Thursday, June 28, 2018

Running in Krakow: just follow the Vistula River!

Krakow, Poland, is a great city to visit by foot, but almost too small to make a run really worth. As soon as I crossed the river on my way from the airport to downtown, I was drawn by the imposing Vistula River and biking lane on both banks.
The Vistula crosses all Poland, starting from the South, on the border with the Czech Republic and Solvakia, to the Baltic Sea in the North. In a S shape, it crosses Krakow from West to East then Warsaw, the Capital, from East to West. So, in Krakow, the right bank is on the South side of the river, and left bank on the North side. This is an important detail for my recommendations below.
[Photo credit: By Kmusser - Own work, Elevation data from SRTM, drainage basin boundary from USGS, all other features from Natural Earth., CC BY-SA 3.0,]

Indeed, if you run from downtown, the bike path on the left side, longing downtown, goes a couple of mile on the East side, but ends abruptly on the West side, under this monastery, whose fortifications drop right into the river.

On the right/South side though, I was able to go for 8 miles, up to a remarkable site, a sport center hosting in particular white water kayaking competition at the World level!

An ingenious lock is diverting and storing water from the flat river and releasing it in a narrow corridor to simulate torrents you only find in mountains. Clever!

Before getting to the sport center, you'll pass a big church perched on the ridge:

As opposed to this long stretch, westbound (and I believe it keeps going beyond these 8 miles), the bike path ends quickly on the right bank, eastbound from downtown, and slightly further on the left side, with a connection to additional paved bike paths getting through the suburbs.

The end of the trail on the right bank on the East side of the city (you can cross over the dam you see across the river on that picture):
And, about one mile farther, on the left bank:

You'll pass quite a few bridges on the way:

We were only in town for 4 days but I managed to run 4 times. Here is one of my 3 16-mile runs on the right side, in Strava:
and the corresponding 3D flyover from on the picture below):
Overall, an amazing opportunity to log a few miles without any traffic other than pedestrians and cyclists. I must add, although it's obvious on these pictures, that the area is very green!

1 comment:

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