Start: Krakow Finish: Krakow
Physical rating: Medium, Moderate
Special diets catered: Vegetarians, Vegans
Tour code: WPS
Group size: 4 - 16
Tour operated in:
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This Poland walking holiday visits both the Tatra Mountain range in the south and the outer Carpathian Mountains in Babia Gora National Park. Explore the dramatic peaks and valleys, turquoise lakes and highlander folk culture of this stunning country.
Krakow - Home to Europe's largest medieval market square, explore on foot
Tatra Mountains - Hike in the stunning Valley of the Five Polish Lakes
UNESCO Dunajec Gorge - Walk the Pieniny Way, a spectacular cliff-cut path through the gorge
Accommodation: Hotel Maximum
Arrive in Krakow, is a beautiful city which dates back to the 13th Century; it has a wonderfully rich and varied architecture; a well preserved vast medieval square and a fascinating old Jewish quarter.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Krakow at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive at Kraków John Paul II International Airport (KRK) which is around 30 minutes' drive from the hotel. Should you miss the meeting, your leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to explore on your own, why not try some traditional Polish dumplings 'Pierogi'. Found throughout the city and filled with anything from sweet sauces to cottage cheese, mushrooms or meat they are delicious!
Accommodation: Hotel Jawor
After breakfast we take a guided walking tour of Krakow beginning with Rynek Glowny, Europe's largest medieval square and the focal point of the city. We discover the distinctive character of the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town with its narrow cobbled streets and majestic architecture. Heading away from the centre we walk to Wawel Castle and Cathedral perched on a hill overlooking the old town. Our final stop today is the Kazimierz, the former Jewish Quarter, once the Ghetto area during World War II, now a busy neighborhood crammed with art galleries, traditional restaurants and atmospheric cafes.
In the afternoon we depart towards Babia Gora National Park in the Outer Carpathian Mountains, the drive to our hotel in Zawoja will take approximately one and a half hours. The Babia Gora massif lies within the Western Beskidy Mountains and is the second highest in range in Poland. Depending on travel time, for those who wish to stretch your legs this afternoon there is an optional walk in the Babia Gora range to be rewarded with your first view over the Carpathian Mountains.
Today's optional two kilometre walk is expected to take around one hour with an ascent and decent of 200 metres. The walk is graded Easy.
A short drive this morning brings us to the edge of Babia Gora National Park and the start of today's hike to the peak of Babia Gora (1,725 meters). Babia Gora which translates to Witches Mountain is named so after a folk legend describing the area as a meeting place for witches and black magicians. The path takes us through alpine meadows, ancient spruce and dwarf pine forests, we'll visit a local shepherds hut for tea along the route . From the peak stretches one of the best panoramas of several Carpathian ranges and across to the Tatra mountains. The Polish-Slovakian border runs over the top of Babia Gora and along the shoulders of the mountain from east to west. We descend via a different route back to our hotel in Zawoja.
Today's 14 kilometre walk is expected to take around six-and-a-half hours with 700 metres of ascent and 1,050 metres of descent.
Accommodation: Hotel Czarny Potok
This morning we drive to Zverovka village, crossing the Slovakian border into the West Tatras. Accompanied by an English speaking mountain guide we walk along a wide path climbing gently through the forest Rakon peak (1,879m) and into Slovakia. From this ridge there are fantastic views across forested peaks of the western Tatra. We descend to Polana Chocholowska, a clearing with a number of mountain huts for livestock where we'll stop for lunch in a mountain chalet. Walking down the valley the bus will be waiting to take us to Zakopane, a town lying at the foothills of the Tatras Mountains. Zakopane is a popular Polish ski resort and an excellent base for hiking, the town is characterized by traditional 'Zakopane Style' of timber architecture inspired by the surrounding mountains.
The Tatras region has its own home-grown culinary traditions, this evening tuck into a hearty meat or vegetable stew followed by a small glass of sliwowica lacka (plum brandy).
Today's 15 kilometre walk is expected to take around seven-and-a-half hours with 890 metres of ascent and 960 metres of descent. As we pass into Slovakia you will need to have your passport with you.
An early start (6:30 am) this morning to avoid the crowds on the trail in the afternoon, its a 40 minutes drive to Palenica Bialczanska the starting point for today's walk to Wielki Staw lake and refuge (1,665m). We walk through the beautiful valley of the Five Polish Lakes past the highest waterfall in the Tatras, Siklawa (a 70m drop). Wielki Staw (known as The Great Polish Lake) is a post-glacial natural lake; you can get a mug of tea in the Dolina Pieciu Stawow refuge and walk around the lake admiring the landscape.
Here you have the choice of either walking back to to Palenica Bialczanska with your leader and taking a public bus to Zakopane or join your mountain guide to make the steep and challenging ascent of Kozi Wierch (2,291m) the highest peak lying entirely within Poland. Towards the top there is a small section of scrambling to reach the summit to be rewarded with magnificent views.
Today's 18 kilometer walk is expected to take around six hours with 900 metres of ascent and descent. The optional extension to Kozi Wierch is graded as Challenging and is an additional four kilometres taking approxiamtly three hours with an extra 300 metres of ascent and descent.
Accommodation: Trzy Korony Chalet
After a leisurely morning in Zakopane we drive to Dunajec Gorge, listed by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage Site and one the most stunning gorges in Europe. We follow the Pieniny Way along the gorge with limestone cliffs blanketed in lush forests of fir, beech, larch and spruce rising high above us. The Way runs the entire length of the Dunajec Gorge snaking in and out of Poland through sections of Slovakia. The end point of today's walk and accommodation for the evening is in the spa town of Szczawnica, back on Polish side of the border.
For those who prefer to take a break from walking today it is possible to travel the same route down Dunajec River by traditional wooded raft. This leisurely form of transportation has been used for centuries in this area to move both goods and people between villages.
Today's 14 kilometre walk is expected to take around three-and-a-half hours along a flat route. As we pass into Slovakia you will need to have your passport with you.
After a good night's rest we start our last ascent of the trip, the peak of Trzy Korony. Departing from the hotel we take a small wooden boat across the Dunajec River to reach the start of the today's walk. The traditional boats seat approximately eight people at one time and the ferrymen are dressed in local folk attire.
Once across the river we begin our gradual ascent starting at 500 meters through the forest to reach our first peak of the day, Sokolica (747m). After taking in the fabulous views we continue to a green meadow before the final ascent to the peak of Trzy Korony (982m), the summit of the Three Crowns massif. There is an observation deck on top of the peak with views of the Dunajec River, Gorge and Pieniny National Park. We take a different trail down from the peak looping the massif, enjoying the spectacular views of the limestone peaks, before descending to the bottom of the valley. Today's walk ends in Kroscienko town where our driver will be waiting to take us on to Krakow (two hours).
Today's 15 kilometre walk is expected to take around five-and-a-half hours with 480 metres of ascent and 550 metres of descent.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Krakow.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Krakow at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Kraków John Paul II International Airport (KRK) which is around 30 minutes' drive from the hotel.
If you have booked a late afternoon or evening flight it is possible to take an optional morning excursion to Oswiecim, the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp.
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It will depend on the grade and how fit you already are. Check the trip page for details of the walking or cycling grade and how far you’ll be walking/cycling each day. For moderate or challenging trips in particular we’d recommend doing some walks or cycles before you leave to build up your fitness and prepare you for the distances being covered.
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