High Tatra Mountains, aerial view from Rysy peak

Trek the Polish High Tatras Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Poland, Slovakia
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
TVT
Activity Rating - Challenging/Tough
Challenging / Tough

You have a good level of fitness and are looking for a physically challenging holiday. Previous experience is essential for activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 18

Trip Overview

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.

At a Glance

  • 2 nights en suite pension and 5 nights standard mountain hut (dormitory accommodation)
  • 6 days point-to-point trekking 
  • Group normally 4 to 16 plus leader. Min age 18 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 2499m, average 1700m
  • Travel by private minibus
  • Not recommended for severe vertigo sufferers

Trip Highlights

  • 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

Is This Trip for You?

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. 

 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Group

The trip is led by a local tour leader throughout. An additional leader may also join the group on the walks, depending on the number of partecipants.

Adult min age:
18
Min group size:
5
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Zakopane
End City:
Krakow

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
Londond
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Zakopane

    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

  • Day 2

    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.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 6 km / 3.7 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    250
    Total descent (m):
    250
  • Day 3

    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).

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 15 km / 9.3 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    1200
    Total descent (m):
    1100
  • Day 4

    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.

     

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 15 km / 9.3 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    1000
    Total descent (m):
    750
  • Day 5

    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.

     

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 14 km / 8.6 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    650
    Total descent (m):
    1100
  • Day 6

    Ascend Mt Rysy (2499m), Poland's highest peak

    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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 22 km / 13.7 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    1470
    Total descent (m):
    1470
  • Day 7

    A short descent down the Dolina Rybiego Potoku. Transfer to 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.

     

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 8

    End Krakow

    Our tour ends after breakfast.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

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.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Accommodation - Pre trip

Pre-night accommodation in Zakopane available on request.

Accommodation - Post trip

Post-tour accommodation in Karkow available on request. 

Single supplement from £100.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

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.

Transportation

Travel by private minibus. The transfer time from Krakow to Zakopane is approximately 2 hours.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

Both Poland and Slovakia have a continental climate, with harsh winters and hot summers. Our trips run from July to September when temperatures are usually mild to hot. The summer months of July and August may be as hot as 30 - 35 ºC, perhaps a little cooler in the hills. Rain can fall at anytime of the year, although in mid-summer it is more likely to come as thunderstorms, and June, July and August have the highest rainfall. Weather in the mountains is unpredictable and changeable. It is, therefore, possible to encounter unseasonal weather at any time.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

We normally use the scheduled services of EasyJet (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

There are alternative flight options from regional airports (Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester…) Please ask our Sales team for more information. 

Travelling land only: 8 days starting in Zakopane and ending in Krakow

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Zakopane in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary.  details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure. Accommodation check‐in times are normally from around 3 pm.

The start hotel in Zakopane is approximately 2 hours drive from the airport. You can get there by public transport: bus or train from the airport to Krakow (all info on the website: http://www.krakowairport.pl/en/60/4/176) and then catch the bus to Zakopane. However, we strongly recommend that you join the group transfer at Krakow Airport.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it. 

Location start:
Zakopane
Location end:
Krakow

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Rucksack of about 40 litres
  • 2 litres bottle or Camelbak
  • Electrolytes - these are recommended as tap water is drinkable but low in minerals 
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Good leather walking boots and gaiters
  • Warm hat and gloves
  • Warm trousers
  • Shorts
  • Small wash kit
  • Torch
  • Towel
  • Lunchbox/bag for packed lunches

It is important that you have your essential items but we also advise that you try and pack as lightly as you can without compromising on your kit as you will need to ensure that you can carry your bag between the huts. Any baggage not needed on trek can be left in the hotel in Zakopane.

We believe in reducing our negative environmental impacts wherever possible, this goes for when you need to spend a penny in the great outdoors! If no facilities are available there may come a time when you need to go to the loo behind a tree/bush/rock. To avoid leaving toilet paper behind we recommend taking biodegradable dog poo/sandwich bags with you. Once you have done your business you can pop the used toilet roll in here and take it off the mountain or trail at the end of the day and dispose of it when there are appropriate facilities available.

Optional Equipment

Walking poles are strongly recommended and can be hired from our local operator at a cost of €10 per week. This is paid locally but must be booked with Exodus in advance. 

Practical Information

Passport

Poland

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Slovakia

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Poland

Slovakia

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Ticks are known to be present in this region and can carry Lyme disease, Tick-Borne Encephalitis and other diseases. Please take care to protect yourself. You can read more about ticks here.

Vaccination

Poland

There are no specific health risks.

Slovakia

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

If you are a UK citizen and travelling in Europe you should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your Post Office. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance.

Local Time

Poland's Timezone:
Europe/Warsaw CEST (GMT +02:00)
Slovakia's Timezone:
Europe/Bratislava CEST (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

Poland's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

Slovakia's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

Standard European adapter required.

Money

Poland's Currency

The national currency of Poland is the Polish Zloty  (PLN), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (March 2019) of approximately 5.02 to the GBP,  3.83 to the USD, 2.86 to the CAD, 4.31 to the EUR, 2.7 to the AUD and 2.6 to the NZD.

Slovakia's Currency

The national currency of Slovakia is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (August 2017) of approximately 1.1 to the GBP,  0.84 to the USD, 0.67 to the CAD, 0.67 to the AUD and 0.63 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

There are plenty of ATM machines in Zakopane and Krakow. All major credit cards are also widely accepted.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

We recommend you bring your spending money in cash, but Visa /MasterCard credit or debit cards may be useful for shopping, extra excursions and withdrawing cash from ATMs (cash points). We do not recommend travellers cheques, as they may be difficult to change during the holiday.

Optional Excursions - in Krakow

Wieliczka Salt Mine (4 hrs from Krakow) ~£25-30 (~US$40-50) pp.
Auschwitz Museum (6 hrs from Krakow) ~£25-30 (~US$40-50) pp.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus, we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.