Second of three stages of our ExpeditionPlus! tour from St. Petersburg to Istanbul
This is the second stage of our 2007 ExpeditionPlus! from St. Petersburg to Istanbul. We begin in Warsaw, Poland where you'll have a day to explore this capitol city. Once we begin pedaling we follow the Vistula River to Krakow where we enjoy a rest day to explore this wonderful city. Continuing south from Krakow, we leave the relatively flat north European plains to cross the Carpathian Mountains on the border with Slovakia. We pedal around the High Tatra Mountains, not over them (as there are no roads!) and then through the low Tatra Mountains to the plains of Hungary where we'll take a rest day to explore Budapest. We continue southeast through the (flat!) culinary heartland of Hungary to Timişoara, Romania.
Day 1: Expedition Total 15 - Pultusk to Warsaw, Poland
Highlights:We arrive in Warsaw mid-afternoon today, on the banks of the Vistula River. If you are joining just this stage of the ride, plan on arriving today and meeting the cyclists as they roll into town. Later this evening we'll enjoy a final/welcome dinner to celebrate the end of Stage 1 of the trip (though it won't end until the day after tomorrow) and to say goodbye to those leaving us after this. We also welcome those joining Stage 2 of the journey.
Day 2: Expedition Total 16 - Rest day in Warsaw
Highlights:This is a rest day and sightseeing opportunity to enjoy all Warsaw has to offer. Warsaw is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Here is their description: "During the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944, more than 85% of Warsaw's historic centre was destroyed by Nazi troops. After the war, a five-year reconstruction campaign by its citizens resulted in today's meticulous restoration of the Old Town, with its churches, palaces and market-place. It is an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century."
Day 3: Expedition Total 17 - Pedal Warsaw to Kazimierz nad Wisla; End of Stage 1
Highlights:We say goodbye to the Stage 1 participants today while the rest of us head off to Kazimierz nad Wisla (Kazimierz on the Vistula). Indeed, we follow the Vistula most of the way to this historic village, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Distance: 135 km (84 miles).
Day 4: Expedition Total 18 - Kazimierz nad Wisla to Sandomierz
Highlights:We continue along the Vistula River today from Kazimierz to Sandomierz, replete with numerous Gothic architectural treasures dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. We'll compare those to the monuments built later in the 16th and 17th centuries which incorporate both Gothic and Baroque styles. Distance: 95 km (59 miles).
Day 5: Expedition Total 19 - Sandomierz to Busko Zdroj
Highlights:We pedal west and away from the Vistula today to the spa town of Busko Zdroj (Zdroj means "spa"). Maybe you'd like to have a go at the sulfide or iodide-bromide baths offered at the spa. Or perhaps you'd prefer to try the carbon dioxide or the ozone-pearl bath. Most of us, I expect, will stick with a simple classic massage or sauna. Whatever your choice, it will be an interesting experience. Distance: 106 km (66 miles).
Day 6: Expedition Total 20 - Busko Zdroj to (Cracow) Krakow
Highlights:We'll be in Krakow, tonight's destination, for two nights, so take your time and enjoy the ride. We'll pedal through densely settled farmlands, passing through villages every few kilometers. Be sure to stop and explore these small towns and to chat with farmers. Since today is a work day the countryside will be full of activity. Distance: 98 km (61 miles).
Day 7: (Wednesday, July 4) Expedition Total 21 - Rest day in Krakow
Highlights:Krakow is one of Europe's most beautiful cities. It was spared devastation during World War II and so retains a multitude of architecture and urban planning examples from the 12th century. The city is dominated by the Royal Wawel Castle sitting on a rise above the Vistula River. Below the castle lies the Medieval city which is home to one of the largest market squares in Europe. We'll take a guided orientation walk of the city this morning. Then you are free to explore on your own. Krakow has been on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites since 1978.
Day 8: Expedition Total 22 - Krakow, Poland to Cerveny Klastor, Slovakia
Highlights:We leave Krakow this morning and pedal toward the border of Slovakia this afternoon. We'll stay in Cerveny Klastor or Spisska Stara Ves this evening. Both towns are located just over the border in Slovakia on the edge of the Pieninski National Park. Estimated distance: about 135 km (84 miles).
Day 9: Expedition Total 23 - Cerveny Klastor to Liptovsky Hrádok
Highlights:We pedal clockwise around two sides of the High Tatra Mountains today as we head first south, then west with the mountains to our right all day long. The peaks of the Slovakian Tatras loom above us all day. If you wish to explore this extraordinary range more closely you'll have to come back another time with your hiking boots as there are no roads through these mountains. Distance: 105 km (65 miles).
