Hungarian cycling holidays

Cycling and spas in eastern Hungarian plains

Arrival in Budapest

Cycling along Tizla river in Hungary

Hungarian cycle tour: Cycling from Vienna, Austria to Lake Balaton

Rocks of Hungary

Cycling tour in western Hungary: castles and spas holiday

Cycling in a kilt near Lake Balaton

Festetics palace, museum and Helikon library at Heviz

Flowers of Hungary as seen along the route.

Guided easy cycling along the Danube

Kings of Hungary.

Cycling tour in Hungary visiting thermal bath spas: 2012

Pleasant hotels

Cycling on quiet tracks along dykes

Thermal spas every day

Rivers, lakes, birds

A week easy cycling on the Hungarian Plains, friendly driver/guide, pleasant hotels, good food, boating, nature, lakes, rivers plus hot thermal water spas.

Saturday 5 May 2012: Left home by taxi at 5:20am. The taxi was early so we had a cold wait at the bus station in Chelmsford for half an hour till the X30 bus came at 6:05 to take us to Stansted, with several others who had also queued up in the cold wind. At Stansted we waited for about an hour and caught the 777 coach to Luton Airport. No problems at Luton, but noted the long standing overcrowding safety hazard at the top of the escalator with a second near miss accident out of our two trips via this airport. They do say accidents waiting to happen, when will they learn? EasyJet fight EZY left on time 12:30 for Budapest. Arrived to nice hot sun! We had hand luggage only so were quickly through arrivals. We had booked the airport shuttle bus via the internet ( http://www.airportshuttle.hu/en/ ) but this had failed to get through to the booking office. We asked for two return tickets but got ripped off. The print out they gave us only showed 1 return ticket and once in the shuttle bus we had to go back and buy a second ticket. Note that two return tickets bought together is lower price than two return tickets bought separately. Even cheaper on the internet, if it works ! Not to worry, the shuttle bus at least got us right to the Ruben Hotel. ( http://www.hotelrubin.com/en  ) Rested awhile. Then pool, aroma cabin, salt cave, bio sauna. Tried them all. The swimming pool is square so you get plenty of practice doing regular 90 deg turns. We got lost several times in the hotel and discovered another room, with same 302 number as ours!. Amazing. It took ages to find our way back to our original room. Supper was tomato soup and goulash soup, then 2x double vegetable wrap with chips and two sauces - green and red. Settled down to sleep at 8:45 pm happily having had a very long day.

6 May Sunday: Breakfast at Hotel Ruben in Budapest after a good night's sleep. Chris knitted two mice bodies during the night. Plenty on offer at breakfast time. Set off at 8:45 having picture taken of the front of the Ruben hotel. Our Velo-Touring ( http://www.velo-touring.hu/  ) driver, Tony, arrived in a smart clean white minibus with four bikes on the rear bike rack. We stopped just up the road to get a cycling helmet for Chris, then we set off south east towards Szolnok and then left a short distance north east to Bobapuszta. Unloaded the bikes here from the bus and started the bike rides.
Ruben Hotel, Budapest Cycle track on dyke Wild flowers Lunch in Nagykoru
The bikes were excellent and just needed the saddle heights adjusted. Initially on a nice smooth dyke service road/cycle track for 10km to Nagykoru where we had an early lunch of fish soup, three slices of fish and mashed potato. 2700FF, including 2x Coca Cola.

Then zoomed on past Kotelek, and almost to Tiszasult, when turned right into side road towards the river crossing to Tiszaroff. We followed signs to the ferry and crossed on the water powered ferry, 200FF per person. We were the only passengers. On the far side (Tiszaroff) immediately forward and right along dyke, 2km, left 2km, beside road for a while, then merged onto road before junction just south of Tiszagyenda. Took road to the left, stopped at Cafe for Coke, then 10km straight, but a bit bumpy, to Kunhegyes.


