The Danube river lends itself to cycling and this stretch through Serbia to the Iron Gates in Romania is no exception. From the Serbian capital the cycling follows the Danube, deviating at times to take in sights, visit farms and interact with the locals. This part of the Danube is known for its impressive gorges rising up to 500m above the river. The most famous section is the Iron Gates which encompasses a 134km stretch and forms the border between Serbia and Romania. Cycling between traditional villages to glimpse the farming communities of the region, the terrain is relatively flat with a few rolling hills and flat river trails, whilst the surrounding scenery is spectacular. Pedalling along, the people welcome you with waves and the traditional Romanian welcome - Buna ziua! There are many highlights including a boat trip on the Danube to explore caves inhabited in the past by soldiers, the different culinary delights and the diverse scenery. In the company of a local cycle guide and staying in characterful but simple guesthouses, there is ample opportunity to absorb the culture of the region and the local cuisine.
MODERATE – GRADE 3
This trip is designed for keen cyclists with a good level of fitness and preferably experience road cycling with light traffic. This trip involves 5½ days of cycling between 45 and 70km per day. The cycling is on relatively gentle terrain with some short climbs and sections of gravel road (days 2, 3 and a little on day 4). Gravel roads are more difficult to cycle along. There is around 2 hours of hiking on day 7. The route is on a combination of cycle paths and rural roads where you will encounter some light traffic – drivers tend to be polite when passing cyclists. We suggest up to one hour of exercise 2-3 times a week and a few good full day cycle training sessions. Cycling in light traffic conditions to become comfortable road cycling.
The trip starts in Serbia's lively capital, Belgrade. Explore the city's old town and famous fortress before meeting your guide in the evening at your centrally located hotel.
Today we start our cycle along the Danube, the second longest river in Europe that was once the border of the Roman Empire. The cycle is primarily on gravel road which will be a challenging start to the cycle. Passing by pretty rural scenes, we end our ride in a small town on the Danube where we can see the typical traditional Austro-Hungarian architecture.
Today is our last day in Serbia, as we continue cycling along the Danube and admiring its majesty and the mountain scenery. We will make a small detour from the path to visit a remote village to have lunch with a lovely Serbian family. We finish the day at a small resort with lakes and places to swim - a beautiful way to finish a day's cycling.
Today we leave the Danube to discover the countryside, as we cross the border between Serbia and Romania. Once in Romania, we will ride from village to village, through an interesting, less touristy and beautiful area. We return to the banks of the Danube for the last part of the day and cycle to our guesthouse, where we can swim and admire the sunset over the river.
Today we start our cycle in the Romanian Banat region. This was the most cosmopolitan region in Romania under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Romanian, German, Hungarian, Serbian and Czech people still live peacefully here. Continuing our cycle along the Danube, the river is wide and calm. In the 1970's, the Romanian and Serbian governments built a dam on the Danube, to tap the river's power and increase electricity production. This is what we now call the Iron Gates, downstream from the Danube gorges. At the end of the day we will ride along the reservoir created by the dam.
Our Danube cycle today offers great variety. At the start of the day, the river is large. We visit small towns and local markets and discover some industrial heritage from the communist period. We end up close to the narrowest point of the Danube, with Romania on one side and Serbia on the other, with some of the most spectacular scenery from the Danube gorges.
As we cannot cycle along the narrowest parts of the gorges, we will explore the region by boat and on foot. A boat will take us to explore one of the caves in the rock wall of the Iron Gates, for an unforgettable adventure. We then take a short hike (around 1.5hrs) to a magnificent viewpoint above the gorges which is only accessible on foot. In the afternoon we will get back on our bikes for one last cycle along the Danube.
This morning we leave the Danube and our bikes and head to Bucharest, where the trip concludes around 3pm. The Romanian capital is an eclectic city where you can visit the balcony where Romanian communist dictator Ceausescu gave his last speech, the 'House of the People', the second biggest building in the world after the Pentagon, and many other treasures.
Having travelled through many parts of Europe it was really special to experience two nations embracing in such an enthusiastic way cycle tourism. The people we met along the way welcomed us into their homes and farms and provided wholesome local food with some special treats too such as the amazing truffles. We just loved cycling along the Danube where we were greeted as we entered small villages. This is an incredible trip. Thanks UTracks.
J Bitmead, Sydney
The highlights were meeting the friendly and characterful local people on our route, seeing tortoises in the wild and above all our lovely guide who made the trip so fascinating.
A Shaw UK, UK
Per Person, Twin Share