A challenging trek through the high Tatra Mountains
The High Tatra mountains are among the most rugged and spectacular in Europe, part of the granite Carpathian Range, rising to almost 2500m. The dramatic scenery, combined with a sophisticated network of footpaths, makes it a popular walking destination. On this trip, we trek through valleys, past lakes and over ridges before the final test, a tough ascent of Rysy (2499m), the highest mountain in Poland. From the top, we gain a dramatic 360-degree view of more than 100 peaks. The walking is hard but rewarding, the terrain tough but beautiful, and the mountain huts basic but friendly, clean and hospitable. At the end of the trip, we enjoy the delights of Krakow, Poland’s cultural capital.
All food is included, except for main meals (lunch and dinner) in Zakopane and Krakow (days 1, 7 and 8). Breakfasts in Zakopane and Krakow will be a hot and cold buffet. In the mountain hostels, a choice of hot or cold is usually available. Lunches will be picnic type including rolls, fruit and a drink. Evening meals in the mountain hostels are plentiful and are usually very filling! The main course will include a selection of meat and vegetables. Vegetarian and special diets can be catered for, but options are limited in the huts - please inform the office of any specific dietary requirements when booking.
Fly to Krakow Airport, where we will be met on arrival by our leader. We then transfer (about 2hrs) by road to our hotel in the folk town of Zakopane, beneath the peaks of Giewont, Kasprowy Wierch and Swinica. * * *Willa Orla guest house or similar*
Time to explore Zakopane in the morning. Afterwards, a short bus ride takes us to Kiry (15min from Zakopane) the entrance to the Tatra National Park, from where we start walking. A gentle 90-minute hike takes us along the Koscieliska Valley, with many limestone gorges and caves, brings us to the Ornak hostel, our base for the night. Depending on our time of arrival, there should be time to explore the surroundings. *Ornak Hostel or similar*
A harder day as we leave the hut, and start our ascent east, along the banks of the Tomanowy River, towards Tomanowa Przetecz and then Ciemniak, our first 2000m peak. From Ciemniak we follow the main ridge of the Tatras towards Krzesanica, Malolaczniak and Kopa Kondracka with a spectacular view of Giewont (1985m) and the whole region, which is also known as Czerwony Wierchy (Red Peaks), because of the colour of the grasses in autumn. To the north, we can see Zakopane, to the east Mt Rysy, and the south Slovakia. We descend down the Dolina Kondratowa to the Kalatowki Hut where we overnight. *Kalatowki Hut or similar*
Our second long day as we head back up to the main ridge above our hostel, here we officially enter the High Tatras. We follow the main trail alongside a chairlift, zig-zagging in places to the summit of Mt. Kasprowy (1955m). Traversing along the ridge towards Swinica (2050m) we again have dramatic views of the whole area. From the Swinica ridge, we descend from the rocky ridge, past small mountain tarns to Gasiencowa hut (1500m) where we overnight. * Gasiencowa hut or similar*
This morning we prepare for the most challenging two days of the trip. It is recommended that you try and pack as light as possible for this day as you will be using fixed mountain chains to assist you on the walk. You will be able to leave luggage at the hut. We begin with a steady climb past Czarny Staw and away from vegetation to the rocky heights of the High Tatras. Here, we cross the Zawrat Pass (2159m), summiting at 'Eagles Perch' around lunchtime, before descending back into the 'Valley of the five Polish lakes' with a variety of mountain flowers and grasses, to Roztoki. *Mountain Hut *
Our final ascent and the hardest of the trip! On leaving Roztoki we trek via Morskie Oko, towards the peak of Mt. Rysy (2499m) on the Polish/Slovakian border. This is a very long day with a steep climb (ascending over 1000m), walking and scrambling over difficult terrain, on the Polish side of the mountain, but the effort is definitely worth it. On a clear day the views from the summit of Rysy are simply stunning. We should be able to see over 100 peaks and several lakes including Morskie Oko once of the largest in the Tatras. Return descent to Morskie Oko (your guides can decide to descent the Slovakian side, which is not so steep and considered a safer descent than the Polish side - there are chains to help). *Mountain hut*
Our last day walking as we descend down the Dolina Rybiego Potoku (valley) to the road ahead and our waiting bus. We'll then transfer to the historic city of Krakow, arriving mid-afternoon. The rest of the day is free to explore the delights of this beautiful city. The Old Town was added to UNESCO's list of World Cultural Heritage in 1978. Possible places of interest are Krakow's Jewish district, where the film 'Schindler's List' was shot. There are also numerous churches, the castle, the largest market square in Europe and the oldest university in Poland. There are also plenty of cafés and restaurants as well as jazz venues. *Siesta Aparthotel or similar*
A full free day to explore Krakow. Your leader will be able to advise on optional excursions, including the UNESCO Salt Mine at Wieliczka and/or Auschwitz Museum. *Siesta Aparthotel or similar*
Transfer to Krakow Airport, return to UK.
