One of the largest sport event in Poland – Tour de Pologne, the road bicycle race, is organized every year in the middle of summer. It consists of seven or eight stages and the distance of the race is around 1,200 km. The first race took place in 1928 and it was organized as an amateur race until 1992. Since 1993 it has become a world class event which gains the professionals from many countries. It is also a part of UCI World Tour competition.
Some of the stages – the mountain stages, take part in Zakopane and its surroundings. Cyclists do amazing things here! The first day they arrive into the mountain area making the distance of around 160 km in length. The second day they make circles at the foothills of the Tatra Mountains – 190 kilometers of uphills and downhills.
Cyclists are accompanied by the fans. People stand along the route and support in many different ways. Some of them are dressed up with funny make-up, others sing or ring the bells. Race is also an excuse for a barbecue - those who live along the race route organize small parties combined with supporting the cyclist.
Tour de Pologne is also a great promotion of the sport. Many people inspired by the race decide to rent a bicycle and explore the area. Suggestion for the advanced cyclists is the tour around the Tatras. Begginers can make some cycling trips along the valleys or other mountain ridges around the Tatras.
Tour de Pologne four times received the title of "The Best Sport Event of the Year" in Poland. If you are nearby the race route take your time to cheer the cyclists – it is a great fun :) You can also take part in the amateurs race which draw crowds of participants (in 2013 it was about 1400 people!). Or maybe in the professionals competition? :)
We did a great cycling trip around the Tatra Mountains starting from Zakopane!
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.
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.
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.
In Zakopane there are several 'bike rentals' if you don't have your bike with you.
The Tatra Mountains are perfect for one-day hikes. You will find there simple routs suitable for short walks with children as well as medium and very difficult trail requiring abilities and experience. You just need to choose a route – it is good to check the maps and guidebooks or go for a trip with an experienced mountain guide. Some summits in the Polish Tatras are not available for tourists, some can be reached only by climbers. What is more – the school groups are obliged to hike only with a licensed mountain guide. When you hike in the Tatra National Park you also need to follow the marked trails – some rules are described on the Park’s website (site under construction).
Example: The valley floor of Dolina Koscieliska, The valley floor of Dolina Chocholowska, Dolina Bialego, Dolina Strazyska, Sciezka pod Reglami, Dolina Bystrej – to the mountain hut on a Kondratowa clearing, Kasprowy Wierch by a cable car, Morskie Oko
MEDIUM HARD TRAILS
Example: Kuznice – Hala Gasienicowa - Kuznice, Cyrhla – Wielki Kopieniec – Dolina Olczyska – Nosal, Zazadnia – Wiktorówki – Gesia Szyja, Sarnia Skala.
The trails described below are mostly difficult because they require good physical condition.
Example: Czerwone Wierchy, Dolina Pieciu Stawow – Szpiglasowa Przelecz – Morskie Oko, Kasprowy Wierch – Kopa Kondracka, Ornak – Starorobocianski – Trzydniowianski, Grzes – Rakon - Wolowiec
VERY DIFFICULT TRAILS
The trails described below are mostly difficult because they require good physical condition and they include technical difficulties.
Example: Rysy – the highest summit in the Polish Tatras, Orla Perc, Koscielec, Swinica.
If your physical conditions are very good but you’re not sure if you manage with the technical difficulties - use the service of reliable and experienced mountain guide.
Clothing and gear required for all the trips: backpack, trekking boots, warm waterproof clothing, raincoat, food and drink, map.
In a case of accident call +48 601 100 300 – the Mountain Rescue number.
More trail-details: http://geographers-eye.blogspot.com/2013/05/one-day-trips-in-polish-tatras.html
Spring in the mountains is not like in the lowlands - you may still find lots of snow in their higher parts. Very often those are the best snow condition for alpine touring. Visiting mountains that time you must be prepared for low temperature, snowfall as well as summer-like weather conditions. No matter how much snow is still in the mountains - marmots wake up in the middle of April. Sometimes they need to dig through the snow - few years ago we measured 4 meters deep hole made by waking up marmot! Bears are different - they wait for warm days and the real spring.
In the lower parts of the mountains everything is slowly waking up and starting a new life. It is the best time to make short trips to the valleys and admire meadows of crocuses:
How many petals does crocus have?