Day 10: Expedition Total 24 - Liptovsky Hrádok to Hriňová
Highlights:We head directly south today through the heart of Slovakia and through the Low Tatra Mountains (Nizke Tatry). Both Tatra Mountain ranges are part of the Carpathian Mountains, and part of the great sweep of Alpine ranges in Europe that begin with the Pyrenees in Spain and France and continue east to the Alps that we are all familiar with in Switzerland and Austria. The Eastern most Alpine ranges are the Carpathians and the Transylvanian Alps in Romania. The Tatras can be placed in the same category as Italy's Dolomites, a distinct range of mountains within the larger mountain chain of the Alps. This is likely to be the biggest climbing day of the entire trip. Distance: 95 km (59 miles).
Day 11: Expedition Total 25 - Hriňová, Slovakia to Gödöllö, Hungary
Highlights:We continue through lower mountains and hills today in southern Slovakia on our way to the edge of the great flat expanse of the Hungarian plain north of Budapest. Our destination is Gödöllö, home to one of the largest baroque palaces in Europe. The Palace was built in the 18th century and became the residence of Franz Josef of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Distance: 142 km (88 miles).
Day 12: Expedition Total 26 - Rest day in Gödöllö, visit Budapest
Highlights:Gödöllö is only about 30 kilometers from Budapest so we'll recommend a trip into town by train today to visit this wonderful imperial city on the banks of the Danube. No riding today.
Day 13: Expedition Total 27 - Depart Budapest for Cegléd
Highlights:We leave Gödöllö today for Cegléd to the west. Cegléd is a spa town aspiring to develop as a wellness center and destination for fitness and sports tourism. The town center hosts a museum dedicated to the memory of Hungarian revolutionary Lajos Kossuth who led Hungary to its brief independence from Austria in 1848 and 1849. Distance: 100 km (62 miles).
Day 14: Expedition Total 28 - Cegléd to Csongrád
Highlights:We continue south and east today along the banks of the meandering Tisza River to the culinary heart of Hungary. Here world famous Hungarian paprika is grown in soils and fields made rich by constant flooding. Our destination is Csongrád. Distance: 105 km (65 miles).
Day 15: Expedition Total 29 - Csongrád to Makó
Highlights:Our route takes us further into culinary country today to Makó, famous for its onions and garlic, prime ingredients in most Hungarian cooking. Makó is also the birthplace of Joseph Pulitzer, namesake to the prestigious journalism, literature, music, and drama awards. Distance: 80 km (50 miles).
Day 16: Expedition Total 30 - Makó, Hungary to Timişoara, Romania; Welcome Stage 3 Members
Highlights:We cross the border this morning into Romania and continue on to the delightful town of Timişoara. We have a final / welcome dinner together this evening as we end the riding portion of Stage 2 and welcome the Stage 3 riders of the Expedition from St. Petersburg to Istanbul (we have a few extra days included so everyone has the opportunity to visit Timişoara). Distance: 92 km (57 miles).
Day 17: Expedition Total 31 - Rest day in Timişoara
Highlights:Timişoara is the principal city of Romania on the vast Hungarian plain. Historically it has always been a melting pot with populations having German, Hungarian, Servian, and Romanian backgrounds. It was an important city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and has been Romanian since after World War I. No ride today.
Day 18: Expedition Total 32 - Timişoara to Oravita
Highlights:We'll bid farewell to the Stage 2 participants this morning and the Stage 3 riders will have the option today of a longer, scenic route through the Annina hills (152 km) or a shorter, flatter route (118 km) on our ride to Oravita. The scenic route involves three long climbs with beautiful views while the shorter route allows you to save a little energy for long rides the next two days. Distance: 118-152 km (73-94 miles).
HighlightsPlains of Hungary, Warsaw and Krakow, Poland, Bicycling Poland, Slovakia and Romania, High Tatra Mountains of Slovakia, Timisoara, Romania, Budapest, Hungary
Includes18 days, 17 nights accommodation, 16 breakfasts, 12 dinners, guided orientation walks in Krakow and Budapest
CountriesSlovakia, Hungary, Romania, Poland
Begin/EndWarsaw, Poland / Timişoara, Romania
Arrive/DepartWarsaw, Poland / Timişoara, Romania
Total Distance1,288 km (800 miles)
Daily Distance80-135 km (50-84 miles)
What to ExpectVaried terrain including two mountainous days with climbs up to 4,000 ft. and cumulative climbing on those days up to 6,000 ft.; 4 days of flat riding across Hungary
Click on the "pins" for details about each day's highlights.
San Jose, CA