Touring - Anyone toured Poland or Germany?
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04-16-05, 01:18 AM
Thinking about where to go on first tour this summer...wondering if any of y'all had any experience in our neck of the woods.
When I was in the army way back in '82 they had some road bikes at the base we could sign out for the day. I used to use them to go castle crawling around Killinstaten (Schoneck 3), Hanou, and Bad Vilbel (great mineral water). That's about all.
04-16-05, 06:35 AM
Have not cycled there, but just spent 10 days visiting a friend who
lives in Gostyn, near Poznan and studying at Katowice University.
The area around Katowice reminds me of England in the 1950s with
the atmosphere tainted by coal dust due to large number of coal
fired power stations - you can even taste it! Auschwitz concentration
camp is near here and a visit will really move you.
Zakopane in the Tatra mountains is a must if you like snowboarding
and skiing - there was plenty of action on the slopes at Easter.
I enjoyed a brief visit to Krakow, interesting city with a marvellous
large square with cafes and cake shops. The castle and cathedral
overlook the river Wisla, noted a cycle path running alongside it.
Nearby a trip down the Salt Mines at Wieliczka is unique
Poznan was my favourite stop, I thought the square in the centre
was prettier than Krakow with it multi-painted houses and city hall.
There is also a good modern commercial zone with plenty of
interesting shops. Also the university gives the city a bit more of a
Poland and Poznan has excellent travel connections with
Europe - trains, buses and trams are cheap and clean, low cost
airlines fly from UK for as little as £35 each way and the cost of
living is 3 to 4 times cheaper than UK! Two of us travelled from
Poznan to Berlin on an intercity express - four hours journey for £26
total! The railway offers discount tickets within the last half hour of
departure if seats are available.
Bicycles can be transported in luggage carriage or compartment
purchasing ticket for bicycle transportation. In case train does not
have luggage compartment, bicycle can be transported in first
vestibule of the first carriage or in the last vestibule of the last, under
own supervision. Bicycle dedicated carriages are run in trains Ex Tatry, Ex E. Malinowski.
For cyclists, the landscape is relatively flat, open farm land with lots
and lots of birch forest in between. I believe the north east of Poland
has many lakes and is very pretty. The local roads appeared good
with little traffic on them. The main highways had many heavy
trucks - mostly cross continental.
Did not see much evidence of campsites and tourism outside of the
larger towns and cities. Accommodation is very cheap a nice room
can cost from £4 per person upwards a night, so maybe no need to camp. Examples of accommodation at Zakopane, a very touristy centre, where prices are higher thsn elsewhere in Poland.
I saw plenty of local cyclists (rovers in polish) and again there was a cycle shop in each large town I visited. The language is really difficult to understand, but young people are keen to speak English.
There are plenty of cash machines in the towns and cities for credit card tourers.
Poland on the internet
Maybe one day I will return on the bike.
04-16-05, 08:46 AM
Hi, we are in Warsaw Poland for almost 3 yeras now. We've biked quite a bit around Warsaw and we are heading to the Mazurian Lakes area north of Warsaw tomorrow for about 4 days of touring. Will post a link with photos when I return. We can get on the local trains here, get off, bike around, and return on later trains. There is usually a car that allows bikes on the local trains. They are slow, stop often, but cost vry little. We go to the apple orchard area every fall just south of Warsaw by train. It has gentle rolling hills and lots 'o crisp apples! We will be driving to the lakes area tomorrow however.
Germany has some exellent trials. Have done the Spreewald / Lubbenau & Baltic coast bike trails. Both area fantastic. Another friend has biked the Dresden south along the Elb River, also excellent.
Here is a link to the map and info where I found the 3 trails + many many more: http://www.germany-tourism.de/biking/
We can't recommend Germany enough. Poland is also great, but has few designated trials. The roads are narrow and drivers do not always look out for you 8-(
happy trails. epaT@Warsaw
04-16-05, 09:33 AM
We can't recommend Germany enough. Poland is also great, but has few designated trials. The roads are narrow and drivers do not always look out for you
that's exactly what i was thinking. we've been living in poznan now for about 15 months and the drivers are CRAZY!! and while i'm sure some of the "back roads" would be better, maybe it would be better to think about Germany.
one possible "route" we thought about was Poznan-Pila-Koszalin-Szczecin-Poznan...maybe over the course of 10-14 days. i think it'd be beautiful, especially up around the baltic. but, i'm just a bit afraid of how the roads would be (safety wise).
thanks for your post and the info. enjoy your tour in "mazury". it's beautiful up there!
04-16-05, 09:41 AM
eU...on the baltic tour...
(1) where did you stay at night, and
(2) how did you travel there/back
04-16-05, 09:54 AM
On the Baltic, we camped. It was mid August so nice and warm. The big difference between Poland and Germany is that the Germany trails are ONLY FOR BIKING, no cars, no worries.
We drove up to SwinouJscie Poland, stayed in a hotel because the campground was jammed packed, left the car in secure parking, and biked across the border into Germany. THe trail follows the coast after that and goes all the way to Denmark, if you have the time! We ended up on Rugen Island for a few days and took a train back. No problem for bikes on the trains. It even had a side rail to bungee your bike down, very accommodating!
We've very excited now, packing our bags for tommorrows trip. We're relatively new to touring from place to place. It is my wife's first trip so it will be fun.
It's also great to help someone else discover the awesome biking around here. Ckeck the link I sent you for the map along the Baltic coast.
