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  1. #1
    Senior Member mattbicycle's Avatar
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    Generic European touring routes

    Hi Everyone,
    I have spent a fair bit of time online over the past couple of weeks looking for information on bikes/equipment/routes etc for my first European touring adventure which I am planning for 2008.

    Without annoying everyone by asking for oft-repeated information, I have been trying to track-down a generic, common route which would take me from France, Belgium or The Netherlands through to Bulgaria. I hope to search the internet and forum for specific information but was hoping there may be a name for this type of expedition. I hope to travel through Germany, Austria and Hungary and finally to Sofia or Istanbul.

    I found on Wikipedia a very promising map and brief description of "European Walking Route E8". Sadly there was little useful cycling information. If I wished to travel across the USA I could search for "trans continental cycle touring", for example. I'm wondering if there is a common name for the route I mentioned to make my internet searching a bit easier?

    Many thanks,


    Matt

  2. #2
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    With thousands of kilometres of roads suitable for cycling in many of the countries you are planning to visit, I think you will be hard-pressed to identify generic routes. If anything, there are too many choices! Each road takes you in a different direction, and gives you a different trip.

    Once upon a time, I cycled north to south through Alsace in France, and I had a choice between a relatively flat route next to the Rhine; a route through the Vosge mountains (which is the route I chose, and it was intense!); a "compromise" rolling hills route between the Rhine and the mountains; etc. etc.

    Have fun!

  3. #3
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Danube Cycling path is what you want.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  4. #4
    Senior Member chrisch's Avatar
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    Check out the website of the European Cyclists' Federation.
    TrackMyTour.com - An iPhone app for Bike Touring! See who's touring now and where.

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    It is a very well established route for cyclists, but there is no generic name for it. When we did it last year, we just drew a straight line on the map from the Calais in northern France to Istanbul, then followed the line as closely as we could, trying to stay off the main roads by using canal paths (Belgium), secondary roads and the Danube cycle path. With the benefit of hindsight, I would not bother doing any more planning than that. The national tourist office sites for Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany were helpful for identifying bike paths that we could use. We also spent quite a lot on small scale maps, particularly in Germany.
    The account of our trip is here http://www.timbarnes.ndo.co.uk/totally-knackered.htm
    One last bit of advice - avoid northern Serbia.

  6. #6
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creamcrackered View Post
    One last bit of advice - avoid northern Serbia.
    Why so?
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Becnal, the reasons for avoiding northern Serbia are:
    1) It's one big wind-swept agri-desert, so not only is it pretty boring but finding wild campsites is tricky.
    2) It has a huge rat population - good if you like road kill, but not if you want a quiet night in your tent.
    3) Visitors from NATO countries aren't that popular - they haven't quite got over us bombing Belgrade.
    Oh, and the food isn't that good either.

  8. #8
    Senior Member mattbicycle's Avatar
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    Thank you guys for the advice and web site links - particularly for putting me onto the Danube Cycling Path. I like the idea of researching and planning my trip without starting another post "Please help! I'm going Europe but the thought of following a recognised route for at least part of the way is appealing. Thanks again.
    Matt

  9. #9
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    MAttb,

    I live in Hungary. I can help you out with that section. contact me off line.

    the danube bike path is good up to Bratislava.... and onwards towards Hungary, Hungary is not the best, but there are solutions.... I am going to be riding up to PRague next week... I will report on which bits would be good for you , ie. Vienna to Budapest.

    Robi

  10. #10
    Senior Member mattbicycle's Avatar
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    Creamcrackered - the rat problem sounds horrible!
    I haven't done a lot of wild camping but am a big fan and have been searching the forums for more info.

    robi - thank you for the kind offer. I appreciate the offer of advice. Hungary and Bulgaria seems the more difficult of the ride. I would certainly read any of your comments/advice very carefully.

    Matt

  11. #11
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    OK, Hungary is only difficult in teh sense that not many ppl here tour on bike, in the villages lots of ppl still use bikes to get round, but between villages it is not as common as the rest of Europe.. Internationl cycling is almost non existant!

    If you ride from Austria-Slovakia through Hegyeshalom or Rajka, near the town of Mosonmagyarovar is the part of the Danube called the Szigetköz. It is really pretty and quiet.. there are bike paths through it. If you feel like having a rest day and want to canoe or kayak on the back waters check out www.pisztrang.hu they are a small enviro protec group, they run a little hut with a small camp gorund, they have boats and guides and all of my kids have been there with school and lvoe it.I waqs there once and loved it!

    Győr is the next big town down the line... also a good place if you want to rest for a day in a place a bit buisier than Szigetköz... Györ has a thermal spa, great for recovring form long rides, but Budapest has a bagillion spas too as do many, many towns in Hungary....

    If you decide to ride on the Slovak sdie of the Danube you can cross over to Győr for a visit and back to SK or stay i SK until Struvo, cross the bridge into Esztergom, the largest basilica in hungary and about 75-100 km from Budapest.... either stay on that side of the Danube and ride a busy rode up to Szenedre. This way you get so go right under the Castle of Visegrad and into the cool town of Szentedre... Aftetr Szenedre there is a bike path along the Danube, nice, scenic, lots of trees and stuff until th edge of BP.

    Or ride for Esztergom to the next town and take the ferry across to Szob, there is a bike path from just after Szob almost all the way to Bp.. .this way you get actually better views of Visegrad but you cannot get up to the castle without recrossing the river by ferry... and you will pass through Vác a cool town also... I would go this way, and take a few hours to ferry over and ride up to the castle in Visegrad, the views of the Danube Bend are great from up there..

    A third and more strenuous option is over the Pili mountains/hills from Esztergom to Visegrad.... or even to Szentendre!

    Enough for now, i will give you more info later if you want...

    robi

  12. #12
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    You can Google the Via Claudia for a route from Fussen, Germany and into Austria (it actually goes as far as Verona and Venice, if you decide you might try going further south into Italy and then on to Slovenia -- an option anyway). Much of the Via Claudia info is in German but there is some English on the official site and we have some info from the stretches we've covered over the past few months on our homepage. Look under the categories of Austria and Italy.
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  13. #13
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    if you end up going through slovenia, you could go down the entire Adriatic coast,

    slovenia, croatia, bosnia (just a few km) croatia again, Montenegro... very hilly route but great views on the way and some nice places.. in croatia on the island of Murter I know a great little cmap ground ni an olive grove!!!

    robi

  14. #14
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    As Robi says, ride the Adriatic route Ljubljana - Split - Dubrovnik - Montenegro. At any case: avoid Romania, and Bulgaria is also pretty dangerous; the nouveaux riches are intensively testing their new playmates such as Ferraris and that stuff.

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