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Kraków and the Częstochowa Uplands


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Introduction

You could call Kraków the heart of Poland.

With its history stretching back more than a thousand years, it is still considered by many to be the most important city in Poland although it is not the capital any more. The atmospheric Old Town with the biggest medieval town square in Europe, one of Europe’s oldest universities, as well as Wawel Hill with the Royal Castle astride its top and the famous Jewish quarter make the city unique. Kraków is also exceptional because of its naturally beautiful surroundings. Bicycle is the best mean of transport not only to see the city itself but also the nearby Ojcowski National Park, which is full of picturesque narrow valleys, ravines and caves. Its origins go back to  the Jurassic era and you can witness traces of the sea which once covered the area - fossils and sea sediments. While cycling through the region, we will visit numerous castles and fortifications situated on white limestone rocks - the so called Eagles’ Nests Trail. We will also meet on our way one of Poland’s natural curiosities - Błędowska Desert - and then we will reach the spiritual centre of the country, Częstochowa. This is a destination for pilgrimages from all over the world and the home of the Black Madonna Icon in the Pauline Monastery.

Day 1: Arrival to Kraków

Accommodation in a hotel in Kraków.

Day 2: Kraków

We take a guided tour of the city including the Old Town, Jewish Quarter and nearby attractions. Bicycles are ideal for sightseeing in Kraków allowing easier access to places of interest.

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

Day 3: Ojcowski National Park

On the third day we leave Kraków and cycle along Prądnik Valley which turns into a narrow gorge in Ojcowski National Park. We make a stop to visit the Castle in Pieskowa Skała that stands next to a peculiar rock formation called the Cudgel of Hercules which is 30 metres high. We then leave the Prądnik valley and head south to our destination Paczółtowice. We stay overnight in a hotel next to

a golf course here.

Overnight stay in Paczółtowice (37 km cycling).

Day 4: Ogrodzieniec Castle and Błędowska Desert

Today we follow the Eagles’ Nests Trail northwest past impressive castle ruins in Bydlin, Smoleń and Ogrodzieniec. We also go through Poland’s only desert. We stay overnight in Podlesice close to a nature reserve.

Overnight stay in Podlesice (60 km cycling).

Day 5: St Anna Monastery

We continue our trip north past fortifications in Mirów and  come to Złoty Potok (Golden Creek) where gold used to be panned. In the afternoon we pay a visit to the 17th century monastery in Święta Anna, an ideal place for an atmospheric lunch or dinner. We then return to Złoty Potok which is our accommodation for the night.

Overnight stay in Złoty Potok (45 km cycling).

Day 6: Częstochowa

Next morning we cycle west passing castles ruined during a Swedish invasion in the17th century to reach Częstochowa. There we visit the fortified Pauline Monastery, home of the Black Madonna, and its rich treasury. We stay overnight in a centrally located hotel.

Overnight stay in Czestochowa (40 km cycling).

Day 7: Kraków

From Częstochowa we head back by coach to Kraków where you will have a free afternoon for individual sightseeing.

Day 8: Return journey

Return trip home or individual stay extension.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grade: Easy.

Average distance covered is 40 km a day.

There are several uphill sections which do not exceed 50 metres in altitude difference.

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