I have searched the forum and have read a few posts that talk about bits of this route.
We have crossed N.America by bike and looking forward to crossing the European continent on two-wheels. We don't plan on buying maps and hope to be able to follow the route via signs and helpful locals. Wise or foolish?
We will have all our camping gear, and being from Seattle, our espresso pot. Besides that we would have used on our N.American tour and our passport, is there anything else we should consider bringing on this tour?
We have given ourselves an extra month because we are, or at least I am, slower than most, and we want to take rest days. Does anyone have a specific spectacular spot that we should make a point to visit?
How easy will it be to camp? find WS hosts? get by in English or Spanish, or a few words in French?
I read about the bikes on trains. We will fly out of Romania (Bucharest), so hopefully, that won't be a problem.
Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom, encouragement or answers,
I may be doing this in 2019 so I will look forward to the answers you hopefully receive.
We are also considering in 2019, but from Budapest back to Paris. The Eurocycle app has the GPS routes which we found great for the Rhine Trail last year
we cycled Budapest to Basel in 2017 as a retracement of family migration before they came to Australia. The EV6 route was easy to follow and basically followed the Danube, Donau or Duna or Rhine, depending on which country you were in. Mostly flat and easy with some sections loose gravel but nothing too challenging. We chose wild camping where we could get away with it and was only confronted once in Barvaria when we set up on a ‘sacred cow paddock’ but this was easily resolved by politely asking where else we could camp nearby.
We lost weight when we followed the Aare River to get to Berne Switzerland as the camping grounds were expensive as was the food, hence we ate less.
We took the extra time to go to the source of the Danube at Donau Eschingen before heading down to The Rhine here we enjoyed about 40km of descent. The downside for you if you are heading in the opposite direction is it will be a little uphill. You also might enjoy diverting off the Danube in some sections to explore the little villages to keep it interesting.
WATER is the challenge in some places. Many villages have fountains to fill bottles unless you see the words ‘Keine Drinkwasser’ (apologies to my German friends if I mispelt that) and I am told there are few public taps/faucets because the pipes freeze in winter. That said, I always found water in cemeteries and had no ill effects from it.
Hope this helps.
P.S. we had no luck getting WS hosts as all were away on their holidays
Thank you Michael, your information is just what we needed to know, esp. water and camping as we plan to wild camp as much as possible. Bummer about WS hosts but I understand as we will be away this summer, too! We do hope to take diversions and have given ourselves a bit of extra time.
Again, I appreciate the fully thought out response.
Just keep in mind that in most countries in Europe, wild camping is officially not allowed. Seek a good hideout. You should just be prepared to get chased away, just in case.
Thank you Andrea,
We've wild camped across Spain during our Camino walks. We also were lucky whilst exploring Austria and Italy with finding good spots to wild camp. We will take note of your advice and be especially careful.
I can give you some advices (but only for the french part). We did the french part of EV6 2years ago (after we went to Amsterdam). The route is flat and easy to follow without a map. It's quite easy to bivouac, and if you prefer to camp in a campsite it will cost you around 10€ / night. It's quite easy to find some WS host but in summer there are a lot of demands so it's better to ask a few days before your arrival.
If you are interested in history and architecture you must see some of the Châteaux of the Loire. Some oh them are 10-15km away from the route but that's worth going out of your way to see. (http://www.cycling-loire.com/sights-itinerary/chateaux-loire). My favourites : Chambord and the royal abbey of Fontevraud.
If you like french wine, you will have a lot to taste!
If you want to put your bike in trains it's free in "TER" or "Train InterLoire", you will have to pay if you take a "TGV"(high speed train).
And If you come to Nantes (where I live) don't miss our "elephant"...
I hope this can be helpfull, if you have some questions just ask me!
Thank you Matthieu, We leave very soon and are excited to be on our way. Yes, we've given ourselves an extra month for exploring, so thanks for the tips. I've seen photos of the Elephant and would like to see it. I am looking forward to both the wine and cheeses. He is dreaming about pain au chocolat. I have only seen a wee bit of France, so I definitely plan to take it slow. It's good to know that the route is well waymarked as we won't have GPS. Now, fingers crossed for luck that the French train strike won't slow us down to much when we arrive. Do you have any news on that?
Again, merci beaucoup for your help,
Stephanie and Scott
this the "officiel" calendar for the strickes
* le stike begin the day before at 19h
* the days after could be difficult too as some trains are full ( esp TGV)
* with the strikes and limited train the price increase !!
* to buy ticket or look if my train is still there I use trainline https://www.trainline.fr/search
as in some ( more and more) station there is no more counter
all TER take bikes no reservation no fee
IC take bikes (limited space) with reservations and fee
some TGV takes bikes (very limited space ) with fee
no more bike space in new east TGV region (alsace ) or TGV lyria going to swizerland
if you cannot choose bike option it is because it is full or because the train doesn't take bike
as french train are often delay don't choose short connecting trains
I think take bike in french train is more painfull than cycling !! but on the valley you are lucky the sncf has much more consideration for bike than in other region
We cycled from Budapest to the Black Sea along EV6 in 2014. We did use a special map and still got lost in a few places, so I'm not sure if it is sufficient to rely on signs.
We wildcamped a lot, because campsites were rare (and we didn't know about WS back then). You can also try and ask people if you can camp in their garden. This worked well for us in various places, and it's a nice way of meeting locals, too.
Good to know and thank you. Scott is very good at asking and we both like meeting local people even if we only speak in hand signs. When we cycled across North America, we were taken in or allowed to use their lawns for our tent; it is good to know that may also be an option in Europe. I had heard that once past Germany, the signs become less regular. We may look to buy maps once we get to that portion or as we near it as we don't wish to carry a lot of maps with us and we do not have a GPS system.
Happy trails to you,
Stephanie and Scott
This is a very nice Trip. I did it from the ocean to dole in eastern France and from budapest to the black sea.Take some Days in the danube Delta to Watch the Birds. If you want I can Teil you the Adress of a nice pension who organises boat trips. Take the romanian side, mit the bulgarian side. I will go from dole to Budapest this Summer. Perhaps we will meet.
Following only Euro Velo signs is quite difficult in some areas, particularly in more eastern and southern European countries.
About wild-camping, we have done pretty much only that (+ warmshowers in cities) so perhaps you will find our map helpful, it displays our exact route (not only EV6), and the exact locations where we have wild-camped so far, including near the Danube: https://tyronomads.com/map/
Have a good one!