An eight day, self-guided walking holiday in Poland’s High Tatras Mountains, with a quick dip into Slovakia’s Pieniny National Park. Part of the Carpathian Mountains, the Tatras are within easy reach of Kraków, and home to the Gorale, or Highlanders, an ethnic community who practise traditional mountain lifestyles. Natural highlights include the great Dunajec Gorge, treks in the Beskidy Mountains and up to Mount Prehyba (1,175m). Staying in a mix of 3-star hotels and mountain chalets, this is a wonderful journey into Poland’s remote and welcoming mountain communities.
- Tatras Mountains
- Dunajec Gorge
- Wieliczka Salt Mine (optional)
- Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Museum (optional)
Click to view map
Day 1: Arrival in Kraków
Arrival and accommodation in a hotel in Kraków. Take in this fascinating city with the UNESCO Old Town, home to the biggest medieval Market Square and the atmospheric streets of Jewish Quarter.
- Accommodation: Hotel Kazimierz or similar
Day 2: Zakopane and Tatras Mountains | 7-16km
Meet with our local representative who will give you all your necessary travel information and maps. After a two hour transfer to Zakopane, a popular resort town in the foothills of the Tatras Mountains. After leaving your luggage in the hotel, there are various nearby circular walks to enjoy.
- Walking for the day: Approximately 1h to 3h hike, depending on option chosen
- Easy trail: 2-3h, 7km, ↑290m
- Moderate trail: 4-5h, 16km, ↑670m
- Accommodation: Czarny Potok Spa Hotel or similar
Day 3: Tatras Mountains | 19-23km
A full day of hiking in Tatra Mountains National Park. Among the suggested routes are to Kopa Kondracka (2,005m) and Świnica (2,301m). On the way, you can stop in one of the traditional mountain huts to try traditional Highlander’s oscypek (smoked cheese) or szarlotka (apple pie).
- Walking for the day: Approximately 4 to 8h hike, depending on the preferred level of difficulty
- Easy trail: 19 km, 4-5h, ↑1000m
- Moderate trail*: 23km, 7-8h,↑1300m
- Accommodation: Czarny Potok Spa Hotel or similar
Important note about the moderate option (Świnica climb): the path, whose western section forms the second part of our route, is often called a via ferrata, which is misleading since – despite the metal chains, brackets and ladders as well as being comparable to an Austrian/German via ferrata grade 2 (B) – the Orla Perć is not a via-ferrata like those in the Alps. There is no cable to which you can clip yourself, which means that you are unprotected unless you clip yourself to the chains.
Day 4: Spisz region and Slovakia’s Pieniny National Park | 15km
After breakfast, you are transferred by car to the Slovakian side of Pieniny National Park. Today’s hike follows a rolling landscape, passing several dramatic limestone formations which are typical of the region. You then descend Dunajec Valley. Accommodation is on the Polish side of the river near the entrance to Dunajec Gorge.
- Walking for the day: Approximately 15km, 6h ↑310m
- Accommodation: Hotel ‘Nad Przelomem’ or Trzy Korony Mountain hut (We only offer overnight at the hut if there is no availability at the hotel, however, let us know about your preferences in the ‘Notes or special requirements’ field of the booking form. Private rooms with en-suite facilities.)
Day 5: Dunajec Gorge | 14km
Today’s route follows the Pieniny Way through Dunajec Gorge, a natural border between Poland and Slovakia. There is also an option to follow this route on a traditional wooden raft, operated by a flisak – a local raftsman. The alternative walk takes you to the highest peak of the Three Crown massif Trzy Korony (982m). Both routes lead you to the 19th-century spa town of Szczawnica.
- Walking for the day: Approximately 3-5h hike
- Easy trail: 14km, 3h, ↑240m
- Moderate trail: 14km, 4-5h, ↑650m
- Accommodation: Hotel Nawigator or similar
Day 6: Beskidy Mountains | 14-21km
Head eastwards from Szczawnica, passing the village of Jaworki, where a community of Greek Lemkos lived before the end of World War II. The path leads through the Beskidy Mountains and ends at Mount Prehyba (1,175m). On the way, there is also a chance to visit Homole Gorge, a beautiful area with unusual rock formations. Tonight’s accommodation is in mountain chalet located on the peak.
