Cycling Poland to Slovakia Plus! Hungary

Cycling Poland to Slovakia Plus! Hungary

Bicycle between two of Central Europe's most fascinating cities on this ride from Krakow to Budapest. We'll cross the Carpathian Mountains through a low pass in the High Tatra range as we pedal from Poland, through Slovakia and into the Danube Basin in Hungary. Part of our route follows the ancient "Amber Route" that connected the Baltic Sea with the Adriatic. This historic trade route is perfect for cyclists who love undiscovered regions and pedaling through beautiful landscapes.

***If this tour sounds great but you don't have time for the entire ride check out our Cycling Poland to Slovakia tour which features the first 8 days of this itinerary.***

There are no upcoming tours scheduled at this time.

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Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 13 Days
  • Total Distance / 712 -732 km (440-452 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 65 - 67 km (40 - 41 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level / 4.0
  • Countries / Hungary, Poland, Slovakia
  • Begin/End / Krakow, Poland / Budapest, Hungary
  • Price / From USD$4650
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  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
  • Similar Tours
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    Krakow, Budapest, Riding the hills of Central Slovakia, UNESCO World Heritage sites in Slovakia and Hungary, High Tatra Mountains

    Keep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

    It is rare to find air-conditioning at hotels in this part of the world.
  • Includes
    13 days, 12 nights accommodation, 9 dinners with beer or wine, 12 breakfasts

    The Usual (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)

    • Superb tour leaders who are fun, bilingual and avid cyclists.
    • Help with flights, trains and pre/post tour hotels.
    • Comfortable lodging in 3-4 star hotels. 
    • All breakfasts and at least half of your dinners.
    • Use of a high quality 27-30 speed bike.
    • Full van support to carry luggage – and tired cyclists, too! 
    • Special events like wine tastings, cultural visits and chocolatiers.
    • All tips and gratuities at tour hotels and group meals.
    • Unique routes, marked with our famous chalk dust arrows.
    • Daily mileage options.
    • Detailed route map and free use of our traveling resource library.

    What's not included:

    • Transportation to and from the bicycling tour including airfare, or train travel
    • Helmets - we ask that you bring your own to ensure the best fit
    • Meals not listed in the itinerary
    • Tour Leader gratuity

    See the complete list of what's included with every ExperiencePlus! Tour.

  • Arrive / Depart
    Krakow Airport (KRK) / Budapest Ferihegy Airport (BUD)
  • Overall Tour Level
  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    **Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    48km / 0m
    difficulty level
    3
    79km / 0m
    difficulty level
    4
    65km / 0m
    difficulty level
    5
    74km / 0m
    difficulty level
    6
    53km / 0m
    difficulty level
    7
    54km / 0m
    difficulty level
    8
    61km / 0m
    difficulty level
    9
    82km / 0m
    difficulty level
    10
    69km / 0m
    difficulty level
    11
    122km / 0m
    difficulty level
    12
    71km / 0m
    difficulty level
    13
    0km / 0m
    difficulty level

    Tour Level Note: Daily climbs in excess of 2,000 feet per day (except Day 6)with mountain climbs in excess of 4,000 feet on Days 9 and 10. River bank bike paths out of Krakow and into Budapest.

    **We use Ride With GPS (ridewithgps.com) to calculate elevation and mileage information. Due to variance between mapping technologies, totals may differ slightly across devices and applications

Terrain Legend

Mostly flat Mostly flat

Rolling hills Rolling

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary

DAY 1: Tour begins in Krakow

Highlights: Medieval Krakow, Krakow market square, Royal Wawel Castle, Vistula River

Krakow is one of Europe's most beautiful cities and has been on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites since 1978. It was spared from devastation during World War II and retains a multitude of architectural 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, home to one of the largest market squares in Europe. You'll want to spend at least one extra day, if not two, in Krakow before our tour begins. We fit bicycles this afternoon and will enjoy an inaugural dinner together this evening.

DAY 2: Krakow Loop

Highlights: Wieliczka, Salt Mines

An invigorating loop out of Krakow takes us to the historic town of Wieliczka this morning. Wieliczka is famous for its salt mine, which operated continuously from the 13th century until 2007. Almost 300 kilometers of passageways spread under the town, and the mine boasts an underground lake, and four chapels carved from the salt by the miners. We’ll return to Krakow this afternoon to see more of this stunning city.

