It felt a bit like I was running out of interesting mountain ranges in Europe, but luckily the Carpathian Mountains came to the rescue! I looked at maps and decided they began in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. I traveled there by train and brought my newly renovated LeMond bike. My biking started through what is called Malé Karpaty, a rather dense forest with rolling hills. Around midday I made a wrong turn, and soon after I had to carry my bike down a scary steep slope, through 100 meters of dense nettle and barefoot across two streams. Don’t be afraid of losing control, that is when adventure begins!
The Carpathian Mountains in Slovakia are rather gentle, so when I got closer to Poland and its much higher Tatras Mountains (part of the Carpathians) the temptation was too big. Plus that I got to add yet another country to the list of places I’ve been. These mountains are gorgeous, but also crammed full of poles on vacation. The number of cars standing still in queues out of Zakopane were just ridiculous.
Another few days of biking through Slovakia brought me to Ukraine, a country still at war with Russia, so I was a bit worried. But in this part of Ukraine nothing of this was visible, except roads in sometimes terrible conditions.
Romania was next, yet another new country for me, where I spent two days biking mostly east to Vatra Dornei, from where I decided to go home by train. I didn’t have enough time to do all of the Carpathian Mountains that summer. Some day I will come back and do the last 1000 km or so to the border between Romania and Serbia where these mountains bow down to the mighty Danube river.
Tour details (grading from 1 to 5)
- Time of year: April to September
- Difficulty: 3 (a few days were a bit tougher)
- Duration: 10 days
- Scenery: 3
- Comments: To bike all of this mountain range you’d need another 10 days or so.