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Košice - Sárospatak bicycle tour

Download track as GPX file for your GPS device.
Teljes táv: 80 km
Össz. emelkedő:  600 m
Össz. lejtő: -650 m
Magasság max.: 423 m
Magasság min.: 96 m

Košice - Nižná Myšľa - Trstené pri Hornáde - Hollóháza - Füzérkomlós - Nyíri - Pálháza - Füzérradvány - Mikóháza - Sárospatak

The Košice-Sárpospatak bicycle path offers a tour that goes across borders, a chance for a relaxing and pleasurable trip with its beautiful landscapes, ancient cities and atmospheric villages. The entire length of the route is 80 kilometers, the biggest difference in height is only 300 meters.

The Slovakian part is less well built, going on busy or bad quality roads at places so it requires greater attention. At the same time, the Hungarian part of the route has been built in its full length recently, there are separate bikeways on the busier parts and direction signs at every bigger junction. Thanks to this the Hungarian route is suitable for all ages and for larger groups as well.

The path is part of the EuroVelo 11 bicycle route, though this is only marked on the Hungarian side. On the Slovakian part we can follow sign C routes with different colours, most part of the trip goes on the red one.

The tour can be completed in a day but if we want to see more it is worth spending the night at some point of the route. On the Hungarian side, we can find accommodation at almost every town, also there are shops, drinking fountains at every turn and restaurants at larger stops. If we embark on the journey with a tent, there is a camping place at Hollóháza but if we do not require this much comfort we can find a place suitable for the tent anywhere.

Košice can be reached the most easily by train. There are two trains going from Budapest to Miskolc every day, leaving at 6:30 and 18:30; the journey takes 3 and a half hours. The train is supposed to have a storage designated for bike but if we go in larger groups it is worth checking a few days in advance.   

The train station at Košice is close to the city, after leaving the not too pleasant lobby, we can find the walk leading to the center at the other side of the tram station. Crossing through the nice little bridge above the highway we can already see the tower of the St. Elisabeth Cathedral. It is better to get off the bike here as there are many pedestrians on the walk and it offers plenty of sights anyway. In case there is any problem with our bicycle, we can use the services of the bike shop near to the Evangelic church.

It is tempting  to follow the tower of the cathedral and go straight to the main street but first it is better to go right at the Hrnčiarska Street leading to the courtyard of the Executioner’s Bastion where we can see the Memorial House of Francis II Rákóczi, a replica of his house in Rodosto (Tekirdağ), Turkey where he spent his exile. Also here is the oldest house of the city, the Mikluš Prison. The street opposite the Reformed church takes us to the Neo-Baroque National Theatre on the main street.

There is a bike path on the main street which usually has no traffic at all, though on the busier days it is packed with tourist looking around, taking photos. And it is indeed worth taking a look at  the old patrician houses, palaces of different institutions along the beautifully restored main street. There plenty of restaurant and cafes too, from where the visitor, sitting under a sunshade, can wonder at the street on warm summer days.

The famous building of Košice, the Gothic St. Elisabeth Cathedral is located on the square at the middle of the main street. Its construction began in 1380 – the previous church at the same spot was burned down - and it was completed only a century later. The Baroque dome was built after the fire of 1775. The last construction took place in the 1870’s when it was restored and its original five naves were rebuilt. The crypt was also finished at this time which is the resting place of Francis II Rákóczi and Ilona Zrínyi since their reburial in 1906.

The fire of 1556 almost completely destroyed the city, even the cathedral’s bell melted. Gábor Bethlen built the Orban Tower next to the Cathedral in 1628 and the newly cast bell was placed here.  Unfortunately, in 1966, the tower burned down and the bell was crushed. The remains of the bell were pieced together and it is exhibited next to the tower. On the other side of the cathedral is the St. Michael Chapel built originally as a burial chapel.

Before continuing our trip, it is worth refilling our water bottles at the well at the southern end of the square because later there will not be many places where we can do so. We also have to decide which we to go as it is not easy to leave Košice safely on bike.

If we want to reach Hungary as soon as possible, the road which is the continuation of the main street is the best option. After reaching the border of the city, turning towards Valaliky (Kassamindszent) we can travel on less busy roads to Čaňa (Hernádcsány). From here we can go straight through Skároš (Eszkáros) or with a little detour through Gyňov (Hernádgönyű). Turning left before Gyňov we reach the new bikeway which leads through the new Hernád bicycle bridge to Trstené pri Hornáde (Abaújnádasd).

Though this route is quicker – we can reach the border in seven hours – the 7 km long road coming from Košice is very busy so it is only recommended for experienced cyclists.

