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Poland: Cycling through the Old World

Welcome to Poland where the gentle Vistula River, charming villages and storybook forests frame our cycling routes. Enjoy a tour of the fascinating chambers and tunnels of the Wieliczka Salt Mines—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—and meet gracious locals who welcome us with open arms…and open bottles.

  • 10 Days
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Daily Mileage: 15 - 35 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 4 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking
  • Easy
  • Plane

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Poland: Cycling through the Old World

Rich Old World traditions, fertile landscapes, and pastoral forestland greet you along Poland’s fabled Vistula River. We’re rolling it out to you in style. It’s only by bicycle that you can connect with this enigmatic country so fully, with warm greetings around every corner. Explore little-known villages, an outpost of medieval trade, and an underground city carved from salt. Cycle through a countryside so enchanting that it’s been dubbed the “Tuscany of Poland.” Visit palaces and castles and sample the fruits, vodka, and mead reaped from this gracious land. This is VBT’s Poland, and it’s sure to surprise you at every turn.

Cultural Highlights

  • Lunch on the lawn of a 16th-century castle and in an 18th-century Baroque palace
  • Meander through Sandomierz, once a prominent medieval trading center
  • Enjoy a cooking lesson with a taste of mead
  • Roll through a sylvan landscape of six nature reserves
  • Tour an underground city made of salt
  • Explore Krakow's Old Town with a local guide and by horse and buggy

What to Expect

This tour offers easy terrain throughout the trip and is ideal for beginning cyclists. There are longer options with slight hills for the more experienced cyclists.

Average Daily Mileage: 15 – 35 miles
Average Cycling Time: 2 – 4 hours

Climate Information

Average Daily Temperature (°F) – Warsaw
Apr 54°  May 65°  Jun 70°  Jul 73°  Aug 73°  Sep 64°  Oct 54°

Average Rainfall (in.) – Warsaw
Apr 1.5  May 2  Jun 2.6  Jul 3  Aug 2.8  Sep 1.8  Oct 1.6

What’s Included:

Bicycle Tour Only – without Air

  • 6 nights in 3- and 4-star hotels
  • 11 meals – 6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners

Air Package Plus

  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • 8 nights in 3-, 4- and 5-star hotels
  • 13 meals – 8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Transfers
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions: Pre-trip: Warsaw – 2 nights for only $245 • Post-trip: Krakow – 2 nights for only $245

Both Vacation Options Include

  • Free use of our custom VBT bicycle and helmet
  • Service of two bilingual VBT Trip Leaders
  • FULL VAN SUPPORT
  • Daily route directions and maps
  • Welcome reception
  • Sightseeing and cultural activities
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation
  • Special Good Buy Discount
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Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $445 | Land Only Single Supplement: $345

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2015 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What's Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Depart from home / Fly overnight to Warsaw, Poland

Depart from home for Poland. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

DAY 2: Arrive in Warsaw

Upon arrival at the Warsaw Airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. VBT's local representative will meet you outside the customs area in your arrival terminal and will be holding a VBT sign. Your representative will help you transfer to your hotel (approximately 30 minutes). The rest of the day is free for you to settle in and explore the city. Choose a restaurant for dinner on your own.

Please note: If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be available until after 2 pm. You may store your luggage with the reception desk. If you are traveling from the west coast, your arrival in Warsaw may not be until late in the evening.

Your hotel is conveniently located in Warsaw's Old Town. Depending on your arrival time, you can stroll along the many cobblestone streets and explore the most beautiful part of the city.

VBT provides you with City Information that includes information and recommendations on what to see and fo in Warsaw during your stay.

Hotel: Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw

DAY 3: All guests meet in Warsaw / Transfer to Pulawy / Meet Trip Leaders / Warm-up ride / Welcome reception

VBT No-Air Package guests: At 8 am, all guests meet the VBT representative at Warsaw's Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw (address: Koscielna 12, 00-218 Warsaw; tel: +48 22 5316043) for the transfer to Pulawy (approximately 2.5 hours, including a stop on the way). If you are so delayed that you will miss the morning transfer, then we suggest you take a train to Pulawy. Trains from Warsaw Central train station to Pulawy's Miasto station operate every couple of hours and cost approximately 50 Polish zloty (about $19 USD). From Pulawy's Miasto train station, take a taxi (approximately 30 minutes) to your hotel in Kazimierz Dolny. Cost of the taxi is approximately 65 Polish zloty (about $25 USD). If you are delayed for any reason, please contact the hotel in Kazimierz Dolny. The hotel staff will pass your message on to your VBT Trip Leaders.

VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: Meet the VBT representative in the hotel lobby at 8 am for the transfer to Pulawy (approximately 2.5 hours, including a stop on the way). Make sure your luggage is tagged with VBT yellow tags. Meet your Trip Leaders upon arrival in Pulawy. Please be dressed in cycling clothes and ready for biking.

