Bicycle trip across Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and Bulgaria
2,283 km bicycle travelling started in Slovakia´s capital Bratislava along the Danube River, southwards to Lake Balaton in Hungary, eastwards crossing Hungary to Romania in the Carpathian Mountains, further east to Moldova´s capital Chisinau, heading south the the Black Sea back to Romania and further south to Varna in Bulgaria.
16 July - 17 August 2017 / 33 days
13,566 metres in altitude
Highest cycled point: 1,287 m
Unfortunately no travel report in English available yet. Below the German report translated by Google Translate. Sorry for the partly weird and bizarre English! Proper translation is coming within the year 2018!
(68 km, 80 metres in altitude) After we had cycled 23 km to Cologne / Bonn Airport, we loaded them onto the rear carrier on a FlixBus and rolled overnight via Vienna to Bratislava in Slovakia. One day of sightseeing was enough for us and we started cycling, always along the Danube. For half a day we were traveling with Dries from Belgium, for him we continued along the Danube towards Asia. We turned south at Györ by crossing the Danube and thus the border with Hungary.
(641 km, 1,725 metres in altitude, highest cycled point: 447 m) We cycled to Lake Balaton, Lake Balaton. Once there was a beautiful bike path around the lake, after one night in Balatonfüred we were content with a few kilometers from this bike path and crossed the Tihany Peninsula by ferry to the other side. In Siofok, because of high season, everything was full and expensive, so we went after a day on the beach and a night on the way to the east. There was not much to see on the way to the Romanian border. We were able to avoid the traffic mostly, but there were only endless sunflower or corn fields around us.
(821 km, 5,913 metres in altitude, highest cycled point: 1,287 m) At Horea we crossed the border and cycled via Satu Mare and Negresti-Oas to the northwest and along the border with Ukraine to Sighetu Marmatiei, from where we crossed the road of the followed by famous wooden churches to Sacel. From there we went south over foothills of the Carpathians up to 825 m and down to a pizza in Bistritz. South of Bistritz we went first paved, but then exhausting on gravel up and down through very beautiful, secluded, hilly pasture and grasslands to Reghin. From Targu Mures we took a bus to Sighisoara, a well known old town, where a medieval festival was taking place. Back on the bus we saddled the bikes and cycled east deeper into the Carpathians up to Sovata, where we jumped naturally in the famous and therefore completely overcrowded Bear Lake, a natural salt lake, idyllically situated in the middle of wooded mountain scenery. The next day we went down again and then over the highest pass of the trip at 1.287 m, after further ups and downs we landed in Lacu Rosu, a lake (without salt), also very idyllic in wooded mountains and also hopelessly overrun by tourists who all want to explore the lake on a rowing boat or pedal boat or eat and drink in one of the countless restaurants. We were content with a walk on the lake and a delicious, typical Romanian menu.
The next day we went by bike through the imposing Bicaz Gorge, past steep cliffs, always following the river. So we rolled through impressive landscape downhill and back out of the Carpathians. We were forced to zig-zag along main roads to the border with Moldova.
(262 km, 2,673 metres in altitude, highest cycled point: 306 m) Friendly we were greeted by a handshake by two policemen behind the border. Too often, no travel eagles came here. At 37 degrees in the shade we went exhaustingly without shadows partly steeply uphill and downhill on later also busy road exhausting in the capital Chisinau. Our pre-booked "Deluxe BonApart Hotel" was anything but deluxe! First you had despite booking no room, then after a long wait, but it also served as a hotel for the hour and accordingly it was also at night. A real flop! The rest of the city, however, was pretty: wide streets, parks and cafes.
The next day we drove with a minibus to the cave monastery Orheiul Vechi. In beautiful surroundings, the small monastery had been beaten into a cave in the middle of a steep wall, accessible through a long corridor from behind. We spent a few hours in the area before going back. The next day we went by bus to Tiraspol, the capital of the self-proclaimed republic of Transnistria, which was not recognized by anyone but had its own border and its own currency, but which could not be used outside Transnistria. We strolled through the capital, went to the small beach by the river and then went back in the evening by bus.
We cycled southwest from the city to the south of Moldova with one night in Cahul, before crossing the border to Romania again.
(365 km, 2,202 metres in altitude, highest cycled point: 265 m) We cycled further south. Here in Romania, roadside supply was slightly better than in Moldova, where shops were only close to bigger places. In Galati we took the ferry over the Danube and crossed the river a third and last time. About Macin we went towards the coast and the last piece with the help of GPS over fields to Vadu, where we, after we had moved into a small room, first with the wheels to the nearby beach drove! Finally on the Black Sea! We jumped into the water and lay down in the sun, which we had been looking forward to in the last days and weeks!
Then we continued along the coast south to Mammaia. It was not as constructed and tailored for package tourists as it would later be in Bulgaria, but the construction activities suggested that Bulgaria could have been taken as a model. Nevertheless, we enjoyed two days on the beach, before we continued to cycle via Constanta to Eforie Nord. Again, we spent two nice days swimming, lying on the beach and with extensive exploration of the beaches, especially in southern direction. It was very crowded everywhere with mostly Romanian tourists, so we did not stop as planned just before the border, but drove across the border into Bulgaria.
(104 km, 904 metres in altitude, highest cycled point: 160 m) The main road led away from the sea to the south, without there being any alternative, so that we ignored the bicycle-forbidden signs with a puzzled shake of our heads and the main road followed. In Hungary, esdeartige signs had already been given, but mostly only on well-developed highways, which then also offered an acceptable and usually more pleasant alternative for cyclists. But either way, the signs did not interest anyone in Hungary or here, including the police. So we were quickly in Kawarna, where we came for the second time on this trip to a hotel that you better not book. In the Rai Hotel Kavarna gabs despite confirmed booking no room and we were even assassinated in the legitimate protest, so we had to call the police. They already knew the manager of the hotel as an aggressive thug. So one of those places that you can do without on holiday!
So we went after a night at the campsite on the way to the Golden Sands, where we, to mention a hotel praising, in the highly recommended Hotel Erma checked in. We enjoyed the phenomenal breakfast buffet and paid a visit to the beach, the beer king and the mega-park and let us just go well! After two days we went for the last time on the bike. We peddle the last few miles to Varna, where we enjoyed the sun and the sea for two days on the beach, roamed the city, worried Radkartons and evening at the beach and eat in beach bars went.
Then we had us and our packed wheels with a shuttle to the airport and at night we went by plane back to the airport Cologne / Bonn, where it was unfortunately just too cold. It had been nice!