Stork next on power pole

Water powered ferry across the Tisza river

On the water powwered ferry

Approaching Kunhegyes we saw its enormous white Reformist Church in Kunhegyes, built between 1831 and 1833 and designed by Hungarian Architect József Hild, and on arrival stopped in the public gardens opposite where there is a statue of a naked man on horse with his bow and arrow aimed diplomatically to avoid aiming it at either the invader communistic countries to the east or towards the local town hall. You can visit the church and perhaps climb up into the roof and get fantastic long distance views from the small widowns in the tall church towers. Ice creams may be purchased opposite to the church. Then our bikes were loaded back on the minibus for bus transfer to Berekfurdo via Kunmaderas, passing an old Russian military base.

We met a another cyclist

Welcome to Kunhegyes

Reformist Church in Kunhegyes

Shooting arrow in diplomatic direction

Excellent choice of Hotel Szivek ( http://www.thermalhotelszivek.hu/  ) in Berekfurdo. Outdoor pools 25deg C, smaller 36degC. Indoor pools 36 and 39 deg C. Medicinal pools and Finnish sauna and Aroma Sauna. Pools open till 9pm. Meal time 6-8pm. The bike route Kunmaderas to Berekfurdo does not yet exist. Cycle route south of Berekfurdo does exist. There is a cycle track beside the short access road into Berekfurdo off the main road.

Had nice meal (inclusive) plus pint beer made us very sleepy and off to bed 8pm. Eric fell asleep, but Chris was soon up again knitting mice during the night. Some were definitely made under the influence !!

Hotel Szivek at Berekfurdo

Spa at Hotel Szivek at Berekfurdo

Pool at Hotel Szivek at Berekfurdo

Monday 7th May 2012: Breakfast 7am. Coffee tasted odd, so Chris only had one cup. Eric had tea, cereal, roll, cucumber yoghurt. 9am set off in bus in drizzle to Kunhegyes, stopping at the Penny Market near the church to buy picnic food supply. Orange juice, bananas, croissants etc 730F.

Play area in Tomaj-Monostora

Soaking wet - we got as far as Abadszalok

Lunch in the spa gardens in Berekfurdo

Spa gardens in Berekfurdo

Off again on bikes from Kunhegyes to Tomaj-Monostora where we rested on a seat on the left by the play area. Saw ingenious children's noughts and crosses game which Eric aligned. Saw multiple green finches, pheasant with very bright colours, a hare and deer. Thence to Tiszderers, still raining!. Finally arrived Abadszalok, abandoned cycling for the day and went back on bus to hotel for lunch.

Back at Berekfurdo we waited outside an open air thermal park a couple of hundred yards along the road on the other side from our hotel until we had negotiated access via a side gate entry just to the eating area. It was still raining and we were the only visitors, but we were welcomed to a table under the awnings alongside the various kitchens/shops, one of which was open. We were served a really good lunch of hot fish and chips plus drinks. After lunch, sleep for a while then thermal pool 36 degC, Very nice. Saw many swallows nests under the eves, up near our room. Buffet supper, meat plus veg, very good and unusual sweet green soup and also veg/meat goulash. Chocolate layer cake with crispy caramel topping.

Tues 8th May: Left the Berekfurdo hotel at 9am in bus back to Penny Market in Kunhegyes, near the church where we bought food for lunch. Then back into bus a few miles to the north, stopping at the dyke near Abadsolok. Slight wind and cool, but OK for cycling. Along dyke to the east all morning till we arrived at boating area with a distinctive large boat steering wheel sign at the entrance. Relaxed at the round wooden coffee bar near the water.

Boat trip on lake Tisza

Many birds amongst the reeds

Duck !

Any ideas ?

After coffee, took a boat trip on lake to see many birds, some in the air and other hiding in the reeds or perched on strategically placed posts. We followed a circuitious route through the reeds, through open water and through narrow routes with tree branches overhead. We stopped at a landing stage on an island opposite where we spent about half an hour on the island following an excellent nature trail with excellent signage about the local plants and birds.    At the end of the nature trail on the island was wooden bird watching look out tower. A further information point had details about all the birds. Back at the waterfront landing stage we called across for a boat to come and collect us. We ate our packed lunch and then were guided by the bus though to the east side of Tiszafured and back onto the dyke heading east. Then we had a long cycle ride along top of dyke.

