Cycling the Danube in Serbia

Cycling holiday along the Danube

Overview

From the Pannonian Plaine to the Djerdap Gorge, the Danube offers a large variety of landscapes. On our route, it runs through two National Parks and two Nature Reserves where the rich bio-diversity of flora and fauna is well preserved by natural heritage protection status. All along the river, cultural heritage is equally abundant. Some of the most beautiful Orthodox monasteries, Roman and medieval fortifications, prehistoric settlements are on our way. We will pass through fertile vineyards and fields, quaint villages, towns, and modern cities. The Danube is largest near Golubac, where it spreads calmly over a 7km wide lake. At Djerdap Gorge the mighty waters squeeze into narrow rocky passage of only 150m in width. This tour is a part of the EuroVelo Route 6 which connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Black Sea. The total length of the Danube waterway through Serbia is about 590km.

Our cycling tours along the Danube are available as guided or self-guided and are operated by fully trained professional guides. Daily rides are from 50 to 75 km long. The guided tour is fully van supported so you can easily choose to ride as much - or as little - as you wish. The self-guided option benefits from detailed maps, pre-booked accommodation, luggage transport and 24 hour telephone support.

Here is a taste of what to expect on this cycling holiday along the Danube.

Highlights

Bač Fortress

The Bač Fortress is a medieval fortification built at the time of Hungarian King Charmes Robert I in the 14th century. At the beginning of 18th century the fortress was burned, destroyed and abandoned; however, it remains well preserved to this day. The town of Bač is one of the oldest settlements in the Vojvodina region, dating back to the Roman times. It is nested on the left bank of Danube, looking over to the neighbouring Croatia. During its history it often changed hands between Slavs, Hungarians, Ottomans and Hapsburg.

Karadjordjevo Nature Reserve

Situated on the left bank of Danube, the reserve covers a large area of marshes, home to many authentic species of plants and trees, now dangerously close to extinction and protected by the state. The wildlife is rich, mostly with deer and boar. There are also, now rare and protected, mammal species such as the wild cat, otter, weasel, and marsh birds such as the white-tailed eagle and the black stork.

The park and its magic marshes attracted the noble attention of many rulers through out the 20th century. At the end of 19th century, this fertile land caught the Royal eye of Austrians who established the Royal stud farm there. In 1920s, Aleksandar Karadjordjević, King of Yugoslavia, set up the Royal forest and the hunting ground, which was named after him – Karadjordjevo. Later successors in power were no more immune to the charm of the park. Josip Broz Tito, the lifelong president of the socialist Yugoslavia, was the host and the main guest of Karadjordjevo for over 20 years. While Tito organised lavish hunts for diplomats from around the world, the infamous 90’s Serb and Croat leaders, Milošević and Tudjman, came to Karadjordjevo to redraw the borders of the post-Tito Yugoslavia.

Sremski Karlovci

Just 11 km from Novi Sad and 57 km from Belgrade, the quaint city of Sremski Karlovci has been the spiritual, cultural and educational centre of Serbia for over 200 years. The baroque style buildings surrounding the fountain in the town centre are of immense importance to Serbian history and culture. With its two tall bell towers, the 1762 Gathering Church of St. Nicholas (Saborna crkva Sv. Nikole) is a masterpiece of Serbian baroque. The Patriarchy Palace, the residence of the Srem District Episcope, is considered to be Vojvodina’s most remarkable 19th century building. According to legend, whoever drinks water from the 1799 Four Lions Well will return to Karlovci to marry. Serbia’s oldest gymnasium is located here. The area’s vineyards add to its quaint character and beautiful scenery. Its rustic cellars produce excellent wine.

Fruška Gora National Park

The Fruška Gora National Park sits on the lone mountain, with a top height of only 539 meters, that rises up from the Vojvodina plains in the north of Serbia. In prehistoric times, it used to be an island in the Pannonian Sea, a shallow sea that reached its greatest extent during the Pliocene Epoch. The park contains thick forests with the greatest concentration of linden trees in Europe, as well as 30 types of orchids and over 700 species of medicinal herbs. The centuries-old vineyards enjoy exceptional conditions for wine-making. As a result, they have received widespread prominence across central Europe since the middle ages.

