Kate's Highlights of Hiking Poland's Carpathian Mountains

Hikers high-fiving | Kate Baker
Hikers high-fiving | Kate Baker

Kate's Highlights of Hiking Poland's Carpathian Mountains

Kate and her son recently joined a sociable group of travellers to explore a little seen region of Europe: Poland's Carpathian Mountains. What she discovered was a unique experience that rivalled her previous walking trips in the Alps and along the Camino de Santiago.
Read on to discover her insights into this wonderful guided tour in Poland.
All smiles on the Carpathian Mountains Guided Walk |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

Why did you choose this trip?

After a fabulous Romanian walking holiday in the Transylvanian Alps, which also forms a part of the Carpathian Mountains, I was keen to compare and contrast the Polish part of the range, and visit both the Pieniny and Tatra mountains.
A hiker taking in the breathtaking views of the Tatra Mountain range.

How did you prepare for your trip?

By keeping up my regular exercise regime and reading up about the history of the region.
Loving the great outdoors in Poland |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

What was the overall trip highlight?

There were so many highlights. The walking was interesting and varied, the history fascinating and the food surprisingly a standout.
Group dinner |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

What was your favourite town?

Zakopane was pretty spectacular, overlooked by the high Tatra mountains. The preserved architecture of the houses ensured this mountain town retained a historic charm.

Discovering the best ice cream in Poland! |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

What was the scenery you walked through like?

At all points the scenery was amazing. The walks focused on achieving the best possible views; from the peak of Sokolica in the Pieniny National Park, where you have the dramatic vista of the gorges of Dunajec, to classic view points in the high Tatra where limestone peaks dominate, to the dress circle view of the Carpathians from  peak of Babia Gora (1725m). 
Discovering Poland on foot |  <i>Kate Baker</i>
Enroute to Mt Turbacz (1310 m) in the heart of the national park of Gorces, the trail passed through beautiful mountain pastures literally full of blueberry bushes brimming with ripe fruit. Needless to say the walking slowed down a lot as we helped ourselves to a bounty of these delicious wild berries. We could see the raspberry bushes would be ready for harvest in another few weeks....
Fresh red berries |  <i>Kate Baker</i> Freshly picked berries |  <i>Kate Baker</i> Picking blueberries on the trail to Mt Turbacz (1310 m) |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

What was the local Polish cuisine like?

Polish cuisine is hearty but very tasty. We managed to try all the specialties including Oszczypek, a smoked cheese made of salted sheep milk which is grilled and served with a sweet jam, Pierogi (dumplings) including both the savoury and sweet versions, Barszcz Czerwony (Red Beetroot Soup), Gołąbki (Cabbage Rolls) and Placki Ziemniaczane (Potato Pancakes) to name a few. We also shared shots of vodka and tried the local beers.
Traditional Polish dumplings are called pierogi |  <i>Kate Baker</i> Well deserved post-hiking beers |  <i>Kate Baker</i> Schnitzel meal on the Polish hike |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

How challenging did you find the trail?

The trip is graded moderate which adequately reflects the difficulty of the walk. In the Tatra, some of the peaks may include sections of scrambling although this is optional. Most of the walk is on well graded paths with some steep sections.
Walking single file |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

What surprised you the most about your trip?

The accommodation was surprisingly good. Even the two nights spent at a mountain hut were very comfortable with excellent food and comfortable beds and of course hot showers.
Arriving at a traditional Polish refuge |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

The guide was truly amazing. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of the geology, flora and fauna of the mountains in addition to his extensive understanding of the history of Poland. He also clearly loved his job and went above and beyond to keep us safe and show us different trails in the mountains.
Group at mountain hut on Mt Turbacz (1310 m) |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

Can you share advice for other travellers thinking about doing your trip?

Just do it - it's a terrific way to experience the mountains in Poland! There are few foreign tourists and it's a unique part of Europe to discover.
Loving the blue sky day in Poland |  <i>Kate Baker</i> Posing in front of the Carpathian Mountain range |  <i>Kate Baker</i> Peering at the scenic view |  <i>Kate Baker</i>


Is Poland and Eastern Europe on your travel to do list? Where do you want to explore? Let us know in the comment section below.
Poland, Carpathian Mountains, Hiking Poland, Hiking the Carpathian Mountains, Poland Traveller Tale, Poland Walking Holidays

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