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The historical-cultural-natural route around the Tatras

Looking at the streets of Polish towns and cities, one can get the impression that cycling is a favourite form of recreation for Poles. It is practised on a mass scale. And whenever the weather permits, city bicycle paths get very crowded. And in the pandemic era, there are definitely more and more bikes. Many people have switched to cycling, because this is how they can get to work rather than using public transport and its association with the coronavirus. Others, even those we’d never even previously suspect  that they might want to ride a bike, have became proud owners of such vehicles. Because in the era of numerous restrictions and us being locked in the home, a bicycle offers something many people miss the most – freedom. Even though the number of bicycle paths in the cities is increasing year by year, this is a mere substitute for real freedom.  There is a lack of space, a feeling that we can ride on and on, and we miss views such as these – aren’t they beautiful?

 Szlak wokol Tatr (13)    Szlak wokol Tatr (7)a fot. arch. beneficjenta

Those who can, therefore, plan bicycle trips away from the city, closer or farther on. Some for the whole day, others for just a few hours. Alone on difficult trails and with their families on easier ones, with or without additional visits to interesting places. All these options are offered on the route around the Tatras and that's something interesting for all those who have just felt the urge to discover places and want to take up another challenge – you can ride around the Tatras on a bike. This depends on whether you are fit enough because some stages require good cycling practice. The historical-cultural-natural route around the Tatras is a large-scale cross-border project and the effect of many years of cooperation between the local authorities on the Polish and Slovak borderland. The complete project provides for the implementation of more than 250 km of circular routes around the Tatra Mountains for cycling, skiing, educational trips and cross-country trails. The loop is not completely closed yet – there are several sections missing on the Slovak side, but it is possible to ride there using local bicycle paths, even though officially they are not part of the route.

- More than 200 kilometres of unforgettable impressions. The route can be covered in one day but you can easily plan a four-day bicycle adventure.

- I like coffee, I like relaxation and I like to spend time actively. My adventure was to spend a day out on a bike – 4 hours, 20 km

- A wonderful route mainly through a forest, in peace and quiet, and safe – ideal for a family trip or to be close to nature.

These are just examples of posts written by people who decided to ride on the route around the Tatras, covering longer or shorter distances. Because there is a lot to choose from. You just have to plan well.  And here's a little hint – you don't have to do it yourself. There is a really great guide on the route around the Tatras. “I've travelled along and across the Tatra Foothills, on foot, by bike and by car, and I'm still discovering new, surprising places”, writes its author, Wojtek Goj, in the introduction. He has created an absolute must-have for all those who want to explore the Tatra Foothills by bike. It contains suggestions for ready-made routes and there are as many as thirty of them. Most of them are interchangeable – this is what we like the most – we go on one route and return using another one. Many are intended for family tourism – with attractions appropriately selected and described.

Each trip has a title that somehow reflects its character and is scrupulously detailed – so there is information about its length, course, path surface and uphill sections. But most of all, apart from the description of the routes, there are hints about what is worth paying special attention to, as well as photos that give a foretaste of the views waiting there for us. And these are unique on each of the routes.

And more familiar ….

IMG_8000_A. Srokoszm fot. arch. Programu

 

And very characteristic ones …..

W.Gojm  fot. Wojciech Goj, źródło: www.szlakwokoltatr.eu/GO/09

 

And ones that are more recognisable on the Slovak side of the border

IMG_2979_A. Srokoszm fot. arch. Programu

 

There are unique ones too – a stroke of luck is needed to see them.

W.Goj 2m fot. Wojciech Goj, źródło: www.szlakwokoltatr.eu/GO/01

 

DSomething to read in the evenings and plan bicycle adventures  www.szlakwokoltatr.eu/GO NYou do not need to have your own bike. Along the route there are already bike rentals and new ones are being opened all the time. You can check the database at http://www.szlakwokoltatr.eu/2/mapa-punkty/wypozyczalnie-rowerowAnd on the routes there are also service and rest areas. And unforgettable impressions, sometimes surprising, because, for example, when going along a beautiful route through wilderness, we encounter civilised places. And suddenly it turns out that we hear another language because we have crossed the Polish-Slovak border without even realising it.

The historic-cultural-natural route around the Tatras is undoubtedly an idea which was born  out of love for the Tatra Foothills. It is an effect of the effort of many people on both sides of the Polish-Slovak border who wanted to share the unique places, landscape(s), cultural, historical and natural attractions of the region. It is a cross-border project which seems to be incomparable to any other. Not only because a unique tourist product has been created but because it was an stimulus for further development of the region. The route became an inspiration for others. To reveal the peatlands, unique on a European scale, the history of the narrow-gauge railroad on the Polish-Slovak border or old printing methods – these are separate stories, but closely related to the route and its trails.



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Blog prepared in the project entitled: "Cooperation that enhances and develops as a key to a positive image of Poland on the international arena", co-financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland as part of the competition "Public Diplomacy 2020 - a new dimension".

Project co-financed by the European Union from the European Regional Development
Fund under the Republic of Poland - Slovak Republic Cross-border Co-operation Operational
Programme 2007-2013 and from the funds of the Malopolskie Voivodship