In the Fruška Gora hills in the district of Srem, there are 16 Serbian Orthodox monasteries of exceptional architectural and artistic beauty built in the late Middle Ages, when the focal point of Serbian culture migrated under pressure from Turkish attack to an area situated in what was then the southern Kingdom of Hungary.

Deliblatska Peščara - Deliblato Sands Nature Reserve

The largest European continental sands, Deliblatska peščara, was formed during the Glacial Age from the vast layers of silica-carbon sand. East wind sculpted a distinct dune relief rising between 70 and 200 meters above sea level. Moderate continental climate, absence of surface water courses and sandy soil resulted in unique biocoenoses located in a special vegetation-geographical area called Deliblaticum.

This unique mosaic of ecosystems contains typical species of flora and fauna, among which many are rare. As the last and largest oasis of sand, steppe, forest and marsh vegetation which once dominated the Pannonian Plane, the reserve represents a unique test-field of science. It is one of the most important centres of biodiversity in Serbia and Europe. A distinctive feature of the reserve is permanent wolf population. The reserve was designated as an Important Bird Area, the nesting place of many rare species; it is a true paradise for bird watchers.

Golubac Fortress

The Danube is almost six kilometres wide here. Golubac is 130 km from Belgrade on the Belgrade-Kladovo highway. Perched on the cliffs of the Danube, the 14th century Golubac fortress is one the key landmarks in this region. Serbian ruler Stefan Lazarević built the fortress at this precise spot so he could control river navigation.

The European Cycling Route EuroVelo 6, from the Atlantic to the Black Sea, as well as the main road connecting Belgrade to the Romanian border, both pass through the gates of this ancient construction. Sometimes, an unusual and quite entertaining traffic jam may be observed.

Djerdap National Park - Iron Gate Gorge

Located on the Danube River where it borders Romania in eastern Serbia, the Djerdap National Park covers 64,000 hectares and contains some of the country’s most impressive natural beauty and archaeological sites. The main feature of the national park is the Djerdap Gorge, known as the Iron Gate. The gorge stretches nearly 100 kilometres alongside the slopes of the Carpathian Mountains, creating a wide and deep section of the Danube. Here is one of the deepest river points found in the world at over 80 meters. Where the river narrows to 150 meters, at Kazan, cliffs rise up over 300 meters to make for an impressive view.
Around 100 km of the EuroVelo 6 cycling trail traverse Djerdap National Park. The Danube route is one of the most popular cycling routes in Europe. Along this stretch, passing through Djerdap, it offers breathtaking views on the Danube.

Lepenski Vir Archaeological Site

The 8000 years old archaeological site of Lepenski Vir is located in the Djerdap Gorge, on the banks of the Danube. At the Lepenski Vir site, the remains of religious architecture dating from 6500 to 5500 BC have been found. It was the centre of one of the most important prehistoric cultures. The Idols of Lepenski Vir are sculptures made of round rocks which were arrayed around the fireplaces. They were most often given fishlike human heads, with fish or deer motifs, with some intriguing inscriptions on them: symbols resembling the coordinate system, sketches, letters, numbers and landscapes. In 2011 a stunning modern visitors centre was completed which now provides access to the site from the land and from the river.

Tabula Traiana and Diana Fortress

Traianus Augustus, or Trajan, was the 13th Roman Emperor from 98 to 117, best known for his conquest of the trans-Danube border kingdom of Dacia and its incorporation into the Empire. A Roman memorial plaque Tabula Traiana, from 100 AD, commemorating the completion of Trajan's military road can still be seen on the Serbian side of Iron Gate facing Romania. The remains of the Diana Fortress date from the same era. Located on the high cliff above the Danube, Diana Fortress represents the largest and best preserved Roman fortification on the Danube.

