Q & A with Marietta Tihanyi and Peter Beck, Co-Founders, TradNatura Sport, Budapest, Hungary. Organized small group and tailor-made bicycle tours since 2005.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO OFFER ECOLOGY TOURS IN HUNGARY AND AUSTRIA?
We love nature, flowers, and birds, and if we want these things to survive well into the future then we must make efforts to protect them today. We hope as part of our tours in this region we can show visitors the hidden beauties, the untouched parts of nature, and maybe we can open their eyes and turn their thoughts towards protection. It is really for everyone's benefit.
DO PEOPLE THERE SUPPORT “GREEN LIVING?"
Yes, in both Hungary and Austria you can find more renewable energy facilities being installed, such as wind mills, sun collectors or solar cells. There is recycled garbage collection, and every year there is a special day in Hungary for students to unite and remove litter from parks and woods. Some national parks do not let you drive through. Also you are not allowed to use motor boats or jet skis in Lake Balaton, our biggest lake and holiday resort. Bird lovers will be pleased to know that many habitats are being restored for nesting and rest stops. You can watch thousands of cranes or other birds in the Hortobágy, Lake Fertő / Neusiedl, Little Balaton and other National Parks.
We provide premium quality hybrid bikes because they are very comfortable for leisure touring on tarmac country lanes or bike paths where we mostly ride. Hungary is a rather flat county anyway. When in Austria we cycle alongside rivers and lakes. These bikes also do well on gravel paths when we occasionally go a little deeper into nature. The use of our bikes is included in our tour prices. So far only a few guests have brought their own bicycles, but this is also possible. A comfortable van accompanies all tour groups.
ARE YOUR GUESTS OTHER EUROPEANS?
We get some people from the UK, but most of our customers are from the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
HOW ABOUT CHILDREN?
Yes, almost every year we get some bookings from families with children ages 6 and up.
Normally we suggest one suitcase and one handbag or backpack per person with a preference for not more than 20 kg overall, but there is some flexibility.
ARE YOUR OVERNIGHT STAYS “GREEN?"
We mostly use small family hotels or nice historic mansions, and these are located in beautiful surroundings. Many offer organic or home-made products. They support cycling and care of the environment.
ARE MEALS INCLUDED IN THE TRIP FEES?
All the meals are included in our tour prices. We always try to select the finest local and traditional foods and wines. Whenever it is possible, we use organic products, and we always prefer traditional local food and wines as these are our favorites at home. We enjoy introducing guests to these foods and traditions.
Each tour has focus on a different region: north Hungary, south Hungary, along the Danube River, around Lake Balaton, Vienna, Salzburg, and more.
For example, the Danube itinerary takes us from Budapest to Vienna through the wonderful historic towns of Szentendre, Győr and Sopron and includes a stop at the splendid Esterházy Palace.
WHICH ARE PERSONAL FAVORITES?
We love every region - each one has its own special beauty. But if we had to pick a region it might be North Hungary because it is more untouched and shows you beautiful woods and hills, medieval castles and castle hotels, and the spectacular Aggtelek Stalactite Caves - a World Heritage Site.
Here you also find the town of Eger, called "a baroque jewel," surrounded by vineyards. This is where they make the world-famous "Bull's Blood" [ Egri Bikavér ] dark red wines and also the noblest of sweet wines, the "Aszú."
ARE CUSTOMERS BOOKING TOURS FOR THE REST OF 2018?
Oh yes because our summer months are most popular! We even start taking reservations for next year.
DO YOU EVER HAVE “SPECIAL DEALS?”
Yes, we offer various discounts for groups, returning guests, and for children.
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