Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cycling trip around the Tatra Mountains

Going around the Tatras on a bike is a proposition for those who already have some experience in cycling and are convinced about their own physical abilities. Why? Because the distance of this trip is more than 200 km long and the height difference is around 2300 meters. The most popular option is to make this trip in 2 days but some cyclists do this during one day (8-11 h). If you want to visit some historical spots on your way, better divide the route into 3-5 days. There are several interesting places on the way like Zakopane, Chocholow, Jurgow and Bukowina Tatrzanska in Poland and Zuberec, Liptowski Mikulas, Prybylina in Slovakia. Of course you can go further and make some longer breaks for hiking trips in the Tatras. It is all up to you ;)

Summarizing: cycling trip around the Tatra Mountains is perfect both for weekend and longer vacations. It depends on your purpouse - just cycling or cycling combined with sightseeing and even hiking.

Where to sleep?
1st option: tent. There are several campings on the way. It is better to check whether the chosen camping is working because some are open only in summer season.
2nd option: private lodgings. There are plenty of them around the Tatras, a bit more on Polish side. Sometimes it may be difficult to find accomodation only for one night - in order to avoid problems I suggest to make a booking earlier.
3rd option: shelter in the mountains. Some shelters in the Tatra Mountains are accesible by bike. In Poland shelters in: Chocholowska (asphalt road), Bystrej and Sucha Woda valleys. In Slovakia shelters in Zarska (asphalt road) and Kiezmarska valleys.
4th option: hotels.
5th option: Couch Surfing ;)

Were to eat?
Generally there is no problem to find good place for lunch. Most of the towns and villages on our way are touristic and provided with bars and restaurants.

Uphills and downhills 
On the way there are several uphills and downhills that may be exhausting:
- mountain passes on the eastern and western edge of the Tatras,
- uphill to Štrbské Pleso (it is not necessary to enter the town, you can just pass through the crossroad),
- uphill to Bukowina Tatrzańska from Jurgow or Poronin. 

Types of roads
 You generally use main and side roads with asphalt surface. In Slovakia many of those roads are empty with a small trafic. In Poland there are a little bit more cars, but still it is not annoying. Of course there is less traffic on weekends.

If you search for some diversity and have more time you can choose a dirt road - the marked trail in the foothills of Slovak Tatra Mountains (on the south). It is not recommended after rain or in early spring when the snow is melting - it may be full of mud. 



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