Tatra Cycleway (Szlak Wokół Tatr) at Suchá Hora Station

“What is that terrible ruin?” you might ask. It used to be a train station on a railway that once connected Krakow with Vienna, within the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

You need to remember that from 1795 until 1918 the territories of Podhale (East from you) and Orava (West from you) belonged to the the same country - the Austrian (later Austro-Hungarian) Empire. As there were no cars nor roads as we have nowadays, railway lines were the connections with “The Civilisation”. This line was constructed in the first years of 20th century. What could be the fastest and the shortest connection between Krakow and Vienna was never going to become it because of the mistake made at the beginning - it was built on a short budget, so was not prepared to receive heavy trains nor fast ones; lots of sharp (for trains) turns and, later, the lack of electricity, also didn’t help. It has always been only a local line.

After 1945 things got really bad for it - the Communism didn’t mean that Poland and Czechoslovakia would live as friends - actually the opposite. The tracks were dismantled on the border section, so once a transit line became dead ends on both sides and it began to lose importance. Nowadays, on the Slovak side, the trains operate to Trstená, in Poland - to Nowy Targ.

The 38 km section between them was abandoned, slowly forgotten and covered with bush and trees, until about 2014, when the project of Tatra Cycleway got the EU funds support. Bushes were cut, bridges repaired, former track turned into a comfy asphalt cycleway. Thanks to the railway history, the ascents / descents are as gentle as a cyclist can dream. Who knows, maybe one day we will have to give way to the trains again, but for now we can enjoy cycling, passing by the dinosaurs, like the Suchá Hora Station.

Find it on Day 1/5: TatraVelo Goulash.