Our Trip Leaders will hold a safety and bike-fitting session followed by a warm-up ride. Our easy warm-up ride today will take us through some Polish “allotment gardens” before joining the bike path along the banks of the Vistula River. After, we will shuttle to the nearby quaint riverside artist village of Kazimierz Dolny where you can take time for a late lunch on your own.

Tonight we get to know our fellow travelers over a welcome cocktail, followed by dinner at the hotel.

Hotel: Krol Kazimierz
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 11 miles (17 km)

DAY 4: Browse the weekly Farmer's Market / Ferry across the Vistula River / Cycle to Janowiec Castle

After breakfast this morning, we walk with our Trip Leaders to the town square, where we shop for today's picnic. You can choose from an array of fresh fruits and vegetables in season and browse numerous stalls of antiques, paintings and souvenirs. From here, we ride along the Vistula River to a small ferry, which will transport us to the opposite bank. From there, we cycle to the nearby ruins of the 16th-century Janowiec Castle. After a short visit at your leisure, join your Trip Leaders for a picnic lunch on the castle's lawn. The afternoon is yours to experience the beautiful countryside by bike. If you prefer, return to the hotel to enjoy the pool and spa or to explore the charming streets of Kazimierz Dolny. Later we learn more about this quaint village and its history and folklore during a unique tour.

This evening, dinner is on your own. Among your options is a unique, Jewish-themed tavern that serves old-fashioned cooking with a kosher twist.

Hotel: Krol Kazimierz
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 15.5 or 27.5 miles (25 or 44 km)

DAY 5: Lunch in a Baroque palace / Pastoral ride to Sandomierz / Underground merchant cellars

This morning, we shuttle south to the starting point of today's ride. After a morning spin, we stop for lunch at one of the most beautiful residences in Poland, a richly ornamented, late-Baroque palace built in the mid-18th century. After lunch we ride to our hotel, located just outside the 14th-century gates of Opatowska—entrance to the picturesque town of Sandomierz.

Sandomierz' location on the banks of the Vistula River made it a prominent town on the medieval trade route that ran from the Middle East through southern Russia and the Ukraine into central Europe. During our included walking tour, we visit the underground merchant cellars beneath the town square. As our subterranean stroll comes to a close, our local guide will point out several restaurant options for dinner on your own. Afterward, our hotel is an easy stroll away.

Hotel: Hotel Sarmata
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 15.5 or 23 miles (25 or 40 km)

DAY 6: Loop rides through the “Tuscany of Poland” / Cooking demonstration and mead tasting

We set out today on a ride through the countryside—and discover why this region is often called the “Tuscany of Poland.” As you roll along country roads through fields and past orchards, you'll be astonished by the variety of fruit: Cherries, apples, pears, apricots, peaches and more grow in this fertile basin. We return to Sandomierz for lunch on your own and further exploration of this interesting medieval town. This afternoon, you may continue cycling these lovely roads, or relax at our hotel or at a café in town.

This evening, we meet the family that owns our hotel for a cooking demonstration. Using fresh fruit from the orchards you passed today, they will demonstrate how to make a traditional dessert from an old family recipe. After dinner, we sample a local favorite—Sandomierski mead, traditional mead that has been brewed only in this region of Poland for more than 1,000 years.

Hotel: Hotel Sarmata
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 15.5 or 31 miles (25 or 50 km)

DAY 7: Transfer to Niepolomice Royal Castle / Cycle through the Niepolmice Forest / Cycle to Wieliczka

This morning, we shuttle to the beautiful Niepolomice Forest. Its name derives from the Old Polish word niepolomny, which meant “impassable,” but today we'll ride lovely paved roads through this sylvan landscape. The forest consists of six nature reserves; the largest is home to the European bison. After our easy ride, we arrive in the lovely town of Niepolomice for lunch on your own and the option to visit the Niepolomice Royal Castle. Originally built in 14th-century Gothic style as a hunting lodge, it was later rebuilt in late Renaissance style. This afternoon, you may take our longer riding option from Niepolomice to our hotel, located in the town of Wieliczka.

This evening is yours to explore Wieliczka. Stroll through the beautiful town and its park, and enjoy dinner at one of the local restaurants on your own.

Hotel: Hotel Grand Sal
Meals: B
Daily Options: 23, 27 or 31 miles (37, 44 or 49.5 km)

DAY 8: Loop rides to neighboring towns / Tour of Wieliczka Salt Mines with Polish vodka tasting / Farewell dinner

Our ride today takes us to some of the neighboring towns and into the countryside surrounding Wieliczka. We return to the hotel for lunch on our own. After lunch, enjoy an afternoon ride, or simply wander into Wieliczka to admire the interesting architecture and perhaps visit the historic military stables.

This evening, we descend into the Wieliczka Salt Mines for a private tour of the fascinating chambers and tunnels created over the centuries. The mine continuously produced salt from the 13th century until just recently and is one of the oldest salt mines in the world. It was placed on the original list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of the highlights of the tour will be the “Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland” where everything is carved from salt—including the chandeliers. During our tour, we enjoy a Polish vodka tasting in one of the underground chambers.

