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Gdańsk, The Polish Coast and Elbląg Canal


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Introduction

Gdańsk has the richest history of all the Polish coastal cities. It can be also said that it is also the most important, as it is Poland’s principal seaport. Once a member of the Hanseatic League, the birthplace of the Solidarity movement with Lech Wałęsa as a leader, the city was always the most independent in the country. The beautiful Old Town, featuring Poland’s biggest cathedral, a witness to so many historic events, confirms that the city’s motto: “Neither rashly nor timidly” is entirely true. During our (not only) cycling tour we will have a chance to visit charming medieval towns closely linked with the Teutonic Knights and  take a cruise on that famous engineering achievement - the Elbląg Canal. We will complete our adventure by travelling through the most interesting sites on the Polish “Amber Coast”, such as the Hel Peninsula and the Słowiński National Park with its “moving dunes”, regarded as a curiosity of nature on the European scale.

Day 1: Gdańsk

Our tour starts in Gdańsk located on the Baltic Sea coast where your first accommodation is arranged in a centrally located hotel. On the first day you will have an initial glimpse of the city but we leave the actual sightseeing for later. Overnight stay in Gdańsk.

Day 2: Frombork and Elbląg

On day 2 we take a bus and leave for Frombork, a small town where the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus spent most of his life. After visiting sites related to the life and work of  Copernicus we start our cycling tour by heading south to Elbląg and cycling along the Vistula Lagoon. Our accommodation for the night will be in Elbląg and from there we start the next day’s cruise.

Overnight stay in Elbląg (35 km cycling).

Day 3: The Elbląg Canal and Malbork Castle

Designedby a Prussian engineer Georg Steenke, the Elblag Canal was opened in 1860. It connects Lakes Drużno and Jeziorak which differ by 100 metres in altitude. The canal uses an extraordinary system of locks and tracks. We take a cruise on board one of the passenger ships to Buczyniec. From there we are transported to Malbork, where the biggest medieval castle in Poland is located. The fortress actually consists of three castles nested inside one another and is the biggest brick structure in the world. Founded in 1274 to be the main seat of the Teutonic Knights it was never conquered. After arrival we will follow a local guide who will introduce us to this impressive building.

Overnight stay in Malbork.

Day 4: Vistula River

Today we head east crossing the Nogat and Vistula Rivers. We cycle through the depression 2 metres below sea level to the historic town of Tczew and north to Gdańsk where we will stay overnight again.

Overnight stay in Gdańsk (59 km cycling).

Day 5: Gdańsk and Baltic Sea

This morning we join a guided tour of the city whose history has been written by generations of Germans, Poles and many other nations. Among other places we shall visit the Long Market and the historic old port crane. Afterwards we join another cruise and cross Gdańsk Bay to Hel Peninsula. This thin stretch of land has been formed by sea currents and juts 35 km into the Baltic Sea. We cycle along the peninsula to the popular sea resort of Jastrzębia Góra, location of our accommodation for the night.

Overnight stay in Jastrzębia Góra (30 km cycling).

Day 6: Baltic Coast and Łeba

On day 6 we head west stopping at Krokowa Palace and cycling through the Coastal Landscape Park. Our destination is Łeba, an important centre for the local Kashubian nation.

Overnight stay in Łeba (59 km cycling).

Day 7: Słowiński National Park

Today’s route follows the coast to Słowiński National Park, home of the “moving dunes”, a remarkable desert like landscape. On the way we stop at the V2 rocket testing site which was used during the Second World War. Later in the day we cross the salty Łebsko Lake and visit an interesting open air museum in Kluki. We end in Ustka, a military port and sea resort.

Overnight stay in Ustka (60 km cycling).

Day 8: Gdańsk

From Ustka we head by bus back to Gdańsk where you will have a free afternoon allowing you to explore the city on your own again. Gdańsk is a fine end to our tour.

Overnight stay in Gdańsk.

Day 9: Return journey

Return trip home or individual stay extension.

 

 

 

Grade: Easy.

The route follows quiet country roads.