DAY 3: Bicycle from Krakow to Mszana Dolna

Highlights: Open air skansen (museum village) in Dobczyce

We bicycle southeast out of Krakow passing through Dobczyce. This town shares a reservoir of the same name that boasts the remains of a 13th century castle and an open air village of 18th and 19th century traditional architecture. Stop for coffee and lunch supplies before continuing on to Mszana Dolna where we spend the night.

DAY 4: Mszana Dolna to Cervený Klástor

Highlights: Rolling hills, Pieniny National Park Poland & Slovakia

Today's ride takes us to the border between Poland and Slovakia and into the heart of the Pieniny National Park. The Pieniny Mountains are one of many small mountain ranges that make up the larger Carpathian Mountain chain and we will pass right through them as we enter Slovakia on a bike and pedestrian-only path along a scenic gorge. This is a rare opportunity and one of the only no-car border crossings we encounter. Our hotel tonight sits along the banks of the Dunajec River.

DAY 5: Cervený Klástor to Levoca

Highlights: Levoca

Today’s ride heads to the heart of the Spis region, a territory rich in northern Slovakian history. Once known for its wealthy traders, craftsmen, and miners, it’s no wonder that two of Slovakia’s five UNESCO World Heritage sites are located here. We’ll continue pedaling through valleys of narrow fields, where grass is still hand-cut by scythes and carried in horse-drawn wagons. We’ll have two nights in the ancient town of Levoca. once an important town for commerce. Today, Levoca is probably best known as the home of the medieval sculptor Master Paul of Levoca. Be on your best behavior today so as to not end up in the 17th century “Cage of Shame” in front of the town hall.

  • Distance: 74 km (46 mi)
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

DAY 6: Bicycle Levoca Loop

Highlights: UNESCO Castle in Spis, Historic square of Spisska Nova Ves

Our ride today takes us to Spisska Hrad (UNESCO), the largest castle in Slovakia. With the silhouette of the Spis castle behind us, we ride by the French Chateau Markušovce towards Spisska Nova Ves. Enjoy its historic and stunning square and an amazing view of the town from the highest church tower in Slovakia (87 m). All of these sights along the Poprad River valley are recognized world heritage UNESCO sites.

  • Distance: 53 km (33 mi)
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

DAY 7: Levoca - Poprad

Highlights: Poprad, Slovak Paradise National Park

As you ride today you'll have the forests that make up part of the Slovak Paradise national park on one side and the High Tatra mountains on the other side. You'll also ride by the beautiful gothic chapel of Spissky Stvrtok, a church built by Master Hans Puchsbaum, the same architect to build St. Stephen's Catehdral in Vienna.

DAY 8: Poprad - High Tatras - Poprad

Highlights: Extraordinary views of the High Tatra Mountains

The High Tatras are the highest mountain group in the Carpathian range. The imposing wall of granite peaks rises to a height of 2655 meters from the Poprad basin and the city of Poprad. These snowy mountains, as they were called in the middle ages, are virtually inaccessible except on foot. We'll take a loop ride today to enjoy views of the mountains and, weather permitting, we'll suggest taking the cable car to Lomnicky stit, the second highest peak in the High Tatras.

DAY 9: Poprad - Low Tatras (Tale)

Highlights: Low Tatra Mountains and the largest Slovak national park

We head south today, through the Low Tatras, which are characterized by long valleys and deep forests. This is the largest mountain range in Slovakia protected in the nation's largest national park. We pedal around the edge of the park, then over a pass in the middle of the mountains. To the northeast are the High Tatras, to the south are the Slovak Rudohorie (Slovak Ore Mountains). Thanks to strict conservation measures the Low Tatras are the home to some of the few populations of brown bear left in Europe.

  • Distance: 82 km (51 mi)
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 10: Low Tatras - Látky

Highlights: Low Tatras, historic mining area in the Ore Mountains, forestry railroad

We leave the region of the low Tatras today and head up the Hron River valley. We pass through Cierny Balog, home to the historic steam railway museum. At one time this valley hosted the longest forestry railroad in Europe at 132 km. We continue south to the small village of Látky for our last night in Slovakia.

  • Distance: 69 km (43 mi)
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 11: Slovakia to Bánk, Hungary

Highlights: Bicycling the low hills of southern Slovakia into Hungary

Our ride today takes us across the border into Hungary after traversing one of the most culturally diverse regions of Central Europe. We leave the forests behind us and begin to get into more field crops, horticulture and a little viticulture.

