After many years I have finally joined the Budapest bikers’ community. Biking around Budapest is very new experience for me and I am quite surprise how many new places it helped me to discover. Biking around the city helps to release bad energy and definitely gives you freedom – especially in the evening, when crazy tourists stay away from cycling paths.
It’s worth to know some things in advance, once you are planing to use your bike in Hungary.
Traveling by train
If you wish to bike around Balaton/lake Velence or any other location outside of Budapest and you would like to reach this place by train (and take your bike with you), be aware that many trains can contain only 6 bikes in one compartment. We had quite funny situation last weekend when we decided to travel from Budapest to lake Velence by train and take bikes with us. It appeared that cashier sold too many bike tickets (yes, you need to buy additional ticket if you wish to take your bike with you, it costs around 200 huf) and in the end our train was 20 min delay, when conductor was trying to kick out few guys with their bikes. Of course it was a fault of the cashier, but in Hungary everything is possible. The thing, which hit me and my friend, was the fact, that guys and conductor tried to negotiate in a quite calm way and in the end even more people from rail carrier came to assist in this conversation. Some of them were on the phone – I suspected for a moment, that maybe they called PM Orban to fix this issue or at least some representatives from a ministry of transport. This is one of the funny situation, when you can clearly see the culture differences between Hungary and your country of origin. If this would happen in Poland, I can ensure you that most likely we would have a serious fight, and surely most of guys, who were involved, could use some fists as an argument. When it comes to train transportation in Poland this is already a subject of national debate and internet memes – why? Because its very common that trains are late or stuck somewhere on their way for few hours, or the heating is not working when it’s -20 degree in the middle of the winter. Sometimes its also super amusing when representatives from ministry of transport give short interview and try to explain why heating in train is not working during winter. One of the best comment was from one lady who said “it’s winter it has to be cold”, or ” what we can do – we have climate change”.
If you wish to know, if particular train has bike storage, call MAV (Hungarian railways) +36 (1) 3 49 49 49, you have English menu as well. Even if the train has a bike storage, it does not always mean you can carry your bike.
Where to bike?
If you decide to bike only in Budapest or somewhere close by, the good news is there are plenty of cycling paths in the city but the bad news – in many cases tourists or locals do not respect them and just block your way. You need to stay calm – even if you ring your bell – most likely it won’t be heard by Asian tourists (they are too busy taking photos or selfies).
Népsziget – is Budapest’s northernmost islet, belonging to XIII district. It’s not so popular destination (compering to Margaret Island) but absolutely great place for cycling freely – less people means less crowd. This place might look a bit underground, due to many warehouses nearby, but it’s great destination if you are looking for some old school furniture, as Colorbar has its location there. You will be able to find also fried fish bars and of course try deathless lángos.
credit: Anna Jopp
Perfect place to go by bike is definitely III district and Római-part. It’s the best relaxing place in Budapest, only 30 min from the city center and yet it feels like as if you were in another part of the country. Many bars/bistros right next to the river, cheerful atmosphere and great possibility to escape big city life for a moment.
If you drive further and pass Római part, you will finally reach Budakalász and amazing lake Lupa. It resembles real seashores with its white sand, clean water, beach furniture, and services. You can lock your bike in a paring and enjoy summer vibes with delicious food, fresh cocktails and really good music. This place is definitely worth a visit during hot weekends.
credit: Lupa Tó
Another great place worth to explore by bike is lake Velence. Just 47 km from Budapest (so in this case, I suggest you to go by train), is third largest lake in Hungary. It’s considered as one of the warmest lakes in Europe. You have cycling path around the lake, which crosses nearby villages. Surrounding nature will take your breath away (at least it took mine!). Fresh air, green fields and peaceful atmosphere make you trip unforgettable. You have many facilities (including bars/little food joints/accommodations) and what is most important you can relax on the beach and refresh yourself by jumping to the water. You can also rent a little boat and sail around the lake.
I collected for you some mobile applications where you can check available cycling paths in Budapest:
Do you know any other good bike destinations in Budapest or outside the city?
Do share your comments!