High Tatras Trekking - The Carpathian Mountains

The ultimate hut to hut traverse between Poland and Slovakia




From $1,060 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Fantastic trek to the highest peak in Poland - Mt Rysy 2499m
  • Time to explore the UNESCO old town of Krakow and Zakopane
  • Wolf, brown bear, chamois, lynx, falcon and golden eagle
  • Superb trekking and easy scrambling through wilderness Europe

Situated on the border between Poland and Slovakia and with 25 summits above 2500 metres, the magnificent High Tatras are the highest range of peaks in the spectacular Carpathian Mountains chain.  With a classic Alpine landscape and excellent trails linking comfortable and scenically located mountain refuges, this is a captivating region for a true mountain holiday.  We start our trek in the beautiful Strazyska valley and ascend up to the Polish mountain town of Zakopane.  After experiencing the stunning valley of the 'Polish Five Lakes' we ascend to the spectacular Morskie Oko before climbing via an exciting route to our high point, the awesome summit of Rysy (2499m), Poland's highest peak!  From here, dropping down on the Slovakian side, we enjoy remote refuges and a scenic train ride to Stary Smokovec, before exploring the spectacular Jagniecy Mountains.  We end this incredible journey with a final night in the colourful UNESCO city of Krakow.  Carrying minimal personal equipment, this is a fantastic way to explore a superb and dramatic mountain range on an iconic hug-to-hut journey, all perfectly topped off in one of Europe’s most laid-back and friendly cities!

Is this holiday for you?

This mountain trek follows a good walking trail from east to west on the south side of the High Tatras. For 5 nights we will stay in mountain huts that are (with some exceptions) inaccessible by vehicle.  This means that group members need to carry all of their personal equipment throughout the trip.  With careful planning, and considering that neither a sleeping bag nor a camping mattress are needed for this holiday, the total weight of your rucksack can be pared down to around 8 or 9 kilograms.  The average day's walking will be around 6 hours and may involve 1000 metres of ascent.  The trekking route follows way-marked paths to high cols and ridges.  The ascent of Rysy will involve some easy scrambling (protected by chains) and may also include the crossing of patches of old snow.  The fact that this trip is not vehicle supported does have a big influence on the overall difficulty.  This trekking holiday is suitable for regular hillwalkers, looking for an excellent week's mountain walking in a largely undiscovered part of the world.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at Krakow Airport. Escorted transfer into the city. Time at leisure. Transfer to Zakopane.
  • Walk through the beautiful Strazyska valley to Zakopane. Transfer to Roztoka
  • Walk in the Valley of the 'Polish Five Lakes' and ascent of Kozi Wierch (2291m).
  • Spectacular traverse of Rysy (2499m) from Poland to Slovakia
  • Walk to Srtrbske Pleso. Scenic train journey to Bilikova hut. Walk in Starolesna Valley.
  • Walk to the the Pri Zelenom hut and optional hike into the Jagniecy Mountains.
  • Walk through the Javorova Valley to Tatranska Javorina . Transfer to Krakow.
  • Departure Day. An escorted group transfer to Krakow Airport is provided
Sun 26 Jun - Sun 03 Jul Code HTT /01/16/ Adult$1,060 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sun 17 Jul - Sun 24 Jul Code HTT /02/16/ Adult$1,060 Status Available Book now
Sun 31 Jul - Sun 07 Aug Code HTT /03/16/ Adult$1,060 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sun 21 Aug - Sun 28 Aug Code HTT /04/16/ Adult$1,060 Status Available Book now
Sun 28 Aug - Sun 04 Sep Code HTT /05/16/ Adult$1,060 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 11 Sep - Sun 18 Sep Code HTT /06/16/ Adult$1,060 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
We sell this holiday on a Land Only basis and recommend that you book your flights to Krakow. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements and transfers' section of the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK there are low cost airlines offering flights to Krakow. These include Easyjet from London Gatwick, Liverpool, Bristol, Edinburgh & Belfast. Ryanair from Stansted & Edinburgh. Other low cost airlines are available from other airports but some of these may require extra nights in Krakow at the start or end of the holiday.

Click on the 'Flight information' link below for further information on booking low cost airlines. Alternatively if you would prefer to book a 'flight inclusive package' using scheduled airlines from the UK please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive you will benefit from full financial protection.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • peaks
  • trip direction
  • trek
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at Krakow Airport. Escorted transfer into the city. Time at leisure. Transfer to Zakopane.

