Cracovia - Varsavia: Lungo il fiume Pilica
Undiscovered cycling and canoeing experience in the lush green heart of Poland
between Krakow and Warsaw
PIcturesque, Lush, Idyllic, CAptivating: PILICA (read: peeleetsa). A 300 km long river which originates not far from Krakow and flows into the Vistula shortly before Warsaw.
Somewhat like the Weser in Germany or Loire in France, the Pilica flows through the middle of Poland, far away from large cities and industrial areas. Wild, with numerous islands, sandy banks and meanders, the river snakes through forests, riparian meadows, small famlands and orchards. The countryside is predominantly flat.
Ten years after Poland entered the EU there is an as yet relatively unknown treasure waiting for cycle tourists to discover it. A dense network of what was earlier sandy or stony small country roads has now been newly paved and the smooth asphalt roads with minimal traffic are perfect for cycling. And ten years after advertising the "Dunajec Cycle Path" as Poland's cycling destination we now recommend the "Pilica Cycle Path" as a very simple week-long cycle tour that starts in Krakow and ends in Warka near Warsaw.
This tour can be easily combined with our other week-long cycling and hiking modules (Dunajec, Masuria and Sudeten). On the way one can - after cycling - get a different perspective of the river from a canoe.
Day 1 (Saturday) Arrival in Krakow
Arrival in Krakow and first overnight stay at a centrally located hotel. After finding your room there is time to stroll through Krakow for a first impression of its historic city center and famous nightlife.
Day 2 (Sunday) Pilica-Source - Zawada ca 30-40 km cycling
After the bus ride to Smolen, which takes barely an hour, we get on the cycles on a hill with medieval castle ruins. The first kilometers are downhill through Jura landscapes towards the source of the river. We ride further past fish ponds, through a pretty town, with the same name as the river - Pilica - to our accomodation at Zawada.
Day 3 (Monday) Zawada - Przedborz ca 65 km cycling
The flat and quiet roads run through shady forests for the most part and you will scarcely notice the kilometers flying by. This leg is the longest and ends in the small town of Przedbórz which is next to Przedbórz Landscape Park.
Day 4 (Tuesday) Przedborz - Sulejow ca 40 km cycling
Once more we pass through tree-lined avenues, narrow fields and fragrant meadows and even gardens in full bloom until we come to a very special accomodation. Our hotel was once a Cistercian abbey built on the extensive grounds of a castle from the Middle Ages.
Day 5 (Wednesday) Sulejów - Spala ca 45 km cycling
For this leg of our journey we first go past the reservoir with many places to go for a dip. After that the open air museum at Piliza is well worth a visit. The largest city on our route is Tomaszów, with 30,000 inhabitants. A network of car-free cycle paths takes one to Spała, a popular forest health resort.
Day 6 (Thursday) Spala - Nowe Miasto ca 45 km cycling
Spala lies within a forested area that has been a popular hunting and recreational area since the 19th century: first for the Russian Czars and then Polish presidents. This area also has remnants of recent history - the huge railway bunker at Konewki was the command post "Anlage Mitte" of the German military during World War II. Our overnight stay is at the small town of Nowe Miasto at a guesthouse located directly at the river.
Day 7 (Friday) Nowe Miasto - Warka ca 55 km cycling
This last leg goes past Wyśmierzyce which with its 858 inhabitants and old wooden houses is considered to be the smallest town in Poland. Next we cycle through vegetable fields and orchards. The final destination is the four-star hotel and horse breeding farm "Sielanka" ("idyllic land") at Warka
Day 8 (Saturday) End or individual extension of stay
Warsaw is only 60 km from Warka and is easy to reach with the hourly regional train. The journey takes about 1 hour 20 minutes. Those who wish to stay a day longer can go on the 30 - 40 km round-trip to Vistula valley and the Pilica mouth.
Hotels und guesthouses. Ranging from good two-star standard (guesthouse in Przedbórz) to a four-star hotel in Warka. These accomodations mostly have much charm, are well kept and often located close to the river.
The Pilica is a particular favourite among canoeists. There are numerous rental outlets on the way. After checking in at the hotel it is possible in every locality in the middle and lower course of the river (Przedbórz, Sulejów, Spała, Nowe Miasto, Warka) to be taken a few kilometers upstream and to canoe back. Often there are jettys right next to the hotel. You may book these trips either in advance or decide on the spot to rent a canoe.
A very easy tour: About 70% is on asphalt and the rest on dirt roads. The landscape is flat or gently undulating.
Dates of tours in 2020:
PIL-0 25.04. - 02.05.
PIL-1 09.05. - 16.05.
PIL-2 16.05. - 23.05.
PIL-3 23.05. - 30.05.
PIL-4 30.05. - 06.06.
PIL-5 06.06. - 13.06.
PIL-6 13.06. - 20.06.
PIL-7 20.06. - 27.06.
PIL-8 27.06. - 04.07.
PIL-9 04.07. - 11.07.
PIL-10 11.07. - 18.07.
PIL-11 18.07. - 25.07.
PIL-12 25.07. - 01.08.
PIL-13 01.08. - 08.08.
PIL-14 08.08. - 15.08.
PIL-15 15.08. - 22.08.
PIL-16 22.08. - 29.08.
PIL-17 29.08. - 05.09.
PIL-18 05.09. - 12.09.
PIL-19 12.09. - 19.09.
PIL-20 19.09. - 26.09.
1 person sharing twin EUR 580
1 person in single: EUR 680
Included in the basic price:
- Transportation Krakow - Pilica-springs
- 7 nights accommodation in twin bedded rooms with shower/WC - 1 x pension**, 5 x hotel***, 1 x hotel****
- 7 x half board
- Transfer of luggage from hotel to hotel
- Tour description and set of 1:50.000 maps with marked route
Not included in the price: Travel to Krakow, entry fees, private payments such as other meals, drinks and tips, optional canoe trip.
Extra night B&B in Krakow, Warsaw or Warka (Hotel***):
1 person sharing twin EUR 44
1 person in single EUR 69
Bicycle rental (per Week): EUR 60
E-bike rental: EUR 130