ZNOJMO - VRANOV - ZNOJMO
Znojmo and Vranov nad Dyjí are two towns in this region that are inseparable - both have deep historical ties, a unique location and genius loci. The river Dyje connects both towns as a lifeline, it flows from Vranovská dam all the way to the Old town of Znojmo through a 100 meters deep canyon, surrounded mostly by deciduous forests. Since this area naturally became a protected preserve, in the care of the National Park Podyjí, the marked trails will only take the cyclist to the edge of the canyon three times, but it's still worth it. It is 21km from Znojmo to Vranov via a class 3 road no. 408, but this variant is not too suitable for cyclists, because the traffic is medium to lightly heavy, especially in the summer months. Those who prefer roads can also take the route Hradiště-Podmolí-Lukov-Lesná, but the asphalt surface is bad in some places.
For MTB and trekking bike fans we offer a circuit, which you can take in either direction, however it also has variants with a higher difficulty level. With regard to difficulty, the trail is suitable for at least moderately experienced cyclists; it is not quite suitable for children. Experienced cyclists can opt for the more difficult route, taking the Greenways Prague-Vienna, which is available as a separate cycling trail.
By avoiding the main road the cycling trail is longer by about 25km in one direction and the elevation profile has higher figures here, hardly believable for this region and for most rookies. However if you just ride free-style, everyone gets to the destination.
The starting point is the Komenského square in Znojmo, from there a cycling route goes to Pražská street, around the gas station and past the bridge to the left, in the direction of Cínová hora. The cyclists will be met by bad quality asphalt and gravel here - unsuitable for street bikes. Just before Citonice there is a short stretch on road 408 and 300 meters further in the village there is a sharp left turn towards Bezkov. In the season, this is the place to stop in the pub U Drbalů, famous for its delicious cuisine (their specialty are schnitzels). From Bezkov you take the road to Horní Břečkov, where the cycling trail leads past one of the oldest churches in Moravia. Presently there are no refreshments available here. At the end of the village, turn left in the direction to Čížov; you will get to this small village by a half-kilometre uphill slope. Čížov is the home of the open-air museum of the Iron Curtain; it is located right next to the administration building of the National Park Podyjí. There are also two pubs here - U Švestků and Na chalupě. You can take a short trip to the south from here to the fairy-tale Austrian town Hardegg. You needn't ride all the way to Austria (though it is worth it), because there is a difficult downhill slope and the ride uphill on the way back. Just before this turn, there is a signpost pointing to the right towards a lookout overlooking Hardegg (about 1.5km from Čížov). The view is more than just worth it. Besides the scenery of the medieval castle, the lookout is perched almost 100 meters over the river Dyjí, which seems almost unbelievable in this otherwise rather flat area.
From Čížov, the trail leads a bit back and, still in the village, turns left to 48 Greenways, where there is a steep ascent to the highest spot in the area - Větrník (505 m altitude). From there the route passes through a forest for 200 meters and just by the edge of the slope down to Vranov there is a red tourist mark, directing those interested towards the unique Ice cave (not a cycling trail). From this point, the route to Vranov goes downhill at a steep incline on a wide forest road, which narrows down past the walkway across the creek with cross roots on the surface. One needs to be more careful here and it is not wise to ride down this slope without a cyclist helmet. This stretch ends by a meander of the river Dyje called "Abandoned" (Opuštěný) on river-level, under the obelisk of the Ice cave. From there the route continues around the chapel to Vranov nad Dyjí and its quarter Zadní Hamry, from where one can already see the jewel of the Vranov chateau. In Zadní Hamry, there is a steep rock just to the left of the road, where one should stop to see the morphological curiosity - the fold Hamerská vrása. There is a short way to best describe it - even stone used to be liquid once.
There is a number of restaurants and boarding houses in Vranov nad Dyjí, for details on them one best ask at the efficient information centre right on the square, or one can just ride through town. Vranov is less busy outside of the summer season.
What sights should one see in Vranov? Primarily it is of course the Vranov chateau, but there are numerous other historical buildings and monuments to visit here, and naturally you should not omit a short trip to the dam Vranovská (1,5km). The alternative route back actually leads over the dam embankment. During the season, there are several larger restaurants on the dam, but only from May to October. You can also see the dam beach across the imposing White Gate (Bílá brána) bridge. There is regular boat traffic (4 ships should be satisfactory for those interested) on the lake with its spectacular meanders for a stretch of 20km all the way to the castle Bítov. Unfortunately, Vranov does not offer a bicycle storage for larger groups as of yet.
When the cyclist finishes his tour of the dam and heads towards Znojmo, we offer an alternative return route. At the end of the walkway, on the side of the dam, continue to the valley Švýcarské údolí, past the colony of cottages to the end of the bay. Turn right there for a steep ascent (asphalt) with a short stretch at 13%. As soon as you cycle through the tree-lined alley to a crossroads on the road from Lesná, take the class 3 road downhill for 200 meters to Šumná and continue across the railway tracks towards Vranovská Ves. Here we recommend taking a turn to the right onto a forest (today asphalt-surface) road, which runs parallel to the road through a forest, the profile undulates comfortably. At its end you can get back onto the road and ride down to Vranovská ves. On a bicycle, you can also get there by turning right into the forest at the end of the forest seesaw and ride up to the largest solar plant in Moravia. Pass it on the left for a comfortable ride to Vranovská ves on a gravel road and avoid the uphill ride one must take when opting for the class 3 road to enter the village.
Trail length: 56.1 km
Trail time: 03:14:32
Upslope: 1189 m
Down slope: 1180 m
Minimum elevation above mean sea level: 276 m
Maximum elevation above mean sea level: 508 m
Starting point elevation above mean sea level: 293 m
Ending point elevation above mean sea level: 302 m