Trek the Polish High Tatras
A challenging trek through the high Tatra Mountains
Reviews 9 Reviews5/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging / Tough
Group Size Small Group
The 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. This trip offers the great opportunity to experience the great change of scenery from the verdant Western Tatras to the The High Tatras, with their dramatic vistas, steep peaks, sharp rocks, deep glens, and crystal lakes. The walking will be hard but rewarding, the terrain tough but beautiful, and the mountain huts basic but friendly, clean and hospitable.
* All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners
* 2 nights end suite pension and 5 nights standard mountain hut (dormitory accommodation)
* Airport Transfers (at designated times)
*Tour leader throughout. Group normally 4 to 16 plus leader. Min age 18 yrs
- Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
- Summit Mt Rysy (2,499m), Poland’s highest mountain
- Spend a night in the picturesque folk town of Zakopane
- Experience the change of landscape from the Western to the Eastern Tatras
- Challenging walking and dramatic mountain views
Our tour starts in the resort town of Zakopane, a 2-hour transfer from Krakow. For those not on the group flight, we recommend that you arrange to meet the group at Krakow Airport, to avoid a costly private transfer. *Willa Orla guest house or similar*
Bus to Tatra National Park; walk in the Koscieliska Valley.
This morning after breakfast there will be some free time to explore Zakopane, a vibrant folk with beautiful wooden architecture offering splendid views of the Tatra. Afterwards, a short bus ride takes us to Kiry (15min from Zakopane) the entrance to the Tatra National Park, from where we start start walking along Koscieliska valley, one of the most beautiful and well-known valleys of the Polish part of the Western Tatra Mountains. A gentle 90-minute hike takes us along many limestone gorges and caves. We end the day at Ornak hut, our base for the night. Depending on our time of arrival, there should be time to explore the surroundings.
Trek to the Czerwone Wierchy (Red Peaks) and summit Cemniak (2096m).
Another day of exploring the Western Tatras as we trek through the massif of Czerwone Wierchy (Red Peaks), a stunning area offering dramatic views over the High Tatras as well as the highest peaks of the Western Tatras. The massif is beautiful especially in September, when the grasses that covers the mountains called ’sit skucina’ start to change its colour from green to rusty, thus explaining why these mountains are also known as Red Peaks. After leaving the hut, we start our challeging ascent along the banks of the Tomanowy River, towards Tomanowa pass 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. To the north, we can see Zakopane, to the east Mt Rysy, and the south Slovakia. We descend the Dolina Kondratowa to the Kalatowki Hut where we overnight in a very comfortable hut (rooms for 2-5 pax).
Long climb to the summit of Mt Kasprowy; descend to the Gasiencowa hut.
Our second long day as we head back up to the main ridge above our hostel; here we officially enter the High Tatras and notice the gradual change to a more alpine landscape. 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. We descend from the rocky ridge to the picturesque Gąsienicowa Valley. We pass a few secluded mountain tarns and finish our day at Hut Murowaniec, another comfortable refuge (1500m) where we stay overnight. From the hut we can enjoy one of the most characteristic and known panoramic views of the High Tatras.* *
Beautiful day of trekking in the heart of the High Tatras; through the Valley of the Five Polish Lakes to Roztoki.
This morning we prepare for the most challenging two days of the trip. Depending on weather conditions and group’s ability, the leader will decide how we trek the legendary Eagles Perch, the most difficult and spectacular trail in the Polish Tatras. The option is to either cross the Zawrat Pass where you will be using fixed mountain chains to assist you on the walk or go over the Krzyzne Pass, without these technically difficulties. Both trails offer amazing views of the highest peaks in the Tatras and of the beautiful valleys of Gasinicowa, our start point, and the Lakes Valley, where we descend. It is recommended that you try and pack as light as possible for this day. Highlight of the last section is the waterfall Siklawa, the highest in Poland (70 m) and the most powerful in the Tatras. We then descend back into the ’Valley of the five Polish lakes’ with a variety of mountain flowers and grasses, to Roztoka Hut, one of the best polish mountain huts offering great atmosphere.* *
Ascend Mt Rysy (2499m), Poland's highest peak. The splendid views from the top will make the effort more than worthwhile.
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*
A short descent down the Dolina Rybiego Potoku. Transfer to the historic city of Krakow.
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.* *
Our tour ends after breakfast.
Pension, Hotel & Mountain Huts
You will spend 1 night in a comfortable pension in Zakopane, while in Krakow we stay in a small historic hotel, with en-suite rooms, 750m from the old town square. 5 nights will be spent in good standard mountain huts with dormitories. These rooms typically accommodate 8 to 10 people.
All food is included, except for main meals (lunch and dinner) in Zakopane and Krakow (days 1 and 7).
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.
Walking Grade: 6 – challenging / tough. Walking hours stated in the itinerary are given as approximates only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.
This 5-day trek involves walking through moderate to difficult terrain. In addition on 4 of these days, you will be required to carry all your trekking gear and lunches, which will make the walking seem harder. We usually walk between 7 to 8 hours a day, with a picnic lunch en route. The trails are almost always well marked but are often rough and stony underfoot. The walks involve long ascents and descents (maximum 1470 metres Roztoki – Mt Rysy). We, therefore, recommend that you try to pack as lightly as possible. There are steep, long drops on some sections of this trip, as well as paths that traverse along ridgelines. It is not recommended for clients who suffer from vertigo.
Days 5 and 6 are the most challenging with sections of the walk using fixed chains to assist our climb. Whilst there is no additional equipment needed it is imperative that you are confident of your fitness as these sections will be tough. An additional leader will assist the group on the Rysy ascent. The difficulty climbing Mount Rysy is largely due to the length of the walk. Should you decide that you cannot complete the ascent it is possible to do an easier walk from the hut.
The refuges have dormitory rooms and it is often not possible to provide clients with smaller rooms, however, they are equipped with bedding. We might be sharing with other walkers, not in our group.