Hungary’s two biggest tourism destinations – Budapest and Lake Balaton – will soon be linked by a new dedicated bicycle route. The project could provide a major boost for tourism and for cycling in Hungary in general. The start of the project was confirmed by Péter Cseresnyés, State Secretary in the Ministry for Innovation and Technology (ITM), in a recent press conference in Sofiok that marked the start of another major cycle project; the reconstruction of the ‘Balaton Bringakör’ (Balaton Cycling Circle).
After several years of preparation, works have now begun on the renovation of the Balaton Cycling Circle; a more than 200 km long bicycle route of around Lake Balaton. Last month saw the near completion of the first 42 km of the circuit. Works will resume late August this year, once the peak in the holiday season is over. The finalisation of the works on the Cycling Circle, which will cost some €50 million, is planned for spring 2021.
This year will also see works start on a dedicated bicycle route connecting Lake Balaton with Budapest. The route stretches over 110 km, from the capitol through Etyek, Székesfehérvár and Lake Velence to the Balaton Lake. The first section, from Budapest to Etyek, will cost €30 million. Works will start this year and are expected to be completed by 2020.
“The Balaton Cycling Circle is the busiest bicycle route in Hungary, here we ride the most bikes, and I am sure that if the developments are realized, we can witness further growth. Hungary is an ideal country for cycling, there are no big mountains, we are safe, we have beautiful landscapes, and we can become a cycling paradise where both locals and tourists like to ride a bicycle”, says Government Commissioner for the Active Hungary programme, Máriusz Révész.
At the press conference on the Balaton Cycling Circle, State Secretary in the Ministry for Innovation and Technology (ITM), Péter Cseresnyés, also revealed that the share of cycling in the modal split in Hungary has increased from 19% to 22%, placing it among the top three EU countries in cycling besides the Netherlands and Denmark. The importance the government attaches to the promotion of cycling is also reflected in its ambition for the further development of the national bicycle route network. According to Cseresnyés, “infrastructural conditions of cycling are continuously improved in Hungary; between 2014-2020, HUF 200 billion (EUR 618 million) will be devoted to the construction of 4,200 kilometre of cycling paths.” This constitutes a significant contribution toward achieving the ambitions to extend the cycling network from its current length of 9,100 kilometres to 15,000 kilometres in 2030.
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