Cycling from Vienna to Budapest via Bratislava

Vienna and Budapest are linked by a continuous cycle route which broadly follows the curves of the Danube. The journey is around 250 kilometers (155 miles), a distance that can be navigated alone or with the help of various companies.

The route is a little different to the driving route outlined in our travel article on driving from Vienna to Budapest. From Vienna, pedal directly east to cross the border into Slovakia. Vienna and Bratislava are the closest capital cities in the world, and traffic-free cycle paths connect them throughout the 70km (43 mile) distance.

The Vienna-Bratislava route begins on Lassalstrasse (“Lassal Street”), beside Prater Metro station. Just round the corner is a friendly, independent bike shop, Pedal Power, where you can hire bikes, buy maps and ask for advice. The cycling is straightforward, following the north bank of the Danube for 45km before crossing the river at the town of Hainburg. Hainburg’s city gates are a mighty portcullis-framed slab of medieval fortification, and the city is a perfect place to wipe one’s forehead and grab something to eat. From Hainburg the rest of the route follows the Danube’s south bank. It finishes in spectacular style with a crossing of Bratislava’s bizarre “UFO Bridge” which channels you into the center of the Slovak capital.

From Bratislava, continue along ‘Eurovelo 6’, part of a Europe-wide initiative to sew together the entire continent with safe, secluded cycle routes. This passes through Győr, then reaches Komárno, a Slovak-Hungarian border town split between the two countries by the water of the Danube. Komárno has places to eat and sleep, and a complex system of fortifications, including a fifteenth century fortress that was attacked by the Ottomans and served as a temporary training camp and prison during WW2. From Komárno, Route 6 loops north to Esztergom and back south to finish in Budapest.