This is not some amazing loop that I have sat on for hours and pampered the details. This is the loop I created in my rush before going to
the kitchen work on the day before the start of the 2-day holiday. That day I painfully discovered that Pendolino is taking 4 bikes and we will not fit on our train to Rzeszów. Therefore, do not repeat it 1: 1.
Plan, as short as possible:
In the morning I started Komoot, I drew a route from Tarnów to Chałupki (because it is well connected with WAW) and roughly it looked like this:
On Wednesday, after work, we fly Pendolino to Krakow
Overnight in Krakow
Morning train to Tarnów
Velo Dunajec to the south
There is an additional loop in the Tatra Mountains, thanks to which we will not miss places that cannot be missed by bicycle. Especially when you come to the Tatras once a year.
Then along roads marked as bicycle routes through Slovakia and the Czech Republic to Chałupki
Yes, without unnecessary thinking, planning, with accommodation booked on hour-two by going to the base via booking.
Plan, a little longer.
I have a very good connection to Krakow with the Pendolino, only a bit expensive. It does not matter, we are compensated for by the fact that we are practically alone in the entire car. Just us and the bikes.
In Krakow, we come across Vegaba. It's such a kebab, only vegan. If I didn't know, I wouldn't believe it. The taste is similar, and at night the effects are similar to those of a real, national kebab. I recommend.
We sleep in Krakow Central Apartments. This is a self-checkin apartment, so there is no problem with bicycles. We don't meet anyone from the service
https://www.strava.com/activities/3839735930 : 164km / 1471m
In the morning, we get on the Warszawa Wschodnia - Przemyśl train and go to Tarnów. We are alone in it again. I wonder a bit why we went to Krakow the day before with the Pendolin and paid for the accommodation, since we were on the train that was leaving our house. Never mind, at least we got some sleep.
We follow the route of Velo Dunajec. Generally speaking, the further the better. The beginning is a bit boring embankments and it becomes interesting only from the vicinity of Nowy Sącz. We pass the Pieniny Mountains and I discover that there are no accommodation available on the Booking. I don't know if it's the fault of August, tourist vouchers, tax avoidance not using Booking or what, but it causes a problem. We reverse a little loop planned in the Tatra Mountains and head to Łapsze Niżne.
We sleep in Spisz Vineyard. Bicycles sleep safely in the boiler room.
https://www.strava.com/activities/3844571782 : 155km / 1927m
Sztosowy, how the cycling Tatras are supposed to look like, I take it blindly. Virtually all day either along dedicated paths or empty roads. The first championship view attacks us already on the first climb: from Łapsze Niżne to Dursztyn. Then there is Łapszanka, Velo Czorsztyn, paths by Nowy Targ and the Trail around the Tatras all the way to Slovakia.
Due to the lack of accommodation, we modify the route a bit and head to Zakopane, but at the last minute a sensible option appears on Booking and, catching up with Bila in Trstená, we go straight to it. If you plan to repeat our route, it is better to follow the aforementioned route through Czarny Dunajec.
We sleep in Orava Hotel. The bikes get their own relatively safe room with a stand to attach to, and a group of stuffed animals welcomes us in the restaurant.
https://www.strava.com/activities/3849856716 : 199km / 1379m
Probably the least successful. You can let go of practically the entire Slovak part. Until Nowa Bystrzyca we go along the main roads (although they did not look like that on the map), often with a lot of traffic. Then some dedicated, very nice path along the river, main roads again and the driveway to the Czech border.
Among the places worth mentioning along the way is Orava Lake - very pleasant and with Babia Góra in the background, but Saturday's traffic is too heavy to enjoy it. For reasons unknown to me, we avoid the asphalt road a flyover with an impressive view of Mala Fatra, and instead, we're driving some forests and landscapes.
It's getting great again since crossing the border. First, the Morávka water reservoir located at the foot of the Lysá hora mountain, and then the classic Czech roads and bicycle paths leading practically to the very border with Poland.
We sleep in Ostrava in Hotel Nikolas, we leave the bikes strapped in the garage.
