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The Natural Adventure Company | Self Guided Walking Holidays in Europe & Walking Tours in Europe

Self Guided Walking Holidays in Europe

High Tatras Winter Walking

Overview for High Tatras Winter Walking

This self guided winter holiday is set in the pristine winter scenery of the most impressive parts of the Carpathian mountains in Poland. The hikes run past broad meadows, clear streams and glacial lakes of the Tatras. The second half of the trip follows the spectacular Dunajec Gorge listed by UNESCO as world natural heritage. The route follows the Pieniny Way, a picturesque cliff path through the gorge. You spend the nights in comfortable, cosy spa hotels. Start and end in Kraków – home of Europe’s largest Medieval market square.

Highlights

Itinerary for High Tatras Winter Walking

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Day 1: Arrival to Kraków

Arrival and accommodation in a hotel in Kraków. Meet our local representative, who will give you detailed travel information and maps. They will also explain the course of the following days as well as answer all necessary questions. In the afternoon you will have a chance for personal sightseeing of the Old Town, Market Square, and the Jewish Quarter.

Accommodation: Hotel Kazimierz

Day 2: Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains

After breakfast, a private car transfer will take you to Zakopane, a lively resort at the foothills of the Tatra Mountains. In 2 hours you will reach the hotel situated close to the Tatra National Park entrance. After leaving your luggage in the hotel you can take a moderate walk along one of the Tatra valleys. There are several options to choose from.

Walking for the day: Approximately 2 to 4 hours hike, depending on the preferred level of difficulty:

  • Easy trail: 7 km, 290 meters in total elevation
  • Moderate trail: 16 km, 670 meters in total elevation

Accommodation: Bel Ami Hotel

Day 3: Gasienicowa valley and lakes

A full day of hiking in the Tatra Mountains. Among suggested routes are the peaks of Kopa Kondracka (2,005 m), or Gasienicowa Meadow.

Walking for the day: Approximately 4 to 8 hours hike, depending on the preferred level of difficulty:

  • Easy trail: 12 km, 600 meters in total elevation;
  • Moderate trail: 18 km, 900 meters in total elevation.

Accommodation: Bel Ami Hotel

Day 4: The West Tatra mountains, Chocholowska valley, Mrozna cave

Short car transfer in the morning to the western part of the Tatra mountains. Walk along Chocholowska valley which recently has been a set of several films. The destination is Iwaniacka Pass (1459 metres). Return to hotel.

Walking for the day: Approximately 5 to 6 hours hike, 15 km, 310 metres in total elevation.
Accommodation: Bel Ami Hotel

Day 5: Pieniny Mountains, Cerveny Klastor (Red Monastery)

Transfer to Magura Spiska. Today’s walk follows the Polish-Slovakian border. The route passes through Velky Lipnik village and comes to an end in Sromowce on the Polish side of Dunajec canyon. (Approximately 5 hours walk)

Walking for the day: Approximately 5 hours / 10 km.

Accommodation: Nad Przelomem Hotel

Day 6: Pieniny mountains, Dunajec gorge, Szczawnica, Trzy Korony peak

Start of the walk in Pieniny National Park, where the Dunajec Gorge starts. This narrow limestone valley is listed by UNESCO as World Natural Heritage Site. Today’s route follows the so-called Pieniny Way to the spa town of Szczawnica.

Walking for the day: Approximately 6 hours / 12 km.

Accommodation: Budowlani Spa Hotel

Day 7: Beskidy mountains, loop around Szcawnica, Homole gorge, Jaworki village

Today’s walk follows a trail along picturesque Homole Gorge and reaches Wysokie Skalki Peak (1050 metres). The trail follows main Pieniny ridge with views of all surrounding mountain groups. A car will transport you back to Kraków, where in the afternoon you can once again spend time on individual sightseeing.

Walking for the day: Approximately 7 hours hike / 15 km.
Accommodation: Hotel Kazimierz

Day 8: Departure or Onward Travel

Return home or extra stay extension.

Hotels for High Tatras Winter Walking

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Small city hotels in Kraków, small spa hotels in the mountains. Two hotels have spa facilities and a swimming pool. We have chosen accommodations which are close to the national parks and local trails. We avoid big chain hotels and prefer family run businesses.

Sample hotels: Hotel Kazimierz, Budowlani Spa Hotel, Bel Ami Hotel

Meals

Breakfast is always included. Meals are available at the hotels or towns where there is a big choice of restaurants. An exception is the day 5 in Sromowce where the only restaurant is in the hotel. Most restaurants offer local specialities as well as international cuisine.

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates it will be replaced with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide to you full accommodation details upon booking confirmation.

