Hiking in the the Carpathians

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Download Hiking in the the Carpathians Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Krakow, Poland

You are met on arrival at Krakow International Airport and transferred to our hotel in Krakow. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore on your own before our orientation meeting and dinner.

Overnight in Krakow.

 

Day 2: Krakow Sightseeing and Oskar Schindler's Factory

Krakow is often nicknamed the New Prague because of the architectural splendor, cultural significance and historical importance. Krakow, seat of the Polish kings for over five centuries, is without a doubt the most picturesque town in the country.

We explore the city starting with the Jewish Quarter, followed by a visit to Royal Wawel Castle, which is also the burial site for most of Poland's kings. We then continue to the city center, which is full of churches built from the eleventh to the eighteenth centuries. The churches constitute an excellent collection of various architectural styles. We visit the oldest university in Poland, and cathedral in the main square, the Church of the Virgin Mary with a remarkable wooden Gothic winged alter.

Later we make our way to Wysowa to visit Oskar Schindler's factory. Schindler, a German industrialist, is credited with saving the lives of over a thousand Jews during the Holocaust. Only the entrance office building is preserved in its original state.

Dinner and overnight in Krakow.

 

Day 3: Salt Mines of Wieliczka, WW1 Cemetery, Rural Hike

Today we visit the famous UNESCO salt mines of Wieliczka with its many impressive chambers including a church, hall with chandelier and memorial.

We make our way to Beskid Niski and visit the WW1 cemetery in Malastowska, which serves as the resting place of soldiers from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Later we have an easy walk from Malastowska Seddle to the village of Uscie Gorlickie.

Walk: 1.5 miles/3km (easy)

We return to Wysowa for dinner and overnight.

 

Day 4: Hucul Horses, Carriage Ride, Forest Hike into Slovakia, Medieval Bardejov (UNESCO), Return to Poland

This morning we will drive towards the village of Regetow (Poland). Here we will visit a horse farm which is famous for the small Hucul horses, originally from the Carpathian mountains. We will have the opportunity to explore the area during our carriage ride.

Our hike starts in Poland as we enter the forest and through an unguarded Polish-Slovak border where we will cross on foot. Our walk takes us past a graveyard, an abandoned Ruthenian village, through peaceful woods and meadows and ends in the town of Regetovka (Slovakia) where we will meet our bus. We take a short drive to the UNESCO town of Bardejov, with its small and impeccably preserved center. The town square is lined with fine Renaissance and Gothic houses, and a climb up the church tower offers magnificent views of the area. Enjoy dinner in the town to enjoy this medieval gem.

Walk: 5 miles/8km (easy/moderate)

Overnight in Wysowa, Poland.

 

Day 5: To Uzok, Ukraine via Slovakia’s Dukla Pass

Today we leave Poland to enter Slovakia (unchecked border), then back to Poland and eventually end up in Ukraine, where we will stay for the duration of our adventure.

Our first stop is in Slovakia at Dukla Pass, at a war monument located in the town. We will also see 11 Soviet tanks scattered throughout the area on farms, representing a most bizarre yet quite realistic way that one would have seen tanks traveling through Europe during this epic and tragic period of war. Just a few kilometers past Dukla, we re-enter Poland (unguarded border within the EU) where we will have lunch. We continue our drive through Poland to the border crossing of Ukraine.

We transfer from Dual Pass via the village of Bodruzal (with its UNESCO Greek Orthodox wooden church) to the village of Driecna. We will have an easy walk in the Slovak Eastern Carpathian region via the forest and meadows to the village of Mikova, where Andy Warhol's family came from.

Our border crossing may be quick or slow, depending on the line up and efficiency at the border.
This region also has a most unusual and varied history as it was once part of Poland, Romania, Hungary, Austro-Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, and now Ukraine. For a very brief 1 day in its history, Carpathian Ukraine was once an independent state.

Please Note: The Ukraine Carpathians are not accustomed to Western visitors so understanding this is important. It is what gives this untouched region a charm and authenticity that sadly has almost disappeared from Europe. This region is extremely beautiful, rural and economically under-developed but will likely not maintain this for long, as the outside world will eventually leave its mark.


Dinner and overnight in Uzgorod, Ukraine.

 

Day 6: Uzgorod

Uzgorod is the capital of the Carpathian district of Ukraine and is often called the 'window to Europe.' Its unique location and multicultural influence have made it one of the most attractive places in western Ukraine. The mountain river flows through the city dividing it into two parts - the right and left banks. We will have a walk through the historical centre and Jewish cemetery, one of the largest Jewish cemeteries with over 50,000 tombs.

We will also visit Skanzen, an open-air Museum of Folk Architecture which features reconstructed traditional buildings with folk art.

Dinenr and overnight in Uzgorod

 

Day 7: Uzhok Pass Hike, Scenic Soviet Train Ride

This morning we make our way to the train station where we board an old Soviet style electric train with wooden seats for a 45 minute journey (please note that the order of events may change if train schedule changes). Our local Soviet-style Carpathian train takes us over the Uzhok Pass (2800 ft/850 m) and slowly winds through tunnels and viaducts until arriving at our village station in Sianki. For those with a desire for cold beer or a shot of vodka, we can stop at the local (and we mean local!) pub.

If we are lucky, we can contact the local priest who can meet us at the pub and even drive to his remote 400 year old UNESCO Orthodox wooden church.

We will have a short drive in old Soviet Lada cars to Benova village and enjoy a scenic walk via meadows and forests to Verchni Turiv village where we meet our bus to return to Uzhok.

