Krakow to Tokaj
Cycle from Tatras to Tokaj on this self-guided holiday in Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. After an evening in Krakow you will cross the border into Slovakia and cycle past the ragged Alpine peaks of the High Tatras Range. Visit Slovakia’s second city, Kosice, and ride from the Vistula to the Danube through picturesque scenery. Explore Kezmarok, with its spectacular collection of Renaissance and Gothic buildings and end your tour in Tokaj, a celebrated wine producing region.
From £885.00 P/P
Join tour Krakow. We meet in the evening in an old town restaurant.
Today we cross the border into Slovakia, driving to the town of Tatranska Lomnica, nestling amongst the ragged peaks of the High Tatras Range. Taking lunch in Tatranska Lomnica we then begin cycling, enjoying an exhilarating downhill ride to the historic town of Kezmarok, once one of the most important settlements on medieval Slovakia’s eastern boundaries.
Colonised by Germans during the 13th century the town stood second only to nearby Levoca in importance and its old town still retains a distinctive medieval feel, dominated by the imposing presence of its 15th century castle. The town also boasts a superb wooden church, considered by many to be one of the finest in the entire country, as well as some outstanding examples of Gothic architecture, including the Basilica of the Holy Cross, built in the 15th century on the site of the original church built by the town’s German settlers.
Cycling to the charming old village of Hradisko this morning we have the opportunity to crest the top of nearby Brezova Hill for some spectacular views out across the Tatras. Continuing along the ridgeline we then cycle through a quite breathtaking vista, before enjoying a downhill coast to the historic walled city of Levoca. Abounding with beautiful Renaissance architecture and impressive fortifications, the town presents us with one of the most captivating locations in the entire Spis region.
Colonised by German settlers in the 12th century much of the town’s present character was forged during the 16th century, after a fire necessitated a rebuilding of the heart of the town, endowing this hidden gem with a quite spectacular collection of Renaissance and Gothic buildings.
Levoca’s centrepiece is the 15th century Church of St James, the second largest Gothic church in the country and boasting the world’s largest wooden altar, along with some particularly fine frescoes. The town’s main square is littered with an array of impressive town houses and its Town Hall is amongst the most stunning of this remarkable collection of historic jewels.
Leaving Levoca behind this morning we cycle uphill, following tracks that take us past a patchwork of fields, up tŠibenik Hill for some wonderful views across Levoca and the Tatras beyond. From here we follow a series of minor roads, through a collection of small villages until we reach the town of Spiska Kapitula, once the religious capital of the region and for some 600 years almost entirely inhabited by clergy.
We visit the ruins of the nearby Spissky Hrad, once one of the largest castles in Central Europe. Occupying the ridge high above the town, the castle was originally built by Hungarian Kings at the turn of the 13th century, eventually meeting its end in 1780, since which it has remained a ghostly testament to the conflicts and internecine politics that once plagued this region. From the top of the Gothic Tower there is a spectacular all round view of the surrounding landscape. From here we cycle downhill to the village of Zehra, to view its 12th century church, before continuing to the old mining town of Krompachy in the Hornad River Valley.
Lying at the junction of three major mountain ranges – the Levocsky Hills, the Bračisko Massif and the Volovsky Hills, the town is blessed with some superb scenery, surrounded on every side by rising peaks and plunging valleys. We will be staying at the nearby ski resort of Pleisy, affording us the ideal opportunity to take in some of the wonderful views and ambience of this mountain setting.
Today we journey along the Hornad River Valley, following a network of cycle paths and minor roads, traversing a landscape that takes us through the Carpathians to the town of Kosice. As we cycle through Margecany, the river changes into a substantial reservoir, with high steep banks that are carpeted in wild forest. We aim to stop for lunch at a restaurant somewhere close to the waters edge, before resuming our journey along a forest road that skirts the reservoir.
As we near the end of the day’s journey the mountain landscape changes to a more gentle terrain of rolling hills as we enter a warmer climate zone lying amongst the southern boundaries of Eastern Slovakia. Kosice is the country’s second largest city, where the old and the new come together in an eclectic fusion of sights and sounds. The ity is littered with museums and churches and its labyrinth of charming narrow streets make it perfect to explore on two wheels.
