In and around Warsaw by bike
Do you like cycling and exploring the city on two wheels? Super! Warsaw is great for cyclists. Hundreds of kilometres of bicycle paths and a network of self-service Veturilo bike rental stations mean you can go where you want and take a closer look at the city and its people. On weekends (between April and October) the most famous street in Warsaw – Krakowskie Przedmieście – is closed to cars so you can cycle in comfort. You can cycle across the Vistula River, which divides Warsaw in half, by a special footbridge at the Łazienkowski Bridge, and in the summer season also by a free ferry. When the noise of the city takes its toll, go to one of the parks or urban forests to the south and north of the city.
Be eco and visit Warsaw by bike!
Warsaw by bike
Popular bicycle routes along the banks of the Vistula River allow you discover the capital.
The Vistula Trail, located on the left side of the river, runs along the boulevards. You will pass the Multimedia Fountain Park – perfect refreshment for the summer heat, the University of Warsaw Library with its interesting roof garden, and the Copernicus Science Center adored by kids (and not only). Further south of the city you will see two former royal residences – Royal Łazienki and Wilanów, and then you will reach Powsin Park. There, you can play football or tennis, cool off in the outdoor swimming pool or go climbing in the rope park. Find time to stop at each of the attractions you pass – you won’t regret it.
The Sunny Trail running along the right bank of the Vistula River is a treat for nature lovers. The path winds through semi-wild forests and four natural city beaches. You will quickly forget that you are in the middle of the city, and with a bit of luck you will see a cormorant, a heron or come across traces of beavers.
Plan your own sightseeing route using this map. You will find self-service repair stations, repair services and bike stands along bicycle paths.
With a guide
If planning is not your strong point, go on a guided bike tour. Over a few hours you will see the attractions of the capital, learn about their history and discover interesting facts. Bike hire is in the price of the tour. On the tours, which take place daily, you will cycle down the famous Royal Route, see the Old Town, take a photo at the Palace of Culture and Science and the PGE National Stadium. You can also cool down pedaling along the wild Vistula river bank. You need to book a themed tour – green, Jewish or communist Warsaw, several days in advance. And if you want something tailored to your own needs, choose a private bicycle trip. You decide the starting time and the starting point.
Remember the rules of the road
- Make sure that your bike has a red reflector on the back and a bell. If visibility on the road is poor, be sure to turn on the front and rear lights.
- For your own safety, wear a bicycle helmet when riding.
- Most of all, use routes intended for bicycles, shared pedestrian and bicycle paths and bicycle lanes separated from the road. Give way to pedestrians on paths intended for bicycles and pedestrians.
- Use the road to travel on sections where there is no path. Always cycle as close as possible to the right edge and signal each manoeuvre with your hand first. Obey all rules that apply to drivers. You can overtake cars stuck in traffic on both the right and the left, but be careful.
- You can use pavements in exceptional situations:
– if you are riding with a cyclist under the age of 10;
– in case of very bad weather, when riding on the street may be dangerous, and when the road speed is over 50 km/hour, and the pavement is wider than 2 metres (and there is no bicycle path).
- In other cases, you may be fined for riding on the pavement. However, if you cycle on the pavement, remember to be careful – pedestrians have priority.
- If there is no designated cycle crossing at the road crossing, you must get off the saddle and push your bike across the road.
- Individual riding rules apply in parks and forests.
- Drink a beer with friends another time – if you cycle under the influence, you can be fined and even arrested.
Please respect the rules of taking a bike on public transport
- In exceptional situations, such as damage to your bicycle or bad weather, you can take it for free on public transport, but remember that it must not disturb other passengers.
- When transporting a bicycle, only use the dedicated places in the vehicle:
– in buses and trams – in front of the second door from the driver’s cab;
– in the metro by the first and last doors of the train;
– SKM and KM trains are marked with special pictograms on the door to the wagon.
- When transporting a bicycle, be careful not to make it difficult for other passengers to get in and out of the vehicle. It will be possible outside rush hours, when public transport is not crowded.
- You must free the space occupied by your bicycle upon a request of a passenger in a wheelchair or a person with a pram.
- Remember that public transport should be used to transport bikes in emergency situations, and not for daily commuting.
Visit towns near Warsaw
If you are a more experienced cyclist, leave Warsaw and discover local attractions. Remember to allocate at least a few hours for such a trip, and if you want to stay longer, even a whole day (it can be several dozen kilometres from the center of Warsaw). On the way, you will burn calories and enjoy picturesque surroundings.
In just over an hour (approx. 20 km from the Palace of Culture and Science) you will reach great places to visit to the south of Warsaw.
