From Budapest to the mountains of Slovakia: our urban and gravel bikepacking adventure

The mountains, rivers, forests – both the gravel and tarmacked roads – it was all as stunning as it was unforgiving

Image shows Anna cycling towards Banská Štiavnica while on a gravel bikepacking trip in Central Europe.
(Image credit: Stefan Abram)

Why Hungary and Slovakia? To be honest, at the point when we were planning our bikepacking trip, we couldn't fully tell you. But it's precisely that lack of awareness which ultimately convinced us to go.

Other than the capitals of Budapest and Bratislava, we weren't able to name any other cities of either country. Other than the 46 years they both spent behind the iron curtain – and being party to the Austro-Hungarian Empire – we knew essentially nothing of neither Hungary's nor Slovakia's history. 

Anna Marie Abram
Fitness Features Editor

I’ve been hooked on bikes ever since the age of 12 and my first lap of the Hillingdon Cycle Circuit in the bright yellow kit of the Hillingdon Slipstreamers. For a time, my cycling life centred around racing road and track. 

But that’s since broadened to include multiday two-wheeled, one-sleeping-bag adventures over whatever terrain I happen to meet - with a two-week bikepacking trip from Budapest into the mountains of Slovakia being just the latest.

I still enjoy lining up on a start line, though, racing the British Gravel Championships and finding myself on the podium at the enduro-style gravel event, Gritfest in 2022.

Height: 177cm

Weight: 60–63kg