Because of this the marked bikeways do not lead this way but rather along the shores of Hernád. In order to get here, we have to turn left on the main street, go through the Roosveltova Street, go across the crossing on the multi-lane road (to the direction of McDonald’s) and go left to the narrow Bajzova Street. At the end turning right we reach the Palackého Street through which we can pass under the railway and  going left at the petrol station we can finally reach the shores of Hernád. Here we only have to go across the crossing before the bridge on the main road and we can see the beginning of the bikeway. The route leading here is not long, only 1,5 kilometers but it is the most dangerous part of the tour.

From here we cycle for 14 kilometers along Hernád’s shore in the same direction as the river’s flow. First there is a 2,5 kilometres long narrow path, then a broader part at the dam. We can even stop to swim in the lake to our right and we can also buy a meal here. At the end of the lake the bikeway goes between the blocks of flats and then again along the shores but here the we have to travel on bad quality, bumpy concrete. When the concrete ends, there is a short, narrow dirt road and after we go among the houses on the Za mostom Street for a few hunder meters and we reach one of the footbridges of Hernád.

As from here on the bike signs lead on a dirt road, if we do not have a bicycle suited for that we have to cross the bridge, go through Pri Hornade Street on the right to the main road and go towards Nižná Hutka (Alsóhutka). From this road we have to turn off at the junction at Nižná Myšľa (Alsómislye) to reach the road leading further at the village. This is a busy road, it is not recommended to take with children.

If we stay on the shores of Hernád we will encounter roads with varying qualities, at some places it is suitable for cars, some parts are grassy and quite narrow. If we can not see the signs we should just stay on the roads close to the river, they lead to the good direction. Unfortunately, two parts of the route are covered in deep sand so it is better to push the bike through here in order to avoid falling down. While this is a quite unpleasant part of the trip, at least we can look at the beautiful landscape here with a forest and the sight of Hernád. We can hear the sound of the water along this part of the route as its flow is controlled by eight weirs along the path.

After the bumpy road we reach to road leading to Alsómislye. We have to cross Hernád on a wooden bridge which looks dangerous at first but if it can hold with trucks passing through then there will not be any problems if we go through with our bike.

Nižná Myšľa (Alsómislye) holds few interesting sights, only the Classical style church is worth visiting from where we can have a scenic panorama over the valley of Hernád. If we want to make a little detour, we can follow the road going south from the church and passing through Olsva we can find the walls of the Gothic monastery.

From here we travel on quiet roads in the direction of Ždaňa (Hernádzsadány). After a short rise we can glimpse the cemetery and the modern church of the town. At the cemetery it is better to avoid the narrowing main street and rather turn left, then go on the first street to the main square towards the town hall. Here we can find a supermarket – before Pálháza we will only encounter smaller shops. Reaching the main road again, we turn left and continue to Trstené pri Hornáde (Abaújnádasd).

Reaching Trstené pri Hornáde we turn left on the first street and go to the Catholic church. We can even rest for a while under the old trees of the church’s garden. We can also visit the cemetery behind the church, the graves on the hill present a special atmosphere.

After we have rested, we go east and start climbing the northern slopes of Zemplén on the narrow concrete road. There is little traffic here so it is worth stopping at times and wonder at the Hernád Valley and the mountains around us. After a sharp turn we start descending to Skároš (Eszkáros). After reaching the village we turn towards the mountain and from here to the border we have to go up the slope. At the end of the village on the right we can see the World War II Memorial Park where weapons are exhibited. After the first junction we can turn left to go around the park.

We continue to the border through shady forests and we only have to go a little to reach the mountain pass, only 150 meters from Skároš. We reach the border after the highest level of the road, it is only marked by a sign and a resting place. We only have to descend from here to the first Hungarian city

The Hungarian Route

At the border of Hollóháza the bikeway turns right and goes along the old houses of Kossuth Street to the bus turnaround. From here we can see the tent-shaped church built in 1967. If we would still like to climb heights, we can go through Rákóczi Street which gives a nice view and has an imposing schoolhouse built in the 1980’s. We can also find accommodation here. Returning to the main road we reach the Hollóház Porcelain Factory. It is wort spending time here at the Porcelain Museum which shows the 200 years of making porcelain in Hollóháza.

We continue towards Füzérkomlós, from the border of Hollóháza we can cycle on a new, broad bikeway avoiding the bumpy main road. Reaching Füzérkomlós, we can find a fountain on the left side of the street, it is called Kiskútka (meaning small well). In the center of the village we can find the small Catholic church which is an interesting sight with its stone tower and park. After the cemetery we reach the Nyíri junction.

Though our tour does not go here, it is worth taking a longer detour to Füzér because the Füzér Castle is one of the most popular sights of Zemplén. From Komlós to Füzér we can cycle on good quality bikeway and in the village we can leave our bicycles in the parking lot beneath the castle as the road going up is very steep.

