Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.
– John F. Kennedy, U.S. President
Danube Cycling Route
Danube Cycling Route is a part of the international bicycle route Eurovelo 6. It runs from the river’s source in Germany down to the Black Sea, and is about 2,900 km long. It is the most popular holiday cycle route in Europe.
Cycling as other forms of sustainable tourism are expanding fast due to the rise of health and environmental concerns of many tourists. Most people live in cities nowadays and many of them want to be in the relaxing countryside for their holidays. Combining this interest with bicycling allows people to also get healthy exercise.
For the Danube Cycling Route, the cyclist are mostly interested in the Danube’s course through Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, as the paths there are much more developed than along the river further down.
The ride goes by many castles, museums, churches, abbeys, quaint villages, beautiful towns, and interesting cities. The first distance to Vienna takes about seven days and many bikers doing the whole route rides one distance per holiday, taking several years to do the whole ride to the Black Sea.
Croatia is a part of the Danube Cycling Route which passes through the most eastern part of Croatia, through Vukovar-Srijem and Osijek-Baranja County, in the length of 140 km. The route is very dynamic and leads through the slopes of Fruška gora, vineyards and picturesque villages that are full of monuments and churches, what makes them worth a stop. Cycling the Croatian part of the Danube route ensures an adventurous and different experience of Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem regions as you ride along the Danube and get to know the landscape, local people, customs, cuisine and other things of interest.
The Danube Cycle Route forms a backbone for the cycle network in the Danube region. It is connected with a secondary network, which stretches to all local destinations interesting for tourists. In the eastern part of Croatia these destinations are historic and cultural monuments (Tvrđa, archeological site Vučedol, Eltz castle, Odescalchi castle), nature park Kopački Rit, wine cellars and roads and ethno villages. Cycle-tourists usually arrive to these destinations in organized groups, but so called individual touring is becoming more and more popular. These guests take their bicycles and start sightseeing the area on their own, based on their individual preferences.
For the local regions and municipalities, the fundamental purpose of investing in cycling routes is servicing tourist attractions and encouraging tourism development. That is where the name cycle-tourist routes comes from. Foreign tourists in the Danube region are primarily interested in river Danube and the characteristic landscape, cultural heritage, or some thematic parts, and not the Danube Route as a road. The international cycling routes should primarily serve to cycle-tourists and they should connect tourist destinations in a meaningful, systemic whole so bicycle holidays can have a destination or thematic purpose. As well, there is a big chance for mutual development of cycling and rural tourism, and within the rural tourism especially agro tourism, tourism in nature, green tourism and active vacation.
Cycling tourism is a great example of sustainable, environmentally friendly tourism. Therefore, the European Commission is raising awareness about its important role and is supporting the development and promotion of cycling routes through Europe by awarding grants to selected projects and initiatives.
One of these selected projects was the project Improving the international Danube Bicycle Route, implemented by the Vukovar-Srijem and Osijek-Baranja County, in cooperation with the neighboring Municipality of Bačka Palanka in Serbia. The purpose of this project was to enhance recreational tourism in cross-border region in order to contribute to sustainable social-economic development, as well as to create preconditions for improving cycle-tourism in cross-border region in order to raise the attractiveness of the region.
Do not forget to mention some very beautiful roads from Romania in the future papers dedicated to this aspects of international cross-borders cycling.