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The Sudetes and Wroclaw


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Introduction

The mountain chain of the Sudetes is a natural border between Poland and the Czech Republic. They consist of several smaller groups including the Karkonosze, Góry Sowie (Owl Mountains) and Góry Stołowe (Stołowe Mountains). They differ in appearance which allows the visitors to see a variety of peculiar rock formations. Traditionally within Lower Silesia,  the region at the foothills of the Sudetes has a long history and has witnessed many significant historical events that have left traces like battlefields, castles and palaces. The tour follows the foothills of the Karkonosze, then crosses the Owl and Stołowe Mountains and ends in the spa town of Lądek. Along the way we visit places like Skull Chapel in Kudowa or a complex of underground galleries and shafts in Włodarz - a reminiscence from the last war. All these combine with the unique natural landscapes of one of Europe’s oldest mountain chains to produce an exceptional journey. It is aleisure tour, which is at the same time adventurous  and does not leave you any time for boredom. During the whole trip we stay in comforatable hotels.

Day 1: Arrival in Wrocław

Arrival and hotel accommodation in Wrocław.

Day 2: Wrocław

Our trip starts in Wrocław, the capital of Lower Silesia. The city lies on both sides of Odra and on several river islandsand has been a crossroads of trading and migration trails since the early Middle Ages. Its inner and oldest part bears influence of Bohemian, German and Polish existence in these lands. We shall take a guided tour on the day after arrival. Amongst the city’s countless attractions we pay visits to Cathedral Island, the University and Town Square. Afterwards we will be transported by  bus to the Karkonosze Mountains where the cycling part of the trip begins. Our first ride starts in the Szklarska Pass and rolls downward to Szklarska Poręba - a mountain resort where we will stay overnight. Overnight stay in Szklarska Poręba (10 km cycling).

Day 3: Karkonosze Mountains

Today we cycle in the foothills of the Karkonosze passing many sites like the “Colorful Lakes” nature reserve and Karpacz, an old mountain resort. Our route follows country roads with views to the Sudetes’ main ridge. We stay overnight in former Cistercian buildings adapted to form a hotel in Krzeszów.

Overnight stay in Krzeszów (48 km cycling).

Day 4: Książ Castle and the Stone Mountains and Church of Peace

Today’s stage takes us near Stone Mountains, another group within the Sudetes and thence to Książ where the impressive Furstenstein Castle is located. Situated on a river cliff the castle dominates the area. It was developed into its present form by the Hochberg family and is now the third biggest castle in Poland. Its function during the Second World War remains unclear as it was part of a huge military project named Riese. Taking as much time as necessary to discover theKsiąż Castle we head towards today’s second highlight - the Peace Church in Świdnica. The so called Peace of Westfalia allowed Protestants to build only three churches in Silesia under the condition that they differed in shape and appearance from traditional Roman Catholic churches. In effect an enormous building was constructed where 7500 people can pray at the same time. We will also stay overnight in a hotel in Świdnica.

Day 5: The Owl and Stołowe Mountains

Day 5 is full with attractions. In the morning we are transported by bus to Włodarz in the Owl Mountains, another site where the Nazi Riese project was developed. We take a tour of underground shafts and galleries some of which are filled with water. We will explore the most important parts of this huge subterranean complex by boat and also on foot. Later on board a bus we come through picturesque Stołowe Mountains National Park with a stopover to take a hike to Great Crack, a unique rock formation with a flat table shaped top and labyrinths of sandstone. After we leave the park we come to the spa town of Kudowa where Skull Chapel is located, a reminiscence of 30 Year War. Today’s cycling stage starts in Zieleniec and after passing through a nature reserve comes to a spa town Polanica.

Overnight stay in Polanica (28 km cycling).

Day 6: Kłodzko

Our last cycling leg takes us to Kłodzko with its impressive fortress and a copy of the Charles Bridge in  Prague. Our day ends in Lądek, another spa town lying in the foothills of Śnieżnik (1425 m) where Bear Cave is located.

Overnight stay in Lądek (40 km cycling).

Day 7: Wrocław

On day 7 we head back to Wrocław where you have an afternoon free to explore this magnificent city. The next day you may extend your stay individually or return home.

Overnight stay in Wrocław.

Day 8: Return journey

Return trip home or individual stay extension.

 

 

 

Grade: Moderate.

The route follows country roads at the foothills of the Sudetes.

There are several uphill sections which do not exceed 70 - 80 metres in altitude difference.

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