The adventure of a lifetime, or from Krakow Airport to Zakopane by bike

Because of my mountain passion I try to visit Zakopane very often. Most often, however, this city is just a stopover during my journey to the Tatra Mountains. This time it was different though. Zakopane became my main destination and I decided to get there from Krakow by bike. And to Krakow by plane of course! The fastest, the most comfortable, and with great airport transfers from JTP.Group comfort is guaranteed.

This is another of my bike and train trips. This year I cycled mainly in my home country and now it is time for beautiful Zakopane. Although, in fact, I had the desire and the form for this trip already before. The only problem was bad weather. Fortunately we have a great connection by plane, where you can take bikes, skis and even our pets ­čÖé

But vacations came, cheap tickets found each other and again you can travel between Krakow and Zakopane with your bike. I decided to use the services of KrakowDirect practically at the first opportunity, when the weekend forecasts gave a chance for a mostly nice day. Unfortunately, mostly does not mean completely, as I was to find out quite brutally soon.

Cycling across the world

The alarm clock was supposed to ring at 5:30, although I woke up a bit earlier. I had been feeling the excitement all night! Or rather, I was woken up by the rain falling outside the window. Hey! It wasn’t supposed to be like this, it wouldn’t rain until the evening! But oh well, maybe it’s just fleeting. I go on sleeping, it will be better later.

Finally, I hear the alarm. I get up, look out the window. It is still dripping, but the sun is coming out. I guess it will actually pass soon. For the time being, I still have a lot of desire to go. Besides, I already bought the return ticket, so it would be a shame to give it up.

I eat breakfast, prepare some food for the road and pack my backpack. In the meantime it stops raining. It looks like the weather near Krakow will be like in a fairy tale. 7:20 a.m. I leave the apartment, carry the bike, start measuring in my watch. Time to go – what will be, will be. Ahoy adventure!

From the block I get to Marii Konopnickiej street and behind it directly to Matecznego Roundabout. There I turn south and ride for a while on the bike path near Zakopianka street. I have to pass through a year-long renovation. Dust, mud and stones everywhere…

It started to sprinkle. A moment later it was raining so hard that I decided to go under a tree and put on a rain jacket. Then I decide to wait for a while until it stops. I have plenty of time and, looking at the sky, it should stop soon.

But as bad as it sounds, it starts to thunder. So, I decide it is time for plan B. I get on the bike and continue riding among the local houses. Then, I turned for the viaduct over the freeway and rode deeper into Swoszowice. The rain stops a bit and I have an impression that the clouds are passing by.

When the sun is raising

Unfortunately, I was wrong. Although it stops raining, it starts flashing dangerously close to me. I locate the nearest bus stop, pull in, get off the bike and wait. I know the place is not ideal, but I cannot find a better one.

A bit before entering the central part of Wrz─ůsowice village I have to ride up a quite demanding hill. Nothing particularly steep but it’s still the toughest one so far. Good start, because I know that further on there are many more difficult climbs waiting for me. Closer and closer to the city center. In the background I can easily recognize characteristic features of Giewont.

After a while I get to the train station in Zakopane, where the Velo Dunajec cycling path ends. From this place it was also going home. I still have some time left to go back, because as originally planned, I want to use some of it for wandering around the neighborhood.

First I hit a park with a fantastic view of Tatra Mountains and a characteristic sign “Zakopane”. Then I head towards Guba┼é├│wka.

When you appreciate your lungs…

Guba┼é├│wka – not very high peak on the north side of Zakopane. Accessible by trails, paved roads and railroad. Crowded, maximally commercialized and full of tourist – entertainment infrastructure. For most of the slightly more advanced tourists, completely ordinary.

Today it has a few advantages for me: it guarantees a great view of the highest of Polish mountains, and I can get there by bike. There are several roads, but the most convenient for me would be the one from Ko┼Ťcielisko. So, put your feet on the pedal and get to work!

From Dolna R├│wnia Krupowa I head north to the road to Ko┼Ťcielisko. The traffic is quite heavy, but not too bad. The ride is pretty good, especially that the views on the left side are really cool. The altitude increases intensively fast, offering me even better views of the Tatra peaks rising in the south. Zakopane can also be seen below. The road I’m on is of poor quality, although overall I have no reasons to complain. The heat is more of a problem for me. It is early afternoon and there is nothing to protect me from the sun on this slope.

There are single houses along the street, sometimes some pensions and hotels. At the upper part I find some shadow, which gives me a good opportunity for a short break. I try to drink a lot now, because I know that the demanding uphill, combined with the heat and hours of earlier riding, is a big challenge for my body. After a few minutes of squeezing through the crowd of walking tourists, I arrive at the RTON Guba┼é├│wka transmitter towers. It’s quite characteristic point, which can be easily noticed from many nearby places. You can clearly see it also from a few Tatra peaks.

 

From the main barrier I turn back and start the descent to Zakopane. This time I also have almost all the time downhill, so it goes fast and smooth. About 10 minutes later I am back at the train station.

Back by train

Luckily, the train is already standing, there are only 20-some minutes left before departure. My legs are crying for heaven. I carry my bike into the vestibule of the first car and take a seat. Besides me, there are two other people with bikes. We wait for a while, then the train starts punctually. The planned riding time to Krakow is about 3 hours. To Sucha Beskidzka it goes well. Then the train stops and for a good 40 minutes it does not want to move further. It turns out that another one had a breakdown and is blocking the track. So we have to wait, which makes the whole trip even longer. Eventually, we go on and without any further problems we get to Krakow.

I get off at the station in Łagiewniki. There I got back on the bike and covered the last 3km separating me from home. Altogether I did over 140 km today.

Finishing

Definitely, it was a trip full of adventures and unforgettable views. At the beginning it rained and stormed, then it got hot and was full of challenging climbs. But also a lot of great views and mountain landscapes. I have never travelled from Krakow to the Tatra Mountains in such a way and I definitely enjoyed it.

I also think that I can confidently recommend such a route to others. Of course, if they are in good shape, because it is quite long and sometimes demanding. Such a ride can give a lot of satisfaction, and it has a few sections that will probably be remembered for a long time. I think that so far it was the most enjoyable cycling trip for me this year. It’s a pity that I had no more time to stay in Krakow for sightseeing. I always wanted to visit the Wieliczka salt mine. On the website: https://krakow.wiki/krakow-airport/ I read that it’s a beautiful tour, so I’ll definitely be back sometime!

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