The Sultans Trail cycling route starts in Vienna right at the spot where during the second siege of Vienna by the Osmans grand vizier Kara Mustafa Pasha (general of the Osman army) had put up his tent.
The route and the places we visit can be accounted for from a historical perspective and give the cyclist an impression of the rich history along this route. However, we do also make choices based on safety and cyclability.
In Hungary, we cycle along Székesfehérvár and in Croatia past Đakovo, both cities played some role during the sieges, but were both so strategically and historically important for the Ottoman history that they have been incorporated in the route. Between Mohács (Hungary) and Novi Sad (Serbia), one finds the alternative routes where 7.1 has played a major part during the first siege and which was also part of the route to Istanbul. Alternative route 7.2 was less interesting for the traveling armies due to the hilly environment and the proneness for floodings.
Sultans Trail cycling route (parts 1 & 2) plus alternatives
Here we have chosen for the natural beauty of the Fruška Gora containing Europe’s largest tilia tree forest and a large number of Serbian-Orthodox monasteries. The choice between main and alternative routes has also been influenced by geographical factors because we wanted to incorporate both sides of the Danube river in our cycling guide book.
In general the route id flat but some climbs and descents have been incorporated in order to avoid busy roads. There is plenty of accommodation like campsites in Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and Croatia but these can hardly be found in Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey. However, in all countries you can easily find affordable sleeping places.
In the Serbian stage two 10% climbs have been incorporated, each 10 kilometres in length. The descents are likewise on a reasonable surface and low traffic. You could describe these stretches as ‘mediocre heavy’ and it is something to take into account. In Bulgaria we follow the valleys and the climbing is limited. Turkey is by far the busiest when it comes to traffic once you start approaching Istanbul. From the Turkish city Çatalca onwards is gets very busy except for a 20 kilometre stage of forest. If you would rather avoid this you can take a bus into Istanbul. Both city buses and the underground are not accessible with bicycles during rush hours. Intercity buses will carry your bicycle if they have enough room in their hold.
In Turkey, an alternative is offered that takes you through the historically important city of Lüleburgaz. It has a beautiful old city centre where many old buildings have been renovated. In every country we pass through we can find Osman remains sometimes incorporated in the name of the city. The entire route may be described as mediocre heavy when it comes to climbing and descending and quiet enough when it comes to car traffic, with the exception of the cities.
Accommodation is plentiful for cyclists. Campsites can be found in Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and Croatia, but in Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey these are to a lesser extent available up to none. However, affordable sleeping places can be found in all countries.
For the Sultans Trail cycle route you can download the following lists here: accommodation, camping and bicycle shops.
The button / link below concern:
Part 1 from Vienna to Belgrade &
Part 2 from Belgrade to Istanbul
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During the development of our Sultans Trail cycle route, we used the Relive app to record a 3D view of our day trips. Below you will find films that are a good representation of the type of urban or green area and of course in the left-hand corner you can clearly observe the height differences. With special thanks to Guus Post for his help in developing this Sultans Trail cycle route.
View the playlist: 3D films van de Sultans Trail bike tour