DAY 12: Bicycle Bánk to Budapest, Hungary

Highlights: The hills of Hungary, Danube river, bike paths into Budapest

Our final ride takes us through the low hills of northern Hungary to the banks of the Danube river north of Budapest. We'll follow small roads and bike paths to enter the city, with part of our route on islands in the middle of the Danube. Our hotel is in the heart of Budapest. We'll celebrate our ride with a special final dinner tonight.

DAY 13: Tour ends in the enchanting city of Budapest

Highlights: Budapest, Parliament building, Fisherman's Bastion, the Danube River

Our trip ends after breakfast today; take time to explore this extraordinary city.

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Tour begins in Krakow

Lodging: Hotel Wielopole

Meeting time 2 p.m. - on Day 1, meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the Day 1 Hotel specified on the itinerary.

Note:

As you are planning, remember that the hotels listed in our itineraries are our primary hotels and are - in rare cases - subject to change. Before you make arrangements, check with us if your tour departure is guaranteed. If your tour departure is out further than 6 months, please also check with us as there might be slight changes to the itinerary.

The below information will help you plan your arrival. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio. The fare and timing information listed below is approximate.

We recommend flying into the Krakow Airport (KRK):

  • Taxi from the airport to the Day 1 Hotel (30 min/PLN 70)
  • Note:We strongly recommend that you use the official airport taxi company, RADIO TAXI 9191, found at the airport taxi stand outside of the airport. If there are no cars at the stand, use the phone at the station to call them directly (they do speak English). You can also call +48 800 19 19 19 from a public phone, or from a mobile phone dial: +48 12 19191. Stick with the official taxi even if you are approached by a driver from another company. The fare estimate above should be the maximum, including tip (taxis use a meter).

Day 13: Departure Information

Tour ends in the enchanting city of Budapest

Your trip ends on the final day after breakfast.

The below information will help you plan your departure. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio

We recommend flying out of the Budapest Airport (BUD)

From the Ending Hotel to the Budapest Airport

  • Taxi. The front desk can arrange your transfer at a discounted rate (45 min/HUF 6500 through hotel/HUF 8000 regular)
  • Shuttle Bus (times and fares vary).

What's Included

For a full list of what's included before, during and after your bike tour, visit our What's Included page.

Keep in Mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

It is rare to find air-conditioning at hotels in this part of the world.

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To do right after you booked!

6 to 3 Months Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Check the online itinerary of your trip and review the arrival and departure information under the "Travel Information" tab to see meeting place and time, if a reservation on a complimentary ExperiencePlus! Shuttle (if applicable) is required, and other important information to help you plan your arrival and departure.
  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program: https://www.experienceplus.com/blog/travel-planning/bicycle-tour-training/
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 to 2 Weeks Prior to Tour Start Date

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

Bicycles

Your bike comes with a pack for the rear rack, lock, cyclometer (bicycle computer), a spare tube and patch kit and pump, a rear light and in some places a bell. If you would like to bring your own pedals and shoes we recommend doing so—your tour leaders will install them during the bike fitting. We have flat pedals with or without cages available. For safety and hygiene reasons you are responsible for bringing a helmet.

Daysheets

Each day you'll receive a daysheet with information on the day's activities, meals and ride. These also include Tour Leader phone numbers, hotel information and interesting historical and cultural information about sites that you may want to stop and see along the route. Your Tour Leaders will also post daily announcements in the hotel lobby with information about sightseeing in town or restaurant recommendations for dinners on your own as well as important information about breakfast, luggage down and "arrows down" time.

Navigating on Tour

Each day we will provide you with a route map with the day's ride highlighted route. Of course, we also mark the route every day with our signature chalk dust arrows. Our arrows make navigating very easy—you may never need to look at the map! The arrows also allow you to ride at your own pace. There is no need to "keep up" with the group—this is your ride!

But what if it rains? What happens to the arrows? In a light rain, the arrows actually "set up" and become more permanent. In a heavy rain, they do wash away. If that happens, we'll re-group to cycle together for those who want to continue cycling while those who prefer to stay dry can shuttle.

For the tech-loving riders out there we offer the opportunity to download GPS tracks of most tour routes to your personal GPS device using RideWithGPS.com. Tracks are available upon request approximately three to four weeks prior to the departure.

Van Support

The van carries luggage and supports cyclists. It also has water, fruit and snacks. Though the van has snacks, we encourage you to stop and enjoy markets and find your own favorite local specialty.

Hotels

We have carefully chosen all of our accommodations for their charm and location. They are typically small, family run hotels that offer you a glimpse into the local culture.