Self-guided cycling tour along the Danube

Dates and prices

Date: from March to November, available on demand only

Price: £685 (€825) excluding flights, single room supplement £100 (€120), July-August high season supplement £40 (€50)

Local Bike Hire: Polar Blizzard touring bikes £80 (€90)

Itinerary

Day 1: Free time to explore Belgrade the vibrant capital of Serbia. Overnight stay in a hotel.

Day 2: Belgrade - Skorenovac - Distance 50km on flat terrain
The tour starts with city cycling tour in Belgrade. We then join the Danube route and quickly swap the urban sights with more tranquil scenery. Cycling along a dirt road we follow the Danube via the town of Pancevo to Skorenovac village, the southernmost Hungarian settlement in Europe. After dining in a local Hungarian restaurant and spend a relaxing night in local homes.

Day 3: Smederevo loop - Distance 50km on flat terrain
Leaving Skorenovac we cycle via town of Kovin to explore Smederevo and its famous fortress. The Smederevo fortress is the largest medieval lowland type of fortresses in Europe. It is situated on a wide plateau formed by the confluence of the rivers Jezava and Danube. We then continue cycling via Kulić village and return to Skorenovac at the end of the day.

Day 4: Skorenovac - Stara Palanka - Srebrno Jezero - Distance 70km on flat terrain
We leave Skorenovac behind and ride on unpaved road for about 20km through Deliblato Sands nature reserve. At Stara Palanka we cross the Danube on a barge to Ram and continue to a pleasant lake resort, the Silver Lake, where we stay overnight in a pension by the lake.

Day 5: Silver Lake and Viminacium loop - Distance 50km on flat terrain
From the Silver Lake resort we cycle to Viminacium archaeological site and back to the Silver Lake via Ram and Zatonje. Viminacium is one of the most important Roman archaeological sites in this part of the world, rightly called Balkan Pompeii. Viminacium was a Roman military camp of 6000 soldiers, which developed into a city spreading over 460 hectares to become the capital of the Roman province of Upper Moesia (today's Serbia). Since the first explorations at the end of the 19th century over 14.000 ancient tombs were excavated with 40.000 various historical artefacts. We will have an opportunity to hear the tale of the ancient splendour and decay of the Roman city.

Day 6: Srebrno Jezero - Golubac Fortress - National Park Djerdap (the Iron Gate gorge) - Lepenski Vir - Donji Milanovac - Distance 75km on mostly flat terrain, asphalt road
Today a long ride with many interesting sights is on the programme. We follow the Danube eastwards passing by the 14th century Golubac fortress. The route takes us through the Danube gorge, the Iron Gate, and along the river through Djerdap National Park from where one can enjoy breath-taking views on the Danube. We will visit Lepenski Vir, a 8000 year old archaeological site from Mesolithic. At the end of the day we reach Donji Milanovac town for a well deserved rest in local homes.

Day 7: Donji Milanovac - Kladovo - Distance 60km on asphalt road
On our last day of cycling we head further East towards the Romanian border. We continue to cycle through the wilderness of the National Park Djerdap. We visit Diana Fortress from early 2nd century AD, the largest Roman fortification on the Danube. The last night of the tour is spent in the town of Kladovo.

Day 8: The programme ends with the breakfast. From here you are free to continue exploring Serbia on your own. If you're heading back to Belgrade you may take a coach as there are quite a few departures every day, or we can organise transport for you on demand.

Practical information

The self-guided tour includes

  • seven nights (local pensions in Skorenovac and Donji Milanovac, 3 star hotels in Belgrade, Silver Lake and Kladovo)
  • seven breakfasts and two dinners in hotels/pensions
  • detailed maps and instructions for cycling tours
  • transportation of luggage during the tour
  • 24h telephone support

The self-guided tour does not include

  • flights,
  • beverages during meals (except regular Serbian hot beverages served for breakfasts),
  • meals except those noted above,
  • transfer from the airport to hotel in Belgrade on Day 1 and transfer from Kladovo to Belgrade on Day 8
  • entry fees for all places visited during the tour.

