Day 1: Budapest – Szentendre
After arriving in Budapest, you can take a bus, train or boat to the small town of Szentendre (12 miles/19 km away). This town has a unique character with 24 museums, 7 churches, 13 galleries and countless cafes and small bars. Visit the Open Air Museum that provides a glimpse into original Hungarian country life.
Overnight in Szentendre.
Day 2: Szentendre – Esztergom (36 miles/58 km)
Cycling along the Danube River to Lenyefalu, the first stage leads you a ferry that will take you to Szentendre Island. After crossing and biking through the charming island, the ferry takes you back to the mainland, where you continue onward to Esztergom. For those wanting more cycling there is a challenging ascent to the nearby Visegrad Castle, which has a superb panorama of the Danube Valley. Estergom has a massive castle that was the original palace of the Hungarian bishops. It is certainly one of the highlights of the Hungarian part of this tour.
Overnight in Esztergom.
Day 3: Esztergom/Sturovo – Dudince (38 miles/61 km)
The Slovakia part of the tour starts today as you cross from the southern to the northern bank of the Danube on the way to Sturovo. It is fairly easy cycling over rolling landscapes to the town of Dudince, which takes full advantage of the mineral rich waters in the area. Built according to the ideas of Socialist Realism, Dudince is a very interesting place to visit with Roman bathtubs carved out of travertine stone.
Overnight in Dudince.
Day 4: Dudince – Banska Stiavnica (40 km/25 miles)
Today's stage is the start of the demanding section of Slovakia with the Stiavnicky Hills, a precursor to the later mountain stages. If you do not feel like mountain cycling, you have the option to shorten daily stages or be transferred to the next destination. The day finishes in Banska Stiavnica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, featuring an extremely well-conserved old town and long heritage of mining. It is certainly one of the top stops on the entire Amber Trail.
Overnight in Banska Stiavnica.
Day 5: Banska Stiavnica – Banska Bystrica (37 miles/59 km)
Today’s route consists of two parts. First half is hilly, in quiet rural environment, forests and remote villages. Then it is almost flat and the route takes you against the Hron river through vital countryside. On the way to Banska Bystrica, stop in Hronsek to look at the precious timber church listed in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Once in Banska Bystrica you will see that the old part of the town is being well restored and is doing much to overcome the towns upsetting, Socialist past.
Overnight in Banska Bystrica.
Day 6: Banska Bystrica – Vlkolinec – Liptovsky Mikulas (41 miles/65 km)
Today's transportation is organized from Banska Bystrica to Vlkolinec. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Vlkolinec contains the largest concentration of traditional architecture in the Slovak Republic including precious, old houses built using old crafts and techniques. From Liptovska Osada, the cycle tour begins in a very challenging area of the Lower Tatras with a seven mile climb. However, the amazing views and the sweeping landscape are worth the ride to the top. The rest of the day is easier with a ride around the reservoir in Liptovska Mara. The day's ride finishes in Liptovsky Mikulas, an interesting town whose museum documents an infamous outlaw named Juraj Janosik, the equivalent of Robin Hood in Slovakia.
Overnight in Liptovsky Mikulas.
Day 7: Liptovsky Mikulas – Dolny Kubin – Sucha Beskidza (31 miles/48 km + 54 miles/88 km by car)
Today you cycle through the Chocsky and Oravsky Hills, one of the prettiest segments of the whole route. Stops along the way include Malatina, where you can watch rugs being hand-made on an original wooden loom, and Lestiny, with a rare wooden church built without a single nail. In the evening, you will be transferred to Sucha Beskidzka in Poland.
Overnight in Sucha Beskidzka.
Day 8: Sucha Beskidzka – Kalwaria Zebrzydowska – Krakow (13 miles/21 km + 25 miles/43 km by car)
The main highlight today is Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, an imposing Bernadine monastery. Transfer by car from Kalwaria Zebrzydowska to Krakow.
Overnight in Krakow.
Day 9: Krakow and Individual Departure
In Krakow you will probably want to spend more than just one day to visit the Wawel Castle, Old Market Square, Kazimierz Jewish Quarter, town walls and Royal Way.