Trans-european cycling trail
Through Poland runs the international Euro-Route R-1 which begins at Calais in France and crosses the Netherlands and Germany. The Polish section (675km) starts at Kostrzyn (Kostrzyn/Kietz border crossing) and leads through very attractive forest expanses of the Lubusz Region, Nadnotecka Forest, Bory Tucholskie Forest, Vistula Valley and the Elblag Plateau. The Polish part of the R-1 route ends up at Gronowo where the international trail enters Russia.
The major part of the route runs along paved surface roads with little car traffic, and some 40% of the whole trail leads through forested areas and along waterways. The flat landscape of the trail does not require any special cycling skills. The trail crosses railway lines in many places and tourists can easily find a spot to begin or finish their adventure. The major trail can be used as the backbone of your cycling itinerary which will probably include some regional branches - these will give you an opportunity to enjoy a great number of additional tourist attractions.
One of these attractions is the medieval city of Torun. Listed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites, Torun is the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus. You may also visit Gdynia and the old city of Gdansk, both located on the Baltic Sea.
There are plenty of very attractive sites along the main route. Not far from Kostrzyn, some 130 species of birds can be observed; 110 species have their breeding ground on the nearby Warta river flood basin. The trail leads on to Osno Lubuskie, enclosed by the 15th century fortification walls (1350m) with twelve towers, and through Sulecin, typified by its splendid ravines and smaller trails crossing the former exercise ground of Soviet troops. Next you come to Lubniewice, located between lakes and amidst forests, and Miedzyrzecz with its old castle, containing a wonderful collection of coffin portraits. The Miedzyrzecz Fortified Region with its network of underground galleries several kilometres long, spreading around the town itself, constitutes an interesting part of the German defensive system built during the Second World War.
Then you come to the natural attractions of the Drawno National Park and the Notecka Forest, shortly after you will arrive at Osiek on the Notec River with its archaeological and ethnographic skansen (open-air ethnographic park). The cityscape of Bydgoszcz is dominated by the magnificent granaries located upon the Brda riverfront. Continuing from Bydgoszcz the R-1 brings us to historical city of Chelmno located atop nine hills with its well-preserved old houses and leads on to Grudziadz, which is picturesquely sited upon the bank of the Wisla River. On the way to Elblag, which was once called the wealthy Truso by the Vikings, visitors can see Malbork with its medieval fortified castle - the mightiest in Europe. Malbork was the capital city of the powerful state ran by the Teutonic Knights. Before reaching the country’s border, the route runs through Kadyny with its famous equestrian farm and riding centre and also through Frombork with its monumental cathedral and the Old Bishops’ Palace. It is believed that Nicolaus Copernicus carried out most of his astronomical research in Frombork.