Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Suggestions - 4 week tour of eastern europe

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Suggestions - 4 week tour of eastern europe

Old 09-27-20, 01:24 AM
  #1  
nickontour
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Suggestions - 4 week tour of eastern europe

Hi,

I'm looking to take a few weeks off next summer (July) to do a bike touring holiday in Europe. I've seen a lot of western Europe and now would love to see a lot of the Eastern European countries, specifically Czech republic, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia.

The one "constraint" I have is that I'd like to take my girlfriend with. She's able to cycle 60km without too much trouble and loves multi-day hikes and camping, so I'm sure she can get interested in this. I do want to give her the best chance of enjoying it though. It needs to beginner friendly: relatively flat (hills are OK, but no alps), safe (lots of cycle path) and lots of camping options. We'd happily camp in formal camp sites all the way if possible.


I've been thinking about the Danube from Passau to Budapest, its very soft entry to this form of travel. But I get the impression it will be very crowded at that time of year (assuming life has somewhat returned to normal) and some people have painted the picture of HUGE groups on package tours, etc. We'd prefer to be away from the crowds if possible. What I'm thinking is flying to Berlin, riding across to Poland, and then winding down an arbitrary route through a lot of the countries I mentioned, to finish up at the coast in Croatia for a few days.


This might be a bit ambitious to do over 4 weeks, but its a starting point. My main question is: how easy is to to find camping accommodation on-the-go? I'd really like to just find a campsite on the day, and not make serious plans or bookings. But having never traveled in that part of europe, how possible is that? How easy is wild camping?


Then, I'm assuming that most of those countries are pretty cycle friendly? ie: lots of cycle paths or quieter back roads that are safe to cycle on. I've generally heard good things about all of them but please correct me if I'm wrong.
nickontour is offline  
Old 09-27-20, 07:02 AM
  #2  
Trevtassie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Down Under
Posts: 1,918

Bikes: A steel framed 26" off road tourer from a manufacturer who thinks they are cool. Giant Anthem. Trek 720 Multiroad pub bike. 10 kids bikes all under 20". Assorted waifs and unfinished projects.

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 848 Post(s)
Liked 705 Times in 391 Posts
Poland was pretty good, much cheaper than the rest of Europe. The train system is set up for bikes too, so you can jump around a lot, Friday afternoons they even have special cyclist carriages on some routes, half the carriage is bike racks. So you could cover a bit of ground, even if your partner can't ride a long way.
Camping can be a bit hit and miss, but if I recall correctly there is a national system of cheap B&Bs in Poland, I just can't remember what they are called. Some countries are great, like Lithuania when has free forest camps, but we struggle a bit in Czech to find camping sometimes.
Trevtassie is offline  
Old 09-27-20, 07:38 AM
  #3  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 11,579
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2092 Post(s)
Liked 501 Times in 426 Posts
very quick aside, more about scheduling than anything else.
It will be in both of your interests to plan conservatively, specifically distances per day and especially not to have such an ambitious schedule--this last part is important so that you can have the leeway to take rest days every 4, 5, 7 days.
For anyone, but especially someone new to bike touring, having short days at first, even 50km, makes a much better intro to this, and physically its nice to work into things.
Riding 60kms unloaded is one thing, add 25-30lbs on the bike and 50k is a lot harder, so to make the whole trip (but especially the start) more enjoyable for her, start out slow.

goes without saying to do prep rides with all the stuff you'll be taking
hope next summer allows us to travel, good luck planning
and dont use the Monty Python English-Bulgarian dictionary, you may get slapped.
djb is offline  
Old 09-27-20, 08:07 AM
  #4  
raybo
Bike touring webrarian
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 1,974

Bikes: I tour on a Waterford Adventurecycle. It is a fabulous touring bike.

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 78 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 32 Times in 19 Posts
Let me start by saying I don't camp, so I can't really help there. I do use couchsurfing and warmshowers along with getting rooms.

Do not miss Slovenia, one of my favorite European cycling destinations. Ljubliana is a pleasant city with bike path everywhere, comparable to Copenhagen. The Soca Valley is stunning and if your GF likes hiking, it is worth spending a couple days there (Bovec). The climb over Mt. Triglev (Vrsic Pass) is epic. I also found some long distance bike paths there. Here's a taste of Slovenia:



I'd also add the Dolomites, which are right next to Slovenia. More fabulous mountain views and Italian food!

On the same trip, I biked through Croatia. The islands are fabulous, but it takes planning to design a route that connects up with ferries (that are running). The coast road in July will be very crowded with cars, campers and huge trucks. Inland Croatia is hilly and somewhat similar. Plitvice National Park, in the northern middle of the country, is a World Heritage Site and stunning beyond description. But,the ride there and back was not all that interesting.

The ride I took started in Trieste (train from Venice) went south along the coast, up and over to Plitvice NP, into Slovenia, and then into the Dolomites (along the Giro d'Italia route), and back to Venice. If you want to see more pretty photos and read more about my ride, check out my detailed journal.

