The Carpathians

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Day 1: Arrive in Krakow, Poland

You are met on arrival at Krakow International Airport and transferred to our hotel in Krakow. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore on your own before our orientation meeting and dinner. Overnight in Krakow.

 

Day 2: Krakow Sightseeing

Krakow is often nicknamed the New Prague because of the architectural splendor, cultural significance and historical importance. Krakow, seat of the Polish kings for over five centuries, is without a doubt the most picturesque town in the country.

We explore the city starting with the Jewish Quarter, followed by a visit to Royal Wawel Castle, which is also the burial site for most of Poland's Kings. We then continue to the city centre, which is full of churches built from the eleventh to the eighteenth centuries. The churches constitute an excellent collection of various architectural styles. We visit the oldest university in Poland and cathedral in the main square, the Church of Virgin Mary with a remarkable wooden Gothic winged alter. After lunch we visit the famous UNESCO salt mines of Wieliczka. Dinner and overnight in Krakow.

 

Day 3: Schindler's Factory, Carpathian Ponies, Rural hike

Today we make our way to Wysowa. Our first stop is at Oskar Schindler's factory. Schindler, a German industrialist is credited with saving the life's of over a thousand Jews during the holocaust. Only the entrance office building is preserved in its original state.
Next, we visit the most famous farm of Hucul mountain horses (also called Carpathian pony) in Poland. Hucul horses originated from the Hutsul region (in the East Carpatian Mountains). We have lunch at a local farm.
In the afternoon, enjoy a ride in a horse drawn carriage to visit local villages. After our ride, we begin an easy 6 km walk from Malastowska Seddle to the village of Gladyszow. We return to Wysowa for dinner and overnight.

 

Day 4: Beskid Niski Walk

Our walk today starts from our hotel and goes through the village of Wysowa. We follow a walking path through meadows and pastures with magnificent views. At the conclusion of our walk, we arrive to the tiny village of Ropki (just 30 people live here!) From Ropki, we walk though one of nicest parts of Bekid Niski, through an abandoned area up to the village of Banica. Here, we visit an 18th century wooden church. Enjoy a special invitation to the private family house of Adam Kiewizc. Dinner and overnight in Wysowa.

 

Day 5: To Slovakia, Andy Warhol Museum, Snina

Today we cross the border as we leave Poland and enter Slovakia at the village of Regetovka. Visit the beautiful UNESCO town of Bardejov. After lunch we drive to the north east part of Slovakia to Medzilaborce to visit the Modern Art Museum of Andy Warhol, whose family came from the nearby village of Mikova.
After our museum visit, we continue to the East Slovakian town of Snina. Enroute, we pass several old, wooden, orthodox churches. Snina is a very communist looking town, with a booming past in the 70's and 80's due to a large weapons factory (with over 8000 laborers), which now stands abandoned. Our hotel is nearby in a nice nature park. Dinner and overnight in Snina.

 

Day 6: Wine region of Tokaj Region Slovakia, To Ukraine

From Snina, we drive down to the Slovak Tokaj wine area. We visit the largest and oldest Tokaj wine cellars at Mala Trna village. Here, we visit the largest (2 km) cellars from the 15th century. The cellars were originally used to hide villagers from the invading Turks. We enjoy wine tasting and a picnic lunch.
After lunch, we walk up Tarbucka hill nature reserve. From the top, we can admire the whole Tokaj wine region (Hungary and Slovak) and the Bodrog river valley.
After a toast to Slovakia, we continue our journey as we cross into Ukraine. The Ukraine Carpathians boasts the most varied history as it was once part of Poland, Hungary, Austro- Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union and now Ukraine. For a very brief 3 days in its history, Carpathian Ukraine was once an independent state! Dinner and overnight in Mukatchevo, Ukraine.

 

Day 7: Mukatchevo Sightseeing

We travel to the village of Tybava, the start of today's hike. We start our trek up to the Nelipyno range with fantastic views before descending to the village Nelipyno, where we have a picnic lunch in a local village with fantastic draft kvas (local non alcoholic drink). We travel back to Mukatchevo, where we visit the famous Hungarian Castle. After a short rest at the hotel, we walk to the center of town for a typical Ukrainian dinner: Borsch soup and Pierogis! Overnight in Mukatchevo.

