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Beyond Szentendre – start cycle season with a bike ride to Pap Island and Leányfalu


  • Gábor Wágner

21/04/2021 9.43am

To kick off cycle season, we start with an easy ride to Pap Island and Leányfalu, about 25km north of Budapest. The bike-friendly extension to the road from the capital to the day-trip favourite of Szentendre was opened last year – we now take to two wheels to discover what lies beyond.

There are several ways to reach Szentendre from Budapest, car, bus, boat, HÉV suburban train or cycle the whole way, using the new extension unveiled in 2020.

Photo: Polyák Attila - We Love Budapest

Leaving the Danube promenade in the heart of Szentendre, the cycle route turns inwards, then fortunately turns quickly back to the river, staying there almost all the way to Pap Island. 

Photo: Polyák Attila - We Love Budapest

Still part of Szentendre, this lesser-known destination may not appear too attractive at first, given the towering Serbian churches and quaint cobbled streets of the town alongside, but it’s worth heading over the bridge and looking around the tiny little island – if island is the right term.

Photo: Polyák Attila - We Love Budapest

The Danube flows along one side of Pap Island, once separated from the mainland by a narrow floodplain riverbed. It’s still there, just without any water.

Photo: Polyák Attila - We Love Budapest

Pap Island is untidy and neglected and so much better for it, making it a wild, romantic getaway. Campsites and holiday homes are scattered around, many obviously not used for quite a while.

Photo: Polyák Attila - We Love Budapest

Vegetation and the floodplain forest also proliferate, but the appearance of dog walkers and hikers quickly rid the visitor of impressions of an untouched wilderness.  

Photo: Polyák Attila - We Love Budapest

From here, the holiday resort and writers’ retreat of Leányfalu is only a short hop, following the Danube, a lovely, lazy journey. Your cycle adventure ends shortly after the beach in Leányfalu, the bike path running into a small street, then the main road.

There’s also a narrow path running along the shore, in the direction of bucolic Tahitótfalu.

Photo: Polyák Attila - We Love Budapest

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