Krakow to Barcelona - Any tips greatly appreciated!

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by randomblue, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. randomblue

    randomblue New Member

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    Hi all!

    To introduce myself - I'm a 22 year old, female, British student and I'm in the first stages of planning my solo cycle tour from Krakow, Poland down to Barcelona, Spain for summer 2014.

    Although I cycle to and from work this will be my first time seriously biking for a longer period and although I'm mostly confident about everything I'd love to get some tips and advice from people who have done tours before or perhaps have been to some of the places I'm going. Any tips from good or bad hostels and camping grounds, kit suggestions, good/bad routes or useful resources would be massively appreciated!

    Now the route itself! As I said this is still a very preliminary plan and some of it is still just City A to City B without any of the route in the middle planned in any detail. I came across Eurovelo which has a bunch of information on routes that cross europe and while none of them line up exactly with my planned journey there are a lot of sections which I'll be able to use between certain points but I've really struggled to find detailed information on most of these beyond a squiggly like across a full country map which isn't hugely helpful in most cases! Does anyone know of any resources with more detailed information on Eurovelo? Or any other resources for cycle routes in the countries I'll be visiting for that matter!

    My current route roughly outlined on google is here: https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zh_k8MAAolf8.kSGfoA2bq2Q8
    The Purple lines represent trains/non cycling portions of the journey.

    The jist of it is to go from major city to city stopping in hostels in each for 3 nights/2 full days and then doing the cycling in between making use of campsites.

    I've planned out to start doing around 50km/day and then build up to 70-80km a day as I get fitter. Is this realistic? I'm planning some practice runs/training tours but I don't think anything is going to be able to fully prepare me for cycling every day for such a long time! I got the suggestion of 60-80km a day from a website giving touring advice but it didn't mention how many hours actual cycling this is likely to be? Anyone have any ideas?

    In terms of stops along the way you can see from my map that I'm going a bit all over the place but I've planned in alternatives (the grey bits cut off about 4 days each) and although I'm planning to travel for approximately 3 months/90 days I'm only planning around 75 days of that and am allowing the extra 2 weeks so I can stop a bit longer if I particularly love a city or if I'm really tired and want an extra few days rest along the way. I'm also leaving my travel home unbooked which means if I'm going much slower than expected I'm free to stop wherever I happen to be mid-September and travel home from there. I know this is likely to be more expensive but I think the flexibility it will give me will be worth it?

    The only other thing I think is that my Dad in particular is freaking out about the whole idea, so if there are any other young women who have done successful tours alone who have any advice or reassurances about travelling alone that would be awesome! I've traveled alone before and I'm currently living in France for my placement year so it's not so much that Im nervous but the more I can show my parents that I've prepared and researched the better I think they'll feel about it!

    I know this is a very vague thread but I'm putting it out there for general advice and tips instead of trying to make a seperate thread for every little question I have!

    Thank you so much in advance for any advise you can give me!
     
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  2. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Best of luck with that cycle, random.

    I can't offer much advice as regards the route : I expect that travelling West from Krakow you're route will involve some climbing, Pyrennees will almost certainly feature between France and Spain given your final destination.
    Depending on your route of choice, I'd try to minimise the quantity of climbing that you might have to do.

    What route do you intend to take from Krakow.

    Are you planning Czech Republic - Germany - France route?
    Or Slovakia - Austria - Italy route?
    (the link you supplied doesn't work).

    I just googled a route : it's 2,250 kms going through
    Krackow, Wroclaw, Dresden, Nuremburg, Karlsruhe, Freiburg, Basel, Dijon, Lyon, Avignon, Montpellier, Barcelona.

    I'm familiar with karlsruhe/Freiburg/basel (lots of climbing) and Avignon/Montpellier/Barcelona (plenty of climbing there too).
     
  3. randomblue

    randomblue New Member

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    Hi and thanks for your reply!

    [​IMG]

    I hope that works instead of the link?

    I'm taking a bit of an all over the place route because I want to visit as many places as possible along the way...

    The first leg (662km/ 6-8 days) is starting in Krakow I'm going down across Slovakia on Eurovelo route 11 which I had assumed would be the easiest way to get across the mountains in Slovakia but I can't actually find any information about that route beyond the Polish border so I'm not too sure about this idea any more. Once I'm in Hungary I'm going to cut across to Budapest.

    Second section (243km/ 4-5 days) will be Budapest to Vienna along Eurovelo 6 which seems to be a pretty smooth route because I'm only going ito the northern part of Austria

    Third will be Vienna up to Prague (300km/5 days), either via Eurovelo routes 9 and 4 or possibly via a slightly more direct route.

    Next is Prague back down to Austria on Eurovelo 7 and back onto Eurovelo 6 for a little bit before cutting across the bottom of Germany to a couple of Castles I want to go and see (500km/7-8 days). Again, even though I'll be going through Austria I'll only be clipping the northern side so hopefully won't have too much climbing then either.

    Fifth leg will be the castles across to Zurich via Lichenstein (226km/3-4 days).

    Sixth will be Zurich down to Milan (281km/4-5 days) which is the only point I'm really going to have to properly cross mountains and on Eurovelo 5 as far as I can tell there's only one Major pass which is about a 1500m climb. I'm not all that confident I'll be able to make that but at that point I'll have been on the road for 6-8 weeks so I might surprise myself and if I really don't feel able to do it there are several public transport options that let me skip it.

    My plans for Italy are pretty messy at the moment. Depending on how long it's taken me to get this far, money etc etc I'm either going to spend some time visiting Vienna and Rome by train (leaving my bike and most of my kit in a hostel or something in Milan) and then go back to Milan and cycle down to the coast (315km/4-5 days) and along to Monaco OR I'm going to take the bike and kit with me to Vienna and then Rome and cycle back up the coast of Italy (665km/8-10 days) OR if I'm feeling super skint or short on time I can skip Vienna and Rome and just go straight from Milan (315km/4 days). From the Italian coast whichever way I get there I'll be carrying along east into France to stop at Nice/Monaco.

    The last section will be literally following the coast all the way around to Barcelona (660km/8-10 days) at which point I'll either get a train across and get the ferry back from Bilbao or get a flight back from Barcelona!

    As I said in my first post it's still very vague and I haven't really done any kind of detailed route plans but I think I'm fairly set on this as a general route. As the crow flies from major city to major city/checkpoint it was about 3000km but I'm guessing allowing for the fact I'm never going to be going in a straight line I'll probably be doing 4-5000km total?
     
  4. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    That is some journey to undertake.
    It is a very impressive undertaking.
     
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