Route 39: Through the Dunajec Gorge by bicycle
Krościenko n. Dunajcem, Grywałd (5 km) Hałuszowa (9 km) Sromowce Wyżne (14 km) Sromowce Niżne (20 km) Czerwony Kasztor (22 km) Szczawnica (31 km) Krościenko n. Dunajcem (34 km)
34 km, 4,5 h, difficulty – easy
Altitude profile of the route:
This trip includes one of the most charming cycling routes of the Małopolska Region – a ride through the Dunajec Gorge. Unfortunately, to close the loop at one section we will go along a busy provincial road. Let's be careful. We leave the market square in Krościenko next to the stone church, by road No 969 towards Nowy Targ. We pass the PPN Museum on the left, then – 700 m after the gas station – we turn right and cycle up the hill to Grywałd (going straight ahead we will shorten the route by a 4 km loop). We descend to the village by a steep descent, then turn left into Kwiatowa Street, which will lead us up to a wooden church. We return by the narrow valley to road No 969 and turn right. We cycle about 1,200 m and then turn left onto Hałuszowa. The hardest part of this trip is ahead of us – a two-kilometre exhausting climb through Hałuszowa. We turn left on the main road and, for a change, go down a few kilometres by serpentine through a part of the Pieniny National Park to Sromowce Wyżne. At the main intersection, we turn left to Sromowce Niżne, passing on the way the rafting harbour, where the famous rafting trips through the Dunajec Gorge begin. In the village next to the new stone church stands a 16th-century wooden church. We ride 500 m and see a modern footbridge leading to Slovakia on the right. We pass it over Dunajec, go left and reach the walls of the monastery in Červený Kláštor. We go straight across the footbridge next to the museum entrance, and enter the asphalt alley along the red trail. Ahead of us is the most beautiful 9-kilometer section of the route – a ride along the Dunajec Gorge. At the intersection on the outskirts of Szczawnica we turn left and cycle along the Dunajec to Krościenko, where we finish the trip.
ATTRACTIONS ON THE ROUTE:
1. Church in Krościenko – erected in 1350, brick, partly Gothic. Inside, on the walls of the nave, a polychromy from 1589 in the style of the Pauper's Bible. Gothic baptismal font presumably donated by King Jan Olbracht.
2. Museum of the Pieniny National Park in Krościenko – an exhibition presenting issues related to the genesis of the Pieniny Relief, nature protection, geology, architecture, ethnography and ecology, a model of the Pieniny.
3. Wooden church in Grywałd – built in the second half of the 15th century, single-nave, log construction, boarded and covered with shingles. Inside, a polychromy from 1638 and a triptych from the beginning of the of the 16th century.
4. Pieniny National Park – created in 1954 (covers area of 2,346 ha) in order to protect the most valuable natural resources of the Pieniny range. These include, first and foremost: the Dunajec Gorge, rocky grasslands and many plant species, including two endemics: Pieniny wallflower and Pieniny dandelion. Information: www.pieninypn.pl
5. Wooden church in Sromowce Niżne – Gothic, built in the 16th century, with a log structure. The presbytery and the nave constitute a single unit, a tower of a pole structure added in the 17th century.
6. The monastery complex in Červený Kláštor (Slovakia) – church and monastery from 1319. In the 18th century, the Camaldolese monks built a tower and added hermit houses. In the latter there is a museum with a historical exhibition and pharmacy collections.
7. Pieniny Gorge of the Dunajec River – one of the biggest tourist attractions in Poland. A picturesque section of the Dunajec River crossing the proper Pieniny. The course of the river is winding, full of bends, and huge rocks rise up its banks, reaching 300 m in height. This section can be overcome by rafting, which on the Polish side is on the route Sromowce Wyżne – Szczawnica or... by bicycle on the Slovak side of the Dunajec. Information: www.flisacy.com.pl.