That was the question my mom asked watching in close-up unusual, as it turned out, crocuses on Siwa Polana in the Western Tatras. Most of us has never thought about it but the genned up person will respond that six. We also find unambiguous statement in the professional literature of nature. So how do we explain the fact that there are seven or even eight petals of the flower crocus? That specimens have been observed in the Tatra clearings for many years. Crocuses with an abnormal number of petals are a tiny minority but a skilled observer will find it pretty quickly. Does it mean that the crocus longiflorus , one of the most popular flowers of the Tatra Mountains, has mutated? Probably no - the phenomenon is observed in terms of the variability characteristics which sometimes have become more noticeable but usually there are only episodes such as in the case of four-leaf clover.
Review written together with my fiance Andrzej.
See our: www.squidoo.com/discover-carpathians#module167222313
HISTORY. Wiktorówki is the Mother of God who takes care of the place and the people visiting Her. In 1860, Our Lady appeared to the call of a young girl being in need named Mary - shepherdess had lost her sheep in the fog. Thanks to the Mother of God the herd was found. Mary also listened to the warning and prophecy for the Highlanders.
Mountaineers herding sheep and woodcutters working at felling of trees started coming to pray at the place pointed by Mary. A holy image painted on glass was hung on the tree. Then, the glass painted image was replaced by the bas-relief. At the end of the century, an unknown artist made a small chapel and statue of Our Lady Queen of the Tatras. This is the same figure that is the part of the main altar nowadays. The old chapel itself is hanging on the outside wall of the sanctuary. In 1902 a bigger chapel was built but soon burned down. The Figure’s right hand is still charred as a sign of fire. The present sanctuary building dates from 1936 but was rebuilt several times.
Wiktorówki is not only a small wooden church in the middle of the woods in the Tatras...read more on my blog: http://geographers-eye.blogspot.com/2013/04/wiktorowki-magic-place.html
More and more I enjoy backcountry skiing! Of course the begginings are difficult and you feel strange with heels free all the time. But after a while you appreciate that the equipement is so light! It is a perfect option for those who are tired with crowds at downhill areas but still not convinced to more extreme alpine touring. You can hike on skis over the hills and through the woods and explore new sites. Suddenly it turns out that in your immediate surroundings there are plenty of interesting places to find and visit.
I did a wonderfull trip - it took around 4 hours. The same trip you can do in summertime on a mountain bike. We made a circle from Brzegi to Rynias and back to Brzegi. Rynias is located between Jurgów and Łysa Polana, 3 km from village Brzegi. It is on a border between Podhale and Spiš regions. The best way to get there is by car.
There are planty of places for a backcountry skiing around Zakopane. You just take a map, find some hills surrounding the villages, take your skis or rent in Zakopane and go!
I am a great fan of alpine touring and I try to do it as often as it is possible. It is getting more and more popular in Polish Tatra Mountains. The Tatra National Park allows skiers to follow almost all walking paths in the mountains. There are also some special ski trails and downhill slopes.
If you don't have a special equipement you can easly rent it in Zakopane.
Mofre details about one of my alpine touring trip you can read on a blog: http://geographers-eye.blogspot.com/2013/03/alpine-touring-in-western-tatras.html
Every season of the year is good to observe chamois but the best time for it is a sunny autumn. Then you can meet big herds of this animals formed before the mating season.
Chamois can be easly found in the highest parts of the Tatra Mountains. Very often they feed close to the walking paths. If you take binoculars you will see them for sure :)
more about this fascinating animal read on:
One of my favourite places for downhill skiing in Poland is Kasprowy Wierch in the Polish Tatra Mountains. It has some advantages that other places lack.
First of all a beautiful view from the top... You can see many of the highest peaks of the Polish and Slovakian Tatras. Very often the summit rises above the clouds surface, so you find your self over the sea of fog. Amazing.
Ski slopes on Kasprowy Wierch are prepared without snowmaking - in my opinion (I suppose not only mine) skiing on the natural snow gives much more fun, more pleasure. Snow guns are not used in the Tatra National Park due to the nature protection.
The ski slopes are quite long: Kocioł Gąsienicowy Valley - 1400 m, Kocioł Goryczkowy Valley - 2000 m. The difficulty level is high and very high. Those two ski runs start from the top of Kasprowy Wierch. You can reach it by a modern cable car.
Read more on: http://geographers-eye.blogspot.com
After Schronisko w Dolinie Piêciu Stawów, it's a fairly steep climb up steps, but then you're rewarded with a brilliant view of Morskie Oko, and Rysy, Poland's highest peak and tomorrow's climb if you're up for it!
