Experience the Iron Curtain while cycling

Iron Curtain Trail

Iron Curtain – the iron curtain. A barrier that divided all of Europe in two from north to south for decades. Hindered exchange between countries and people. Fortunately, these times are over and we all live in a common Europe in which we can move freely. What remains are relics that symbolically show us our shared history. Making understandable what once was and reminding us how wonderful it is to be able to move freely. What could be more obvious than to establish a thousands-kilometer-long cycle path along this curtain – the EuroVelo13 “Iron Curtain Trail”? As a symbol of regained freedom, so to speak?

Offer

EuroVelo13 – Iron Curtain Trail, Czech Republic/Slovakia/Austria
Guided cycle tour along the Iron Curtain to Bratislava

Duration: 8 days
Date: June 8th – 15th, 2024
Price: € 538,-

 

Key facts

Character: Guided bike tour along the Iron Curtain to Bratislava

Country: Czech Republic, Austria & Slovakia

Claim: ●●○○

Contribution: Further development of the Iron Curtain Trail as a symbol of freedom in Europe

Included services: among others: Guided tour by a German-speaking guide, overnight stay in hotels or guesthouses with half board, daily additional programs

 

Experience the Iron Curtain while cycling

1. The journey

Character of the journey

The Iron Curtain Trail is far more than just symbolic, but also leads through beautiful landscapes. Landscapes that were extremely natural due to the decades-long proximity to the Iron Curtain and are therefore now home to many biosphere reserves, nature parks and national parks – such as the Thayatal National Park along the Thaya between the Czech Republic and Austria.

©  Weinviertel Tourismus
The Iron Curtain Trail Explorer Tour 2024 offers carefree cycling along the former Iron Curtain of the Austrian-Czech-Slovakian border.

The Thayatal National Park is also one of the highlights that you can experience on our eight-day Explorer Tour from June 8th to 15th, 2024. We chose exactly the area of the thousands of kilometer long EuroVelo13 – Iron Curtain Trail, which is also home to this national park. You complete 6 stages of the EuroVelo13 – Iron Curtain Trail from Slavonice near Gmünd via Drosendorf town, Znojmo and Valtice to Bratislava, always along the Czech-Austrian or Slovakian-Austrian border. The stages are 45 to 70 km long, with an additional program being offered on 5 of the 6 stages. Everything is included, from a castle tour to a guided tour through the Thayatal National Park to accompaniment by an “Iron Curtain” expert. But you also drive through vineyards on both sides of the Czech-Austrian border, past windmills and old towns like Znojmo, you can stop off in cellar alleys and celebrate on the last evening in Bratislava – the capital of Slovakia. In short: an extremely varied program is waiting for you!

© Waldviertel Tourismus
You will experience highlights galore Abundance – both scenic gems like here in the Thayatal National Park…

The EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail is managed by the ECF, the European Cyclists’ Federation. This is also part of a European initiative that is intended to further develop the EuroVelo13 – Iron Curtain Trail together with many experts. This Explorer Tour is part of the initiative to test the EuroVelo13 – Iron Curtain Trail as a guided cycling tour. This cycling tour is led by one of the most experienced guides when it comes to the EuroVelo13 – Iron Curtain Trail: Daniel Mourek. He speaks fluent Czech, German and English and is also one of the experts in the Iron Curtain Trail initiative. External guides are always brought in for the additional programs in order to be able to offer you a maximum of interesting stories.

©  Tourist Info Znojmo
…as well as cultural/historical features such as the old town of Znojmo.

The aim of the initiative is also to offer cycling tours on the EuroVelo13 – Iron Curtain Trail as climate-friendly as possible. In a first step, the train journey should be encouraged, which is why there is no shared return transport due to the good rail connection – as well as luggage transport, because this is actually a dispensable luxury on cycle trips without major differences in altitude. Because the countless beautiful experiences that you will have on this cycling trip weigh nothing but actually inspire you while cycling!