In the evening, we gather for a festive farewell dinner at the Hotel Grand Sal, where we dine on the savory creations of the hotel's renowned chef.

Hotel: Hotel Grand Sal
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 15.5 or 31 miles (25 or 50 km)

DAY 9: Train to Krakow / Walking tour and horse-and-buggy ride in the Old Town / VBT No-Air Package ends

We have a later start to our final morning. Enjoy the extra time to return to the Salt Mines and attend Mass in the underground cathedral, or simply relax before meeting the group to walk to Wieliczka's bus stop and begin our short journey to Krakow. Our guide will meet us in Krakow and escort us on a walking tour of the Old Town, followed by a horse-and-buggy ride to our final hotel, the Hotel Amadeus.

VBT No-Air Package guests: Your luggage will be waiting for you at the Hotel Amadeus in Krakow after our included walking tour. Your tour will end at approximately 1 pm at the hotel. You should not plan on flying out of Krakow any earlier than 3:30 pm. Travel time to the airport from the Hotel Amadeus is approximately 30 minutes. Krakow's main train station is a short 20-minute walk from the Hotel Amadeus or approximately 5 minutes by taxi.

VBT Air Package guests: VBT provides City Information that includes recommendations for cafés, restaurants, museums and transportation in Krakow. The rest of the day is free for you to explore Krakow.

Hotel: Hotel Amadeus
Meals: B

DAY 10: Depart for U.S.

After breakfast* this morning, transfer to the Krakow airport (approximately 30 minutes) for your departing flight.**

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

**Please note: VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: B

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Accommodations

Hotel Grand Sal

The Hotel Grand Sal, located in the picturesque St. Kinga Park, occupies an impeccably renovated structure that once housed the Salt Baths of the Wieliczka Salt Mines. At once lavish and cozy, the building dates to the turn of the 20th century and was refurbished to mirror the detail and style reflected in archival materials. Its interiors emphasize the hotel’s intimate connection with the mines. Its stylized furnishings and high-quality fabric create a warm and refined atmosphere. During your stay, you’ll have easy access to the adjacent Mikolaj Danilowicz entrance to the mine shaft. Each room features climate control, satellite TV, telephone, safe, free Wi-Fi, hair dryer, cosmetics made from Wieliczka salt and a private bath with shower.
Free WiFi Included

Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw

Welcome to one of the finest hotels in Poland! Set within historic Mokrowski Palace and conveniently located in Warsaw’s restored Old Town, the upscale deluxe Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw gives you easy access to all the city’s attractions. Enjoy gourmet dining at La Rotisserie Restaurant, and relax at the swimming pool, sauna and massage room. Your cozy room features a unique décor, including hand-painted frescoes, fine Italian furniture and a view of either the nearby gardens, the Old Town or the hotel courtyard. Amenities include air conditioning, flat-screen TV, direct-dial phone, Internet access, in-room safe, minibar and private bath with shower.
Free WiFi Included

Krol Kazimierz

Renovated from a 17th-century granary, the charming Hotel Krol Kazimierz offers a prime location in the heart of Kazimierz Dolny, next to the riverside promenade and just a half-mile from the town’s market square. References to local history, such as the replica of the town’s famous well, add to the Old World ambiance. While here, enjoy the view from the hotel’s magnificent patio, engage in bowling or billiards, and perhaps take advantage of the spa center, with its swimming pool and Turkish and Finnish saunas. Savor Polish and international cuisine in the hotel’s Ester restaurant, and dance the night away in the hotel’s nightclub. Each of the 115 rooms is tastefully decorated and offers all the comforts of a modern hotel, including air conditioning, LCD TV, Internet access, a minibar, in-room safe and private bath with shower.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Sarmata

This quaint, family-owned hotel has all the charm of a stylish Polish inn and is surrounded by a large park with an inviting summer garden. It is ideally situated just about 650 feet (200 meters) from the Opatowska Gate, the entrance to the city’s Old Town. Hotel Sarmata features a sauna and a Jacuzzi. All of its spacious rooms have free WiFi, LCD TV and a laptop safe box. Guests can relax at an on-site wine bar with a selection of more than 150 wines. Front desk staff is available 24 hours a day and can arrange laundry and ironing service.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Amadeus

Hotel Amadeus is located in a historic 16th-century townhouse in the oldest part of Krakow, on a quiet stretch of Mikolajska Street. Though it is just a few steps from the Market Square, the hotel is tucked away from the urban bustle, offering a serene and elegant ambiance. Enjoy the stylish Baroque interiors that are reminiscent of the era of the hotel’s namesake, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Popular with celebrities from cultural, artistic and political circles, the hotel features a sumptuous restaurant, a cozy café and 22 richly furnished rooms with such modern amenities as satellite TV, Internet access and air conditioning.
Free WiFi Included
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Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With LOw-Cost Trip Extensions

Pre-Trip Extension - Warsaw

2 nights for only $245

Post-Trip Extension - Krakow

2 nights for only $245

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