It turns out that we have about 10 kilometers to Chałupki, from which the return train departs ... and 22 hours. The kilometer plan was not too strenuous to be able to drive slowly. As usual it comes out.
https://www.strava.com/activities/3854583712 : 112km / 772m
We decide to follow the train route. The route is not very pleasant, but what to do. The prize is to be a cutlet with potatoes and cucumber salad at Cafe Byfyj in Nikiszowiec in Katowice. The cutlet is gone, but the blueberry dumplings and the beef cheeks are enough compensation.
On the way, we visit our grandmothers in Rybnik. I am beginning to explain that we are going from Tarnów through the Tatra Mountains to Chałupki, and in Rybnik we are by chance, because we overtake the train by 22 hours and we are just following its route to kill time. Whenever I say something like that out loud, a big question mark pops up in my head.
At the train station in Katowice, it turns out that the train is about 90 minutes late. So we would probably go further to meet him in Sosnowiec, Zawiercie or another beautiful city, but we are stopped by a slight technical defect in the wheel. We check in at home on Sunday at midnight.
I have an overwhelming impression that this whole trip was just a strong excuse to eat fried cheese as usual in the Czech Republic, and all this coating was added just to distract from it. After all, how many times can you go to the Czech Republic for cheese?
Okay, what is worth, what is not worth?
Velo Dunajec as a whole
It's like this with Velo Dunajec - the route is great. Coming from the north, you drive along partly not frequented roads, and partly along the embankments known to us from the vicinity of Gass (only an asphalt path).
The only problem is that in its present form, the famous Velo Dunajec in Poland is not finished. I feel a bit cheated because the amount of advertising and text on the internet did not mention it explicitly. Usually you see 2-3 of the same photos somewhere in the south. Generally, the further south you go, the nicer it is, so in my opinion you can easily start from Stary Sącz and you will not lose anything (visually). You can read more about the trail in terms of tourism at Finding a country, and a decent version of the route for road bikes u VeloMalopolska.
Right now, the route is that you have super roads for some 80%s, and the rest of the 20%s end up somewhere on the main road between TIRs… and no signage. I also like the patent for marking the trail behind the intersection, not in front of it. Maybe I am some orientation disabled, but without navigation I would not have passed it. It is interesting that the Czechs never have such problems.
So far, I do not recommend the route itself, especially for "family journeys" promoted on the Internet.
Gravel section of Velo Dunajec: Czerwony Klasztor-Szczawnica
The famous gravel section from Szczwnica to Czerwony Klasztor is different. This is the cycling essence of the Pieniny Mountains. Sure, in Szczawnica as on the pier in Łeba, on the trail similar, but still worth it. Yes, from the tourist and landscape point of view. It is only 10 km of gravel and a bicycle path (to be traveled on the road) with views slightly Taiwanese. In my opinion, it's worth it, even despite the crowds.
Kacwin - Lapsze Niżne
Part of the Trail Around the Tatra Mountains. Let me put it this way: the entire Polish Trail Around the Tatra Mountains, stretched all the way to Trstená in Slovakia, is, WITHOUT ANY DOUBTS, the biggest bicycle trail in Poland. Only Łapszanka and Velo Czorsztyn are missing, but both are nearby. If you want to drive one mountain route in Poland in your life, this is it!
Very good asphalts, mostly drawn by local roads limited only to residents and bicycle traffic (or maybe even entirely - I don't know) ... and interestingly - views along the way! It is rare that the roads dedicated to bikes cover such good panoramas.
Lapsze Niżne - Dursztyn
Another fragment of the Trail Around the Tatra Mountains worth mentioning. The views are almost like in Łapszanka, but to a large extent asphalt limited only to bicycles.
Łapszanka is a Cafe Mountain. You are in the Tatras, you have to go there, easy. Without unnecessary writing - the final view, although very popular. Our route goes by, so we need to loop it. The descent to Slovakia reminds us that a bicycle with discs is better than without.
