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Eastern Carpathians Winter Walking  The Natural Adventure Company 12

Eastern Carpathians winter walking

Overview

This self guided snow walking holiday is set in the pristine winter scenery of the Eastern Carpathians. Bieszczady Mountains remain one of eastern Europe’s last hidden gems with a remarkable history and unspoilt nature. This wild range has been heavily depopulated after the Second World War when Polish communist government decided to expel the entire Ukrainian speaking population. The vastness of Bieszczady meadows and hills is even more spectacular in winter. On the snow, one can see tracks of wild animals like lynx or European bison. Overnight stays are in cosy family-owned guesthouses, some of them with spa facilities.

  • Bieszczady Mountains (Eastern Carpathians)
  • The old town of Krakow – former Polish capital
  • Wieliczka Salt Mine (optional)
  • Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial museum (optional)

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Kraków

Arrival and accommodation in a hotel in Kraków. Meeting 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 can do some sightseeing of the Old Town, Market Square, and the Jewish Quarter.

Day 2: Wetlina and the East Carpathian Mountains | 8 km

Car transfer to Wetlina in the Eastern Carpathians (4 hours). Moderate hike towards the main Carpathian ridge.

  • Walking for the day: Approximately 3 to 4 hours / 8 km
  • Accommodation: Roh B&B or similar

Day 3: Polonina Wetlinska (Wetlinska meadow) | 11 km

Ascent to Wetlinska meadow, a large open plateau called Polonina with a view of the entire Bieszczady (Eastern Carpathians) range. Afternoon descent back to Wetlina.

  • Walking for the day: Approximately 4 to 5 hours / 11 km
  • Accommodation: Roh B&B or similar

Day 4: Carpathian Meadows | 15 km

Short car transfer and walk along Polonina Carynska with a view of Tarnica – the highest peak of Bieszczady. Walk to next hotel.

  • Walking for the day: Approximately 5 to 6 hours hike, 15 km
  • Accommodation: Pod Carynska B&B or similar

Day 5: Kremenaros Peak: Where Three Borders Meet | 12 km

Hike to Kremenaros Peak (1,221 metres), located where the borders of Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine meet. Walk back to the hotel.

  • Walking for the day: Approximately 5 hours / 12 km
  • Accommodation: Pod Carynska B&B or similar

Day 6: Tarnica and Krzemien Peaks | 15 km

This day’s route reaches Tranica (1,346 m), the highest peak in the area and Krzemien (1,335 metres), close to the Ukrainian border. You will descend to a settlement called Muczne.

Day 7: Bieszczady Mountains / Krakow | 8 km

You can either spend a relaxing day in the settlement of Muczne (the pension has spa facilities) or take a moderate walk in San river valley, where you will see former Orthodox Lemkos villages with their characteristic wooden architecture. Afternoon transfer back to Kraków (4 hours), where in the evening you can once again spend time on sightseeing.

  • Walking for the day: 0 – 3 hours (8 km)
  • Accommodation: Hotel Kazimierz or similar

Day 8: Departure

Return home or individual stay extension.

What to expect

Accommodation

Small city hotels in Kraków, small family operated B&Bs in the mountains. Owners are known for their hospitality, and the pensions have a large number of return customers. One of the hotels has spa facilities. We have chosen accommodations that are close to the national parks and local trails. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default hotels

*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.

Meals

Breakfast is always included. When no restaurant location is available on route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. You can have dinner at your hotel or nearby restaurants. Most restaurants offer local specialities as well as international cuisine.

Difficulty & terrain

You will encounter the biggest ascents on Day 6, where the elevation gain may reach 600 meters. Daily walking length is 4 – 7 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 used to hiking in winter conditions (read more about difficulty grades). 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 is available from the second half of 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.

The Polish Carpathian mountains lie in the temperate zone of Central Europe. They are an important barrier to the movements of air masses. The coldest month in Bieszczady is December with average temperatures of -5°C. The main snowfall occurs at the end of January – mid-February.

Please note there might be a supplement for overnights around Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options and route planner

By plane

Recommended arrival and departure airport: Krakow (KRK).

By train or bus
  • Krakow Airport is the largest regional airport in Poland. The airport is located 11 km west of Kraków. The train is considered the best solution from the airport to Krakow’s city centre for its travel time and cost. The train is available from 5:18 am to 12:15 am and has services every 30 minutes. The journey from Krakow airport to the city centre will take 20 minutes, and the ticket fare is €2.5. Cost of taxi from/to airport to the city centre would be approx. 70 PLN (€17).

Included

Included

  • 7 nights accommodation, as described in the itinerary, with breakfast included
  • 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
  • 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
  • 24/7 phone support by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Single room supplement for members of a group
  • This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers
  • Half Board (evening meals included)
  • One extra night in Krakow before or after the holiday
  • Guided tour of Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow with return transport
  • Guided tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Museum near Krakow with return transport

You can bring or rent from us the following items:

  • Hiking gaiters
  • Crampons
  • Trekking poles
  • Snowshoes

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