Originally a Slav settlement, the city has had a somewhat chequered history, gaining importance under the early Hungarian empire, before attacks from the Turks saw its important trade routes interrupted and its commercial importance decline. Its allegiances and influences have continually moved between Czech and Hungarian factions over the years and even today its has a viBračt Hungarian ethnic community.
Passing between the rolling hills of Eastern Slovakia we head first for Slanec Castle this morning, a 13th century Gothic ruin that occupies the hills above the Bodrog River Valley. Passing through a vista of vineyards and villages we pass through Velka Trna and Mala Trna, en route to Satoraljaujhely just across the Hungarian border in the northern uplands close to the Zemplen Hills.
Strategically located on the trading routes to Russia, Poland and Transylvania, the town thrived during the Middle Ages, being granted town privileges in 1261 by King Stephen V. The most northern town in Hungary, nestling amongst a landscape of forests and vineyards, it also played a key role in the fight for independence from the Austrians and today is part of the famous Hegyalja wine-growing region.
Cycling along the Bodrog and Tisa Valleys today we follow an abandoned railway line that takes us via the historically important town of Sarospatak. Once a centre for Calvinist power and thought, the town has also played a pivotal role over the years in Hungary’s fight for independence from the Habsburg yolk. We take time to visit the riverside castle of Rakoczi, an imposing edifice that spans some 500 years of the town’s turbulent history.
The castle’s most illustrious owners were the Transylvanian Rakoczis, who expanded much of the Renaissance Palace and held the fortress until the early years of the 18th century, when their unsuccessful fight against the Austrian crown resulted in Ferenc Rakoczi being driven into exile and the castle passing into the hands of Austrian nobility.
After our visit we continue south, following the flow of the Bodrog River towards the town of Tokaj, lying to the west of the confluence of the Bodrog and the Tisza. This is one of the most celeBračed wine producing areas in the country and Tokaj makes up part of the expansive Tokaj-Hegyalja region that runs through the southern and eastern fringes of the Zemplen Hills.
Depart after breakfast.
A cycling tour of moderate difficulty. Height differences of 100-200 m occur a few times. We follow the Hornad river valley in the Carpathian mountains and then cycle through the flat Tisa valley in Hungary.
Route Map (For guidance only):
Routes maybe subject to change or alteration. All route notes, maps and day-by-day information will be given to you upon arrival at the first hotel or at the welcome meeting. GPS/GPX Files are available for most our the cycling holidays we offer. Please ask us for details.
The Krakow to Tokaj cycling holiday includes the daily transfer of luggage to the next hotel and local support if required.
Included Services (Subject to confirmation)Holiday Information The Vistas & Wines Cycling tour stays in middle tier hotels and good guesthouses carefully chosen for their location, hospitality and proximity to your tour route. Your stay includes the daily transfer of luggage to the next hotel and permanent assistance in case of problems. Services – Accommodation in hotels 3/4/5*and guesthouse in two bedded room with WC and shower, on basis of bed & breakfast.
– Luggage transfers.
– Transfers on days 2 and 4.
– Information package including text road book and maps, one per booking.
– Personal welcome meeting, detailed briefing & bike fitting upon arrival. – Backup service (hotline) during the trip.
3 starsAbout the bikes Some are commercially available models and others are custom built for cycling in Slovenia. All are made following high industry standards and are made using the best parts. Bike are maintained in the workshop on a regular basis. The fleet is constantly renewed, but no bike is more than 2 years old. Classic trekking bikes are equipped with 21 gears, cycling meter, lock, one pannier, set of Allen keys and basic puncture repair set. Price includes delivery and pick up. 3 stars
- Flights to/from the start and finish
- Evening meals (unless stated)
- Local daily taxes (Payable at the hotel)
- Water Bottles
- Travel Insurance
- Bike Insurance (unless stated)
- Welcome Meetings (unless stated)
- Transfers (unless included)
We have put a calendar of events together that will provide you with some inspiration of what you can expect on your holiday, and when the best time to jet off is. Now’s your chance to travel further than you can by foot and be part of a memorable and exciting two-wheel journey with us.