Section 3

Budapest – Belgrade

Section 3 of the Sultans Trail runs from Budapest to Belgrade. and is 649km in length. The route stays close to the Danube for most of the way. The only deviation of this course is when the trail passes by Székesfehérvár, the Royal city of the Hungarian kingdom, and the place where most kings were crowned and buried.

From Székesfehérvár, the trail turns back to the Danube, in Roman times the border of the empire, here called the Ripa Pannonica. At Dunaföldvár the trail is back at the Danube again. All the way to Mohács, the land is flat and marshy. The Danube used to meander through the plain here. Some of the former landscape has been preserved in the large nature reserve called ‘Gemenc forest’ at the convulsions of the Sió river and the Danube.

Hiking in the Hungarian countryside, near Mezöfalva

The trail meanders too, crossing the Danube a number of times by bridge or ferry.

Beyond Mohács, where the Hungarian kingdom was crushingly defeated by the Ottoman army of Sultan Süleyman in 1526, the trail enters the Serbian region of Vojvodina.

At first, the landscape in Serbia is much like that in Hungary, albeit more wet with creeks and ditches. We also come across a number of extensive fish farms. The inhabitants of the region are from a mixed origin, Croats, Hungarians, Serbs, each preserving its culture of origin as is demonstrated by the different churches. 

Halfway Vojvodina a low mountain range, called Fruska Gora,  forces the Danube to bend eastwards until, at Novi Sad, it can continue south again. Where the Danube turns east, the trail crosses over to the other side and briefly enters Croatia at the town of Ilok, and continues through the Fruska Gora towards Novi Sad, a vibrant college town.

All the way to Belgrade the altitude of the right bank of the river is substantially higher than the left bank, allowing for sometimes spectacular views into the Pannonian plain, down below.

From Novi Sad a number of routes can be chosen to get to Belgrade. The main route follows the right river bank, but an interesting alternative route visits 3 of the 16 orthodox monasteries which are hidden in the Fruska Gora.

The imperial orb, in the centre of Székesfehérvár

Accommodation

In Hungary accommodation is well provided for, partially due to the popularity of the ‘Donau Cycle Path’ which attracts plenty of cyclists from all over Europe.

In Vojvodina the situation is different. Here the journey needs a bit more planning.

Provisions are easy to find. Each village has a (super)market.

Special places

A number of interesting places along the Trail are worth mentioning, starting with the plateau of 100 tumuli near Százhalombatta, just south of Budapest, next is the medieval city of Székesfehérvár. Just south of Székesfehérvár, at the crossroads of ancient trading routes, we find archaeological park Gorsium-Herculia. And, near the Danube, the fortress of Dunaföldvár. Further downstream we come across the episcopal library of Kalocsa and the battlefield of  Mohács, all in Hungary.

Episcopal Library in Kalocsa

In Serbia, we first find the Danube-Drava National Park and at its edge the famous Jelen Beer factory followed by the city of Sombor, and Bač Fortress. Near the Fruska Gora, the trail briefly enters Croatia at the city of Ilok. After visiting Novi Sad and Petrovaradin Fortress, the trail passes through Sremski Karlovci and visits 3 monasteries in the Fruska Gora, Stari Slankamen at the Danube and, in the final stage of this section the city of Zemun and of course the historic city of Belgrade and its strategic important fortress Kalemegdan, at the confluence of the Sava and the Danube.

Bács fortress
The medieval fortress in Bač is known as one of the great fortresses of its time in the Pannonian plain.  Build in the years 1338-42, the fortress was the most important Hungarian rampart against the invading Ottoman forces and today is the best-preserved medieval fort in Vojvodina

How to get there

Both Budapest and Belgrade have an international airport which is used by a number of low-cost carriers.

Budapest, Liszt Ferenc International Airport (IATA code: BUD) is located 16km southeast of the city. It is connected to the city by bus, bus 100E to Deák Ferenc tér (900 HUF) and bus 200E to Köbánya-Kispest Metro Station, transfers to Metro line M3 and city bus line 61 (see www.bud.hu/en and www.imhd.sk). City journey planner www.futar.bkk.hu, or download the “BKK Fútar app

Budapest also owns good bus and train connections to many major (eastern) European cities. (see www.bahn.de and www.goeuro.com).

Connections to the Hungarian hinterland by train and bus are well organized. (see www.mavcsoport.hu or www.checkmybus.com

In Vojvodina, the major means of public transportation is the bus, although hard to find in certain places. Train lines are cut at the Hungarian border.

Novi Sad and Belgrade are well connected by a high-frequency bus connection, operated by various carriers, leaving from bus terminals at the respective central stations. Travel time ca. 1hr 45 min, price RSD 400-750, see: www.busticket4.me

Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (IATA code: BEG) is located ca.12km west of downtown Belgrade. Public transportation to the city is carried out by (mini)bus.
A1 minibus to Slavija Square also stops at the central station, ticket price ca. RSD 330 (pay on the bus), approximate travel time 30 minutes.
Bus line 72 to Zeleni venac square (downtown Belgrade), ticket price RSD 89 (when bought at the kiosk) of RSD 150 (when bought on the bus), approximate travel time 30-40 minutes.
Bus line 607 to New Belgrade, ticket price RSD 89 (when bought at the kiosk) of RSD 150 (when bought on the bus), approximate travel time 30 minutes.

Taxi service is best arranged at TAXI INFO to ensure the best rate. TAXI INFO is located in the baggage claim area at the airport.

For city transport see www.eway.rs or download the EasyWay public transport App

Belgrade has good bus connections to the Serbian hinterland, check www.checkmybus.com or www.busticket4.me

Treaty of Karlovci

Negotiations hall of the Treaty of Karlovci

In Sremski Karlovci representatives of the Ottoman empire and Holy League negotiated a peace treaty, after the defeat of the Ottoman army at the second siege of Vienna in 1683. The negotiations were moderated by Dutch and English diplomats. More..

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The Sultans Trail Digital Information Package contains all GPS-tracks, the full POI-list and addresses of accommodations and more…