This ‘softer’ Poland trekking itinerary in the Polish Tatras has been created for those of you who do not feel up to continual backpacking along the spine of the Tatras but still want to explore this delightful area. You will visit the most picturesque lakes and valleys and have opportunities to reach some of the summits. The first three days walking will be day trips out from your comfortable guesthouse in Zakopane, visiting a different valley with opportunities to ascend different peaks each day. On the fourth day we use a cable car to take us up to Kasprowy Wierch, and for the last two nights we use comfortable mountain huts each evening. Our final day is a long day on the ascent of Rysy, returning to Zakopane in the evening. Driving times between Zakopane and the start point of the walks are short, so most of your days will still be on foot rather than on wheels!
Finally we visit Krakow, to relax and enjoy the delights of Poland’s most fascinating city.
Day 1 Fly to Krakow. On arrival you will be met and will be met and transferred to Zakopane, a drive of about 90 minutes. Zakopane is a delightful small town at the foot of the Polish Tatras and there should be time to explore the town and its fascinating buildings in the early evening.
Day 2 CHOCHOLOWSKA VALLEY A short transfer takes us to Siwa Polana, the start point of our trek. Very easy walking takes us up the beautiful forested Dolina Chocholowska valley, following a route shared by cyclists and sometimes a horse drawn ‘bus’. After 2 hours we reach the hut where we stop for a break. We then climb to the small summit of Grzes (1653m) on the Slovak border via a zigzag trail through the forest. From here a broad grassy ridge leads south to the summit of Rakon (1879m). It then takes about 2 hours to descend back to the hut via a different route, and after a refreshment break here we can return to Siwa Polana by bike or horse carriage and then by bus back to Zakopane. 7 hours walking.
Day 3 KOSCIELISKA VALLEY We transfer to Kiry – the starting point of one of the most popular walks in the Polish Tatras. Initially we follow the broad road through forests and meadows, passing by old iron ore works. After 1 hour we reach the horse-drawn carriage ‘terminus’ at Polana Pisana. We ascend more steeply now through the Polana Smytnia meadows to reach the welcome Schronisko Ornak refuge (1108m). After a break here we head steeply up west to the Iwaniacka Przelecz saddle and then on up the ridge to emerge from the forest just before the summit of Ornak (1454m). We retrace our route back to Kiry. 7 hours walking.
Day 4 MALEJ LAKI VALLEY – GIEWONT – KONTRADOWA VALLEY A fine day out today with no back tracking as we start and finish at different points. From Gronik we follow a forest track up the Malej Laki Valley. After a level section through the Wielka Polana (Big Meadow) the terrain changes and we ascend through the forest with some rocky sections to reach the Przelecz Kondraka saddle (1725m) from where there is an option to go to the top of Giewont (1894m) to the north.
Turning south we climb steeply up to border ridge to the top of Kopa Kondracka (2004m). From here we drop to the saddle to the east then take the path down to the delightful Kondratowa hut. This path crosses boulders just below the saddle, and then is much easier down to the hut. After a break at the hut, we walk out easily to Kuznice from where we take a bus back to Zakopane.7 hours walking.
Day 5 KASPROWY – HALA GASIENICOWA – FIVE LAKES VALLEY We now head out to spend the next two nights up in mountain huts. We drive back to Kuznice from where we take the easy option of the cable car to the top of Kasprowy Wierch (1987m) on the border ridge. Its downhill from here to the saddle below and then down a rocky rib to easier ground leading to the Murowaniec hut.
After a short descent through forest we reach ‘Dry Water Valley’. We now climb steadily through dwarf pine, and after a few ups and downs, passing above the ‘Red Tarn’, a steep but not difficult rocky climb leads up to Krzyzne (2112m), a spectacular saddle with great views all around – one of the best viewpoints in the Tatras. A steep, at times technical, descent (through bear country!) leads down to one of the huts in the ‘Five Lakes Valley’. (Carry sleeping bag and spare clothes). 6 hours walking.
Day 6 SZPIGLASOWY WIERCH – MORSKIE OKO A shorter day today – with two routes to choose from. The more challenging route heads up to the border ridge again and climb to the top of Szpiglasowy Wierch (2172m), at times using chains to assist us. A snaking descent then takes us down to the hut.
The easier (but still quite demanding) route skirts the northern slopes crossing two saddles and again requiring chain assistance at times. Whichever route we take we can take out time as the distance covered is relatively short today. (Carry sleeping bag and spare clothes) 4 to 5 hours walking.
Day 7 RYSY Ascent of Rysy (2503m). This justifiably popular route takes you from the most beautiful lake to the highest summit in the Tatras. We head out along the shore of the lake to its southern end, and then zigzag up moraine to the Czarny Staw pod Rysami (tarn) above. From here to the summit the terrain increases in steepness, becoming quite exposed as we near the top. Rysy has two tops, one in Poland (2499m) and one in Slovakia (2503m). We return by the same route (very carefully) to the hut for a late lunch then walk out (or take the horse tram) to Plaenica to meet the transport back to Zakopane. (Sleeping bag and extra clothes can be left in the hut and picked up on the way out). 9 hours walking.
Day 8 KRAKOW A private transfer takes us back to Krakow for our final night in Poland.
Day 9 Take a taxi to the airport to fly home or extend your stay in Krakow.
Accommodation – 5 nights Guesthouses, 2 nights Huts, 1 night Hotel
Meals – 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 evening meals
Park fees as appropriate
All road transfers in country (unless indicated in ‘exclusions’)
Local English speaking guide
24hr back-up and support from our UK staff
A logoed Adventure Peaks top or equivalent
15% discount off the RRP on equipment and clothing purchased from Adventure Peaks shop
Travel to and from UK airport
Drinks and personal spending
Tips for local staff
Meals if not indicated in ‘inclusions’
Visas (if required)
Museum and monument entry fees
Taxi Krakow hotel to airport at the end
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