Cycle Touring Through Central & Eastern Europe
9 Nights / 10 Days • Cycling Trip
The very best way to explore Central and Eastern Europe at a relaxed pace is by bicycle. Especially when you’re with a guide, accompanied by a support vehicle, with heaps of drinks and snacks in case you need a break. On this laid-back 10-day cycling tour you’ll visit three capitals, and a number of medieval and renaissance UNESCO towns. You’ll travel through rolling hills and flatlands, alongside rivers and lakes and stunning National Parkland. Along the way, you’ll stay in great hotels, meet local people and eat at local restaurants. This is a distinctly un-touristy tour!
The route takes you along the well-known Greenways cycle path, along the remnants of the Iron Curtain from the Communist era, all the way to Podyji National Park in Southern Moravia, then to a famous wine region with a rich folklore. Here you’ll have the opportunity to taste the wines of local vineyards.
This region is a home to several UNESCO sites and 800-year-old wine cellars built by the Templar knights. Memorable experience will be a dinner with a local family in a traditional wine cellar in the royal town of Skalica located on the Czech-Slovak border.
Pedalling through the protected area of Western Slovakia, the cycle path will lead us along the Morava River to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia and the coronation town of the Austro Hungarian Empire. This authentic bike tour will be concluded by an enjoyable ride to Vienna along the popular Danube cycle path.
- 9 nights accommodation (3 star hotels)
- 9 breakfasts, 1 dinner with local wine-dresser and wine sampling
- Bike hire including: pannier, lock and spare parts (not helmets!)
- Support vehicle and luggage transfers from start to finish
- Drinking water, soft drinks and snacks on each day (carried by our support vehicle)
- Guide from start to finish
- Visit to the wine cellars of Templar knights
- Transfer from Prague to Cesky Krumlov on day 2
Price is per person, based on double occupancy.
Departs Thursdays in 2017.
See below dates and room options.
DAY 1 - Arrival Day
When you arrive in Prague, the Czech Republic’s capital, you must spend some time sightseeing this beautiful and historic city, which is a UNESCO site. The historic centre is a labyrinth of narrow, cobbled streets, old squares, passages, palaces and churches (one reason why Prague is also called the ‘Golden City’).
The dominant feature of the city is Prague Castle, the most important architectural monument of the Czech Republic. It is situated on a gentle hill in Hradcany. Underneath the Castle, small houses with coloured facades form another big attraction – the Golden Lane. According to an old legend, during the reign of Emperor Rudolf II, alchemists tried in various ways to produce gold here (ultimately failing, of course).
Another wonderful place is the Charles Bridge, the second oldest bridge of its kind in the world. In The Old Town Square you will find the Town hall and the Orloj, a medieval astronomical clock. This ingenious device was built 600 years ago and has worked flawlessly for centuries. Wenceslas Square is also well worth a visit, known for the National Museum and a huge statue of King Wenceslas on horseback.
DAY 2 - Cesky Krumlov
This morning we take a vehicle transfer to Cesky Krumlov, another UNESCO site and the real gem of the Czech Republic. About two hours’ drive from Prague, the town is situated on the banks of the meandering River Vltava- where a massive castle stands above the city. Below the castle lies the picturesque town full of crooked, narrow streets, rich in natural beauty and history. The castle is one of the valuable monuments of the town surrounded by gardens, parks and an original road, and at the entrance you will be welcomed by brown bears in the castle moat. Here you can also see a Baroque theatre, unique worldwide, which preserves the original equipment, scenery and inventory. A unique feature of this town is also a functional revolving theatre. This medieval town is a must when visiting the Czech Republic.
Overnight: Cesky Krumlov Meals: Breakfast
DAY 3 -Trebon
Leaving Cesky Krumlov by bicycle, the landscape transforms to a flatter region of ponds, forests and meadows, known as Trebonsko. The Třeboň Region is a magical place, and one of the most picturesque in the Czech Republic. Here you’ll uncover lots of idyllic countryside, which man has been painstakingly transforming since the 14th century. The result of these efforts is over 6,000 lakes, many small islands, mysterious wetlands, marshes and peat bogs, providing a habitat to countless rare species of flora and fauna.
The entire region is packed with medieval fortresses and Renaissance towns, creating a special landscape, now one of UNESCO’s biosphere reserves. Our destination today is the town of Trebon, one of the most quintessential of the fairy-tale towns of South Bohemia. Built in renaissance style, this is one of the most popular destinations in the Czech Republic. Around the city are two large ponds: Svet and Opatovicky. You must also visit the state chateau in Trebon, or the Neo-Gothic tomb of an aristocratic family Schwanzenberg in English Park. The Schwanzenbergs were the owners of this town in the past.
Total ride: approx. 58 km
DAY 4 - Telč
Today you leave the kingdom of ponds and cycle further, where the stunning sceneries of ‘Czech Canada’ National Park await you. Here you join the most popular cycle path in Central Europe – ‘The Greenway’ that connects romantic Prague with elegant Vienna. En-route you have almost countless attractions to admire in the form of stunning nature, castles, chateaus, churches, picturesque villages and renaissance towns. In the second half of the day Nature will be swapped for another UNESCO gem – the renaissance town of Telč. Important monuments are a chateau and a unique square, surrounded by well-preserved renaissance and baroque houses, where we spend the night.
