CYCLING TRAIL ZNOJMO - HARDEGG - ZNOJMO
The cycling trail from Znojmo to Hardegg and back is mostly asphalt surface of varying quality. The exception is a 3km stretch of forest gravel road on the way back. As far as difficulty is concerned, it ranks as medium-level both with regard to length and terrain difficulty. For cyclists used to maximum 30km trails, this one will be rather exacting, because namely the area around the destination - the smallest and definitely one of the most beautiful towns in Austria - the gradient is a bit steeper, in some places up to 8-9 %. From the viewpoint of a smooth ride, the stretch between Znojmo and Cínová hora is rather uncomfortable for about 3km due to an uneven asphalt surface. With the exception of a 500m stretch from Cínová hora to Citonice, all the roads on the trail have very light traffic. During the season, there is a pub - U Drbalů - renowned for its cuisine, namely their classic schnitzel, in Bezkov. The trail is lined with cherry trees, ripening between May and June.
Turn left just past Horní Břečkov to Čížov, where you will come upon a 7% upslope. In Čížov, which is actually a municipal part of Horní Břečkov, there is the pub U Švestků, open in the season, and several boarding houses (http://www.hornibreckov.cz/o-obci/firmy-a-podnikatele/) that we recommend for accommodation in case you decide to explore this wonderful natural area with numerous amazing lookouts onto the canyon Vranov-Znojmo. There are no cars allowed in the area aside from those of local inhabitants.
In Čížov you will find the centre of the National Park Podyjí with a permanent exhibition and, more interestingly, the open-air museum of the former Iron Curtain, preserved in its original state. Further on towards Hardegg, access to cars is denied absolutely, the area is a protected preserve of the National Park Podyjí and, on the Austrian side, the National Park Thayatal. One should know that in Austria, cyclists are also banned from the tourist trails that lead through the National Park Thayatal.
Before you cycle down the (6-7%) asphalt slope to Hardegg, you shouldn't miss the view on the right hand – Moravian – side. The lookout, protruding from the rock over the 80m deep canyon, offers visitors an unforgettable experience from the view of the literally fairy-tale like castle Hardegg and the small town around it. If you ride all the way down to Hardegg to the river Dyje and cross the border bridge, you will see the picturesque castle from immediate proximity. On the Austrian side, there are 3 more lookouts from the rock formations around the town. Educational trails lead to the lookouts, featuring numerous informative panels about the locality.
On your way back, after riding down from Čížov, turn right onto Greenways 48, go past the pond Čížovský (Na Keplech) and take the forest road to Lukov, where you'll find two pubs and a number of quite renowned and popular boarding houses. There is also a technical assistance and first aid station here in the restaurant U Všetečků (http://www.obeclukov-znojmo.cz/Sluzby.htm).
The trail leads on to Podmolí - there is a popular and frequent stop for cyclists from all the nearby trails at the pub Hospůdka u rybníka, to the right of the trail, which is worth noting. From here on the land is more even and the trail leads to Znojmo through Mašovice, where the crystal clear water of the quarry Mašovický offers excellent refreshment. It is followed by Hradiště, overlooking Znojmo, with its rich history - it is worthwhile to leave the trail to the right through the tunnel leading past the monastery of the Knights of the Cross (Křížovníků) to the chapel of St. Anthony of Padua and the nearby Elias' chapel, offering a western panoramic view of the ancient town of Znojmo. From there a last downhill ride and 1 km uphill slope (5-6%) leads all the way to Znojmo.
Note: There is an alternative route to Znojmo from Hardegg through Austria through Merkersdorf -Niederfladnitz - Retz - Hnanice to Znojmo, leading on quality asphalt roads. However the trail is thereby extended to almost 70km and from Hardegg it starts off with a 3km uphill ride to Merkersdorf (up to 7%). The trail profile is thereby increased to approx. 1200 meters of elevation.
Trail length: 46.4 km
Trail time: 02:39:36
Upslope: 834 m
Down slope: 827 m
Minimum elevation above mean sea level: 280 m
Maximum elevation above mean sea level: 439 m
Starting point elevation above mean sea level: 293 m
Ending point elevation above mean sea level: 300 m