What you will need

  • Comfortable riding clothes and shoes
  • rain jacket
  • hat
  • SP cream (sun protection)
  • sun glasses
  • water bottle
  • small daily backpack
  • cycling helmet

Please note

Prices are based on double room occupancy. Single travellers who do not require a single room option will be roomed by the tour leader either in two or three bedded room.

No unaccompanied minors (those under 18 years of age) can be accepted, however, older teenagers (those aged 14 and over) may be allowed to join group tours provided they are accompanied by a parent or guardian who accepts full responsibility for them during the entire trip.

The tour can be organised for single cyclicts as well as for groups of up to 12 people. Please contact us to discuss any other arrangements.

Bicycles are 21 speed with index shifting and designed for riding both on paved and not paved roads with 26x1.4 tires. There are two types of bicycle available, with and without front suspensions. Every bicycle has handlebar bag with map case as well as water bottle. Bicycle bag can carry max 5kg-11lb weight. If you prefer you can bring your own saddle and have us install it on our bikes. All our bicycles are provided with platform pedals. If you are used to ride a bicycle with clipless pedals you are welcome to bring them and we will install them on our bicycle.

Helmets are not provided. We believe that there is no helmet like your own and we do not provide helmets locally. Like a good fitting pair of walking boots, helmets are a very personal piece of equipment. It is also more hygienic to wear your own rather than one which has been used by someone else previously.

Guided cycling tour along the Danube

Dates and prices

Date: from March to November 2013, available on demand

Price: £835 (€998) excluding flights, single room supplement £100 (€120)

Local Bike Hire: Polar Blizzard touring bikes £80 (€90)

The guided tour is run by professionnal and trained local guides.

Itinerary

Day 1: Transfer from Belgrade to Apatin. Overnight in Apatin.

Day 2: Apatin - Bac - Distance 60km / 38 miles
Cycling from Apatin to the small town of Bač. We follow the Danube cycling path, mostly on small local asphalt roads, 7km on dirt road and 11km on a fairly quiet regional road. Total cycling distance approximatey 60km. Overnight in Bač.

Day 3: Bodjani - Bac - Backo Novo Selo - Karadjordjevo - Backa Palanka - Distance 60km / 38 miles
After breakfast we visit Bač fortress. Then 19km long cycling to čarda , a local fish restaurant on the Danube bank near village of Backo Novo Selo, where awaits a delicious lunch. Continue to cycle along the river and natural park Karadjordjevo to Bačka Palanka. Total cycling distance is approximately 50km on small asphalt roads and 10km on dirt road. Overnight in a local guesthouse.

Čarda is a typical medieval inn, or brasserie, found along the roads and rivers in the region. Today, only those along the Danube survived in a form of restaurants offering traditional cuisine. The name comes from a Persian word referring to a shelter built on four posts. The word, čarda, today only exists in Serbian and Hungarian languages.

Day 4: Relaxing day
Today we relax and explore the rich cultural heritage of the region. The morning starts with transfer to Sremski Karlovci where we will visit a local wine cellar and the bee keeping museum and sample some tasty home-made products. We then drive to Perkov Salaš, a typical farm on the slopes of Fruška Gora. The farmhouse has been carefully preserved and nowadays serves as a living museum dedicated to the authentic way of life in Vojvodina region. After a delicious traditional lunch at Perkov Salaš we visit one of numerous local monasteries. Then there is a 3h long transfer to Skorenovac, the southernmost Hungarian settlement in Europe. We dine in a local Hungarian restaurant and spend a relaxing night in local homes.

Day 5: Skorenovac - Stara Palanka - Srebrno Jezero - Distance 70km / 45 miles
Cycling from Skorenovac to Stara Palanka through Nature Park Deliblatska Pešcara. Crossing the Danube on a simple ferry from Stara Palanka to Ram and continue to the famous resort of Srebrno Jezero. Night in hotel/ pension. Total cycling distance approximately 70km.

