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. Both the main and the alternative routes follow mainly the places that were mentioned in the military journals of both the first and second siege of Vienna.
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.
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 guidebook.
In general, the route is 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, every 10 kilometers 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 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 it gets very busy except for a 20-kilometre stage of forest. If you rather avoid this you can take a bus to Istanbul. Both city buses and the underground are not accessible with bicycles during the 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.
For your Sultans Trail bike tour you can download below the accommodation, camping list, and bike shop:
The documents cover:
- Part 1 Sultans Trail bike route from Vienna to Belgrad.
- Part 2 Sultans Trail bike route from Belgrad to Istanbul.
During our Sultans Trail bike trail development, we used the app Relive to record movies of the different bike tracks we made. Below a 3D impression of the joyful Sultans Trail bike ride from Istanbul to Belgrade. With special thanks to bike-developer Guus Post:
To see the playlist: 3D movies of Sultans Trail bike tour