04-16-05, 10:40 AM
Trust me...I'm already pumped about those German routes. We thought the "Inn" route (can't remember the exact name) looked amazing. It's in SE Germany...view of the Alps, circular route. With your description of the Baltic route though, who knows.
We'll definitely do one of them this summer! Thanks again for that tip!!
04-16-05, 12:24 PM
The interactive map link is great: http://www.germany-tourism.de/biking/radfahren_interaktive_karte_TEST.html
We only use the maps and have never done the package. Too pricey and well you know too "packaged"!
You could spend a lifetime just biking Germany. A guy I work with did the Elbe River tour from Dresden to the Czek border. Said it was a paved bike trail right on the rivers edge - awesome. He gets on a plane with his bike on Monday and will bike the Pyrenees area of Spain!
Also work with some other guys who swear by the biking in France and Austrain Alps. Soooo many tails, soooooo little time to bike them!
04-16-05, 06:46 PM
Trento Bike Pages are the best resource I have ever found for touring in Europe. Go to http://www-math.science.unitn.it/Bike/
See my Austria photos and report at http://webhome.idirect.com/~brown/austria1.htm
See photos of my trip along the Rhine and Mosel valleys at http://webhome.idirect.com/~brown/mosel1.html
04-16-05, 09:21 PM
thanks for that info Ken. looks to be quite helpful!
04-16-05, 09:29 PM
AWesome Ken, THANKS!
05-05-05, 01:11 PM
We had a great trip to the Warmnia area of Mazury Lakes, in Poland recently. Here is a link to the photos if you'd like to see what tht region looks like. The left side of this web page has scrollable thumbnails: http://www.hendricksons.info/mazury/index.htm
It was definitly eary season but we did find some unique places to stay as we went along at great prices.
Another helpful biking link is this one for the Polish train network, in English: http://rozklad.pkpik.pl/bin/query.exe/en?
Type in your start and destination points to find all the trains traveling between those places. If you check the box for bicycles, it will give you the trains where bikes are allowed. The slow trains are local trains that stop a lot but have cars for bikes and cheap travel prices
05-06-05, 07:31 AM
Great pics....looks like y'all had a great time! Was the trip pretty bike-friendly?
05-07-05, 12:01 AM
Hey mshattuck, the trip was better than we thought it would be. Beautiful scenery with rolling hills through forests and farm land. If we stayed off the main roads we were OK. We did have to do some sections of 'red' roads which were not fun. If they had a paved shoulder it is used by bikes, pedestrians, and to pass cars, sometimes 4 abreast (2 from each way)! Another 'red' we were on had no shoulder, paved or gravel, so we walked our bikes the 3k distance to a quieter road. So it can be done, but need to be careful about planning and have plenty of maps and options. We also biked near rail lines, so if we got hungup, we could always jump a train to get to a bigger town.
It was also early season so traffic was sparse. We did find accommodation when we needed it, from beautiful new private to older communist style govt. owned. Accommodation was a concern as we had 7 in our group and at days end in cool weather, you needed to find something, and we always did. Summer would be easier because you could carry camping stuff. Summer would also bring a lot more traffic. Poland is about the size of Ohio, but has 38 million people living in it! We will go back to that area again and explore some more because it is very vast with many back roads, unspoiled villages, and inexpensive prices.
BTW, we also went to Gdansk this past weekend on a scouting expedition. Our favorite place in Poland right now. Fantastic old town. We camped in Sopot and rode a bike path on the Baltic that goes from Gdansk to Gadynia. Very much like German Baltic. Want to go this summer and do the Hel (and back!) section, which is also on Baltic. Found an express train that goes from Warsaw to Gdansk in 4 hours. It allows bikes and bike reservations! Only operates from June 25 til August 31. Definitely a summer beach run train! Here are the train details: http://rozklad.pkpik.pl/bin/traininfo.exe/en/302049/197610/655426/227030/4095/ld=pkp&seqnr=3&ident=kt.01233667.1115444998&
Got that info from this site: http://rozklad.pkpik.pl/bin/query.exe/en?
05-07-05, 01:00 AM
Can't comment about Poland, but Germany, especially south would be wonderful. And although I've visited Germany's bicycle capital (Muenster-Westfahlen) with bike routes galore, I'd stick to the more geographically interesting south. While I was there I briefly saw route descriptions along the Donau (Danube) that looked wonderful. The Romantic Road (Romantische Strasse) would be worth looking into as well. Don't know about cycle-specific paths on this road, but it would be practically castle-after-castle bike touring.
And a brief anecdote... While touring from Paris to southern Germany by bike a decade ago, my (now) wife and I saw more cyclists in just an afternoon in Germany than we had seen the entire two weeks in France. It was strange riding in the home country of The Tour to see almost no cyclists and no bike paths. Once crossing the Rhein, bike paths and cyclists everywhere. Not what we expected.
Germany produces myriad bicyle touring maps and brouchures. If you can get by in German, I'm sure you'll find a lot online. I'm sorry I don't have any URL's to share - can't find the brochures I picked up on our last trip.
Viel Gluck & viel Segen auf All Deinen (Rad)Wegen!
05-08-05, 07:35 AM
If you want to have those "bicyle touring maps and brouchures" you just have to go to the little library shops (in every even small town) or railway station library shops. They will have every brouchure of the area. Or look at the greater villages homepage like www.chosenvillage.de (no real site), they often have links to what you're looking for.
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