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Over the years, Mountain Hiking Holidays has developed and operated trips to a variety of destinations including this one, but not all trips are offered every year.
Though this trip is not currently being offered as a scheduled departure, we can  organize and operate this trip as a private group departure. (Minimum group size of 8.)

Start organizing your private Carpathian Mountains adventure here.

Best time to travel: July - September
Best gateway city: Budapest, Hungary or Krakow, Poland

Journey across the breadth of the Carpathian mountain range! Between Budapest and Kraków enjoy a selection of walks and hikes that will introduce you to the diverse landscapes and cultures of the Carpathians. Set off from the glorious city of Budapest, and explore the rolling hills and bucolic landscapes of northern Hungary. Further north in Slovakia, the Carpathians begin to rise in earnest in a jumble of forest-clad ridges. In the High Tatras, the Carpathians reach their geologic crescendo in a compact mass of soaring, glacier-carved crags. Straddling the Slovak-Polish frontier, these "Alps" of central Europe are safeguarded for the future in national parks on both sides of the border. Poland’s "gem" city of Kraków at the northern foot of the Carpathians provides a fitting conclusion to a journey that includes visits to several World Heritage Sites.

  The Fazola Gates in Eger
Day 1
Travel by vehicle eastward to Eger, a beautiful city filled with Baroque treasures set at the foothills of the Bükk Mountains, part of the forested northern Hungarian hills. Eger is a principal wine-producing region in Hungary known for its "Bull's Blood" wine (Egri Bikaver). Enjoy lunch and a Hungarian folklore performance in an Eger wine cellar! An afternoon walking tour will introduce you to the highlights of Eger's historic center. Continue by vehicle across the Bükk  Mountains to Lillafüred and enjoy a two-night stay in a "castle hotel."

  En route to Öserdö, Bükk Plateau.

Day 2
Explore the Bükk National Park (Bükk Nemzeti Park) on a choice of hikes on the Bükk Plateau (Bükk-fennsík)a typical karst landscape full of sinkholes and caves largely cloaked in hardwood forest. Walk to the Öserdö ("primeval forest"), a stand of beech trees several hundred years old. Continue to the summits of Tar-kő  ("Bald Rock") and Három-kő ("Three Stones") which offer the perfect vantage points for views over the southern Bükk Hills all the way to the great Hungarian plains (called puszta in Hungarian), weather permitting! Continue across the Bükk Plateau to the Nagy-mező ("Great Meadow") were wildflowers sprout among the grasses and Lipizzaner horses graze in the pastures. For a full day hiking adventure you can complete a traverse of the Bükk-fennsík back to Lillafüred, a hike that leads you through the full variety of Bükk landscapes.

  Hiking to Nagy-mező in Hungary's Bükk National Park.

Day 3
Depart Lillafüred this morning bound for the Tokaj wine growing region in northeastern Hungary. This area, noted for its "distinct viticultural tradition that has existed for at least a thousand years and which has survived intact up to the present," was inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 2002. A narrow road reaches the summit of Kopasz hegy ("Bald Mountain") from where a panoramic view of the Bodrog and Tisza Rivers, oxbow lakes, and the distant Carpathian hills unfolds. Continue on foot down the other side of Kopasz hegy (an old volcano) to the town of Tokaj on the banks of the Tisza River. At a family-owned wine cellar you'll have an opportunity to sample a number of quality Tokaj wines before traveling by vehicle north into Slovakia and on to the walled town of Levoca, once an important trade and art center in Slovakia’s Spis region. Wander Levoca's Námestie Majstra Pavla ("Master Paul's Square") lined with Gothic and Renaissance buildings.

  View of Tokaj village from the slopes of Tokaj-hegy.

[Our leaders] were enthusiastic, encouraging and also extremely competent. They reflected meticulous preparation and attention to detail. They did a good job of making us, the participants, sympathetic to the ways of the local culture.


  Spissky Hrad

  Drevenik Nature Reserve
Day 4
Today’s walk introduces you to the natural and cultural treasures that punctuate the world heritage landscape surrounding the ruins of Spisský Hrad, one of the largest fortresses in central Europe. From the travertine springs at Siva Brada traverse field and meadow before arriving at Spisska Kapitula, a walled village that was once an important ecclesiastical center. Atop a travertine hill to the east the impressive ruins of Spisský Hrad dominate the landscape for miles around. Explore the ruins before continuing the walk through the Drevenik Nature Reserve to the village of Zehra with its distinctive onion-domed church.

  Zehra village church.

