Explore’s Alison Butler is a regular cyclist. This summer she put her leg muscles to good use as she pedalled through Poland.
I was lucky enough to go on the Pedalling in Poland trip earlier this year. Poland is a beautiful country and I love cycling so the idea of seeing the countryside under my own steam was very appealing. This trip visits rural Poland. The roads are very quiet so we hardly saw a car and we spent a lot of time on river and cycle paths, interesting routes giving a mixture of on and off road as well as different terrains.
The cycling was easy except one day that involved four steep hills. The hills were not long so you could get off and push your bike up if you wanted. Everyone enjoyed the trip and apart from a couple of wet days, it was great. Highlights for me were cycling as part of a group which took the stress out of navigating and the fear of getting lost or getting stuck alone with a puncture!
Out of the saddle, I really enjoyed the visit to Niezdca Castle. Once home to the Hungarian nobility, it has great views and a really interesting history. Looking like it would belong in the pages of a classic fairy-tale, it has a beautiful riverside setting and comes complete with its own ghost!
The Dunajec Gorge, which carves the border between Poland and Slovakia, was another real highlight. Even though it was raining, it was still clearly the most beautiful ride on the trip. I also enjoyed exploring Krakow – Poland’s former capital - on foot and by bike; it’s a fascinating city steeped in history and considered to be Poland’s cultural capital. I loved exploring its winding streets, busy market squares and seeing its spiralling gothic towers.
I had been a little dubious about what sort of food I would get in this part of the world but it was much better than I was expecting. I loved the local delicacies of smoked cheese and the more famous ‘Borsh’ or beetroot soup. The hotels were small, family-run, clean and comfortable and served up some great home-cooked food. Most of the meals are included giving you the chance to try some delicious regional dishes.
The pace of the tour was good; we had some long but easy rides leading up to the more challenging but this tour is for a leisure cyclist and anyone wanting a challenge should look to book a more strenuous trip. The itinerary is well thought out, allowing stops for sightseeing and refreshment breaks.
I thoroughly enjoyed the tour; it’s perfect for a leisure cyclist who wants to explore Poland’s countryside and historic town and city centres. It provides a great mix of easy cycling through lovely countryside, stopping at wooden churches, riversides and historic towns to enjoy good food, drink and culture. Great for the tourist who can't sit still on a bus! There are a couple of hills for those who want a challenge but it’s mainly flat and downhill which means you can enjoy the scenery. Expect a warm welcome and great home-cooked food; perfect fuel for a day’s cycling. Lastly make sure you try some local vodka at least once!
Explore Poland’s stunning scenery for yourself on a cycling holiday in Poland.
By Alison Butler