Welcome to the royal town of Krakow, the former capital of Poland. Your SE guide will meet you at the hotel for a short orientation meeting. You can then join your guide for a pleasant walk around the old town to discover some of Krakow´s cultural treasures, including the Wawel castle and the vast Rynek Glówny, Europe´s largest market square. To really give the city the attention it deserves, we recommend arriving a day early allowing you extra time to visit some of the Poland´s biggest attractions such as the Wieliczka Salt mines and the concentration camp of Auschwitz.
Hotel – Krakow, Poland
This morning we get our bikes ready for the next 11 days of cycling. Together with our support vehicle that accompanies us for the whole duration of our trip, we begin our trip cycling out of Krakow to our first destination, Dobczyce where there is the remains of a 13th century castle and an open air village with traditional Polish log houses and architecture dating back to the 18th century. After lunch we continue to Mszana Dolna our home for the night.
Breakfast / Hotel – Mszana Dolna, Poland
Today we cross the border into Slovakia and cycle through the stunning nature of Pieniny national park. We follow the Dunajec River cycling on the popular cycle path to Cerveny Klastor (Red Monastery). En-route look out for the raftsmen navigating their traditional wooden rafts through one of the longest canyons in Central and Eastern Europe.
Breakfast / Hotel – Cerveny Klastor, Slovakia
This morning we experience the spiritual atmosphere of a visit to a cultural jewel of Slovakia, the 14th century Cerveny Klastor (Red Monastery) located in the heart of Pieniny mountains and surrounded by deep forests. After enjoying a private guided tour and learning a little about its history, we continue to Stara Lubovna, site of a 12th century medieval castle founded by the Austrian King Ondrej III.
Breakfast / Hotel – Stara Lubovna, Slovakia
We head south-east across the stunning mountainous landscape of the Spis region to Spisske Podhradie, home to an amazing complex of UNESCO monuments: Spisska Kapitula, the historical seat of the catholic bishop, Spissky Castle, the biggest medieval castle in Central Europe and the Church of the Holy Spirit. Prepare to be overwhelmed by the beauty, size and rich history of these monuments.
Breakfast / Hotel – Spisske Podhradie, Slovakia
Leaving the Spissky castle behind us, we continue cycling west to another UNESCO site, the town of Levoca, famous for its remarkably preserved city walls, medieval buildings and the biggest wooden altar in the world and visit the gothic parish church of St. James, dating back to the 13th century. British Queen, Elizabeth II visited this unique medieval town during her two day trip to Slovakia in 2008. Nearby Marianska Hora is included within world pilgrimage sites alongside Lourdes, Mariazell, Czenstochowa and Fatima.
Breakfast / Hotel – Levoca, Slovakia
After breakfast we cycle to Spisska Sobota, the medieval part of the much bigger Poprad, situated at the foot-hills of the Slovakian Tatra Mountains. En-route we cycle through the small gothic village of Spissky Stvrtok, location of several significant gothic buildings including the Church of St. Ladislav and the Chapel of Zapolskych, designed by Hans Puchsbaum, the same architect who built St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. We continue cycling through Slovak Paradise national park, finally arriving in Spisska Sobota where we spend the night. Within walking distance of the hotel you will find the AQUACITY Poprad, a large complex of outdoor and indoor thermal pools with healing waters and a wellness centre. It is highly recommended as a great place to relax after 6 days of cycling.
Breakfast / Hotel – Spisska Sobota, Slovakia
Today our route leads us across the national park of High Tatras, home to amazingly rich flora and fauna, and one of the last places in Europe where predators such as wolf, lynx and brown bears and seven specious of eagle still live freely in their natural environment! Incidentally, the population of brown bears is increasing in Slovakia each year, as the Carpathian Mountains provide perfect conditions for this amazing wildlife! A part of today´s route is a long downhill ride to the town of Liptovsky Mikulas surrounded by the High, Low and Western Tatras where we spend the night - just beautiful! In the evening there is another opportunity to relax in one of the two water parks in the area (Besenova or Tatralandia) where there are indoor and outdoor thermal pools, wellness centres and many water attractions.
Breakfast / Hotel – Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia
Today´s route starts with a great ride around the lake of Liptovska Mara located in the heart of the Liptov region. Beautifully nestled in the stunning nature of the Tatras, this is a popular tourist all-year-round destination. The lake is surrounded by a number of traditional sheep farms and small villages. The terrain is relatively easy, with few uphill sections. The second half of the day is a little more challenging. The route leads through the town of Ruzomberok and on to the hilly landscape of the Low Tatras, all the way to the mountain village of Vlkolinec, hidden in the mountains, another world heritage UNESCO site included in this bike tour. We then transfer to the town of Banska Bystrica, the heart of Slovakia, and our home for the night.
Breakfast / Hotel – Banska Bystrica, Slovakia
Today we cycle to another UNESCO site, the picturesque medieval mining town of Banska Stiavnica. In the 16th century the town grew to become the Hungarian Kingdom's third-largest city. As the silver and gold ran out and mines closed, progress stopped too, leaving many buildings wonderfully untouched. Meandering among the steeply terraced hillsides, you can now see many of the same burghers' houses, churches and alleys as you would have seen them centuries ago. UNESCO recognised the town in 1972.
Breakfast / Hotel – Banska Stiavnica, Slovakia
As we are move closer to Hungary, this is our last day in Slovakia. Our first destination today is the winegrowing area of Stara Hora (Old Mountain), a complex of more than 150 wine cellars, some of which are cut into the rocks that surround this area. Here we sample some of the locally produced wines with a local wine-dresser who will take us through the village, while playing an accordion! Milan, the wine-dresser also keeps bees, and together with his brother, look after more than 300 hives. Next we transfer to the Hungarian town of Esztergom, with its massive basilica sitting high above the town and the River Danube.
Breakfast / Hotel – Esztergom, Hungary
Today our selected cycle path follows the River Danube what is known as the Danube bend. The wooded hills of Pilis, Visegrád and Börzsöny together with the meandering Danube create a wonderful landscape that has become a nature-lover’s paradise. Visegrad Hill towers above the Danube bend, providing a breath-taking view. Once having been a royal seat, Visegrad is rich in historical and cultural sights, such as the former Royal palace and Solomon's tower. After lunch in Vac we transfer directly to our hotel in Budapest. The river divides this beautiful city into two parts, the hilly Buda and the more cosmopolitan Pest. There are numerous attractions, including historic monuments, zoo, museums, famous thermal baths, restaurants, cafés and a vibrant nightlife scene. Welcome to Budapest! In the evening, join your guide for a pleasant walk around the old town and enjoy a traditional farewell dinner in one of the traditional Hungarian restaurants.
Breakfast / Hotel – Budapest, Hungary
After breakfast transfer to airport. Fly home.