* All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners * All accommodation * Transfer for group flights
Had a wonderful week of walking and sightseeing here in Poland. A great leader in Teresa, a good group, wonderful walking and Krakow after to unwind after a challenging few days walking. Brilliant accommodation with great food.
Good trip for a short but strenuous holiday not far away. The views are fantastic. It is not a remote area and it was busy on all trekking days. The school holidays where still on and after some weeks of bad weather in the area we were lucky we had a week of good hiking weather so there were many locals on the tracks as well. The huts are OK.
I have just returned from a fantastic trip to the Tatra Mountins.. Did not realise what a beautiful country Poland was and we were really lucky to have had great weather. Getting to the top by useing chains was great it was very busy but it was a beautiful day and like all exciting summits when the weather is predicted to be good everyone comes out to catch a good day.the huts were the best I have ever had on a trek and there was always loads of food so no one needed to go hungry. The showers were immaculate and some huts even had drying rooms luxury. Our guide Teresa was amazing full of enthusiasm and knowledge of her country. Yes we did leave one of the party behind at the airport but that was sorted out and she apologised many many times. She was very encouraging to everyone and I felt I could go to her anytime for anything. To anyone who is looking to do this trip I would say go for it you will have a wonderful adventure
A mountain climb in Poland's Tatras mountains is an experience never forgotten. The mountains are stupendous to view, the trails are safe and well traveled, but the weather can at times be inclement. Our leader, Teresa, did everything to guide us safely and well and bent over backwards to make our trip enjoyable. I can highly recommend this tour for any climber with stamina and experience. Björn M.
I really enjoyed this trek. The group that completed the trek, including our super guide, Teresa, gelled really well and were all well up to the fitness level required. Two did not do the trek itinerary, as mentioned by Brendan McShane in a previous review. It indicates how essential reading the trip notes before you book your trip is!
This was my first Exodus trip and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I went with two friends and we met up with the other eight members of the group plus the Guide in Poland. The five days of walking was sandwiched between a night in Zakopane and two nights in Krakow with a visit to the Salt Mines and Auschwitz on the last day. Both the Mountain huts and the food exceeded my expectations. Apart from two members of our group who dropped out after the first day, the rest of us were of a similar level of fitness to enjoy the walking (and each others company) as well as the surrounding scenery which was very pretty.
This was a fabulous trip to see some great scenery, climb some mountains and get a sense of Poland. The huts are first class with great facilities and you won't go hungry with the food. You will need to be reasonably fit and not scared of heights.
Tough but very enjoyable trek .
A well organised trip and with a very good group leader. A very friendly bunch of people and everyone got along well. The Polish and Slovakian mountains are just beautiful and should be visited more by tourists (although it is heavily visited by locals during holidays). We were very lucky to have all days of sunshine and clear views during the trek, and even had the opportunity(!) to hear a wild bear on the second day of walking. Exploring Krakow at the end of the trip was a relaxing treat.
A well structured trip. Some sections of chain came as a surprise to some members of the group. The trip description mentions these sections however given the torrential rain that our group climbed in, for some this was a very serious undertaking. For those with experience of scrambling and exposure it was not too much of a problem but I did feel sorry for the ones with little of said experience. Grading may , in my opinion, be a shade low. Huts were excellent as was the food. The Tatras are very popular and on one day in particular it was estimated that 10,000 people had visited a central area. It is an exceptional area with adventures available for all levels. The period in Krakow was excellent. A beautiful city full of charming restaurants. It was great value for money.
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
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