Route 29: Through Dunajec by bicycle and ... by ferry
Czchów, Tropie (15 km) Iwkowa (23 km) Tymowa (29 km) Czchów (33 km)
33 km, 4 h, difficulty – medium
Altitude profile of the route:
We invite you by the picturesque Dunajec River and Czchowskie Lake to visit the ruins of medieval castles and several historic churches. The trip begins at the market square in Czchów. We go down along Szkolna Street near the church to the national road No 75, which we cross straight ahead, and then we go to the ferry on the Dunajec River (free, every day from 5:00 to 22:00). After the ferry, we turn right, and, having passed by the church, we turn right again. In front of the dam on the Dunajec River, following the blue bike trail, we turn left onto the gravel road. We cycle up a steep climb to the ridge of Czubica (453 m a.s.l.), and go east by the curve. This is where a yellow bike trail joins. We go along a wavy gravel road along the trails and get to the intersection where the trails bifurcation. We stay on the yellow trail and go to the right, then down the steep descent to Roztoka-Brzeziny. Here we go right again and following the Dunajec Valley, we reach the sanctuary in Tropie. After 500 m we get to the ferry (running every 15 minutes, break between 12:00 and 13:00). We cross the Czchowskie Lake and on the other side we turn left, then after 900 m in front of the "Tropsztyn" Castle we turn right up the Carpathian Bicycle Trail (red), which should lead us to Iwkowa. Having passed by the historic church at the bifurcation, we follow the black bike trail to the right. We take a gentle climb to the small pass, from which we descend with numerous serpentines to Tymowa. We turn right onto road No 966, and we pass a wooden church. After 600 m we turn right and, alternating climbs and descents, we get back to Czchów. At the end of the road we turn right and after 200 m we reach the market square. At the end, it is worth going to the ruins of the 14th-century defensive tower.
ATTRACTIONS ON THE ROUTE:
1. The historic buildings of Czchów – a well-preserved medieval layout of the city with a quadrilateral market square surrounded by wooden houses.
2. Gothic church in Czchów – built on the turn of the 14th and 15th century. In the presbytery, figural polychromy from 1380. In addition, the church's equipment includes: Renaissance tombstones from the 16th century, Gothic portals and a stone baptismal font from 1506, pieta in the main altar from the first half of the 15th century.
3. The church in Tropie – probably built in the years 1080-1090, as evidenced by the polychromy from the 12th century and the Romanesque window in the eastern wall of the presbytery. The temple was associated with the Christianization of the local population in the 10th century by a hermit – St Andrew Zorard. At the north of the church, there is a chapel at the historic site of the Saint's hermitage. Nearby, a spring with water which is said to be effective at treating eye diseases.
4. Czchowskie Lake – an artificial expansion reservoir formed in the 1940s by partitioning the Dunajec River with an earth and erratic dam. The dam also includes a pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant. Due to the great silting, Czchowskie Lake is used for recreation to a limited extent.
5. "Tropsztyn" Castle in Wytrzyszczka – a fully reconstructed knight's stronghold from the 14th century, situated on a picturesque hill above Czchowskie Lake. Dungeons and an exhibition devoted to Inca culture were made available for visitors.
6. Wooden church in Iwkowa – built in the second half of the 15th century. The internal walls of the nave are decorated with late-Renaissance polychromy from 1619. In the presbytery window, a copy of the oldest stained-glass window from the first half of the 14th century
7. Wooden church in Tymowa – from 1764 with decorative arcades built around the nave in 1913 and a valuable painting.
8. Ruins of the castle tower in Czchów – all that remained from the fortified castle dating back to the 14th century, guarding an important medieval trade route. Excellent view of Czchów and the Dunajec Valley.