Dates 2019: July 21 – July 27
The region of Lower Silesia is one of renowned beauty. This tour begins and ends in Wroclaw, the region’s capital. Wroclaw is replete with Gothic churches, Flemish style Renaissance mansions, Viennese Baroque palaces & chapels, tranquil parks, gardens, & rivers, and a vibrant cultural scene which enjoys world renown.
Outside of Wroclaw you enter the regions playground. The gently rolling landscape that we travel through is full of ponds, lakes, rivers, open farmlands, dense forests, rugged mountains, and a multitude of unspoiled villages. Plus there are architectural highlights such as the UNESCO listed 12th century Cistercian Abbey of Lubiaz, the UNESCO listed Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica, and the magnificently restored 13th Century Castle Ksiaz (where we stay a night). The cycling is absolutely superb, the landscape is stunning, and the architecture is of ‘outstanding universal value’.
Wroclaw to Kryzdlina Mala ~ 34 miles (55 km)
Arrive in Wroclaw. In the evening you will meet the guides and the other riders. It’s recommended to stay within a few minutes walk to Ostrow Tumski (the city’s ecclesiastical heart) and the Rynek (old town square). Following the introductions you are free to explore the numerous bars for a quiet or noisy drink. Of course, we can provide recommendations!
Cycling sedately through golden fields and rolling terrain we observe the transition from bustling metropolitan centre to relaxed countryside heart. Our first stop of the day is in picturesque Olesnica, a beautiful town in the Olesnica lowlands that was established as part of the Amber Trail in the 13th century. Today it is home to a unique complex of the Princes Castle, the basilica of St. John the Apostle, and the Wrocław Gate Tower.
After a traditional Polish lunch we hop back on our bikes and trace our way along serene country lanes towards the peaceful village of Poreby. Our hosts in the local Agro-Tourism accomodation will have prepared our rooms and a hearty Polish dinner for us to enjoy.
Kryzdlina Mala to Jawor ~ 38 miles (60 km)
Leaving Poręby in the cool morning we cruise along the village paths which meander among the 100+ Milicz Lakes which are home to 13 amphibian species, 250 bird species of which 170 are local nesters, and 44 different mammals. Another treasure are the 80 male Bitterns, the White Storks, Black-tailed Godwits, Snipes, and Quails. In autumn up to 16,000 bean geese pluck grass and weeds from the meadows.
After stopping for lunch and exploring the medieval architecture of Milicz we continue our adventure on the wildlife filled ponds and lakes towards the relgious centre of Trzebnica.
Jawor to Dobkow ~ 28 miles (45 km)
In the picturesque town of Trzebnica we spend the morning exploring its long and distinguished history. The main attraction is the Cisterian Convent which was established in 1202 by Saint Jadwiga (St Hedwig). Its architectural heritiage is firmly Romanesque but it also has particularly Gothic touches in the Basilica of St Jadwiga. We will have an easy day of riding and will cover a distance of approximately 35km. Trzebnica has an elevated position and we get to enjoy a gentle downhill course through forests and farmland towards the Odra river.
For 2/3 of the way we follow the Odra River and ride through numerous small villages, some of which look like nothing has changed for 100 years. In the last leg of today’s ride we enter the coolness of the rolling hills in the forest and pedal to Wolow: the residence of the Silesian Piast Dukes and the birthplace of Poland’s first Cosmonaut!
Dobkow to Jelenia Gora circuit ~ 35 miles (55 km)
The morning ride ends in the relaxed village atmosphere of Lubiaz and it is here that we visit another impressive attraction. The village of Lubiaz rests in the shadow of a massive UNESCO listed Cisterian Abbey which ranks as the largest and most impressive monastic complex in central Europe. Since its establishment in 12th Century, the enormous Baroque buildings have served as an abbey, a mental institution, a stud farm, labour camp, and a book warehouse.
We continue our journey through the cool shade of beautiful Polish forests as we enter the gently undulating terrain of the lower Sudety foothills. We follow the soothing wanderings of quiet rural roads that trace the course of rivers and streams that were chilled with last Winter’s snow during the Spring. We arrive in the serene town of Jawor which is situated next to one of the UNESCO listed Churches of Peace, which ranks historically and most certainly artistically, among the most exceptional monuments in Lower Silesia. The church in Jawor is over 43,5 m long, 14 m wide and 15,7 m high and not one nail was used in its construction. It seats 5,500 and was constructed by Breslau (Wroclaw) architect Albrecht von Saebisch (1610–1688) in 1655. The 200 wonderful paintings inside were painted by Georg Flegel in 1671–1681 the Altar was built by Martin Schneiderin 1672, and the original organ is from 1664.
Two UNESCO listed buildings in one day and you will really have to see to believe!
Dobkow to Ksiaz ~ 28 miles (45 km)
Following breakfast, we hop on our bikes and cycle along softly undulating paths through pristine Polish forests towards another immense Polish monument: Castle Ksiaz. Ksiaz is one of the best preserved castles in Lower Silesia and is famous as the largest hilltop fortress in Poland. When we arrive in the afternoon we are lucky enough to spend a few hours exploring the nooks and crannies of the massive and majestic complex. The escorted ascent to the top of the main tower is fascinating and once at the top the view of the surrounding landscape is breathtaking and absorbing as the guide points out the location from which V2 rockets were fired on England sixty years ago. During WWII Ksiaz housed a bomb-proof bunker for Hitler, but now it’s known for its beautiful gardens and its famous horse stud farm. After a right royal dinner we settle down for the night in an unusual and impressive hotel setting in one of the castle outbuildings.
Ksiaz to Sobotka ~ 28 miles (45 km)
Royally rested we once again venture into the foothills of Sudety mountains. After leaving the mountains we arrive in the fortress town of Swidnica where the other surviving UNESCO Church of Peace is located. In addition to its UNESCO heritage, Swidnica is an interesting destination as from the 14th century it had over 300 breweries! We wander around it’s old town and experience the Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque ambience.
After lunch we head towards one of the more mysterious destinations in Poland: Sleza mountain. Leaving our bikes in our hotel we make our way to the base of the mountain. Sleza rises impressively from the surrounding flatness and is one of the most perplexing sites in Poland. The mountain was used for pagan worship in Celtic times and was later settled by an unknown Slav tribe (who named the mountain and Silesia itself). Situated on its slopes are several mysterious ancient sculptures and carvings whose origins and symbolism is not known. We stay the night in the shade of Sleza mountain and make our way back to Wroclaw the following morning.
Sobotka to Wroclaw ~ 32 miles (50 km)
Your week in the beautiful expanse of Lower Silesia is almost over. You have seen the very best natural and monumental attractions that the region has to offer. But if time allows, take another look around Wroclaw. Of course, we can provide hotel recommendations and let you know of the must see attractions Wroclaw is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and has been likened to Prague due to its bridges, churches, parks, architecture, and its river location. It is a city that will stay in your heart and live in your memory.