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Slovakia: Cycling Tour Around the High Tatra Mountains



A three-day circuit around the High Tatra Mountains in Slovakia and Poland. Moderate effort - 200 km - uphill and downhill - asphalt only.









Tatra Tour details

  • Total distance: 203 km
  • Total time: 3 days (24h moving time) 
  • Vertical relief: +/- 3000 m 
  • Altitude height: 600 - 1300 m
  • Max speed: 53 km/h
  • Average speed: 8.23 km/h
  • Surface: asphalt
  • Equipment: MTB + panniers
  • Time frame: June 2017



The below map displays the camping grounds we slept in and the places where we had lunch.






Accommodation



For obvious reasons, we chose to sleep by tent in campings. One of the first places that came to mind was Mara Camping, located on the banks of Liptovska Lake, a facility we had visited in the past and to which we will certainly return in the future. It has a lot of facilities, it is clean and it comes for a decent price. This was the starting point of our trip and here is where we would sleep again on the 4th night. In front of the camping, you can find a big parking lot where you can leave the car for free for the duration of the trip.






Day 1: Liptovský Trnovec (Slovakia) - Tatranská Lomnica (Slovakia)




The road


We already knew a good part of the road as we did multiple trips in the area. We left the flatlands  close to Mara Camping behind and set out in the direction of Liptovsky Hradok on the road close to the highway.


From here we started our slow ascent to Strbske Pleso, a mild slope with a length of 30 kilometers that gave you little neutral zones.


You will only ride on asphalt and even though we took this trip in late June we can say the road was pretty clear and that the drivers keep a decent safety distance from cyclists.


Until mid-day we fully took advantage of the side shade and after we stopped for lunch and to relax, what else can you do on holiday?


The ascent reaches its maxim height close to Strbske Pleso and from here it is downhill  all the way! Woooohoooo! We really were lucky to have excellent weather on the first day!


We visited this area so many times that we are starting to feel light at home in the High Tatra mountains.



Accommodation



For the second night, we chose to sleep in Slovakia at Rijo Camping located in Stara Lesna, Vysoké Tatry. The price was lower but so was the quality of the facilities offered.

This is a small camping but it can accommodate tents and campers. They have a small shop and a restaurant that serves a few types of food. The terrace has a solid roof so regardless of the weather conditions you can eat outside. At the reception, you can buy maps, and other souvenirs and the total price for two persons, one tent and two bikes was 14 euro/night.


Food


As we usually travel on a budget we chose to eat our breakfasts and dinners from what we can cook ourselves, as such we usually do some shopping before camping for the night (for the evening and morning food). During the day, since we anyway need a break at some point, we stopped for lunch at facilities we could find on the side of the road.


For the first stay, we stopped at Koliba Permonik - the facility is not on the main road, but it is not hard to find, but what is hard, is to actually leave it. It is a small, chic and rustic place where the food is absolutely delicious.





Day 1 track details


  • Total distance: 71.82 km
  • Total duration: 7h 40 m
  • Vertical relief: +849 /- 584 m 
  • Altitude height: 603 - 1309 m
  • Surface: asphalt
  • Equipment: MTB + panniers
  • Period: 25 June 2017

GPS Track








Day 2: Tatranská Lomnica (Slovakia) - Zakopane (Poland)



The road


The next day our track included lots of ups and downs. It is a lot more relaxing to alternate the ascents and descents if possible, rather than to go half a day only up. It would also have helped Karina to correctly adjust her sit from the get-go instead of starting to get knee pains on the second day.

 
We only stick to asphalt roads as riding with panniers on off-road is a big no-no. Not to mention the fact that Karina's panniers are more of a joke rather than the real thing, but its ok, we move on :) Route 66 baby!




Just before we reached the day's highest altitude point we leave Slovakia behind and enter Poland. The change was somewhat dramatic. Out of the blue, the road got more narrow and the drivers participating were not that biker-friendly.