Travel for High Tatras Winter Walking

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Arrival and departure airport – Kraków www.krakowairport.pl

Kraków Airport is the largest regional airport in Poland. The airport is 11 km west of Kraków.

Flight information can change rapidly and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.

Transfers to/from Airports

Travelling by train is the fastest way to get to/from the airport to the city centre where the first and last day hotel is located (the journey to the city centre takes about 17 minutes). The new Kraków Airport train station is located near the passenger terminal, at the rear of the multi-storey car park. Trains run 7 days a week.

Tickets and Fares:

  • Krakow Airport – Krakow Main Train Station: PLN 8,00 – 2 EUR.

Departing from Poland

As mentioned above, the train is the fastest and best way to get from the last hotel in Kraków to the airport.

Cost of taxi from/to airport to city centre is 70 PLN (17 EUR)

Baggage Transfers

Baggage transfer is included on all walking days and the driver will transfer your bags to your next hotel. No luggage weight limit.

Poland: Country Info

Capital: Warsaw
Language: Polish
Border Countries: Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Russia
Population: 38 million
Area: 322,575 sq km (124,547 sq miles, about size of New Mexico)
Time Zone: CET (UTC+1), Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Climate: Temperate with mild summers and moderately severe winters
Currency: Zloty (PLN, zł), 1 zloty = 100 groszy
Government type: Republic, parliamentary democracy
Members of: EU, UN, NATO, OECD, WTO and many other
Holidays: 11 days a year
Country Code: PL

Up-to-date travel advice on Poland is available here.

Trip Info for High Tatras Winter Walking

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Difficulty Grade: Moderate

You will encounter the biggest ascents in the Tatra Mountains on Day 3 where the elevation gain may reach 900 meters. There are several other optional routes suggested in our materials with smaller altitude differences and shorter distances. Daily walking length is 4 – 6 hours. The routes avoid steep and slippery sections and are well-marked. Walking in winter is a popular activity in Poland, therefore they are often used and easy to follow in winter conditions even after a fresh snowfall.

This walking trip is appropriate for intermediate walkers, who are used to hiking in winter conditions. There is a choice of 2 walks on some days which allows adjusting walking difficulty to one’s experience. The biggest elevation gains are on days 2 and 3 in the Tatra mountains (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

The route follows unpaved walking trails which are well-marked and signposted. The trails are described in detail in our holiday information pack, as well as marked on maps (maps scale 1:25000 – 1:30000).

We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip as available from December until March. Weather and snow walking conditions are best in January and February.

The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your holiday on any date in the season – so please indicate desired starting date when booking.

Weather

The Polish Carpathian mountains lie in the temperate zone of Central Europe. They are an important barrier to the movements of air masses. Winter average temperature in Zakopane is -7 degrees, in higher altitudes, the average temperature in winter is below -10. Most of the snowfall occurs between mid-January and end of February.

What to Bring

Main luggage is limited to airline policy only. On walking days your main luggage is transported by car to the next accommodation. One exception is day 6 when you stay in mountain chalet Przechyba where you can bring only your basic, personal things with you.  You can drink water from the tap or buy in mountain chalets along the trails which also offer hot, basic meals.

Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact us or a reputable outdoor retailer.

  • Good winter hiking boots;
  • Thermal hiking socks and liners;
  • Thermal hiking pants
  • Several t-shirts (cotton or preferably breathable/fast drying);
  • Packable waterproof and windproof winter jacket or parka with hood;
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece;
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside accommodation;
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve;
  • Warm wool hat and gloves;
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies);

You can bring or rent from us the following items:

  • Hiking gaiters
  • Crampons
  • Trekking poles
  • Snowshoes

Included for High Tatras Winter Walking

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  • Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including: GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions and road notes; maps with daily routes and optional hikes marked
  • Accommodation with breakfast for 7 nights:
  • Car transfers between accommodations as stated in the itinerary;
  • Introductory meeting with a company representative at the beginning of the trip;
  • Luggage transport between places of accommodation;
  • 24/7 assistance by phone.

Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements

  • Single room supplement: add 20% to the standard trip price. Where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable
  • This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers

Options and Extras

(please choose when booking)

  • Half-board option instead of standard B&B accommodation

You can bring or rent from us the following items:

  • Hiking gaiters
  • Crampons
  • Trekking poles
  • Snowshoes

Self-Guided+

  • On request, we can provide a private guide (choose when booking).

Excluded

  • Flights and connecting land transfers to first / from last accommodation from/to airports
  • Lunches and dinners
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned in the program

Extensions

(please choose when booking)

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