THE ITINERARY

Day 01 | 06/08/2024 |
Arrival: Independent arrival to Slavonice (CZ; meeting point at 5 p.m. in the Bejčkův Mlýn guesthouse – the booking center will help you plan your arrival)

Day 02 | 06/09/2024 |
ICT stage Slavonice – Vranov nad Dyjí; guided tour Renaissance Uherčice Castle; Accommodation: Pension (CZ)
Total time: 7 h → 72 km ↗ 640 m ↘ 795 m

Day 03 | June 10, 2024 |
ICT stage Vranov nad Dyjí – Znojmo; guided bike tour Podyjí/Thayatal National Park; Accommodation: Pension (CZ)
Total time: 7 h → 55 km ↗ 494 m ↘ 537 m

Day 04 | June 11, 2024 |
ICT stage Znojmo – Laa an der Thaya/Hevlín; guided tour of the Retz windmill; Accommodation: Pension (CZ)
Total time: 7 h → 68 km ↗ 399 m ↘ 494 m

Day 05 | June 12, 2024 |
ICT stage Laa an der Thaya/Hevlín – Valtice; guided tour Lu Tiree Herb Garden Valtice; Accommodation: Hotel (CZ)
Total time: 6 h → 45 km ↗ 315 m ↘ 313 m

Day 06 | June 13, 2024 |
ICT stage Valtice – Malacky; Accommodation: Guesthouse (SK)
Total time: 5 h → 57 km ↗ 399 m ↘ 494 m

Day 07 | June 14, 2024 |
ICT stage Malacky – Bratislava; cycling with an Iron Curtain Trail Expert; Accommodation: Hotel (SK)
Total time: 6 h → 67 km ↗ 83 m ↘ 91 m

Day 08 | June 15, 2024 |
Individual departure after breakfast
Optionally, a city tour can be organized for an additional charge

INCLUDED SERVICES

  • 7 nights in selected mid-range hotels (*** national categorization) or authentic family-run guesthouses; Double room with half board
  • Guided tour by an experienced local German-speaking guide with extensive knowledge of the history and culture of the countries (also an expert in the Iron Curtain Trail initiative)
  • Additional program on 5 of the 6 stages (see “Itinerary”)
  • Contribution to the further development of the Iron Curtain Trail as a symbol of freedom in Europe
  • Detailed tour documents
  • Before the trip: Information service from Iron Curtain Trail experts

Price: € 538,- p. P

Min./max group size: 6-10 pax

Our experts on the Iron Cutain Trail

2. The pioneers

Get to know our pioneers on the Iron Curtain Trail who will accompany you on your Explorer Tour on the Iron Curtain Trail or are involved in the development of this Explorer Tour in particular and the EuroVelo13 – Iron Curtain Trail in general:

Iron Curtain Trail Initiative
Developer of the Iron Curtain Trail

The EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail is almost 10,000 kilometers long in total and leads through 20 countries. The cycle path is managed under the aegis of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and is anchored in the network of Eurovelo cycle paths

. However, it is obvious that it takes a lot of effort to coordinate such a route and so many different actors involved. That’s why a new initiative was launched in 2023 to further develop the EuroVelo13 – Iron Curtain Trail and the regions around the cycle path and make them more attractive, especially for cyclists. Because in the end, that’s what matters: that cyclists like you can have a good time on the Iron Curtain Trail. A special focus is also placed on making a trip on the EuroVelo13 – Iron Curtain Trail more climate-friendly – because that’s what cycling per se is.
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EuroVelo
European Cycle Route Network

EuroVelo is a network of 17 long-distance cycle routes that cross and connect Europe. The name EuroVelo stands for quality: EuroVelo is a registered trademark of the European Cycling Federation (ECF),

and only routes approved by the ECF may be called EuroVelo routes. This is an important sign of quality, both for cyclists and for route operators. The good thing about it: The Iron Curtain Trail is one of the 17 EuroVelo long-distance cycle paths and is also known as EuroVelo 13.

The main objectives of EuroVelo are:

  • The creation of very high quality cycle routes in all European countries! The states should learn from each other and standardize standards.
  • The dissemination of information about the existence of these routes to decision-makers and potential users. EuroVelo makes the routes known, contributes to their marketing and offers an important contact point for information about cycling in Europe.
  • This aims to encourage a large number of European citizens to cycle more and thus switch to healthy and sustainable travel, both for day trips and for cycle tourism purposes.

