Our mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en-suite facilities.
Tour Type: Small Groups
Accomodation: 9 nights
Arrive hotel and check-in. Graz was the European City of Culture in 2003, and Austria's attractive second city certainly hasmuch to offer to warrant the title. Its medieval Old Town has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Accommodation: Hotel Mariahilf
We begin by making a tour of Graz on our bikes, along the Mur river and through the Old Town and some of its many squares. Those who wish may walk up the 260 steps to the Schlossberg or Castle Hill, which dominates the city for views over the Old Town centre below (or there is a furnicular railway or a glass lift if you prefer). From above, Graz's Old Town can be seen in all its glory – a maze of narrow lanes between a sprawling pattern of red-tiled roofs, a world of tiny side streets and passageways, courtyards and nooks and crannies, variously in Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles, waiting to be explored. The Schlossberg also houses remnants of the city's fortress. The white clock tower – with its minute and hour hands reversed – is the emblem of the city. If you have the time and the inclination, the city also has an impressive armoury museum, a fine cathedral and the mausoleum of Ferdinand II amongst its many other cultural attractions. Then, departing Graz, we follow the river, mainly on a cycle path, to Leibnitz. The terrain is generally flat and we will doubtless feel compelled to make several photo stops en route. Arriving in Leibnitz in
the late afternoon, we have time to explore. (Approx. 35km cycling).
Accommodation: Hotel Romerhof
This morning we continue to follow the cycle path along the Mur River to Mureck. At Mureck we cross the bridge over the Mur river and enter our second country - Slovenia. Immediately after crossing the bridge we meet a 150 metre ascent, which rises in a series of switch backs over about 2 kilometres (of course you can always dismount and walk if necessary). We follow minor backroadsthrough a beautiful and varied landscape of beech forest, meadows and farmland to Ptuj, where we spend the night. This day involves 6-7 ascents and is the hardest day of cycling. (Approx. 70km cycling).
Accommodation: Hotel Mitra
Our ride today begins with cycling along Phujsko lake shore (an artificial reservoir) and across the dam. Then we pass through scenic farmland into easy hills covered with vineyards and beech forests to Ljutomer. En route we will see the Velika Nedelja monastery from a distance. Ljutomer is to be our base for the next two nights. (Approx.50km cycling).
Accommodation: Josef Salmun
Today is a free day. You may opt to take the 15 kilometre each way, somewhat hilly, ride to the vineyard village of Jeruzalem, where the reward is the chance to do some wine tasting. Alternatively (or, if you prefer, in addition) you could take the 16km each way flatter ride to Banovci for a wholly different treat, a thermal bath. Of course if you want a break from cycling, you could just have an easy rest day. (Optional approx. 35km cycling).
Accommodation: Josef Salmun
valley, alternating between forest and farmland, we pass through the village of Velika Polana, where we may see white stork nests. Eventually we come to Lendava, an ideal spot for lunch with views of its white castle. The border crossing into Hungary, the third and final country on our tour is near to Lendava. With border formalities complete, we follow a cycle path on to Lenti. (Approx.45km cycling).
Accommodation: Silvanus Panzio
This morning we transfer by bus from Lenti to the Kis-Balaton Nature Reserve (approximately 100 kilometres). Lake Balaton, 'Hungary's inland sea', is the largest body of fresh water in Europe outside of Scandinavia. 78 kilometres long by 15 wide (at its widest) it covers almost 600 square kilometres. Yet amazingly it also has an average depth of just 3 metres. As well as providing many summer resorts for swimming, boating and fishing (though the water is in fact somewhat alkaline and silty), the lake provides a haven for much wildlife and is surrounded by some of Hungary's best vineyards. Mounting our bikes againnear its shores, we shall cycle through the Kis-Balaton Nature Reserve at the western end of Lake Balaton to Keszthely, which lies on the lake itself. Full of grand town houses, trees and cafés, the town has a view of both shores. This afternoon is free, but there will be the option to walk to, and visit, the Festetics Palace, the 18th century 101-room home of the Festetics family or take a dip in Lake Balaton! (Approx. 30km cycling, which can be extended if you prefer).
Accommodation: Hotel Kakadu
From Keszthely we cycle eastwards, following the northern shore of Lake Balaton through small spa towns and vineyards lying at the foot of ancient volcanoes. The terrain is undulating, with the cycling mainly along cycle paths and small roads. About two thirds of the way along the lake we come to the Tihany Peninsula. The entire peninsula, which juts 5 kilometres into Lake Balaton, is a nature reserve with a delightfully wild and isolated quality. Our ccommodation is in the spa town of Balatonfüred. (Approx.60km cycling).
Accommodation: Hotel Club Tihany
This morning we cycle to Tihany village, which, with its hilltop location on the east of the peninsula is one of the region’s most charming. From the peninsula we take a ferry across Lake Balaton to the southern shore, we then board our chartered bus to Budapest, a journey of approximately 120 kilometres (about 2 hours). Arriving in the wonderful city of Budapest, we shall check in to our hotel and then spend the afternoon on an orientation tour of Buda old town and castle. Situated on a beautiful stretch of the Danube, Hungary’s capital consists of two parts: Buda and Pest. Buda seems today the older, more graceful part, with cobbled streets and medieval buildings, whilst the latter is the business centre. We plan to take in the major sites of this impressive city. We discover the Basilica of St. Stephen and Parliament buildings before crossing Chain Bridge to the Castle District and Watertown.
Here lie Buda’s most ancient gems – Castle Hill with the Old Town, Fisherman’s Bastion, and the Royal Palace. There are several museums in the area that you may wish to visit (optional). Alternatively, you may care to go Magyar and visit one of the city’s famous thermal baths, or take a boat cruise on the Danube. (Approx.15km cycling)
Accommodation: Hotel Club Tihany
Your tour ends in Budapest this morning.