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, 2 places from the UNESCO World Heritage Site
High quality of lodgings – wooden architecture, with delicious food and highland traditions.
Two 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 to Krakow, the pearl of Central Europe.
Arrival in Krakow, at the airport. You can get to your lodgings in the centre either by taxi or by tramway. 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. Night in a hotel in the centre
D2: Jaworki and the shepherds from the Little Pieniny Mountains.
In the morning You get to Szczawnica by local bus. Szczawnica is the main resort of the massif of the Pieniny Mountains. Private transfer to Jaworki, a charming, small village in the valley of the Pieniny Mountains with a very developed shepherd’s life and very beautiful orthodox church. Circular walk in the Litlle Pieniny Range. From the ridge you have a marvellous view of the Polish and Slovakian side, with high peaks of the Tatra Mountains in the background. Walk along the ridge through the mountain pastures where sheep are pastured – they give milk for the production of the famous local cheese. Few possibilities to go down.
D3: A passage across the Pieniny National Park
In the morning a taxi will take you to the beginning of the trail near the village of Szczawnica. Your trip will start with crossing the river Dunajec by barge, because of the lack of a bridge. You enter to the National Park of the Pieniny Mountains. This beautiful, oldest polish national park, is famous for its characteristic limestone lie, eroded with the passage of time. This park stretches out at the other side of the border, in Slovakia as well. You have to be prepared for steep climbing up to Sokolica (747m). From there you have a splendid view downhill at the gorges of Dunajec. Your trip continues through the main ridge of the Pieniny Mountains to the highest peak of national park, which is called Three Crowns because of its charakteristic shape. Descent to Krościenko and return by local bus to Jaworki (there should be also time to see Szczawnica SPA resort)
D4: Departure for Zakopane. Visiting Niedzica Castle and Debno (UNESCO).
After breakfast a private taxi will take you 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.
You will have reached Zakopane by the end of this morning. 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.
Your pension is about 15 min on foot from the main promenade; its wooden architecture – typical for the region.
D5-7: Trips of choice in the Tatra Mountains
The Tatras are the highest range in the Carpathians. There are many trails for each. We wuold like to offer You:
a) walk in the balcony of the Tatras which starts in Gubalowka Mt. Pastoral zone, beautiful panoramic views of the Tatra. End in Chocholow, interesting village with wooden houses. Easy trail, 4-5 h of walk, +300, – 600 m
b) Chocholowska Valley in the West Tatras – long, postglacial valley with pastoral glades. Climb to the peak of Grzes and Rakon in the main ridge of West Tatra. Medium. 7h, +/-1000
c) Koscieliska Valley – the valley is similar to Chocholowska Valley, but it is shorter and more interesting, possibility to visit caves. Climb to Iwaniacka pass or lake Smreczynski. Easy; 6-7 h, max +/- 600 m.
d) Kasprowy Mt and West Tatra Ridge – cable railawy to Kasprowy Mt, the most popular peakin polish Tatra. Walking on the main ridge of West Tatra mountains and descend to Koscieliska Valley. Exceptional views. Medium, 7h walk, +350, – 1300 m
e) the High Tatra Mountains – hard and very alpin trip, for experienced. The landscape is rather with rocks prevailing at the mountain pastures. When climbing at the pass of Zawrat (2159m), you will 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, you will reach the pass – railings (cables) are installed in some places of the trail. From the pass you have a view at all the highest peaks of the Tatra Mountains. The descent is very pleasant: through the Valley of Five Lakes and the Valley of Roztoka. +/- 1200 m, 7-8 hours walk
f) Rysy 2499 m – the highest peak in Poland. The next trip in High Tatras, very hard, especially going down, only for experienced. Beautiful views of the Tatras. Morskie Oko lake, popular target of many excursions. 8-10 hours, +/- 1300 m
D8: Return during the day.