava mountain ranges. Ride from one jewelled city to another on the Prague-Vienna route, punctuating days of wild beauty with the most elegant experiences.

In addition to the outrageously beautiful Alps themselves, in Austria on your cycling trip you can also tour some really fun sight along the way. The "Salzkammergut" loop leads you past a dozen alpine lakes perfect for water sports as you explore this region where the old salt chambers lie far beneath your wheels. The Vorarlberg bike trail between Bludenz and Bregenz winds through five valleys surrounded by a majestic mountain backdrop and offers great hiking, fishing, and shopping when you tire of pedaling. Most importantly for some, on this trail you can stop to tour the Suchard chocolate factory where the famous "Milka" bar (the purple one you will find in every Austrian store) is produced. The picturesque Salzburg Lakes region is another great area for leisurely rides.

Cycling in Germany is fantastic, once you manage to decide which of its 200 long-distance cycle routes and shorter cycle paths are the ones for you. Explore cities and small towns or meander through wilder rural areas on well-maintained and signposted trails. Themes to consider, depending on your sightseeing wishes and stamina, include riverside routes, city and family tours, art trails, scenic routes and exciting mountain biking. Take note of the ADFC Premium routes, which are awarded a number of stars for trail quality and maintenance. International routes abound, since Germany shares borders with nine other European countries. Whether you want to experience Germany’s lush natural areas or squeeze in all the cultural highlights possible, touring by bicycle will add a dynamic and exhilarating dimension to your holiday. 

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