The EuroVelo – the European Cycle Route Network – is an initiative of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) for the establishment of a transcontinental network of cycle routes. Total length of routes amounts to more than 60 000 kilometres, out of which 20 000 is already implemented. EuroVelo routes are designed for transcontinental tours, by connection of the existing cycle route elements. Of course EuroVelo routes are possible to use in daily cycling as well. Hungary is crossed by three EuroVelo routes: EV6 from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea, EV 11 following the Tisza river, and the newest EuroVelo 13 running along the former Iron Curtain.
The Iron Curtain Trail is the 13th, newest member of the EuroVelo network, symbolising the division of Western and Eastern Europe for almost half a decade. Along the Hungarian sections several sights are linked to the memory of the former Iron Curtain. In Hungary the route crosses four National Parks, overlaps with five existing local bicycle routes. These include the route connecting thermal spas of Austria and Hungary (“Thermal Route”), the cycle route around the Lake Neusiedl, the cycle route in the Írott-kő Nature Park, the Vashegy route connecting Szombathely and the small villages of the Őrség area and the Three Rivers Cycle Route connecting Barcs and Mohács.
The South Transdanubian section of the EuroVelo 13
South Transdanubian section of the EuroVelo 13 („Iron Curtain Trail”) is largely overlapping with the Three Rivers Bicycle Route established in 2007. When defining the route of the new EuroVelo 13 the following aspects had to be considered:
- As much as possible basing on already existing signposted bicycle routes;
- Including as much as possible asphalted sections;
- In case of public roads preferring low traffic routes;
- As close as possible to the border (15 km);
- Linking as many as possible sight thematically connected to the Iron Curtain;
- Providing as high as possible density of various services for cycling tourists along the route (sights, accommodation, catering, services etc.).
- As good as possible connection to public transportation services (railway).
Short overview descriptions of the single sections