2013 is the only full year that we lived in Bratislava. It was also the first year when we had a proper vacation when we went to Slovenia for one week. It was during our trip to Slovenia that some friends in Bratislava asked to join them for a bike tour around the lake Neusiedler See in Austria the coming weekend. Our train back to Bratislava would take us to the Slovak capital on a Friday evening. Did we want to leave again directly the next morning?
Well, it is hard to decline a possibility to see something new. So, on a sunny Saturday morning, we met up with the rest of the group. The group consisted of the two of us and four other friends from Finland. One of our friends had already assisted with the bike rental and we were soon heading towards the train station in Petržalka.
Neusiedler See is the second largest lake that has parts of it within Austria, the largest being Bodensee. It is located in the region of Burgenland and it is shared between Austria and Hungary. There are several small towns located around the lake, sometimes with a large area of reeds between the town and the lake.
We had decided to take the train from Bratislava-Petržalka to the town of Neusiedl am See, located just next to the lake. We arrived a bit late at the train station, but still had a few minutes left to purchase the tickets. Our only problem? The train did not depart from this particular station as it normally would. For some reason there was a bus between the first and second station and the train was waiting for the bus at the station in the Austrian town of Kittsee. The town is located just across the border, but we just did not know how much time we would have to bike there.
We did, however, buy the tickets and decided to race all the way to Kittsee. There are just a few kilometers from Petržalka to Kittsee and we were in the town within a few minutes. Then we faced our next problem: how to find the station? We had never before actually visited the station in Kittsee, just passed by on the train to Vienna. We took a chance and went in one direction. It was luckily the correct one and we soon arrived at the station, seeing that everyone already was seated on the train.
Did we get there on time? Yes, we did, actually rolling onboard with the bikes just when they were about to close the doors.
First Stop: Purbach am Neusiedler See
The plan for the first day was to cycle from Neusiedl am See to the town of Purbach am Neusiedler See. The first stage was only about 15 kilometers, which gave us some time to explore the area around the town. It didn’t take long until we realized that we were facing another challenge.
Our second problem during the day also made itself obvious. In Austria, a lot of the shops close during weekends and small food shops usually close early on Saturdays. These do not open on Sundays. Our plan had included the possibility to purchase bottles of water along the road. Luckily there were water bottles available in the restaurants and cafés.
We spent the afternoon cycling down to the shore of the lake and afterward up towards the hills on the other side of the town. The landscape around the lake really is perfect for cycling.
Second Stop: Rust
On Sunday morning we continued from our camp in Purbach am Neusiedler See towards the town of Rust. We hoped to reach Rust early to have time to each lunch before taking the ferry across the lake. The distance was about 17 kilometers and we had eventually plenty of time for lunch. Not to mention time to admire the storks tending to their nests on the chimneys.
Third Stop: Podersdorf am See
It was time to board the boat across the lake. Cycling around the whole lake would probably have required a third day. So there was sadly no visit to Hungary during this trip. Instead, we crossed the lake towards the town of Podersdorf am See. It is first when you are out on the lake that you notice how many boats there really are. A summer day like this one made sure that there were not many meters between the boats. For us, it was time to relax some before it once more was time to get on our bikes.
Fourth Stop: Neusiedl am See
We spent a few minutes in Podersdorf am See before continuing the last part of our journey. It was around 13 kilometers back to Neusiedl am See, the town where we had arrived the day before. As we did not make any additional stops, we found our way to the train station in time to catch the train back to Bratislava. Two days of cycling was over and we were happy to get a calm evening before being back at the office the following day. It was quite an eventful week of vacation for sure and the weekend at the Neusiedler See gave our holiday a nice final touch.
Do you want to know more about cycling in Burgenland, Austria?
Biking in Austria is very easy and practical. Here are some useful links, in case you want to try it out.