We prefer hotels near interesting sites in the center of town located along the best cycling route in the area. Because many of the hotels are small not all of the rooms will be exactly the same. We keep this in mind and do our best to distribute rooms fairly by the end of the tour. Our itinerary lists our primary hotels. On rare occasions, listed hotels are subject to change.

Meals and Restaurants

Breakfasts: we work hard to arrange complete breakfasts but some hotels still serve continental style breakfasts; cycling is energy intensive so we do recommend you plan for a morning or mid-morning snack on the road at a local café or market.

Water is OK in almost all hotels and in country fountains; if there is a problem, we will advise you.

We'll recommend lunch locations en route and most itineraries include a few group picnics. We limit the number of picnics so you don't feel pressured to be at a certain place in the middle of your ride.

Dinners together are often pre-planned and pre-ordered. We'll ask you prior to your trip if you have special dietary requirements. Preplanned meals allow us to provide a variety of regional specialties and facilitate efficient service. Water, wine and beer are included.

Tipping Your Tour Leader Team

If you feel your tour leader team has demonstrated great expertise and service, common practice within the travel industry is to tip. Tipping is voluntary and greatly appreciated, and gratuity amounts vary widely. Should you decide to leave a tip, as a guideline, we suggest 5% of the tour cost per traveler – this for the entire tour leader team, not each Tour Leader. If you’d like to show your gratitude for your Tour Leaders’ excellent service you can give the tip to any member of the tour leader team, as they share it evenly. In order to avoid social tensions, we encourage you to tip as individuals and not as a group. If you feel your Tour Leaders did not quite meet your expectations, then we would like to know about it. You will also have the opportunity to leave your comments in our evaluation survey which we email to you after your trip.

Photos

By reserving space on tour, you agree that ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours may use, re-use and reproduce any images, photos or videos that you send to us, or that are taken by our guides and/or other travelers of you individually or in a group, in any medium, including but not limited to print, electronic media, or Internet, free of charge and without your right to inspection, for promoting and publicizing our travel products and services worldwide. If you do not want us to use any images of you that are taken by us or other participants during the tour, you must inform us or your tour leader in writing at the start of the tour.

Map

Map

Reviews

Reviews

  • As usual amazing tour leaders. Wonderfully accommodating very smart lots of fun. Challenging, very interesting loved it beautiful cities. But this was not France or Italy. I would recommend it to people who have done other tours and are open to surprises. The roads were any where from pristine to impossible if you are not flexible it would be problematic.

    Lizz V., Sunnyvale, CA
  • We enjoyed it all, but in particular the Dunajec Gorge was beautiful and it was lovely to do it twice at different times of the day. The finish, riding into Budapest, was wonderful and the special dinner on board the boat whilst travelling along the Danube

    Heather B., Kirkcaldy, Fife Scotland
  • I especially enjoyed our picnic lunch with spectacular views of the High Tatras, pedaling the gorge between Slovakia and Poland, and the boat dinner cruise of Budapest.

    Kevin G., Bullhead City, AZ
  • Challenging, but do-able riding. Great variety, really, really good tour guides.

    Kay F., Fort Collins, CO - June 2018
  • the thrill of riding through the countryside, particularly of Slovakia, was wonderful.

    Jerry S., Palo Alto, CA
  • This was one of the best tours offered by ExperiencePlus. In Poland and Slovakia we daily had long uphill climbs with lovely downhills. This was great biking! The scenery in Slovakia was also outstanding. The forests and the meadows were beautiful, and the changing of the forest colors from green to fall colors added to the spectacular views. Then, cruising up and down the Danube, having dinner and enjoying the lighted night sights of Budapest was a super ending to a great tour!

    Carolyn and Harold M.,
    Centerville, UT
  • What was your favorite experience on this trip? Eight cyclists - one pack - cycling into Budapest to the hotel. A real buzz.

    Collin B., Castle Hill NSW, Australia
  • How would you describe this tour to a friend? Fairly rigorous cycling, interesting culturally, beautiful routes, great guides and great food.

    Jill C., Fredericksburg, TX
  • Jerry and I have just returned from the Krakow to Budapest trip and really had a great time. The scenery was really fantastic, especially the wild flowers, dark forests, and open fields. The final dinner on the boat cruising the Danube was a great way to end the trip.

    Dick S., Palo Alto, CA
  • The tour was a lot of fun with great guides and people. The countries are obviously developing, but very interesting. Worth seeing. Poland is thriving, Slovakia is green and beautiful and Hungary is charming and lively.

    Jane C., Lucca, Italy
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