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High Tatras Winter Walking  The Natural Adventure Company 12

High Tatras winter walking

Overview

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. 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.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Krakow

Arrival and accommodation in a hotel in Krakow. 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.

Day 2: Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains | 7-16 km

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 m
  • Moderate trail: 16 km, 670 m
  • Accommodation: Bel Ami Hotel

Day 3: Gasienicowa Valley and Lakes | 12-18 km

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 m
  • Moderate trail: 18 km, 900 m
  • Accommodation: Bel Ami Hotel

Day 4: The West Tatra Mountains, Chocholowska Valley, Mrozna Cave | 15 km

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 m). Return to hotel.

  • Walking for the day: Approximately 5 to 6 hours hike, 15 km, 310 m
  • Accommodation: Bel Ami Hotel

Day 5: Pieniny Mountains, Cerveny Klastor (Red Monastery) | 10 km

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.

Day 6: Pieniny Mountains, Dunajec Gorge, Szczawnica, Trzy Korony Peak | 12 km

Start of the walk in Pieniny National Park, where the Dunajec Gorge starts. Today’s route follows the so-called Pieniny Way to the spa town of Szczawnica.

Day 7: Beskidy Mountains, Szcawnica, Homole Gorge, Jaworki Village | 15 km

Today’s walk follows a trail along the picturesque Homole Gorge and reaches Wysokie Skalki Peak (1050 m). 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 / 15 km
  • Accommodation: Hotel Kazimierz

Day 8: Departure

Return home or extra 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.

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

Difficulty & terrain

You will encounter the biggest ascents in the Tatra Mountains on Day 3, where the elevation gain may reach 900m. 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 two and three in the Tatra mountains (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 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 trip on any date during the season.

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 the end of February.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

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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 approx. €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 the accommodations
  • 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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