Cycling through the Danube Gorge from Orșova to Golubac

We decided that 2016 is the year for cycling! 🙂 We opened the season with a more serious tour in May. A 100% asphalted route on the Danube’s shore on the Serbian side going through the Danube Gorges. So, in this article we’re going to cheat a little since it’s not exactly in Romania but all the scenery in the photos are towards the Romanian side 😀

Brief useful information:

Date: 14th – 15th of May 2016
Route: Tekija (SRB) – Golubac (SRB)
Distance: 80 km
Duration: 5h
Difficulty: medium
The morning of 14th of May was a pretty cloudy and ready-to-rain one. One day earlier we arrived at Orșova (ROU) in the evening in the rain. So our morale was pretty low to be honest. The forecast was unclear, but it announced mostly rain.

We were not really convinced that we’ll make it the entire 80 km as we planned but one option was to do about 30 km (the most spectacular part) and then come back if the weather was going to be rainy.

We crossed the border to Serbia through the Iron Gates, over the Danube, one of the most powerful hydro power plant in Europe. We found a perfect parking space just outside Tekija (SRB) on the right side of the road.

As you can see in the image above, our cars got the 5 star parking space with a stunning view over the spectacular Danube Gorges 🙂

As we left our cars we were still not sure about the weather as fog and clouds were playing with us. We didn’t really know much about the road either. I saw some photos (there is not Street View for this road btw) which looked nice but we didn’t know anything about the surface of the road, how much traffic there was or if we had any places where we could stop to eat.
We played the safe card and we packed our bags with food enough for one day. We also had rain – specific equipment and clothes. One tip for this tour is to equip your bike with asphalt tyres in order to cycle more efficiently and not to wear out you offroad tyres for no reason.
Little by little the clouds start to scatter away and we finally get to see the beautiful blue sky over the Danube. For the moment we’re safe from rain 🙂 It’s now time to fully enjoy this beautiful route on the Serbian shore with stunning views towards the Danube Gorges.

I don’t want to forget to mention that this route is part of the EV6 European Cycling Routes (Euro Velo) which starts from the Danube’s spring in Germany and follows it until Romania at the Black Sea. Unfortunately you can 
find special cycling tracks only until Serbia. Serbia and Romania do not have them yet but at least this part here is signalled that it’s a cycle track as well with marking on the side of the road. Every driver that we came across kept his distance. We had no problems with the few passing cars 🙂
Don’t expect much traffic on this road and that is excellent for cyclists. No worries about cars hitting you. Beside from the virtually non-existent traffic, everything else was perfect as well: the weather, my companions, the good road surface and not to mention the beautiful view! 🙂

I saw my colleagues kind of rare on this day since I was so busy stopping and taking pictures all the time. But I couldn’t help myself: the Danube Gorges are so amazing! Now let me tell you why we chose the Serbian shore. It’s because it’s higher up the mountain so you get to have fantastic panoramas from up here. Not to mention that the road on the Romanian shore is too busy.
Generally this route is pretty flat. There is a bigger climb between the 40th and the 42nd kilometre with a slope of + 100 meters and another descent exactly at the start of the route (which will turn into a climb when coming back) 3.5 km long and with a slope of -120 m.

This area is ideal to discover on a bike because you can cover a big distance while going with a slow speed good enough to enjoy the views…and what views! 🙂

The only place where you have to watch out for the direction of the road is close to the village of Mosna. This is about after 25 km from the start and you need to go right over a bridge which crosses a golf formed by the Danube. Just follow the sign to Belgrade.

After 30 km we take a longer break, immediately after crossing the bridge I was telling you about earlier, in the small town of Donji Milanovic. We stopped just on the shore of the Danube to relax and eat..actually to lighten up our luggage 😀 This is a very small town, quiet, with curious people wondering what’s up with us. Couldn’t we do something better on a Saturday afternoon? …. they were probably thinking :))

Honestly, when I documented about this route I saw on the map that there should have been many taverns along where you can eat on the shore of the Danube. Well, in reality I didn’t see any. Either they don’t exist, either they’re well hidden 🙂 So we were really glad we made some sandwiches so we didn’t carry them in vain 🙂

I really liked that in Serbia the side of the road was really clean.. And Serbia is very clean in general, unlike some places in Romania unfortunately… 🙁
As an advice I recommend you take with you front and rear lights. This road passes through many tunnels and it’s a good idea to have lights with you in order for passing cars to see you and for you to see where you’re going in the darkness of the tunnels 🙂

Theoretically you also need a reflective vest. We had them in our luggage but didn’t wear them. You could wear them if you feel safer that way. The lights however are mandatory!

We had excellent weather the whole day, perfect for cycling. It wasn’t too hot or too cold, we had a beautiful blue sky with some clouds just enough to look good in the photos 🙂 However things started changing as we approached Golubac.

Heavy clouds were showing up far away but exactly where we had to go 🙂 As you can see in the image below there was quite a storm further up the Danube. Thus we accelerated the pace and I stopped taking so many photos. I didn’t want this perfect day to get ruined on the last bit 😀

After 6 hours of cycling and admiring the amazing scenery we finally reach the guest house where we booked for accommodation. We managed to find accommodation just 1 km before Golubac Fortress, our final objective for today. Our accommodation however was disappointing because every facility was old and looked bad. For one night however it was okay. We had a bed and a shower. Good enough :)) Also the food was not great at all.

30 minutes after we checked in a violent storm began. We were so lucky to get here earlier! After about an hour the storm stopped and we managed to walk up to Golubac Fortress, which was 15 minutes away. Lucky for us that we caught the last rays of light.

Normally this route can be done in under 5 hours, which we managed the next day on our way back to the cars at Tekija. Unfortunately taking pictures means a lot of stopping and thus we lost a lot of time but I’m glad we did so you can also see what amazing places you can visit 🙂

Golubac Fortress is a beauty positioned exactly on the shore of the Danube. Actually the road that we cycled on continues right through the fortress. When we were there a tunnel was almost finished in order to divert the road from the fortress so that tourists can visit it safely. The fortress was undergoing a restoration process as well.

This fortress is surely a spectacular thing to see with its thick walls raising from the Danube and continuing on the steep rocky mountain with high towers and massive walls. The fortress is actually partially flooded due to the construction of the Iron Gates hydro power plant. From the Romanian shore you can admire this beautiful fortress from the village of Coronini.

 Here’s our GPS recording movie so that you get a better feel about this route 🙂

Our route on the map:

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