Island nature trail

Distant birds taking off

River Tisza

A possible lunch stop on a future visit

We stopped just after rejoining the road at a large restaurant with an adjacent ferry river crossing. We did not cross. This would be a good stopping place for a meal on some future planned tour. We stopped cycling for the day here and the bus took us back to the hotel at Balmazujvaros.

A quiet rural route across farmland

A deer amongst the cows !


Arrived 9 Arch Bridge at Hortobagy

Wed 9th May: We left Balmzujavaros in the bus across town, leaving to the north west. Then cycled about 7km till we came to farm track to the left (south west). Definitely out in the countryside. In places somewhat bumpy and one very muddy stretch of about 100 yards. Watch out and very much slow down at some joints in the concrete slabs! Saw a dear lost amongst a field of cattle. Saw a weasel cross the track and heard many cuckoos. Arrived Hortobagy, passed the folk market in the centre and over the nine arch bridge then turned left into access road to rare animal farm visitor attraction.  

Road sign warning about Toads, Snakes and Newts

Goat at the rare breeds farm

Rare breeds visitor centre

Look out over the pustza

Took photo of unusual road sign featuring frogs, newts and snakes. Climbed wooden bird watching lookout tower. We rescued a goat that had caught one of its horns in the metal sign at the entrance to the farm. The goat was hanging by its head. We fed the goats and woolly pigs. We cycled back across the nine arch bridge and back to the centre of Hortobagy. We sat out for a while in the sun having a drink at the restaurant. Then did the touristy thing of buying souvenirs. A number of traders had set up stalls selling tapestry, wooden spoons, whips, wooden boxes, alphabet jigsaws and number jigsaws. Bought an alphabet cat jigsaw ! Lunched on meat in pancake wrap speciality back at the restaurant next to two people from Holland with scooters and trailers.

Park near spa centre in Hajduszoboszlo

Record of Kaba meteorite 15 April 1857

Thermal pool at Kaba

Swimming pool at Kaba

Nadudvar was the next stop; 20km, approx one third smooth, one third bumpy and one third smooth. At Hajduszoboszlo the thermal bath centre was closed so we went on to Kaba where there is a very nice spa, improved since 2001. We went in by the back gate. Chris did 4 lengths of the big swimming pool. Eric tired. After the pool Eric went off to take pictures of the various large rocks positioned around Kaba with their Hungarian inscriptions, hoping that later translation of the inscriptions might tell something about the Kaba meteorite which fell in 1857. Chris rested in the sun. Then on to the next hotel - Trofors Hunting Lodge in the woods, by bus. The hotel is a mile or so to the east of Nadudvar. You turn off the main road to the north, past a concrete block distributor and then about half mile ahead is the hotel in the woods with beautiful fishing lake surrounded by trees.

Trofors Lodge

Outdoor terrace dining

Fishing lake at Trofors

Peace and tranquillity

Our room was on the ground floor directly opposite to the Kings room. Dinner in the Kings room was very grand. We sat as King and Queen in the wood panneled room, in giant chairs complete with candles on the table and wine glasses 12 inches high. Lovely salad with cheese and sour cream, olives etc followed by chicken and peas. Took pictures of ourselves in the candlelight. No sweet course but plenty wine and fizzy pop also in 12 inch high giant wine glasses.

Thursday 10th May: After breakfast watched the fish jumping in the lake. Sunny and warm. Bus transfer to Elep via Nagyhegyes. The bike route to the south was along a new cycle track - very smooth and enjoyable - partly paid for by MOL, the local oil/gas company who has oil/gas wells Arrived Hajduszoboszlo. Stopped right outside the enormous thermal baths park, near the giant bell and smaller bells. Went shopping for souvenirs and food. Bought fridge magnet for friend with image of Rupert the Dog (Bassett Hound) and also a girly pink handbag. Bought food for lunch picnic and ice cream cones next door. Had coffee, then back on bus to Hajduszovat, then turned right towards Foldes till met cross roads between Kaba and Berecske. Turned left for 500m to parking spot to get on the bikes. Back to the cross road and then straight on to Kaba. Crossed canal after 1km and then to larger canal at 2km where Chris had previously fallen off while negotiating the very steep slope by the bridge down to the tow path underneath by the canal under the bridge. 9km further on to Kaba with reasonably good road and hot sun.

