Hiking and cycling tours in the Czech Republic and SlovakiaGreenways Travel Club
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Discover Czech Republic of Eastern Europe on a mountain or trekking bike

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Cycling Amber TrailCycling Amber Trail:
Bicycle tour Budapest - Krakow

9-day / 8-night trip from Budapest to Krakow

Length: 307 km / 192 miles

Self-guided tours:
Every day from April to the end of October

Dates for guided tour:
May 11-19, 2014
June 22- 30, 2014
July 28 - August 4, 2014
August 24 - September 1, 2014

Terrain: Challenging (one of our most challenging trips; the mountainous parts in Slovakia segment are not for those people whose cycling consists of one week a year.)

The ancient Amber Trail led from the beaches of the Baltic Sea south to the Adriatic. Through history the exquisite brown fossil resin has been traded along this route.

The Amber Trail is alive today. People still buy and sell amber; you might find a piece you like at one of the shops or markets on your journey. You will also meet some of the people who live along the ancient route and learn about their lives, their cultural heritage and their effort to preserve it.

Description: This rewarding route leads through three countries - Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland in the steps of the historic amber trade route. Our journey starts on the Danube River in Budapest, the capital of Hungary and the 'Paris of the East'. The route itself begins in the nearby village of Szentendre about 10 km north of Budapest. Amber trail Budapest - Cracow mapSzentendre is a picturesque little town full of cafes, restaurants, galleries, churches, museums, little shops, and street artists. It is the gateway to an especially beautiful part of Hungary called the Danube Bend, where the river winds between high hills to Visegrad (its castle has a beautiful view) and the historic town of Ezstergom, for centuries the seat of the Hungarian bishops, with a magnificent cathedral (more...).

 

Amber trail Budapest - Cracow profile

"In August and September, 2001, my wife and I bicycled the Amber Trail
from Budapest to Cracow through the low Tatra mountains of Slovakia. We experienced beautiful scenery while biking up narrow forest valleys to mountain plateaus with splendid vistas, some challenging long ascents following by exciting downhill rolls, pleasant overnight stays at small inns in historic mining towns, and interesting encounters with the local people,. At each end, there were the fascinating cities of Budapest and Cracow. It was one of our greatest bicycle trips."

(Oliver and Meredith S., USA)

Highlights:

  • 6 World Heritage Sites (protected by UNESCO)
  • Genteel city of Budapest
  • Old town of Banska Stiavnica
  • Traditional village of Vlkolinec
  • Pilgrimage site of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska
  • Wieliczka salt mine
  • Royal city of Cracow
  • The magnificent Danube Bend
  • Massive Gothic castles
  • Cracow amber market
  • Thermal cave spa


    10-day trip itinerary (Cycling 362 km/226 miles)

    Day 1)
    Budapest - Szentendre

    Arrival in Budapest and own transfer to Szentendre (12 miles). The town of Szentendre is easy to reach by car on highway 11, or by train (HΙV), by bus (VOLAN), or even by boat on the Danube (MAHART). Szentendre with its unique atmosphere has two dozen museums, seven churches, 13 galleries, and countless coffee shops and little pubs. The nearby Open Air Museum offers visitors a look at traditional Hungarian village architecture.
    Overnight in Szentendre.

    Day 2)
    Szentendre - Esztergom (51 km / 32 miles)

    The bicycle route leads along the right bank of the Danube to Lenyefalu, where we take the ferry across to Szentendre Island, and after riding down the whole length of the island we board the ferry again and get on the road to Esztergom. The hard-core cyclist can take an extra trip up the steep hill to Visegrad Castle, where there is a fantastic view of the Danube valley. Esztergom, the historic seat of the Hungarian bishops with its massive castle, is the climax of the Hungarian leg of the Amber Trail.
    Overnight in Esztergom.

    Day 3)
    Esztergom/Sturovo - Dudince (59 km / 36 miles)

    The Slovak leg of our journey starts when we cross the Danube from Esztergom to Sturovo. The relatively easy route leads through rolling terrain to the spa town of Dudince, built in the true spirit of Socialist Realism. Even today the spa offers a look back to times not so long ago and a day spent here is a very interesting experience. Another point of interest is the set of Roman bathtubs, carved out of the travertine rock.
    Overnight in Dudince.

    Day 4)
    Dudince - Banska Stiavnica (40 km / 25 miles)

    The challenging part of the Slovakia leg of the trip starts here. We get into the Stiavnicky Hills, which is a little rehearsal for the mountainous parts later in the Slovakia segment. Less machine-like cyclists need not panic, however, as the length of the daily rides can be changed according to momentary conditions, and the rest of the day's trip can be taken in a van. Banska Stiavnica, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with an extraordinarily well- preserved historical center and an ancient legacy of mining, is one of the best stops along the whole Amber Trail.
    Overnight in Banska Stiavnica.