  Hiking up the Sucha Bela gorge.
Day 5
Enjoy hikes amidst the narrow stream gorges and forested uplands of the Slovenský Raj ("Slovak Paradise") National Park. Here, wood or metal walkways, bridges, and ladders provide a means of accessing the area's beautiful, narrow, stream-cut gorges. In the late afternoon, travel the short distance to the community of Vysoké Tatry on the southern flanks of the High Tatras and settle in for a three-night stay.

  In the Mala Studena Valley.
Day 6
Begin your exploration of the Slovak Tatras on your choice of hikes from Stary Smokovec. A funicular railway lifts you to the high country trailhead at Hrebienok from where trails depart for the Malá Studená Valley passing waterfalls, mountain huts, windswept passes and rocky basins filled with sparkling glacial lakes.

  Velké Hincovo Pleso.
Day 7
From the shores of Strbske Pleso, a mountain lake ringed by dense coniferous woods, continue your High Tatra rambles. Hiking choices include a walk to the lovely lake of Popradské pleso ringed by forest and backdropped by the peaks of the High Tatras. You can choose to continue up the Mengusovsk
á Valley to the Velké Hincovo Pleso, the largest lake in the Slovak Tatras. Weather permitting, may be possible to attempt the rocky trail to the summit of Rysy, Poland's highest peak!

The hiking was well organized, well guided and well planned.


  A panorama of High Tatra peaks from the trail over Kopske Sedlo.

  The trail near Biele Pleso.

  Zadné Med'odoly Valley.
Day 8
Today you can consider hiking across the Tatras from south to north across the Kopské Sedlo, a pass that separates the High Tatras from the White Tatras. This is one of the most beautiful hikes in the Tatras. The
trail leads up the forested valley called Dolina Kežmarskej Bielej Vody eventually reaching the shallow mountain tarn of Biele Pleso (“White Lake”). Climbing steadily through open, grassy meadows the trail reaches the Predné Kopské Sedlo, the highest point reached on this hike. Visible below is the broad, grass-covered pass of Kopské Sedlo beyond which rise the peaks of the White Tatras. From Kopské Sedlo, the trail descends through the extensive hillside meadows of Zadné Meďodoly where edelweiss and gentian bloom. The path re-enters the forest and drops to the meadows of Pod Muráňom and trail's end at Tatranska Javorina. Travel by vehicle to the Polish mountain resort town of Zakopane for a three-night stay.

  Gaining the crest of the Tatras at Kopske Sedlo.

  Morskie Oko.
Day 9
Enjoy a wagon ride to the beautiful mountain tarn, Morskie Oko ("Eye of the Sea") named after its mythical connection with the Adriatic Sea. From Morskie Oko, you can continue to a higher lake known as Czarny Staw pod Rysami (“Black Lake under Rysy”) which lies at the foot of Rysy, Poland’s highest mountain. Energetic hikers can complete the supremely scenic trip from Morskie Oko into the Dolina Pieciu Stawow Polskich (“Valley of the Five Polish Lakes”),  finest high alpine lake basin in the Polish Tatras.

  Valley of the Five Polish Lakes.

  Trail heading east from Kasprowy Wierch.
Day 10
Ascend by cable car to the summit of Kasprowy Wierch which marks the generally accepted  boundary between the High Tatras (Tatry Wysokie) and the slightly less rugged West Tatras (Tatry Zachodnie). Hike through the alpine lake basins of the high Gasienicowa Valley and along ridges that offer sweeping views of the Polish Tatras. 
This evening experience the traditions of Poland’s gorale ("highlanders") whose music, food, and architecture helped define the Polish national identity.

Music from the Region
Frederic Chopin
(baptised Fryderyk Szopen) is revered as Poland’s national composer. All of Chopin’s compositions were written for, or include, the piano. Try Chopin: Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philips Classics Productions, 438 338-2. If you like late 19th-early 20th century music, you might explore the works of Karol Szymanowski who spent a lot of time in Zakopane at the foot of the Tatra Mountains. The influence of Tatra folk music can be heard in Szymanowski’s work, particularly in the song cycle Seopiewnie and the ballet Harnasie. A number of recordings are available.

  Pieniny Mountains.

  Hiking through the meadows of Pieniny.
Day 11
Hike the trails that wind through mountain forests and among the limestone crags that frame views of the Dunajec River Gorge in the Pieniny National Park. A hike to the summit of the Trzy Korony ("Three Crowns") provides sweeping views toward the Tatras over a patchwork quilt of agricultural fields. Travel by vehicle to Kraków, the "Pearl of Poland" and a vibrant, "up-and-coming" city rich in culture and history. An afternoon walking tour will introduce you to the city’s soul. A farewell dinner caps off your Carpathian adventure!

Other Resources

Slovakia's Tatra National Park (Tatranský Narodný Park) was founded in 1949 and is the country's oldest national park.

  Detail from a cross at the Simbolický cintorín, Slovak Tatras.

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