From Morskie Oko, you'll head around the lake to climb steeply (yes, it's all steep) to Czarny Staw. From here the ascent proper begins, up a lot of stairs, and about 1000 feet from the top, as the views open up, onto rungs and cables. It's a bit hairy up here, so have your wits about you, and avoid if heights aren't your thing, but it's a good, fun, bit of scrambling, mostly reasonably exposed. The summit is the border with Slovakia and a chance to feel smug - this is a serious climb!
Down into Slovakia follows cairns to reach another hut, where they take Euros! (watch out for the prune surprise) Slovakian humour is clearly on display in this hut, and it's a welcome sight. The journey into the valley to Popradske Pleso, a beautiful secluded lake 4k uphill from the train station and right by a fascinating mountain cemetery (seriously, it's worth a visit - it's very artistic if nothing else), is a fairly gentle one on a good well-marked path.
It is very pleasant to wander around Zakopane and surroundings seeing the beautiful wooden houses
Es muy agradable pasear por Zakopane y sus alrededores viendo las hermosas casas de madera
The most convenient it is to go grab a bus to Kunisce that is outside the village (3km) ( Bus 59 ).
You are not allowed to drive
From here there are two alternatives , you can walk up , 5 hours round trip or grab the cable car with a change in an intermediate station, with a vertical drop of 936m with 4000m long and it takes 20 minutes
Some people may fell vertigo as it is very high and also in the second section it has a slope of more than 30 degrees.
Halfway cross both cabins with and they have a a capacity of 36 persons each
This cable car was opened in 1936 and it was a point of great friction because the Union of Polish Skiers and those who feared for the environment where very concerned and considered it very harmful
(Good thing they lost)
Lo más cómodo para ir es cojer un autobús hasta Kunisce que está a alas afueras del pueblo ( 3km ) ( Autobus 59 ).
No está permitido ir en coche
A partir de aquí hay dos alternativas , subir andando que pueden ser 5 horas ida y vuelta o cojer el teleférico que con un cambio en una estación intermedia , sube un desnivel de 936m en una longitud de 4000m y tarda 20 minutos
A algunas personas les puede dar vértigo pues es mucha altura y además en el segundo tramo tiene una pendiente de más de 30 grados . A mitad de camino se cruzan las dos cabinas que tiene una capacidad de 36 personas
Este teleférico se inauguró en 1936 y fue un punto de gran fricción ya que los La Unión de Esquiadores Polacos y los que temían por el medio ambiente lo consideraban muy perjudicial
( Menos mal que perdieron )
We were lucky because we had a splendid morning, there was no fog, no wind ... but a splendid sunny day
With a morning so we could enjoy the splendid views that can be seen of the valleys and a series of rocky mountains of 2200m high
There is a restaurant where you eat or drink a hot chocolate
Height 1987 m
Tuvimos suerte pues nos hizo una mañana espléndida , no había ni nieblas , ni viento ... eso si un sol espléndido
Con una mañana así pudimos disfrutar de las espléndidas vistas que se pueden ver de los valles y de una serie de montañas rocosas de 2200m de altura
Hay un restaurante donde puedes comer o tomarte un chocolate caliente
Altura 1987 m
This is the center of Zakopane and it is a 500 meters street full of life in which there are good restaurants, stalls in the streets, all kinds of shops, especially skiing and mountain ... and many people
Perfect place to eat soup (Zurek), sausages ( Bigos ), a few beers (Piwos) and Health! (Na Zdrowie !!!!)
Este es el centro de Zakopane Es una calle de unos 500 metros llena de vida en la que hay buenos restaurantes , puestos en las calles , todo tipo de tiendas , especialmente las de esquí y de montaña y ...mucha gente
Sitio perfecto para tomar una sopa ( Żurek ) , unas salchichas ( Bigos ) , unas cervezas ( Piwo ) y Salud !!! (Na Zdrowie !!!!)
Zakopane and the Tatras are one of the most famous Polish ski reesorts , because they have lots of snow and are very well prepared with tracks, accommodation, ski lifts ...
The ski jumps are famous in Zakopane and they have three ski jumping hills in which they held big tournaments like the World Cup of Ski Jumping
The pity for us is that Spring was not the best time to enjoy the snow
Zakopane y los Tatras son unos de los sitios más famosos para esquiar de Polonia ya que tienen mucha nieve y están muy bien preparados con pistas , alojamientos , remontes ...
Los saltos de esquí son famosos en Zakopane y tienen tres trampolínes en los que se celebran grandes torneos como la Copa del Mundo de saltos de esquí
La pena para nosotros es que primavera no era el mejor momento para disfrutarlo