The Cycling Route around the Tatras
If you wonder how to combine active and healthy recreation with discovering unknown places and unique heritage objects, admiration of wonderful landscapes and natural variety, visit the Historical, Cultural and Natural Cycling Route around the Tatras (Szlak Wokół Tatr). Now, with more than 160 km of cycling paths with infrastructure for cyclists, residents and tourists can explore the Polish-Slovak on bikes, see exceptional places and unique cultural attractions of the area.
The complete project provides for the creation, around the Tatras, of a loop of more than 250 km, with cycling paths, skiing and cross-country trails. The leading idea of the Tatra Route is to make accessible unique places and cultural, historical and natural attractions on both sides of the border. Inimitable attractions are concentrated on the small area around the Tatras, such as 15 heritage objects included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, wooden buildings, folk art, live folklore, old-city complexes, castles and boroughs, wooden Catholic and Orthodox churches and places of natural and landscape significance.
The Cycling Route around the Tatras is a branded Polish-Slovak tourist product carried out since 2014 by the Euroregion “Tatry”, the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation TATRY and the local governments on both sides of the border. The route runs across historical and cultural lands around the Tatras: Podhale, Spiš, Liptov and Orava, referring to the oldest settlement network and former trading and traffic tracks. Around the separate cycling routes, mainly covered with asphalt, the route’s infrastructure is being developed: resting places and viewpoints with canopy roofs and bicycle service stations, so-called “relaxation zones” with recreational and sports facilities, “park and cycle” car parks and numerous information boards which bring the unique historical and natural sites closer to the visitor.
The first stage of this large-scale project, co-financed from EU resources under the Republic of Poland – Slovak Republic Cross-border Co-operation Operational Programme 2007-2013, engaged 13 partners: Municipality of Czarny Dunajec (leading partner), Town of Nowy Targ, Municipalities of Nowy Targ and Szaflary, Town of Trstená, Obec Suchá Hora, Obec Hladovka, Obec Liesek, Obec Nižná, Town of Liptovský Mikuláš, Town of Kežmarok, Obec Huncovce and Obec Vrbov. Until 2015, more than 93 kilometres of cycling routes were created, including a section of more than 35 kilometres on a former railway line embankment from Nowy Targ to Trzciana, as well as 30 kilometres of routes in the municipality of Czarny Dunajec. On the Slovak side, the Route’s section in Spiš from Kežmarok to Huncovce, Vrbov and Strážky and in Liptov along the Váh River in Liptovský Mikuláš. More information on the routes created at that time and its attractions can be found in the guidebook “Szlak wokół Tatr”, which came out in 2015, financed by the Municipality of Czarny Dunajec.
Stage two of the Route around the Tatras was carried out with the involvement of 10 partners from Poland and Slovakia: the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation TATRY, Town of Nowy Targ, Municipalities of Szaflary, Nowy Targ and Łapsze Niżne, and the Towns of Nowy Targ, Kežmarok, Spišská Belá, Stará Ľubovňa, Liptovský Mikuláš and Trstená. Under a project co-financed from the European Regional Development Fund under the Interreg V-A Poland-Slovakia 2014-2020 Programme, in 2017-2019, another 60 km of bicycle routes with accompanying infrastructure were put into service. On the Polish side, a route of 40 km was completed leading from Nowy Targ to Spiš to the border crossing Kacwin – Veľká Franková and an asphalt bicycle route along the section of Kruszów – Morawczyna (2.8 km), connecting the main track of the Route around the Tatras with the Gorce mountains. On the Slovak side, a new section of the Route was built from Ździar in the direction of Tatranská Kotlina (3 km) which is an extension of the existing cycling route from the town of Spišská Belá. From Spišská Belá, the missing fragment of the route to Strážky (2.3 km) was completed and now connects to the bicycle route from Kežmarok completed during stage one. In the centre of Kežmarok, a section of 4.25 km was completed connecting the Strážky – Zlatná route with the bicycle route south of Kežmarok in Vrbov. Additionally, more kilometres of the Route were added to the existing sections in Liptovský Mikuláš (route along the banks of the Váh River – 1.4 km) and in Trstená in the direction of Tvrdošín (2.3 km). Also, the construction was initiated of the first section of the lateral loop connecting the Route around the Tatras with Stará Ľubovňa, from where, along the right bank of the Poprad River, a cycling route of 3.76 km was built to the locality of Hniezdne.
Owing to these projects, the main track of the Route was completed on the Polish side where, in the Tatras, we can ride from the border crossing of Chochołów – Suchá Hora in Orava through Podhale and Nowy Targ to the Kacwin on the border to Spiš. In “cross-border” terms, a trip from Orava across Podhale to Spiš (we can obviously choose the opposite direction from Spiš to Orava), that is from Trstená through Lasek, Suchá Hora, Podczerwone, Czarny Dunajec, Rogoźnik, Nowy Targ, Szaflary, Nowa Biała, Krempachy, Dursztyn, Łapsze Niżne, Kacwin, Osturňa, Ździar, Tatranská Kotlina and Spišská Belá to Kežmarok, covers nearly 130 km of bicycle adventure.
In 2019, Stage III of the Route around the Tatras was started to produce another 26 kilometres of new tracks as well as other projects such as: a resting oasis by the lake in Krauszów, an interactive natural exposition in the folk culture centre (Dom Ludowy) in Łapsze Niżne or a heritage building, a former railway station in Podczerwone adapted to serve Route users.
More information www.szlakwokoltatr.eu