Total tour distance: 240 miles
Daily tour distance: 34 miles
Difficulty: 40 / 100
Krakow acts as a magnet for over 7 million tourists each year and is the most visited city in Poland for many reasons. Sitting royally in the region known as ‘Little Poland’ it epitomises the grandeur, romance, and history of one of Europe’s greatest and most beautiful medieval cities and encapsulates the legends, heritage, and culture of Poland as a whole. From the ‘Cloth Hall’ which has dominated the centre of the Old Town since the 14th century, to the imposing Gothic presence of the St Mary’s Basilica which is home to the breathtaking ‘Altarpiece of Veit Stoss’, to the ancient Wawel Castle built upon the cave of the dragon – Smok Wawelski – on the limestone banks of the Wisla River, it soon becomes obvious on visiting why UNESCO listed the ENTIRE town way back in 1978.
You absolutely must add two or three days to your holiday in order to immerse yourself in what was once the seat of Polish Kings but also to explore the 500 year old Jewish district of Kazimierz, the Podgórze district which was the Jewish Ghetto, the immortalised factory of Oskar Schindler, and the Orwellian dystopia of Nowa Huta with its distinct Social Realist architecture. Moving further afield, once you leave the grid-based town centre and escape the largely intact fortifications, the two main attractions are the incredible UNESCO listed Wieliczka Salt Mine and the more moving Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and memorial site.
On leaving Krakow, and in the shadow of the impressive Tatra Mountain range, we travel through the dramatic landscapes of the Pieniny National Park, the timeless traditional villages of the Malopolanie people, the tranquil beauty of the Wisla River valley, and the 16th century grace of the wooden gothic churches. This is a jewel of a cycle tour, a cycling holiday that is unparalleled in its scope, breadth, and depth of feeling.