Cycling the Iron Curtain Trail along the Austrian-Czech-Slovak-Hungarian border you will encounter lots of reminders of the east-west separation of Europe along the former death strip – today the „green belt“. To appreciate fully this historically interesting and scenic route demands a certain fitness because of the often quite hilly topography.
Until 1989 the Iron Curtain divided Europe nearly 40 years into east and west. The inhabitants of a wide stripe along the border were resettled so that crossing the border became nearly impossible. Nature took this opportunity to recover and rare animals and species found a new habitat – the closed off territorry turned into a „green belt“.
Coming from the Bavarian-Czech border, you can visit the Zisterzienser monestary in Vyssi Brod (CZ), the „green belt museum“ in Leopoldschlag as well as the „Green belt Center“ in Windhaag/Upper Austria. Further highlights along the route are the health resort Harbach, the historic Kuenringer town Weitra with its small brewery and exhibition „Iron curtain“ in the castle, the outdoor museum „Iron Curtain“ at the border of Kadolec/Nove Hrady, the Renaissance town Slavonice, Hardegg, Austrias smallest „town“ with only 81 inhabitants as well as the crossborder national park „Thayatal".
As next stop overs we recommend the bunkers and remains oft he iron curtain at Satov (CZ), the historic wine town of Retz with its underground Labyrinth and Laa an der Thaya with its historic center and modern spa. You continue passing the wine cellars at Galgenberg to Mikulov with its castle and nearby monument „gate of freedom“ at Sedlec. The route continues through the UNESCO cultivated landscape at Lednice (CZ) and Valtice with its Iron Curtain-Museum.
Finally you reach one of central Europas most interesting wetlands, the March/Thaya-floodplain on the Slovak side from Hohenau to Devinska Nova Vez, where you can admire the maybe most spectacular „Freedom Bridge“ along the whole EuroVelo 13 at Schlosshof, the second largest baroque castle of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy. Back on the Slovak side you cycle via Devin ruin/ Theben where the rivers March and Donau join , and a ferry connects to Hainburg, only a few more kilometres to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.
From Bratislava you cycle along the border on a (mostly) EuroVelo 13-signposted trail until the historic bridge of March and Donau continue to Neusiedler lake, the historic town Sopron (former Ödenburg), southbound to Lutzmannsburg (thermal spa) and Szentgotthard (HU), where you finally leave Austria.