 

Day 8: Village of Pylipets

We journey towards our next Carpathians base: a small town called Pylipets. Before we arrive, we enjoy a hike with great views before descending to Raztoka village. Raztoka is famous for it's wooden church from the 17th century. If the priest is available this day in the village, we will have opportunity to see interiors. Dinner and overnight in Pylipets.

 

Day 9: Carpathians Scenic Hike

Today we enjoy a 12km moderate walk down hill which is one of the best Ukrainian Carpathian walks, starting at a WWI memorial dedicated to the Hungarian army. Enjoy the fantastic views of almost all the Carpathian ranges. Most of our hike is easy and slightly descending, finishing near the town of Velvets to enjoy a local Ukrainian koliba dinner. Overnight in Pylipets.

 

Day 10: Main Range Hike

Today, we travel by ski lift, almost to the main range. We walk up to Mt. Gemba at 1490M. We continue our walk to Mt. Magura (1530), again with great views before returning to the ski lift for our descent. In the afternoon we have a short walk to nearby Pylipets waterfall. Dinner and overnight in Pylipets.

 

Day 11: Village of Mizheria

Today, we get up early for our final walk near Volovets with marvelous views. After the walk, we journey to the town of Mizheria. We explore Mizheria on foot, including a meeting with the town mayor with opportunities to chat with him about history and present day life in Ukrainian Carpathians. Enjoy a picnic lunch beside a mineral water stream. We can visit the typically Soviet looking town of Mizheria and relax in the newly built Carpathian resort near the town with a swimming pool, typical Russian sauna and modern gym. Dinner and overnight in Mizheria.

 

Day 12: Sinevir Walk, Kolotchava Village

This morning, we have a walk from Sinevir saddle to Sineviar village. We will have lunch in Sinevir before traveling to nearby Kolotchava village to visit 'Skanzen', an open air Museum in old Kolotchava. Skanzen has original treasures from all periods of the village: Hungary, Austro-Hungary, Czechoslovak and Soviet. While in Skanzen, we also visit old Soviet and old Czechoslovak schools with all their original preserved equipment and desks and furniture.

We will be met by the Kolotcghava village mayor to learn more about the village history and recent life in Ukraine. We will invite the village mayor to join us for dinner. Overnight in Kolotchava.

 

Day 13: To Lviv (UNESCO)

Today, we start with a very relaxed morning. Later, we enjoy a short walk before our journey to Lviv, the centre of Western Ukraine. Tonight, experience a live performance at either the Opera House or Ballet. Dinner and overnight in Lviv.

 

Day 14: Explore Lviv

We explore Lviv (UNESCO), starting with the main square, Dominican Monastery and then the University. After lunch, we will visit a vodka distillery with opportunities to sampling some of the world's finest. Dinner and overnight in Lviv.

 

Day 15: Kiev Sites

Today we make our way to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine by fast train. Kiev is more than 1,500 years old. Today, ancient and modern Kiev co-exist naturally.

After lunch, we enjoy a walking tour that will take us to see the most interesting sites of the city. We will visit Sofia Monastery, St Michael Cathedral and Andrew Spusk. Dinner and overnight in Kiev.

 

Day 16: Explore Kiev

Today, our walk will start near the Dnepr river. We walk up to the memorial of Mother of the Homeland Statue (the one of highest statues in the world). We visit Kiev's WWII museum. In the large park around the museum, we can see an excellent collection of WWII weapons. From the museum, we enjoy a 30 minute walk to the most important Kiev sites including Kiev Pechersk Lavra, the Spiritual Center of Ukraine with the most famous monastery in all Ukraine. Founded by monks in 8th century, lying on pictorial Dneper hills, it became a pilgrimage site for all Ortodox Christians. It combines majestic churches, built in classical, Byzantine and Baroque styles. We also visit the museum of Historical Treasures and Jewellery, the Museum of Ukrainian Decorative and Applied Art and the Museum of Miniatures.

Lavra is also known for it's caves with ancient crypts. Local folklore in the region says: "The one who has not visited Lavra have not seen Kiev". After our visit, we continue our walk through the large park and streets above the Dnepr river up to Kiev's most important square: Majdan Independence square, made famous by the Orange revolution in 2004. Enjoy free time in the square to explore on your own. This evening, we will have our Farewell Dinner. Overnight in Kiev.

 

Day 17: Depart Kiev

After breakfast, we say good bye to Kiev, Ukraine and your new found friends and journey back home.

 
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