Coming back from Füzér we turn to the bikeway and continue our journey. Leaving Komlós we can soon see the Füzér Castle behind our backs, it is worth taking a picture. When we reach Nyíri, before rushing to Bózsva, we should turn left and take a look at the village’s Reformed church.

After Nyíri we travel along a nice line of trees, climbing a smaller hill. After a longer cycling part we reach Bózsvár where we can find a restaurant a motel behind the Reformed church. Going a bit further we can see the Bózsva Rock with its sharp edge on the other side of the lake. It is also called Béla Rock because according to the legend, King Béla IV had lunch here once

After the village the bikeway continues, this good quality path leads through the forest until the Pálháza Forest Railway. Here we return to the main road and we cycle to Pálháza between the bakery and the market. With a population of 1000, Pálháza is the smallest city of Hungary but we can still find a shop, a bank, confectionery, restaurant, motels, bicycle shop, tourist information and the Perlit Museum which has an exhibition on the history of local mining. The Reformed church opposite the bike shop is also worth to have a look at.

The signs after the city are a bit confusing but the EuroVelo route leads from the center of Pálháza towards Füzérradvány . If we do not want to visit this town, there is a newly built bikeway to Sátoraljaújhely along the main road.

Füzérradvány’s streets present a nice atmosphere but its real treats are the Károlyi Castle and its huge english garden. There are guided tours every 30 minutes but within opening times we are free to walk around the park, we can have a look at the 300 years old Rákóczi Planetree for example.

From Füzérradvány we can cycle down the slope behind the castle’s garden to the Pálháza-Sátoraljaújhely bikeway. This is a nice, balanced part of the route. Until Mikóháza there a couple of resting places for cyclists. After reaching Mikóháza, we turn right and before going on Gábor Áron Street we should cycle to the winecellars built into the side of the hill. Continuing our trip, we can see the Greek Catholic church, in front of it the St. Elizabeth square with a pleasant park. For the hungry traveller there is a restaurant at the end of the village.

The bikeway going to Széphalom curves a bit away from the main road so we have chance to wonder at the landscape and we can even see the ski tracks on the Magas Mountain at Sátoraljaújhely from here.  Ferenc Kazinczy, the famous reformer of the Hungarian language lived in Széphalom until his death in 1831; he named the village. His memory is commemorated by the Memorial Hall, the grave of Kazinczy and the Musesum of Hungarian Language founded in 2008. We can rest in the shady park between the main road and the museum or have a lunch at the restaurant near the bikeway.

Sátoraljaújhely is only 2 km from Széphalom, a bikeway leads here. At the roundabout after the Tesco store we will have to cycle on the side of the main road but luckily its broad enough so we can do so safely. This way we reach the city’s main square where its best to push our bikes and look around. On the main square, there is the late Baroque St. Stephen Catholic Church with the statue of the king. We can find the Kazinczy Museum in the György Dózsa Street. We can also see the Baroque town hall on the Lajos Kossuth Square.

When we continue towards Sárospatak, it is worth having a detour and follow the line of trees going to the train station because opposite of that is the Wine Church, commemorating the world’s first aszú, a Hungarian wine speciality. Continuing on the main road, we can travel on a bike lane until we reach the border of the city.

The 8 km long bikeway to Sárospatak goes along the floodplain of Bodrog with smaller lakes and reeds on the way. We go past Károlyfalva and then cycle up the hill.

Before reaching Sárospatak, there is another optional detour to take: the millstone mine at Király Mountain is a sight that should not be missed. The dirt road is steep at places, we should only go with a bike that can take it or we can leave it and go on foot. The road starts 500 meters from the border of Sárospatak and after a while on it we can see the red T sign of the study trail. When we reach the junction with the sign Tengerszem (tarn) pointing both directions we should take the one on the right side, the other can not be taken with a bike. Reaching the top of the mountain we can see the walls of the mine and down below the tarn lake. Rhyolite was mined here from the 15the century up until the 1900’s. The lakebed was carved for keeping rainwater in the mid 19th century. Next to the lake we can see the dwelling of the miners carved in the walls.

Continuing on the bikeway there is only a short route until Sárospatak. Crossing the railway we reach the city. From the main street we turn to the Szent Erzsébet Street and go past the Castle Church until the Rákóczi Castle at the shore of Bodrog. The forted castle with the Renaissance dwelling tower was built by Péter Perényi in the 16th century.

On the way back we turn to the train station at the Reformed Theological College which is the last station of our tour.

There are trains going from Miskolc to Budapest every two hours the last one leaving at 18:00. Usually there is no storage for bikes on the trains so we have to check with the Hungarian State Railways (MÁV) in advance.