Total ride: approx. 70 km
DAY 5 - Vranov and Dyjí
In the morning we take a transfer (train or private bus) to the small picturesque town of Slavonice located on the border with Austria. This renaissance town is another of the Czech Republic’s hidden gems. After a short sightseeing we continue cycling all the way through forested area to Vranov along the Czech-Austria border. Here we can admire the beauty of the Dyje (Thaya) National Park and two of the biggest attractions in this area, the absolutely stunning Vranov chateau perched high on a rock above the Dyje River and Vranovska reservoir, popular destination mainly in the summer months. We spend the night here.
Total ride: approx. 45 km
DAY 6 - Mikulov
The Greenway also runs along the former Iron Curtain trail. For 45 years, Europe was forcibly divided into East and West by the “Iron Curtain”. Today we will cycle through an area that was strictly monitored by the troops during the Communist era. The next point of interest is south of the village of Artole, where you will see a lookout tower once used by the border troops. Soon after, you come across another piece of history on the outskirts of Čížov, in the form of a well-preserved section of the military supply route, including the barbed-wire fence and a watchtower.
Today’s cycling is concluded in the town of Znojmo, which is for its location dubbed the ‘gate’ to the region of Southern Moravia. It is situated on the edge of Podyji National Park, on a rocky headland on the banks of River Thaya, and its dominant feature is Znojmo Castle. This medieval town is interwoven with many catacombs dating back to the fourteenth century. The Gothic church of Nicholas and late Gothic Town Hall Tower are also remarkable sights of this historic town.
We then transfer to the medieval town of Mikulov located in the wine-growing region of Palava. Mikulov is a town with rich history, where the original architecture of buildings, square and stunning castle has survived the passage of time. The beauty of the town is matched by the surrounding Palavske Hills and the ruins of three nearby castles. During the times of the Iron Curtain this area was heavily guarded – ironically, thanks to this, the original town has been preserved.
Total ride: approx. 40 km
DAY 7 - Lednice-Valtice UNESCO grounds / Skalica
The town of Mikulov is located in the Lednice–Valtice area, part of the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage site. Our first stop on this scenic ride will be Valtice, the original home of the Lichtenstein family. The Valtice chateau and its wine cellars stock the very best Moravian wines – but most visitors are fascinated by the chateau park: here is the largest exhibition of torture instruments in Europe; used in medieval times to torture “witches”. Despite this sad past, this is a romantic landscape where history meets ponds dotted with water lilies, green forests with well-maintained paths, alongside magnificent ancient buildings.
Our next stop is Lednice, with a splendid chateau with a large park, at the end of which a Minaret stands. Lednice is also known as the ‘Moravian Versailles’. After lunch we continue cycling to Cejkovice where we have the opportunity to visit 800 years old wine cellars built by the Templar knights, then transfer to the royal town of Skalica located on the Czech-Slovakia border.
Located at the foothills of the White Carpathians, Skalica is undoubtedly one of the nicest towns in the whole of Slovakia. It is also one of the largest, and has a plethora of beautifully preserved historical monuments. It has six major churches, nine smaller sacred buildings, including the ancient St. George rotunda, parts of which date back to the twelfth century. There are monasteries, fortifications and a unique triangular square.
Here we have a memorable dinner with a local wine-dresser Jan and his wife in a traditional wine cellar located in the vineyards on the outskirt of the town. Over dinner you will have the opportunity to sample some of the best local wines produced by Jan´s family as well as wines from various regions of the Slovak Republic.
Total ride: approx. 40 km
Meals: Breakfast, dinner
DAY 8 - Iron Curtain Morava Cycle Path, Devin castle and Bratislava
After breakfast we take a transfer to the village of Zahorska Ves located on the bank of the Morava River from where we follow the popular cycle path that leads all the way to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia and the coronation town of the Austria-Hungary monarchy. En-route we can admire the untouched nature of the flood-plain forests that used to form the Iron Curtain border line dividing Austria and Czechoslovakia during the communist regime. We stop by the Devin castle that is located at the confluence of the rivers Morava and Danube. From its courtyard we can admire beautiful panoramic views overlooking Austria. Then continue to Bratislava, Europe’s youngest capital, is a charming city with an intriguing history. We highly recommend an evening stroll around the ancient centre of Bratislava, with its narrow streets and many historic sites along the Danube embankment full of cafes and nightlife.
Total ride: approx. 40 km
DAY 9 - Danube Cycle Path to Vienna
The Danube River is the natural border dividing Austria and Slovakia. This morning we cross the river, enter Austria and we can fully enjoy cycling on the popular Danube cycle path all the way to Vienna. A highlight of this day is a ride through the National Park of Donau-Auen. Situated between the European capitals Vienna and Bratislava, the Donau-Auen National Park preserves the last remaining major wetlands environment in Central Europe. Here, the Danube is still free flowing and is the lifeline of the National Park. It creates a habitat for numerous animals and plants, some of which are rare species. In the early evening we check into our Vienna hotel. The evening is then free for you to explore some of Vienna´s top sites.
Total ride: approx. 70 km
DAY 10 - Departure Day
Services end after breakfast: you can either head to the airport for your flight home, or continue on your travels.
- Ask us about affordable airfares and pre- or post-stay options.
Price is per person based on two people sharing a standard room. Other room types: please inquire. Proof of insurance is mandatory; if you need to purchase trip cancellation or health insurance please inquire. For full Booking Conditions, please see thetravelsociety.com/booking-conditions/ Tour is operated by The Travel Society, Inc., 174 Spadina Ave., Suite 404, Toronto, ON, M5T 2C2, Canada; 1 (877) 926 2500; TICO Registration #1280649