Walk: 2 miles/3km (easy)

Dinner and overnight in Uzhok, Ukraine.

 

Day 8: Ukrainian Carpathian Scenic Hike & Villages

We start our hike in Scerbin, ascending through beautiful beech forest and coming out to pastures with great panoramas before descending to the rural village of Verchovina Bystra. Along our hike today we pass a wooden church which is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In Verchovina Bystra, we will meet a local teacher and possibly visit her house and the school where she teaches.

This evening, we can arrange a traditional hot tub (heated by fire right underneath). You can alternate between plunging into the the cold and hot tub as the locals do. This hotel/spa is charming and quite typical for this region.

Walk: 6 miles/10 km (moderate/difficult)

Dinner and overnight in Uzhok, Ukraine.

 

Day 9: Synevyr Pass

We journey towards our next Carpathians base, Sinevir Pass. Today, we travel by ski lift, close to the main range. From the chairlift station we will use 4x4 cars to Mt. Gemba at 1490m. Those who wish to hike up to Mt. Magura (1530m), can enjoy the incredible panoramic views before returning to the ski lift for our descent.

Walk: 4 miles/6 km (easy/moderate)

Dinner and overnight at Synevyr Pass.

 

Day 10: Synevyr Polana Village

This morning, we walk to Synevyr Polana village where we will have lunch and visit with one of the local inhabitants at his home. The picturesque village only has 40 inhabitants and is not accessible by road. We will visit with Fyodor and his family at their home in a most serene and beautiful setting.

Walk: 4 miles/7km (easy/moderate)

Dinner and overnight in Synevyr Pass.

 

Day 11: Synevyr Pass Hike, Soviet City of Mizhiria

This morning we start our hike right from our mountain hotel in the Synevyr Pass, which has a incredible view of the main range, valley and town below. The views are spectacular with rolling hills and our slow descent will take us to back to Mizhiria. After our hike, we can visit this typically Soviet looking town.

Optional walk: 8km/5 miles (moderate)

Dinner and overnight in Synevyr Pass.

 

Day 12: To Lviv, Opera or Symphony

This morning we will continue with our journey to Lviv, the center of Western Ukraine and according to many, the heart and soul of the country. The old medieval town with cobble stone streets is nothing short of beautiful and charming with great and varied architecture.

We will have lunch upon arrival, and this afternoon we will see some of the sights, including the main square, Dominican Monastery and the university. Tonight, experience a live performance at either the Opera House or Ballet (depending on the theater program).

Walk: 1.5 miles/2 kms (around the town - easy)

Dinner and overnight in Lviv.

 

Day 13: Lviv (UNESCO)

We continue our exploration of medieval Lviv today and enjoy the colorful buildings, cozy coffee houses, rattling trams and lively streetscapes. In High Castle Park, the mountaintop ruins of a 14th-century castle provide panoramic views of the city’s green-domed churches and the surrounding hills. The whole of Lviv’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which we will explore in depth today.

Walk: 1 mile/2km (around the town - easy)

Dinner and overnight in Lviv.

 

Day 14: Train to Kiev

We have a relaxing morning before making our way to the train station. We travel to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, by fast train. The journey will take approximately 6 hours and we will enjoy a picnic lunch on the train enroute before arriving in the afternoon.

After being picked up at the train station, we check in to our hotel before beginning our walking tour. During this tour you will have a chance to see the most interesting sights of the city, which, like the landmarks of time, designated the pages of its history: the Old-Kiev hill, where the old-Russian land descended from; the famous Golden Gate; the deepest subway in the world; St. Sophia Cathedral with the largest collection of frescoes in the world; St. Vladimir Cathedral, St. Andrew Church and St. Michael Church.

Dinner and overnight in Kiev.

 

Day 15: Chernobyl

It is hard to imagine that Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986, could now offer and reveal an insightful, safe and intriguing tour to the very place that saw overwhelming tragedy, deception and bravery. Today, Reactor 4 (site of the nuclear meltdown) has been contained with concrete and a massive monetary contribution from the EU. Thousands risked their lives to secure the surrounding area and rid it of radiation, or at least remove any radiation risk. The tour is a full day and gives a very comprehensive overview of the events leading up to and afterwards, by walking and exploring in designated safe areas. Visit towns and cities now overgrown with trees in a unique, bizarre and fascinating tour unlike any other you have ever taken!

Please Note: ElderTreks' CEO personally visited this site and found it to be a fascinating and safe experience provided that instructions are followed. Additionally, geiger counters are provided to all group members.

Dinner and overnight in Kiev.

 

Day 16: Explore Kiev

Kiev is more than 1,500 years old. Antiquity and the present amazingly co-exist on its streets. Our bus will take us to Kiev's WWII Museum. In the large park around the museum, we can see an excellent collection of WWII weapons. From the museum, we enjoy a 30 minute walk to Lavra monastery. We also visit Kiev's most important square: Majdan Independence Square, made famous by the Orange Revolution in 2004. Today, our walk will start near the Dnepr River. We walk up to the memorial of Mother of the Homeland Statue (one of highest statues in the world).

In the afternoon you will have a few hours of free time before we meet for our farewell dinner. We can reminisce about the beauty and warm hospitality that we have encountered in Europe's untouched wilderness.

Overnight in Kiev.

 

Day 17: Depart Kiev

After breakfast we say goodbye to Kiev, Ukraine and our new found friends and journey back home.

 
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