Austria is also very pretty. I've done a couple rides there and can also recommend it. It has a completely different feel than Solvenia and the mountains are just as pretty. One ride I did (from Amsterdam to Passau, Germany), went through Bavaria, along the Inn River (Innsbruck), up into Berchtestgaden, Salzburg, and then Passau. These were very pretty places with some long bike paths.

I've only done a bike and boat trip down the Danube for the Czech Republic and Hungary. I prefer mountains to long, wide rivers. The ride along the Danube is mostly on multi-use paths. The parts I saw had much camping, though I don't know how inexpensive it might be.The Danube ride will be mostly flatish with lots of little villages and the occasional big city. Not my cup of tea but lots of people enjoy this kind of riding.

I've not been to Poland.
raybo is offline  
Likes For raybo:
Old 09-28-20, 10:34 AM
  #5  
gerryl
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 456
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 99 Post(s)
Liked 22 Times in 16 Posts
I rode through southern Poland from Germany to Ukraine a couple of years ago. Poland is not overrun with campgrounds, in fact they were hard to find. The good news is that hotels/Airbnbs are relatively cheap and in some cases cheaper than campgrounds I've stayed at in France. As and added bonus, I think all of the hotels I ended up staying in included a buffet breakfast, an excellent way to start the day.
gerryl is offline  
Old 09-28-20, 10:49 PM
  #6  
Doug64
Senior Member
 
Doug64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 6,109
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1018 Post(s)
Liked 421 Times in 246 Posts
My wife and I rode through some of the country you are interested in as part of a longer tour. Is this your first tour? If you end up in Croatia, how are you getting home from there? With only 4 weeks I believe your route is a little ambitious, especially if you want your GF to have a good time, and ever come on another tour with you.

A nice ride of about 1000 miles would give you time to see some of the places that are worth stopping at: day in Berlin, some of the neat towns in Poland, and Prague. It would be relatively easy to set up an arrival in Berlin, and a departure from Frankfurt.

Our route from Berlin went east to Poznan, PL , south to Wroclaw, PL; east to Prague, CZ; east to Cheb, CZ; and then east into Germany picking up the White Main River at Bayreuth. There is a bike route along the river into Frankfurt. We have used the Frankfurt Airport before, and while it is not especially bike friendly, they do sell bike boxes. However, they are in a separate terminal form the airline we were using. It pays to get to an strange airport a day or two before the flight to figure out the logistics. If you get to Frankfurt with a few days to spare, a nice ride would be up the east side of the Rhine River to Koblenz.

I really like Poland, and if conditions permit, I'd like to back there someday. We started in Denmark, and ended in Amsterdam via of Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, and Belgium.

Good luck on your ride, and hoping things will be a better by next summer.

Last edited by Doug64; 09-29-20 at 11:05 AM.
Doug64 is offline  
Old 09-28-20, 11:34 PM
  #7  
nickontour
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks for all the great replies. Much appreciated. I think I'll probably budget 50km per day, with 1-2 rest days per week. So that is a little over 1000km. I now need to think about the route a bit more! I'd ideally like to end up on the coast near Italy/Croatia with 3-4 days to spare for relaxing and bike packing (not bikepacking).
nickontour is offline  
Old 09-29-20, 06:50 AM
  #8  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 11,579
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2092 Post(s)
Liked 501 Times in 426 Posts
re 50km per day, especially for the first days and maybe the first week, do extra planning to be able to do shorter days like 50 or 60kms. After a week we all start to get stronger and get into the rhythm of getting up and out in a reasonable time, when to take breaks, eating and drinking properly, all that--and then doing longer distances gradually becomes easier and easier.

sufficient training rides beforehand is so importnat to make sure that bike shorts and bike fit are doing ok, to avoid having physical stuff going on at start of trip that can be sismply avoided by doing enough riding before the trip.

plus if you are in your 20s its one thing, but if in your 60s then its even more important to sort out riding shape etc beforehand.
djb is offline  
Old 09-30-20, 04:04 AM
  #9  
Trevtassie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Down Under
Posts: 1,918

Bikes: A steel framed 26" off road tourer from a manufacturer who thinks they are cool. Giant Anthem. Trek 720 Multiroad pub bike. 10 kids bikes all under 20". Assorted waifs and unfinished projects.

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 848 Post(s)
Liked 705 Times in 391 Posts
I remembered what the rural accommodation in Poland was called: Agriturism. I think we paid something like $15 for a private ensuite room with access to a full kitchen at one place!.
And I reckon Polish beer is better than Czech... despite what the Czechs say.
Food is about half the cost of the surrounding Eurozone countries.
Trevtassie is offline  
Old 09-30-20, 07:09 AM
  #10  
nickontour
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Trevtassie View Post
I remembered what the rural accommodation in Poland was called: Agriturism. I think we paid something like $15 for a private ensuite room with access to a full kitchen at one place!.
And I reckon Polish beer is better than Czech... despite what the Czechs say.
Food is about half the cost of the surrounding Eurozone countries.
Ah great, thanks!
nickontour is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.