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Kraków, Polish Highlands and the Tatra Mountains

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Poland and its southern neighbour Slovakia are separated by the mighty Carpathian Mountains, whose highest part are the Tatras. Several historical regions lie at their foot, among them colorful Podhale and Spisz. The region is situated south from Kraków and is inhabited by Highlanders, an ethnic group of an independent culture and dialect. This tour runs through villages and towns located in picturesque valleys and dales. Most of the route follows a mountain River Dunajec. During this trip we visit two national parks and three objects listed by UNESCO, including magnificent Kraków, and many other attractions which are not available to people travelling by car. Ideal for cyclists, the tour follows quiet roads with wonderful views over surrounding mountain groups. We stay mostly in small hotels that offer good standards that are perfect for active travellers.

Day 1: Arrival in Kraków

Arrival and hotel accommodation in Kraków.

Day 2: Kraków

Today we take a guided tour of Kraków including the Old Town, Jewish Quarter and nearby attractions. Bicycles are ideal for sightseeing in Kraków because they allow easier access to places of interest.

Overnight stay in Kraków (15-20km cycling).

Day 3: Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains

In the morning a charter bus takes us to Ząb, the country’s highest village (1100 m above sea level). Our first bicycle ride takes us to Zakopane, a colourful mountain town surrounded by peaks which are 2000 m high. After spending some time in the town centre we head back to Ząb, this time by funicular railway.

Overnight stay in Ząb (20 km cycling).

Day 4: Chochołów

Today we cycle downhill passing the villages of Dzianisz and Chochołów famous for their characteristic wooden buildings . Some of the houses here are made from a single huge spruce tree. Today’s destination, Nowy Targ, is the capital of the Górale - the Polish Highlanders.

Overnight stay in Nowy Targ (55 km cycling).

Day 5: Dunajec River and Niedzica Castle

During the rest of the trip we follow the mountain River Dunajec, making several detours. We cycle through the regions of Podhale and Spisz which used to be part of the Kingdom of Hungary. Today, this part of the country is inhabited by a mixed Polish-Slovakian population. We stop at many places of interest including the 15th century wooden church in Dębno and a river gorge where a 3 thousand year old boomerang was found. We then cycle along an artificial lake to Niedzica which is dominated by a Hungarian castle.

Overnight stay in Niedzica (46 km cycling).

Day 6: Dunajec Gorge

One of the highlights of the tour comes next - the canyon of Dunajec with limestone cliffs rising 200 metres or more above the river. We cross the border with Slovakia on a bridge and go past The Red Monastery where Carthusian monks lived for centuries concealed from the outside world . We cycle on well maintained gravel road through the canyon towards Szczawnica, a spa town.

Overnight stay in Szczawnica (54 km cycling).

Day 7: Lacko and Poprad Valley

Back on the Polish side of the border we continue cycling along the lush green valley of the Dunajec. We stop for a while in Lacko where the famous Slivovitz plum brandy is produced. You may try a bit or take a whole bottle home, the unique taste is not found anywhere else in the world! The surrounding area is known for eco-friendly fruit production. We continue on, passing through many orchards and in the afternoon crossing the ridge into the valley of Poprad. Our accommodation is arranged in Rytro, a village nestling beneath the ruins of a castle.

Overnight stay in Rytro (62 km cycling).

Day 8: Stary Sącz and Kraków

The last cycling leg of the trip follows the Poprad and ends in Stary Sącz, a provincial town with a fortified nunnery. On our way back to Kraków we stop in Nowy Sącz to see its impressive Town Hall and an afternoon in Kraków is left free for exploration at your own pace.

Overnight stay in Kraków (15 km cycling).

Day 9: Return journey

Return trip home or individual stay extension.









Grade: Easy

The majority of the route follows rivers and is therefore mostly flat. One exception is day 7 where the road crosses a pass between two valleys.

The altitude difference is no more than 130 metres.

The cycling pace is easy to allow sightseeing.

This tour is meant for people of all ages who are familiar with cycling.