Galicia & Roztocze
 
 
 

  

Galicia and Roztocze

The central european region of Galicia (not to be mistakened with Galicia in Spain) is a historical region, currently divided between Poland and Ukraine and  named after Ukrainian city of Halych.
"It seemed like we were in a different country every day!" said two Americans who cycled down this route in Spring 2007. The striking 12-day tour takes you through an area in south-east Poland bordering Ukraine where the unspoilt and the exotic meet. In the mysterious east Carpathians you  come face to face with a virgin landscape that appears almost alien. There are also architectural highlights such Zamosc, the goal of this tour, a fascinating Renaissance town in the middle of Rostocze National Park.  The distances between the lodgings can sometimes add up to 70 km but  these instances are compensated for by staying an extra night in the same hotel (in Sieniawa, Horyniec and Zwierzyniec).

 

Day 1 (Saturday):
Arrival in Krakow and hotel check-in.

Day 2: Krakow - Arlamow
Bikes are collected early in the morning followed by departure from Krakow to the south-east. After a ride of about 5-6 hours we reach the scenic valley of the Wiar river, a part of the landscape park of the Przemysl foreland, which is the extension of the Bieszczady (eastern Carpathians). Finally we come to our spacious hotel in Arlamow. Up until a few years ago this region was a hunting ground for members of the government and closed to the public.

Day 3: Arlamow - Przemysl    60 km cycling
We ride  through the Valley of the Eagles,  at a slight incline for the most part. It is the valley of the Jamna stream, with meadows and forests as far as the eye can see and the Lesser Spotted Eagle soaring above is a common sight. The narrow asphalt road is the only sign of civilization on a stretch of 13 km. The ride to Przemysl goes through the valley of the Wiar rivulet and is sometimes directly along the Ukrainian border. We then cycle through a green hilly terrain covered with rare steppe flora, an offshoot of the Asian plant world. Przemysl, our destination for this leg, lies at a slight height. It  is the second oldest city of southern Poland and with its numerous picturesque churches counts as one of Poland's most beautiful cities. Przemysl was turned into a huge fortress during World War I to resist the Russian army. And we visit parts of the fortifications of the Letownia fort.

Day 4: Przemysl - Sieniawa  68 km cycling
Once in Przemysl we first cycle down the promenade along the San river and then turn north towards Jaroslaw, a pretty medium sized historical city. We ride through the market sqare with its Renaissance houses, past the old city walls and the Orthodox church to reach a fortified Dominican monastery located on a high hill. A further short and simple leg takes us to Sieniawa, where our overnight stay in the hotel is a true high point of the trip: it is a palace with rooms partly furnished with antique furniture.

Day 5: Sieniawa - Lezjask - Sieniawa   45 km cycling
The ride around Sieniawa today takes us through osier plantations in the San valley to the historical town of Lezajsk where it is still possible to get a whiff of the Galicia of an earlier era and the Jewish schtetl that was once located here.

Day 6: Sieniawa - Horyniec   65 km cycling
Our ride today takes us through the forest. After leaving the mountains and the San valley behind us we ride to the east through extended forested regions of the Solska primeval forest where you might bump into elk and mountain cocks. A good asphalt road free of cars takes us to our lodgings in the small spa resort of Horyniec, which lies almost at the border to Ukraine.

Day 7: Around Horyniec     15-20 km cycling
The stretches are going become shorter and easier from now on. Radruz  has one  Poland's  oldest Orthodox churches only five kilometers from Horyniec and directly on the border to Ukraine. It is an impressive  16th century fortified church with a bell tower surrounded by mighty walls. Later on we come to a forest lake where we will take a long break. And those who wish to can jump in and cool down.

Day 8: Horyniec - Tomaszow    60 km cycling
We now travel to the heart of Roztocze. This region,  until recently completely unknown to foreign tourists, is a cyclists' paradise. Delightful villages dot the route at short distances, the roads and forest routes are good with little traffic. It is a gently undulating landscape with some variety provided by the small climbs. These are not a problem for the cyclist to negotiate though.
The highlight of today are tectonic movements in the area, a geological feature causing murmuring sounds (Szumy). The two rivers, Tanew and Sopot create several small but loud river rapids.

Day 9: Tomaszow-Zwierzyniec    45 km cycling
Roztocze, with its picturesque and narrow striped fields, is probably one of the most spectacular regions of Poland. A mosaic of tobacco fields and meadows extends over fertile loess ground. The deep gorges and ravines are also characteristic of this area. And of course the crystal clear brooks, clean rivers, ponds and lakes are just the thing for travellers waiting for an opportunity to cool down in the heat of summer. The stretch today follows the circuitous valley of the delightful Wieprz rivulet. Wieprz means "hog" in Polish and the rivulet is said to meander like the curly tail of the said animal. We then ride past water mills that are still functional and stop at midday at a straw thatched farm in Guciow where we also visit the heritage museum. Our goal for the day is Zwierzyniec, a large town in the primordial forest of Roztocze National Park, where we stay for two nights.

Day 10: Around Zwierzyniec        50 km cycling
We first visit an artificial lake with islands, one of the main attractions of theNational Park. This is also where herds of the famous Konik horses live. These descendents of the East-European wild horse have been bred here in Count Zamojski's game reserve since the 18th century. We go to Szczebrzeszyn (a tongue twister not only for foreigners!) in the afternoon and visit a well maintained synagogue. The return to  Zwierzyniec  is through a particularly attractive stretch that includes loess gorges, forests, golden fields of hops, and luxuriant gardens.

Day 11: Zwierzyniec - Zamosc    30 km cycling
We finally arrive in Zamosc. This city with a world heritage city centre is the cultural and historical highlight of our entire trip. Zamosc was established by Jan Zamojski in the year 1580  and designed by the famous Italian architect, Bernardo Morano. It is considered to be the only existing instance of a purely Renaissance city both in structure and layout as well as architecturally. Our last night is spent in a hotel in the historical old town.

Day 12  (Wednesday):
We depart for Krakow in the morning - the bus will arrive by 2:00 p.m. at the latest so that it is possible to get flights and trains back home from Krakow on the same day. In case you are planning to return home the next day, please do to remember to book your additional night with us well in time.

 

See more pictures here...>

 

Tour profile:
The entire tour is over flat or gently undulating terrain. The small climbs are no problem even for less adept cyclists or children. Only Day 4 has a slightly longer climb (about a 100 m height differential to the high banks of the San river) which is compensated for by the magnificient view.

 

Tour dates 2017

GR-1     03.06 - 14.06
GR-2     08.07 - 19.07
GR-3     05.08 - 16.08
GR-4     02.09 - 13.09

Prices*:

Guided tour:
1 person sharing twin EUR 980
1 person in single EUR 1170

Self-guided tour:
1 person sharing twin EUR 870
1 person in single EUR 1060

Included in the basic price:

  • Transport Krakow-Arlamow and Zamosc-Krakow
  • 11 nights accommodation in good rooms with shower / WC,
  • half board (breakfast and dinner)
  • Transfer of luggage from hotel to hotel
  • Specialist English-speaking escort (Guided tour) or set of Maps and tour description (Self-guided tour)

Not included in the price: Travel to Krakow, entry fees, private payments such as other meals, drinks and tips.

Extra night B&B in Krakow (Hotel*** central location)
1 person sharing twin EUR 44
1 person in single EUR 69

Bicycle rental (per 12 days): EUR 60
E-bike rental: EUR 120

 

*Prices are calcullated in EUR but other currencies are accepted as well.
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We also accept credit card payments (Visa or Mastercard).