    Day 5)
    Banska Stiavnica - Kremnica - Banska Bystrica (37 km / 23 miles)

    A trip to Kremnica is in the cards today for the active cyclist. This is one of the more difficult days (two long climbs). Kremnica lies in one of the prettiest locations in Slovakia. It sits at the center of the Kremnica Hills in a valley surrounded by 7 peaks. The dominant feature of the town is the Town Castle. From Kremnica transportation is arranged to Banska Bystrica, with a stop and a look at an important and interesting monument - the wooden church in Hronsek. Banska Bystrica is the governmental and cultural center of Central Slovakia. The historic center of town is surprising for its size and the quality of the restoration that has done so much to put the town's recent unhappy past behind it. For those who want a longer rest the bike ride can be cancelled for today and we will take you by car from Banska Stiavnica to Banska Bystrica, where you can spend the day.
    Overnight in Banska Bystrica.

    Day 6)
    Banska Bystrica - Liptovska Osada - Liptovsky Mikulas (44 km / 28 miles)

    Transfer is arranged from Banska Bystrica to Liptovska Osada (30 min.), because the only thoroughfare through the valley is a busy highway. There is a nice stop along the way in the village of Vlkolinec. This is a historical reserve containing the most undisturbed and complete collection of traditional architecture in Slovakia, protected by UNESCO as it represents a unique piece of the world's cultural heritage. After climbing up from Liptovska Osada, we come to the difficult biking terrain of the Low Tatras. It starts out with a 7-mile-long ascent, but the chance for a good view and the beauty of the country are an ample reward for the effort of making it up. The second half of this day's trip will be a less demanding stretch around the Liptovska Mara reservoir, a popular recreation center. Todays ride ends in Liptovsky Mikulas, a pleasant historical town, remembered for the story of the famous robber, the 'Slovak Robin Hood', Juraj Janosik, whose story is told in the local museum.
    Overnight in Liptovsky Mikulas.

    Day 7)
    Liptovsky Mikulas - Dolny Kubin - Sucha Beskidzka (47 km / 29 miles)

    This leg of the journey leads through the hilly terrain of the Chocsky and Oravsky Hills, and is one of the prettiest segments of the Slovak part of the Amber Trail. It takes us to the town of Malatina, where you can watch rugs being hand-made on an original wooden loom. In the village of Lestiny there is a rare wooden church built without a single nail. Evening transfer to Sucha Beskidzka, Poland.
    Overnight in Sucha Beskidzka.

    Day 8)
    Sucha Beskidzka - Kalwaria Zebrzydowska - Wielizcka - Cracow (29 km / 18 miles)

    The last day of the bicycle route takes us to the picturesque village of Lanckorona, with a model project for reviving folk crafts and efforts to preserve the traditional local architecture. The goal of the trip today is the famous Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, another UNESCO - protected site, where the Stations of the Cross consisting of 32 chapels and chaplets end at an imposing Bernardine monastery. From here you will be taken by car for a tour of the famous salt mine in Wieliczka, and finally to Cracow itself, our destination on the Amber Trail.
    Overnight in Cracow.

    Day 9)
    Cracow

    In Cracow you'll probably want to spend more than one day, of course: Wawel Castle, the Old Market Square, the Kazimierz Jewish quarter, or the town walls and Royal Way could easily take a day. To really soak up the atmosphere of this living city you must get into cafes or pubs, theaters or clubs and that takes more than a day too...

    Price of guided tour:
    Group size 4-7 people:
    Group size 8+ people:

    2260
    EUR per person (based on twin-bedded room)
    1990 EUR per person (based on twin-bedded room)
    Single supplement: 400 EUR
    Guided tours include: • Professional bilingual guide
    • Accommodation in selected hotels and pensions
    • Support van
    • Buffet breakfast and dinner included
    • Luggage transfer
    • English route descriptions
    • Detailed cycling maps
    • Town maps
    • Global Positioning System (GPS) console with programmed route
    • Quality TREK bike rental
    • Guided tours at chateaux, castles, museums and other select attractions
    • Special events, including wine tasting and picnics

    Price of self-guided tour: 1490 EUR per person (based on twin-bedded room)
    Single supplement: 400 EUR
    Self-guided tours include:

    • Accommodation in selected hotels and pensions
    • Buffet breakfast
    • Luggage transfer
    • English route descriptions
    • Detailed cycling maps
    • Town maps
    • Global Positioning System (GPS) console with programmed route
    • Transportation by car according to program
    • Welcome briefing upon arrival
    • Quality TREK bike rental
    • Stand-by support (cellphone and contact person)


    Time to go

    Climate

    On the continent in Central Europe the weather is cold with snow in the winter but the summers are lengthy with a lot of sunshine and clear days. Our cycling tours run from the beginning of April to the end of October – the optimum months here for a good bicycle trip. May, June and September are the times to experience the cooler, but still warm and sunny weather. The temperate in the summer can get quite high, so July and August are perfect for sun loving people. April and October are wonderfully changeable and can be chilly. These times are perfect for people wanting to experience the changing of the seasons as they cycle.

    Tourist numbers
    July and August tend to be the busiest times in terms of crowds. We feel it is important to mention this in case you are expecting to see some national monuments relatively crowd free.

    Festivals and events
    Central Europe is rich in festivals and cultural events. Worth mentioning are the local festivals celebrating the grape harvest in September/October - vinobrani. There is much merrymaking by the local residents with consumption of delicious wine. In some areas a folk culture is connected to wine growing and this can particularly be seen during the vinobrani.

    Please see the cultural events page on our site - Topbicycle.com owned by Greenways Travel Club.

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