EuroVelo’s extensive experience in international projects, together with the breadth of the network, is a guarantee that such an ambitious goal as the Iron Curtain Trail is being developed in the right direction and has a great future ahead of it.

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Ján Roháč
Iron Curtain Trail expert (SK)

Ján Roháč, 59, has been actively involved in cycle tourism for almost 25 years. He worked as a cycling guide and tour operator in Central Europe and is now a project manager with a focus on cycling infrastructure.

In addition, he works as a consultant for public administrations and private companies and is committed to bicycle tourism and transport. Ján is committed to monitoring and supporting cycle tourists and is also the head of the Cyclist Welcome certification program in Slovakia. Over the last two decades he has dedicated himself to the EuroVelo 13 Iron Curtain Trail project, demonstrating his commitment to the development and promotion of cycle paths and experiences.

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Daniel Mourek
Guide and Iron Curtain Trail expert (CZ)

Daniel (57) has more than 20 years of experience in developing sustainable tourism projects, mainly in the areas of cycle tourism, soft mobility and ecological services

in tourism in Central and Eastern Europe. He is a former vice-president of the European Cyclist’s Federation ECF and a member of the EuroVelo Council and a member of the steering committee of the European Greenways Association. Daniel was also coordinator of the Czech part of the Elbe cycle path and EuroVelo coordinator for the Czech Republic. He has been organizing and leading tours along long-distance cycle routes in the Czech Republic and neighboring countries for 20 years. He also works as a self-employed cycling guide in his hometown of Prague.

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Travel with impact for change

3. Trust and responsibility

Traveling requires trust. Especially with the tour operator, because your trip should offer unforgettable experiences. If you say after the trip that the best decision was to book the trip with the Trail Angels, then we’ve won.

In times of increasing sensitivity about how we treat nature and society, it is also necessary to have confidence that your trip meets the highest possible standards in this respect too.

  1. Feedback from Guests
    That’s what the guests think

As a project partner and responsible tour operator for the Iron Curtain Trail Explorer Tour Czech Republic/Slovakia/Austria, the Trail Angels are proud to be rated “Excellent” by their guests on the TrustPilot® rating platform. For them, this is confirmation that they are on the right path – and at the same time motivation not to let up an inch, but to become even better. Because positive feedback from you is the greatest joy!

Proven sustainable
Promotion of local structures

Aside from hiking, cycling is the most environmentally friendly form of transport. Aware that cycling is an absolute future model for sustainable tourism, one of the declared goals of the “Iron Curtain Trail Initiative” is to make trips on the Curtain Trail as climate-friendly and nature- and socially compatible as possible in the future. This Explorer Tour was developed as part of this initiative and is a development step in this direction.

This means that CO₂-intensive luggage transport is avoided and the train journey is encouraged, among other things, through an adapted route. Small family-run structures are also preferred – where possible – and national parks along the route are visited. This is just the beginning – as part of the Iron Curtain Trail Initiative, there are some ideas that the results of this Explorer Tour will also help to implement.
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Climate-friendly
A contribution to the future of travel

A declared goal of the Iron Curtain Trail Initiative is to make travel on the EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail more climate-friendly and generally more sustainable. So it’s a good thing that the Trail Angels, as project partners and responsible tour operators for the Iron Curtain Trail Explorer Tour Czech Republic/Slovakia/Austria, have made sustainability and the development of “green” tourism a priority.

  • The Trail Angels are one of a few Austrian tourism companies Travellife® Certified – the world’s leading sustainability certificate for the travel industry
  • As consultants and partners, you are repeatedly involved in large development projects (e.g. GIZ or ADA) that aim to ensure the sustainable and sensitive development of disadvantaged regions
  • With their “Impact Trekking” program they support ecological, social and cultural projects in their trekking destinations
  • Their transparent management model preferably integrates small, family-run service partners along our trails
  • And last but not least, they are currently working on a solution model for climate-neutral travel in an innovation project.
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