Arrived Kaba at about 1:40pm entering the thermal pool area via back gate as before. Sat down for picnic and then Eric was off to complete his collection of pictures of the Kaba rocks. After an hour bathed in the 36 deg thermal pool. Then ice chocolate ice lolly . Back on bike and cycled out through centre of kaba to the north and across the railway line, waiting for Eric to take picture of tenth rock!. Carefully crossed the main road and cycled all the way to Nadudvar, going left a bit via residential streets on entering the town so as to arrive opposite to the pottery place on the high street.      

At the pottery in Nadudvar we bought a small cruet set comprising brown plate plus three small pots of salt, pepper and paprika. Also several small black vases and a small black jug. Total about 10600FF (£30). Then bus to the Trofors lodge. Fisherman still fishing, recorded the bird song. Mosquito repellent cream recommended ! Tried to put all our presents into our cases - just managed!

Additional rooms

Kings dining room Trofors

All day fishing

And more fishing

Arrived Kaba at about 1:40pm entering the thermal pool area via back gate as before. Sat down for picnic and then Eric was off to complete his collection of pictures of the Kaba rocks. After an hour bathed in the 36 deg thermal pool. Then ice chocolate ice lolly . Back on bike and cycled out through centre of Kaba to the north and across the railway line, waiting for Eric to take picture of his tenth rock!.

Carefully crossed the main road, just north of Kaba, and then cycled all the way up to Nadudvar, going left a bit via residential streets on entering the town so as to arrive opposite to the pottery place on the high street.

Pottery kiln

Examples of the famous black pottery

Some recent new designs

A few of many pottery awards!

We bought a small cruet set comprising brown plate plus three small pots of salt, pepper and paprika. Also several small black pottery vases and a small black jug. Total about 10600FF (£30). Then bus to the east to the Trofors lodge. The fisherman were still fishing and I recorded the bird song by the lake. Mosquito repellent cream is recommended ! Tried to put all our presents into our cases - just managed!

Supper was again in the Kings room. As a joke they had put us at each end of the giant oak table. Cherry soup, meat, celeriac vegetable etc. Chocolate cake for sweet, Good. Had nice chat with two birdwatchers from Cambridge who were on a bird watching tour ( http://www.sakertour.com/ ) and who had travelled all the way from Romania that day with a stressful 13 hour car ride. Their guide was young and had been getting them up at dawn every day for very long and busy bird watching days. They had logged 200 birds in 10 days, in Hungary and Romania. Their 200th bird was an escaped parrot!

Friday 11th May: At breakfast there was a splendid electro-mechanical coffee machine which make some interesting noises. Departed Trofors at 9am to Nadudvar to buy salt bread, cherry pie and apple pie. Then long journey back to Budapest. Stopped at motorway services south of Zolnok.

Back in Budapest, view to the north

The Ziggurat

The New National Theatre

Before entering the auditorium

Entering Budapest we stopped at the National Theatre and the New Theatre next door and did some sightseeing. We managed to get in and get access to the upper floor where we found a door that opened onto the balcony to see the views over the Danube river and the Ziggurat down below. Back to the Ruben hotel we again visited the spa with its square swimming pool. We still go lost, as before, in the hotel corridors, but not as badly as previously. Supper was mixed salad and apple strudel. Hotel Ruben does a good breakfast. Only snag is finding your room!. There are various floors spaced half a level apart and the numbering of rooms is sometimes duplicated.

Sat 12th May 2012.
Departed for airport and back to Luton. Nice coach journey to Stansted, bus to Chelmsford, changed buses and the bus direct to home. Hooray. Brilliant holiday despite us being on our own!

Comment and corrections please e-mail Eric/Chris Johnston.
All content Copyright (c) Satellite Signals Ltd. 2012
Page started 28 July 2012, amended 12 May 2016