This Slovak part behind Łapszanka. A truly proper loop should run differently than ours: instead of going east, then further south to the famous (mainly for those who used to race in the Tatry Tour) downhill to Zdar and then through Vyborna, known for the fact that cyclists are chased there by Gypsy children from axes. It does not matter, it is nice anyway, although it is not a mandatory point of the trip.
I have mixed feelings for Velo Czorsztyn - we only pass its southern part, which starts somewhere at the Castle / dam in Niedzica, which looks like the center of Krupówki or the pier in Sopot.
Still, there is a scenic road on a bicycle or pedestrian-bicycle path. It is a difficult route and I really admire the people with trailers and the kids. Reverse-contoured, sanded turns and slopes up to 20%. Resigned children with tears in their eyes pushing bikes or shouting "mamoooo, the brakeeeeeec doesn't work" is a big attraction for such patusia as we. But it doesn't matter, it's worth it anyway. At least once. It is nice and you can also ride the famous national path with white and red barriers stretching to the horizon.
Okay, laughs-laughs, but it's worth it. Just make sure that your wife / children / husband are not prone to quitting cycling as this may happen on this path.
Pyzówka - Krauszów
What is it and where did it come from - I don't know. Somewhere near Nowy Targ we come across asphalt sections of roads intended for residents and cyclists. I don't understand, but the views are front, so I recommend it.
Slovak Bicycle Trail around the Tatra Mountains
The Slovaks have not finished their part of the loop around the Tatra Mountains yet, but what awaits us from the border to Trstená (where Billa is waiting) is really good. Really. 100% dedicated trail with the Tatras in the distance.
Such a surprise because I didn't even know this lake existed. In the background you can see Babia Góra, and just beyond the horizon is the border with Poland. It's nice - empty from the east and only sometimes you can find a motorhome, crowded from the west like the center of Masuria and with the village of Námestovo, which looks like the Eastern European equivalent of Monte Carlo from a distance. I mean, such blocks, above the water, with mountains in the background. The blocks are slightly different, there is a lake instead of the sea, and the mountains are covered with one hill, but it doesn't matter.
Little Fatra (almost)
I don't really know what, because from the south you can see Mała Fatra (which will definitely appear here one day as a separate entry), and from the north Beskid Żywiecki. In general, the whole area looks like this Beskid, which, frankly speaking, is not my favorite area on the road, so just in case I will not write about it. I have made unnecessary modifications here so as not to repeat the routes I have ridden in the past and report that they were not needed. Better to fly the main road over the flyovers with an impressive view of Mala Fatra (google street view) or off-road by the lake, also nice (google street view).
The rest of the Slovak route
In general, I would like to cut the entire Slovak part of the route. Busy roads, no roadsides, average drivers and moderate views ... although it may be the fault of the Tatra Mountains the day before. It is a bit better than Nowa Bystrzyca, because for some time there is a nice path, but it does not save the situation.
The Šance reservoir and the better Czech world
As soon as we cross the border, everything changes - practically from the first meters.
In the distance, the great Łysa Góra, an impressive water reservoir with a classic Czech road around, where the only question you ask yourself is: "why was someone building it?". And above all, marked bicycle routes are the best thing in the Czech Republic. It proves that you do not really need to build separate, separate bicycle routes, but you just need to find, number and mark them properly. Most of the routes run along side roads, and there is an appropriate sign at each intersection. Simple, effective, fun, logical.
Although here we also come across several dozen kilometers of an endless path along the Ostravice River.
All of Silesia is one great improvisation on our part, because we don't know what to do with ourselves.
I definitely do not recommend this part of the route as none of it was pleasant. We tried to follow some marked trails, but each time we landed in someone's garden. You probably had to combine forests, but such improvisation could result in being late for the train ... and so the train in Katowice was about 90 minutes late for us. It's good that we didn't wait in Chałupki, because probably nobody would have informed us about it there.
But the day was won anyway, because dinner in Cafe Byfyj in Nikiszowiec rewards everything.
It was, I'm not lying.