Day 6: Srebrno Jezero - Golubac Fortress - National Park Djerdap (the Iron Gate gorge) - Lepenski Vir - Donji Milanovac - Distance 75km / 47 miles
Cycling on the route Srebrno Jezero - Golubac Fortress - National Park Djerdap (The Iron Gate) - Lepenski Vir archaeological site - Donji Milanovac. Our first stop will be Golubac fortress after 25km long ride. We will then enter the gorge, Iron Gate, and cycle along the river through the Djerdap National Park. Visit Lepenski Vir, a 8000 years old archaeological site from Mesolithic period. Continue to cycle to Donji Milanovac town. Accommodation in local homes. Total cycling distance approximately 75km on asphalt road.

Day 7: Donji Milanovac - Kladovo - Distance 60km / 38 miles
Cycling from Donji Milanovac to Kladovo. Continue cycling through National Park Djerdap. Visit Diana Fortress from early 2nd century AD. Total cycling distance approximately 60km on asphalt road. Night in hotel in Kladovo.

Day 8: The last day is reserved for the 3h30 long transfer to Belgrade

Practical information

The guided tour includes

  • Accommodation: Seven nights (Čarda Zlatna Kruna in Apatin, Čarda Ranc in Bač (Bodjani), Hotel Idila in Bačka Palanka, hotel in Srebrno Jezero, guesthouses in Skorenovac and Donji Milanovac, Hotel in Kladovo)
  • 7 breakfasts,
  • 4 picnic lunches,
  • 4 dinners,
  • transportation from Belgrade, transfers during the trip, transfer to Belgrade at the end of the tour,
  • full guiding service in English and/or French,
  • supporting van during cycling tours,
  • entry fee for honey museum and wine and honey tasting in Sremski Karlovci.

The guided tour does not include

  • flights,
  • beverages during meals (except regular Serbian hot beverages served for breakfasts),
  • meals except those noted above,
  • entry fees for all places visited during the tour except those noted above.

What you will need

  • Comfortable riding clothes and shoes
  • rain jacket
  • hat
  • SP cream (sun protection)
  • sun glasses
  • water bottle
  • small daily backpack
  • cycling helmet

Please note

Prices are based on double room occupancy. Single travellers who do not require a single room option will be roomed by the tour leader either in two or three bedded room.

No unaccompanied minors (those under 18 years of age) can be accepted, however, older teenagers (those aged 14 and over) may be allowed to join group tours provided they are accompanied by a parent or guardian who accepts full responsibility for them during the entire trip.

The tour is available on demand for groups of minimum 4 people. For any other arrangement, please contact us.

Bicycles are 21 speed with index shifting and designed for riding both on paved and not paved roads with 26x1.4 tires. There are two types of bicycle available, with and without front suspensions. Every bicycle has handlebar bag with map case as well as water bottle. Bicycle bag can carry max 5kg-11lb weight. If you prefer you can bring your own saddle and have us install it on our bikes. All our bicycles are provided with platform pedals. If you are used to ride a bicycle with clipless pedals you are welcome to bring them and we will install them on our bicycle.

Helmets are not provided. We believe that there is no helmet like your own and we do not provide helmets locally. Like a good fitting pair of walking boots, helmets are a very personal item of equipment. It is also more hygienic to wear your own rather than one which has been used by someone else previously.

Cycling the Danube for private groups

Our guided and self-guided cycling tours are available on demand only.

The guided tour is organised for groups of minimum 4 people. The self-guided tour is available for individual travelers and for groups.

Departures for both tours are available any time from March to November.

Should you have any special requirements, get in touch with us to discuss it.

Fast facts

Dates

Self-guided, guided: from March to Novembre, on demand

Moderate - 50 to 75 km daily on flat terrain

Price

Guided : £835 (€998) excluding flights, single room supplement £100 (€120), local bike hire: £80 (€90)

Self-guided : £685 (€825) excluding flights, July-August high season supplement £40 (€50), single room supplement £100 (€120), local bike hire: £80 (€90)

You will like

  • Archaeological sites
  • Variety of landscapes
  • Rich bio-diversity
  • National Parks and Nature Reserves
  • Towns and fortifications
  • Cultural heritage

Language :

English, French

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