Cycling holiday in Poland

“A relaxed small group cycling tour through Poland and parts of Slovakia, taking you through rural scenery, medieval towns and traditional villages. ”


Easygoing guided cycling with daily routes between 20km and 60km | Luggage transfers | Well-maintained bikes provided | Zakopane | Cable car up Gubalowka Mountain | Nowy Targ | Debno Church | Niedzica | Cerveny Klastor | Pieniny Way | Dunajec Gorge | Stary Sacz | Krakow |

Description of Cycling holiday in Poland

This is an ideal trip for cyclists of a reasonable fitness that are looking for a sociable ride with plenty of time to take in the local scenery and culture, rather than cranking out the kilometres. Daily rides are between 20km and 60km, with your luggage transported between accommodations, on a point-to-point route through southern Poland and Slovakia that comes to an end in the handsome Polish city of Krakow.

You’ll ride past the unique timber architecture of the Zakopane region, found nowhere else in Europe; through wild forests and marshland; take an exhilarating downhill from the summit of Gubalowka Mountain after the cable car up, and along the lush 'Pieniny Way', a cycle path carved from the limestone cliffs that run the length of the Dunajec Gorge.

Pause for a swim in a reservoir, to admire the ancient wooden church of Debno, built in the 1500s, for a sumptuous camp fire meal of trout drawn fresh from the river. Cycle around historic spa towns, parks, feudal villages and the landmarks of Krakow itself, as your guide leads you between Wawel Castle, Kazimierz and the attractive gardens laid out around the Old Town.

Expect a thoroughly enjoyable, sociable tour as you ride along in a group on well-maintained bikes on a mix of terrain that frequently takes you along quiet rural backroads, or dirt tracks by the riverside. Stay every evening in locally owned accommodations with many opportunities to sample the regional cuisine. An ideal trip for the casual cyclist eager to see a side of Poland that most trips here miss entirely.

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Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure.

Responsible tourism

Cycling holiday in Poland

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.


Cycling is recognised as one of the greenest forms of travel producing zero carbon emissions and noise pollution. On this trip the majority of the cycle paths we use follow old towpaths and ancient trade routes through small towns, rather than new routes carved out across the countryside. By choosing this holiday you therefore ensure that your visit to southern Poland has only the smallest of impacts on this rural environment.

Our knowledgeable Polish tour leaders have a strong love for their own country and its traditions and also a love of nature, which they will share along the way. In fact, aall of our suppliers in Poland are local, from our ground agents to transport providers, hotels and tour crew. Our ground agent is the sponsor of several nature protection projects in Poland, including the conservation of Bee-eater colonies and Aquatic Warbler sites and they are a founder member of "The Wild Meadows" – a foundation for the protection of wetlands supported by Polish tour operators.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour Leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.

As a company we support Cool Earth. Protecting rainforest is one of the most effective actions to tackle climate breakdown. CoolEarth work with indigenous communities empowering them to conserve their forest; keeping CO2 locked in.


We also travel in small groups of 12 to 16 participants, to help minimise the disturbance our visit may cause. Much of this holiday is spent in what has traditionally been an economically disadvantaged part of Poland where small-scale agriculture is the main form of income and many young people find themselves forced to move to urban areas to look for work. The additional income generated from our visit is thus particularly welcome and where possible we stay in family owned and operated small hotels and pensions and eat out in different local restaurants in the towns and villages along our route. One symptom of rural stagnation is when ancient traditions, such as craft and folk music start to die out. Partly through the interest and enjoyment of visitors such as us, these traditions are kept alive and are passed on to future generations. The market at Zakopane is a great place to find locally made hand produced crafts. Back In Krakow we can enjoy an evening of the traditional Jewish Klezmer music

1 Reviews of Cycling holiday in Poland

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 22 Jul 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Experiencing the countryside, food and culture of the country by bike.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be aware that it is for people of a low to average level of fitness - not for the super fit who wants to challenge themselves on the bike each day. Be prepared for group mentality to set in.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Cycling minimises the effect on the environment but the transport of bikes, and luggage every day does not. Local hotels and restaurants would have benefited.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Overall the cycle tour Pedalling in Poland was a really enjoyable experience. While the trip was not what I would call outstanding it certainly was lots of fun. It enabled me to see the countryside from a bike, view lots of churches, experience great food and learn a bit about the history and culture of Poland.