Konstancin-Jeziorna is famous for one of the first paper mills in Poland (it was the source of the paper on which the May 3rd Constitution was written) and the Spa Park with a 40-metre brine graduation tower. On the way, you can stop in Powsin or visit the Botanical Garden of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
Otwock (approx. 20 km from the Palace of Culture and Science) is home to dozens of villas, guesthouses and former sanatoriums where tuberculosis was once treated (Józef Piłsudski, Władysław Reymont and Henryk Sienkiewicz Spent their holidays there). The buildings that have survived to this day are a delight to the eyes with original wooden architecture in the style called by K.I. Gałczyński ‘świdermajer’ (the river Świder flows nearby).
You can reach the picturesque Zegrze Lake, north of Warsaw (approx. 35 km from the Palace of Culture and Science) by riding along the Żerań Canal. A popular beach with a bathing area and a paddling pool for children, water equipment rental and a playground await you in Nieporęt. If you want to surf, go 2 km further and stop in Białobrzegi. There you will find the largest lakeside windsurfing base and a port where sailboats are moored.
The route to Modlin has a similar distance (over 40 km to the north-west of the Palace of Culture and Science). You will see a well-preserved nineteenth-century military fortress, the main and largest structure of which is the citadel. The picturesquely situated hexagonal building is more than 2 kilometres long and is considered the longest in Europe. View it from the lookout tower or cycle around it. There, you will also learn the history of Baśka Murmańska – a tamed polar bear who went there with Polish soldiers from far away Arkhangelsk.
More than 40 km south of the Palace of Culture and Science is Czersk, with the remains of the Gothic castle of the Masovian dukes, built at the turn of the 14th/15th century. It was destroyed by the Swedes. Be sure to climb to the top of the tower, from where you can see the Vistula valley and the surrounding orchards. On the way, you will pass Góra Kalwaria, famous for the Passion Mysteries held here every year. Once it was a church town, built on the model of Jerusalem; later it became famous for the Hasidic dynasty attracting crowds of Hasidim from Central and Eastern Europe.
On the forest trail
If you want real contact with nature, go to the forest.
In the south of Warsaw is the Chojnów Bicycle Trail. It starts in Powsin and runs mainly along forest paths and comfortable asphalt roads through the Kabacki Forest to the Chojnów Landscape Park. There you will come across traces of beavers, and with a bit of luck you will see a deer or even a moose. The Zimne Doły wilderness is a great place to stop and rest. In a beautifully situated glade with several shelters with fire pits, as well as an observation tower. Climb to the top to spot a cormorant or a great crested grebe feeding on nearby ponds.
An equally long, but slightly more demanding route (approx. 50 km both ways) leads to the Mazovian Landscape Park. Heading from the Siekierkowski Bridge through Anin, you will reach the place where the Vistula and its tributaries are truly wild. The picturesque meandering river Świder adds extraordinary charm to the area. Over 20 species of fish live by the river – its riverbed and banks are a protected nature reserve. You will need around 3 hours to complete this route.
The Masovian Landscape Park is crossed by the Wawer bicycle trails – eight routes of varying difficulty. If you have enough strength, choose the blue one, known as the Butcher because of the sandy fragments. For families with small children, the yellow trail will be better, while older children will cope well with green and red ones. If the trail is too demanding, you can return to Warsaw by suburban train – the end points of the routes are located near transport junctions.
Cycling in the wild forest
And if that’s not enough, then set off on the Kampinos Cycling Trail, which goes through a primeval forest located just outside the city. The easiest way to get to the starting point – the Glade of Honorary Blood Donors by the Opaleń wilderness – is from the Młociny metro station, heading towards Wólka Węglowa. Over 144 kilometers of varied routes and beautiful landscapes offers an intense 10-hour marathon on good mountain equipment, provided you are in excellent condition. Marked in green, it leads along forest paths, asphalt, dirt roads, and in some places also on marshy or sandy terrain. On the route you will find clearings and tourist shelters to catch your breath, as well as rubbish bins to get rid of unnecessary excess baggage. If you prefer to enjoy nature and visit local attractions, divide the trip into stages. In the depths of the park, you may stumble upon a beaver, spot a moose and even a lynx. Make sure to visit Żelazowa Wola – the birthplace of Fryderyk Chopin – and the Palmira Memorial, which commemorates several thousand Poles murdered there during World War II. Be sure to spray yourself before the trip. The forest is said to be home to 31 species of mosquitoes.
For extreme riders, a black bike trail has been marked out in the Mazovian Landscape Park. Perfectly adapted for mountain biking, it is 27 km long and leads through dunes, wetlands and hills with steep climbs. The terrain height differences are as much as 22 metres, which makes it a real MTB marathon.
On the other side of Warsaw, 30 km north of the Palace of Culture and Science, there is the Wieliszew Cross Route. Set out on the Poniatów Wilderness, it is about 12.5 km long, and the sum of the heights is over 200 metres. You probably won’t find a bigger cycling challenge in the Warsaw area. The route record set by Polish road cyclist Cezary Zamana is 31 minutes 54 seconds.