Please note: Luggage transfers aren’t possible today, so make sure you have everything you need in your backpack for an overnight stay!
- Walking for the day: Approximately 3-6h hike, depends if chosen to do an extra walk in the area
- Easy trail: 14km, 3-4h, ↑640m
- Moderate trail: + extra walk – additional 7km / 2h, ↑440m
- Accommodation: Mountain chalet on Mount Prehyba
Day 7: Rytro and Kraków | 9km
The last day of walking takes you through the original Carpathian forest from Mount Prehyba to Poprad valley and the village of Rytro. Two hour transfer to Kraków, with plenty of time to enjoy the city in the afternoon.
- Walking for the day: Approximately 2.5h, 9km
- Accommodation: Hotel Kazimierz or similar
Day 8: Departure
Return home or extend your stay.
What to expect
Accommodation is in 3-star hotels, one or two nights in a mountain chalets. The mountain hotels have spa facilities and a swimming pool. The accommodation was chosen to be close to national parks and trails. They have been carefully selected based on a variety of criteria including their location, warm hospitality, fine local food or commitment to responsible tourism. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms.
Click to view default hotels
- Hotel Kazimierz
- Hotel Nawigator
- Czarny Potok Spa Hotel
- Hotel Willa Pod Skocznią
- Hotel ‘Nad Przelomem’ or Trzy Korony Mountain hut
Hotels are subject to availability. In the event of a particular hotel being fully booked for your chosen dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is always included. With exception of one day, there are mountain huts/chalets along the trail which offer simple, hot food and drinks. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in the hotel or from several restaurants in towns and villages where the accommodation is located. Most restaurants offer local specialities as well as international cuisine.
Difficulty and terrain
This walking tour is appropriate for beginners and intermediate walkers. There is a choice of two walks on some days, which allows adjusting the walking difficulty to one’s experience (read more about difficulty grades). The biggest elevation gains are on days 2 and 3 in the Tatras Mountains. The route follows unpaved walking trails, which are well marked and signposted. The trails are described in detail in the ‘tour notes’ booklet as well as marked on maps (maps scale 1:25000 – 1:30000). We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never 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 May until mid-October. Weather is best in June – September. As July and August are the busiest months, it is preferable that you book as early as possible. In late October/early May you may encounter some snow in the higher parts of the Tatras Mountains. 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, please indicate desired starting date when booking.
Poland’s Carpathian Mountains lie in Central Europe’s temperate zone. The average temperatures vary from 14C in May to 20C in August. On average, rainfall occurs 180 days a year.
Click to view travel options and route planner
- Kraków Airport is the largest regional airport in Poland. The airport is located 11km west of Kraków. The train is considered the best solution from the airport to Kraków’s city centre for its travel time and cost. The journey from Kraków airport to the city centre takes 20mins, and costs €4. Cost of taxi from/to airport to the city centre is approximately PLN100 (€22).
- The journey from Katowice Airport to Kraków is approximately 2h by bus. The airport offers many convenient low-cost flights from the UK (Liverpool, London – Stansted, London – Luton).
- 7 nights accommodation, as described in the itinerary, with breakfast included
- 3 car transfers between accommodation as stated in the itinerary
- Introductory meeting with a company representative at the beginning of the trip
- Luggage transport between places of accommodation (except for Przechyba mountain chalet)
- Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions and road note; maps with daily routes and optional hikes marked
- 24/7 phone support by our local office/representative
- 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 and supplements
- If you’re travelling in a group, a supplement applies to group members who would like to have a room of their own
- This holiday is available for solo travellers upon request only; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Half Board (evening meals included)
- One extra night in Kraków before or after the holiday
- Guided tour of Wieliczka Salt Mine near Kraków with tranfers
- Guided tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Museum near Kraków with transfers