Feedback about specific elements of the tour follow:

The accommodation at each location was very good and more than adequate for a tour of this type. The hotel in Krakow was excellent – terrific location, friendly and helpful staff, good food and comfortable rooms.

The catered meals were mostly of a good standard. All breakfasts provided were great, with a varied and healthy selection of food each morning. The first catered dinner was poor for all but especially disappointing as I had asked for vegetarian meals. I was given soul with meat in it, followed by a main meal with overcooked frozen vegetables, two fried eggs and not much more. The final catered dinner was excellent, great service and really good food. On route it would have been great if we could have stopped at fresh fruit road side stalls rather than at supermarkets. Access to fruit was a little limited.

The cycling bikes:
The bikes provided were adequate for the tour but I suggest that they would benefit from more regular servicing given the use they get. They certainly made some interesting noises and I can remember early on the first day, praying, as we descended a long and very steep hill, that the bike were appropriately maintained.

One of the tour members was very tall and I do not think that the bike he was supplied with was the correct size or in very good condition as it kept breaking down and we frequently had to wait while repairs were carried out. On the first day of the tour we all waited for a long time while the guide organised and made adjustments to bikes. This could have been done the night before so that our departure was not delayed. We then cycled barely 100 meters before a bike required attention.

The cycle route:
The cycle route was good with a mix of scenery, small villages, churches and adequate rest stops. Obviously the best cycling was on quiet back roads and the variety of cycling on dirt tracks along rivers was welcomed.

Route map:
Providing all members of the group with a reasonably detailed map would have really added to the experience and given each person a better understanding of the location and destinations. Without a map of the route you felt like you were just blindly following the tour guide and having to rely on him to let you know your location and where you were headed.

More cycling:
I would have preferred to more cycling. The days when we covered about 60km were the most rewarding.

Luggage transfer:
The transfer of our luggage was hotel to hotel was seamless with all members of the group being confident that their gear was safe and would arrive where it was supposed to.

Krakow cycle city tour:
This was a bit passé as again we blindly followed the guide without much idea of where we were going. At each stopping point he did provide information about where we were but having this information in advance would have enhanced the experience.

Tour guide:
The tour guide was a really nice bloke. He was personable, had a good sense of humour was very helpful and also knowledgeable about his country.

Would I recommend this tour to others:
I would recommend this tour but would highlight that it is for people of a low to average level of fitness and as such it might frustrate someone with a higher level of fitness who wishes to cover more kilometres each day.

Read the operator's response here:

We would like to explain that our holidays are not aimed at specialist cyclists, but at those who enjoy cycling, albeit at different levels. They are meant as a chance to see the country, rather than primarily to cover large distances. We also offer more strenuous cycling trips than this one, and we think our description of the level of fitness required as Moderate is correct.

It should not be difficult to arrange stops at roadside stalls to buy fresh fruit and we will look into this, although we will need to check whether there are food hygiene considerations involved. We were concerned to hear that you were given soup with meat in; there is not normally a problem in sourcing vegetarian meals on this trip, although the choice is not wide as vegetarianism is not widely practised in Poland.

Hired bikes are never going to be as satisfactory as customers’ own bikes, but we have operating procedures regarding the standard and maintenance of those provided for our groups.

All your suggestions have been passed to those responsible for planning this trip. Our cycling guides normally provide maps of each day’s cycling to our customers, and we will ensure that this is always done on this trip.

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