Taking into account that we were in a hill area with lots of turns and forests at times our hearts stood still because of some close call overtakes by our fellow drivers. After the first 30 minutes, we started having mixt feelings in regards to polish people but we will endure one day!


Just one last hill to climb and then its downhill all the way to Zakopane - Poland's largest mountain and ski resort. The resort looks really appealing and it is well organized. lots of houses, hotels, huts, and restaurants made entirely out of wood with intricate details and sculptures. We are starting to lose our baring from all this looking left and right.

The traffic is still awful but the resort looks interesting. We get disappointed when we reach the camping ground but other than this we had a great time and good weather so with our batteries on low we hit the sack.



Accommodation



On our third night (the second while on the bike trip) we camped in the wonderful resort of Zakopane, Poland. The camping ground was something thrown out of horror movies, dirty, without illumination and pretty creepy in general. There was a sort of sheltered place where you could eat but it was pretty dirty and the bathrooms were straight out of Chernobyl. The price per night for two adults, a tent and two bikes was 12 euros. We survived the night but clearly, we can't recommend the place. Kind reminder, avoid going to Camping nr 97 Pod Krokwia.


Food


On the second day, we stopped to eat in Slovakia because that is where our hunger hit. We stopped in Zdiar, at Penzion Kamkik, where the food and the view make you not want to leave. Excellent place, warm recommendations!





Day 2 track details


  • Total distance: 53.19 km
  • Total duration: 8 h 2 m
  • Vertical relief: +979 /- 889 m 
  • Altitude height: 791 - 1155 m
  • Surface: asphalt
  • Equipment: MTB + panniers
  • Period: 26 June 2017

GPS Track






Day 3: Zakopane (Polonia) -  Liptovský Trnovec (Slovacia)




The road



The last day of cycling is a special one as we are celebrating US, the two of us to be more exact, with all our joy, heartbeats, sweat and fun! And what a fine day it was!


Right after breakfast, we left Poland behind in the direction of Slovakia, but before we left we admired the local architecture of Zakopane for a few more minutes. I think that these guys have some pretty fantastic wood artists. Some of the houses are upright fabulous if you don't take into account the massive quantity of wood and inherently trees that have been used for them.


On our last day we had ups and downs but not that many as the previous day and as a side note, the road is asphalt all the way. Furthermore, we even have a few sections of bicycle tracks :)


Just our luck as we also find a section of the road under construction where the asphalt layer is renewed and we need to zig-zag between heavy machinery. It is admirable how fast and organized Slovakians work. Everything is planned and executed in layers, one step after the other. Maybe it would be a great idea for our guys to go to Slovakia to learn a thing or two even though I don't think they will learn anything.


The final ascent has really taken its toll on our energy levels but we are comforted by the thought that after that we are going downhill all the way to the camping ground. 18 kilometers of chill front wind! We arrived back at Mara Camping where after we had installed the tend we sat down for a well deserved romantic dinner.



An excellent circuit that we warmly recommend! We will surely return soon back to Slovakia with the first occasion :)




Accommodation


As a side note, we chose to sleep at Mara Camping because of the excellent facilities but also because you can rent SUPs here. Even though there was a strong wind and the lake was full of waves we had a great evening. It was hard at first to hold your balance and to accommodate with the SUP model but in short time we conquered the lake!



Food

On our last day, we skipped eating lunch on Polish ground and chose to head into Slovakia where the food is extremely tasty. We celebrated our wedding anniversary with a cold beer at Koliba Hubertka - a big and rustic chalet that features a shaded and chill terrace. Great food, decent prices!






Day 2 track details


  • Total distance: 78.29 km
  • Total duration: 8 h 57 m
  • Vertical relief: + 1218 /- 1483 m 
  • Altitude height: 606 - 1134 m
  • Surface: asphalt
  • Equipment: MTB + panniers
  • Period: 27 June 2017

GPS Track















Slovakia: Cycling Tour Around the High Tatra Mountains Reviewed by Alex on 21:30 Rating: 5

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