- Varied mountains: life and shepherd’s traditions in the Little Pieniny Mountains, deep gorges and limestone walls in the Pieniny and alpine scenery in the Tatra Mountains.
- Additionally, discovering the wild nature, contacts with the local population and visiting the most popular places.
- 2 national parks, 3 places from the UNESCO World Heritage Site
- High quality of lodgings – wooden architecture, with delicious food and highland traditions.
- 2 nights in Krakow, the most beautiful city in Poland.
The massif of the Carpathians is a long crescent which runs from the Czech Republic to Romania through Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine. This massif runs through 450km in the south of Poland. The best known range, the most “Alpine” but also the most popular among tourists, is the chain of the Tatra Mountains with the famous resort in Zakopane. However, there are also Polish ranges of medium altitude there, which are perhaps less known, but at the same time due to the fact that they are not so often visited by tourists, best preserved. Among them we may name: the Beskidy, the Gorce, the Pieniny or the Bieszczady Mountains (with unpronounceable names!) which are still unknown in Europe.
Our trip takes place in the Pieniny and the Tatra Mountains. Our itinerary is designed to combine the best of both these mountain ranges. These two massifs have very different lie and characteristics. During 2 days in the massif of the Pieniny Mountains, we are at the balcony of the Tatra Mountains with very beautiful views. First day we walk through the Little Pieniny: the slopes are gentle, mountains preserve many mountain pastures, and contacts with shepherds are frequent. Second day we visit National Park of the Pieniny. This park is famous for its characteristic limestone lie, eroded with the passage of time. It is cut by deep gorge of the Dunajec River. Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains are very popular tourist destinations. Zakopane is a bit like a Chamonix of the Carpathians. We passage the Tatras from the west to the east. Western Tatras have gentle topographie. Scenery of the eastern part is very alpin.
Mountains are inhabited by rich fauna; very often we can find the traces of the following animals: wolves, foxes, lynxes, chamois and game. Bears still live in their land. With a bit of luck we can find animals on our way, especially in the National Park of the Tatra Mountains.
This region has strong folklore and highland traditions. The shepherd’s life is very developed, wooden architecture has a magical charm. Our trip is a great opportunity to see the most interesting cultural attractions. We will visit Krakow, Wieliczka Salt Mine, Zakopane, the castle of Niedzica and Debno wooden church
Day by day:
D1: Arrival in Krakow, the pearl of Central Europe.
Arrival in Krakow. Overnight in a hotel in the city center.
D2: Krakow, Wieliczka Salt Mine, departure to the Pieniny Mt
Exploring Krakow in the morning. Krakow was never destroyed in the past. Its Old Town, added to UNESCO’s list of World Cultural Heritage Sites in 1978, is of an exceptional architectural value. After lunch transfer by bus to Jaworki. It is a charming, small village in the valley of the Pieniny Mountains with a very developed shepherd’s life and very beautiful orthodox church. On the way we make a break to visit the oldest europes salt mine in Wieliczka (UNESCO). 2 nights in a pension in Jaworki
D3: Shepherds and meadows of the Little Pieniny
After breakfats we take off for a walk to the massif of the Little Pieniny Mountains. Our trails goes through the beautiful gorges, climbs the highest peak of the Pieniny Mt (Wysoka, 1050 m), offers a marvellous view with high peaks of the Tatra Mountains in the background, goes through the mountain pastures where sheep are pastured – they give milk for the production of the famous local cheese. During the walk we will show you where you can see the production of this cheese. Evening, we taste the legendary hospitality and the joy of life of the Poles during a dinner at campfire, accompanied by a glass of vodka!
D3: A passage across the Pieniny National Park.
In the morning we have short transfer to the popular SPA resort of Szczawnica. Our trip starts with crossing the river Dunajec by barge. We enter thus to the National Park of the Pieniny Mountains. We start with a steep climbing up to Sokolica (747m). From there you have a splendid view downhill at the gorges of Dunajec. We continue through the main ridge of the Pieniny Mountains, till the highest peak called Three Crowns. We can admire spectacular view from there. We walk down to Kroscienko, where we take bus to Jaworki.
D4: Niedzica and Debno. Balcony of the Tatras.
After breakfast our bus takes us to Zakopane. On the way we will stop for visiting the castle of Niedzica, built by the Hungarians in the 14th century. It is magnificently situated by the lake. Later on, we will visit a church in Debno, one of the most beautiful wooden churches in Poland, famous for its polychromes. We start our walk in the Palenica. Our way leads through the forests and meadows of the balcony of the Tatras. The highest peaks are just on a fingertip! On the Rusinowa Alp we can meet the shepherds with his sheeps. We reach Zakopane by the end of the day. Zakopane is a little bit like a Polish Chamonix; resort very dynamic all over the year, with a splendid mountain frame and undeniable charm of wooden architecture. After a meal you can have a walk round the town: wooden church, promenade with the stalls and rambling vendors. Supper will be in a restaurant typical for Zakopane, with highland songs. 3 nights in a wooden pension.
D5: Dicovering Western Tatras
Today we discover the Western Tatras. Topography here is gentle, with long valleys sorrounded by limestone massifs. We start with transfer to the Koscieliska Valley. It is the most beutiful one in the Polish Tatra Mountains. We climb the massif of the Czerowne Wierchy (Red Peaks). We cross this marvellos ridge, which is beautiful especially in the autumn, and walk down to Zakopane. Time for enjoying Zakopane in the evening.
D6: High Tatras
Today we have got a completely different, for very Alpine trip. In fact, we are in the heart of the High Tatra Mountains where we can find several glacial lakes. The landscape is rather with rocks prevailing at the mountain pastures. After reaching Kuznice by minibus, we start climbing to the mountain hostel of Murowaniec. The trail offers beautiful views at the valley of Zakopane. After passing the mountain hostel there is a sudden change of landscape. When climbing at the pass of Zawrat (2159m), we go by the Black Lake and the small Dead Lake, and later on through a steep trail, often covered with snow till beginning of summer. Finally, we reach the pass – railings (cables) are installed in some places of the trail. From the pass we have a view at all the highest peaks of the Tatra Mountains. The descent is very pleasant: through the Valley of Five Lakes up to the mountain hostel of the same name. We continue descending to the parking at Lysa Polana along the stream of Roztoka. We go back to Zakopane by local minibus.
D7: Return to Krakow.
In the morning departure for Krakow by bus. Free time in the city
D8: Return during the day.