About the project


For almost half a century, Europe was forcibly divided into East and West by the "Iron Curtain", a border stretching from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea. The European cycle track Iron Curtain Trail invites people to retrace and experience this important part of the continent's history.

The Iron Curtain Trail thereby contributes in a lively and very practical way to the creation of a genuine European identity. In 2005, following the initiative of Green member Michael Cramer, the European Parliament recognised the "Iron Curtain Trail" as a model project for sustainable tourism and called upon the Member States for support.

The European Parliament accepted a proposal with overwhelming majority related to cycling and asked the European Commission and the Member States to consider the EuroVelo-Network and Iron Curtain Trail as an opportunity for promoting European trans-border cycling infrastructure networks, supporting soft mobility and sustainable tourism. Based on this decision special budget lines were allocated in to support preparatory actions for the Iron Curtain Trail (ICT). Thanks to the successful preparatory actions, in 2011, the European Cyclists Federation inaugurated the Iron Curtain Trail as Route 13 as part of EuroVelo, the European cycle route network, and the national cycling NGOs and regional development bodies started to work on the realization.

The Iron Curtain Trail connects most of the South-East-European countries, provides opportunities to learn, to find and to share good solutions for local, regional mobility challenges and to promote sustainable transport (to improve the image of cycling and public transport). The situation is very different in each of the South-East-European countries in terms of combined public transport offers (public transport and cycling), long distance cycle routes, daily cycling and cycling tourism


Present and future

The Iron Curtain Trail project received support from the South East Europe Programme with a total budget of 1,403,441.05 euro.

The project involves partners form all South East European countries along the trail.

With the help of this subsidy, the Southern section of the Iron Curtain Trail will be able to catch up to the more developed sections in terms of sustainable transport and tourism and become the engine of all cycling related development in the region, along the following specific goals: 

Objectives of the ICT project:

  1. Improve the accessibility of the SEE regions by bicycle. The Iron Curtain Trail leads through border regions which were separated during the cold war period and the connections (for cyclists as well) were interrupted. Significant improvements have been made in the (motorized) road and railway infrastructure but at the same time new challenges appeared.
  2. Connect cycling and public transport opportunities. Cycling can help to improve the traffic, by increasing the catchment / gravitation area of the public transport lines by making them accessible faster and easier.  In the frame of the project we will collect Best Practices and implement some (minor) pilot actions to improve the bike storage and transportation possibilities connected to public transport. These solutions can help remove the obstacles from public transport use.
  3. To connect SEE regions by a European long distance cycle route. The EuroVelo Network connects European countries, and the Iron Curtain Trail, as part of this Network - EuroVelo 13 - can provide a visible and tangible connection between the SEE countries and regions. Being part of a European network means extra motivation for the daily cyclists and for cycling tourists, leisure cyclists to use their bicycle and replace car trips but it motivates the decision makers as well to invest in cycling infrastructure. In the frame of the project we will not build new bicycle infrastructure but we will define the critical deficiencies along the route and will find out what kind of solutions can be realized.
  4. Promote cycling and combined sustainable transportation as a means of sustainable mobility. To increase the share of cycling and PT we have provide ready offers for cyclists that answer their problems and communicate them effectively. The communication has to improve the image of cycling (particularly in those countries where the share of cycling is low) and motivate the end-users, the local population. The communication has to reach the decision makers as well and has to stay realistic, be professional and adequate in time and content.
  5. The ICT project will significantly improve knowledge, experiences of the leading regional development bodies and the relevant NGOs in the program area and will lay down the basics of the future cooperation.