    Rendezvous with our local guide at Krakow Airport in the morning. Once the group is all together, KE Land Only package services begin with an escorted transfer by train (15 minutes) into the city. Here we will have
    time for a look around the famous central square and to obtain some Polish currency (Polish zloty) before taking some lunch. In the afternoon, we board our transport for the 110 kilometre journey south towards the Tatras. Arriving at our accommodation in a quiet village near the
    mountain resort town of Zakopane, we check in to our guesthouse. We enjoy a traditional dinner before bed.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals d

  • Walk through the beautiful Strazyska valley to Zakopane. Transfer to Roztoka

    After a short transfer we begin our acclimatisation walk through the beautiful Strazyska valley to a beautiful waterfall. There is a small hut here, the perfect place for refreshment before we continue on the 'Bear Trail' which climbs above the tree line to the viewpoint of Sarnia Skala (1377m). We can enjoy a magnificent view over the Western Tatras and the sprawling town of Zakopane. Then descending to Zakopane we have
    some time to look around this lively town which boasts the longest pedestrian shopping street in Poland. Zakopane is a centre for mountain sports, especially for winter sports. There is a strong 'highlander' culture
    in this area and the town has some interesting traditional wooden buildings. After some time here we make a short transfer to our road head in the mountains and have an easy walk of approximately 1 hour through dense forest to reach the absolutely charming Roztoki hut, our
    accommodation for the next two nights.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bld

  • Walk in the Valley of the 'Polish Five Lakes' and ascent of Kozi Wierch (2291m).

    After breakfast at the hut, we walk through the thick forest to reach a wide track beside a cascading stream which we follow for a short way before turning off onto a trail which climbs up steep stone cobbles and steps to a
    zone of dwarf pine. This leads eventually to the impressive Siklawa falls at 1580m – Poland’s highest waterfall. Our path climbs beside the falls to reach the beautiful Dolina Pieciu Stawow Polskich (Valley of the Five Polish Lakes). We now have two options. Those who wish can make the steep and challenging ascent of Kozi Wierch (2291m), which is the highest peak lying entirely within Poland. The ascent is straightforward
    with a little scrambling at the top and offers sensational views over the Tatras and towards Rysy. The other option is a more sedate exploration of the Polish Lakes Valley. At the end of the day we will rendezvous at the hut which is built right on the shore of one of the ‘Five Lakes’, before returning to the Roztoki. Walking time from the Roztoki to the Polish Five Lakes hut is approximately 3 hours up and 2 down.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bld

    • Time 6 - 7 hrs trekking

  • Spectacular traverse of Rysy (2499m) from Poland to Slovakia

    We make a pre dawn start for the longest day of the trip. After walking back through the forest to reach a gravel access road for the hut situated on the shore of Morskie Oko lake. We follow this road and should reach
    the hut after approximately 2 hours. We can take a break here before following a contour trail around the eastern shore of the lake. At its southern end the trail climbs up to a second large lake, Czarny Staw Pod
    Rysami, which is hidden from below and here we have a superb view of Rysy's sensational NW ridge. There now begins a long and continuously interesting ascent with the spectacular back drop of the two lakes surrounded by jagged peaks. There are sections of the ridge which
    require some easy scrambling on rock but these are well protected by secure chains. We aim to reach the summit of Poland's highest peak around 1.00pm. The views are spectacular and extend across the Tatras and down into Slovakia. After eating our packed lunch we begin the
    descent of the Slovakian side which is less steep and with fewer scrambling sections than the Polish side. Approximately 30 - 40 minutes below the summit is the Rysmi Hut (2250m), the highest in the range, and a good place to stop for coffee before continuing the descent for a further 2.5 - 3 hours to our accommodation on the lake, Popradskie Pleso.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 1500m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1000m

    • Time 7 - 8 hrs trekking

  • Walk to Srtrbske Pleso. Scenic train journey to Bilikova hut. Walk in Starolesna Valley.

    After a short climb above Poradskie Pleso we follow a contour trail and then descend a ridge to another large lake, Strbske Pleso, which we should reach after approximately 1.5 hours. Here we board a train for a
    scenic 40 minute journey through the Tatra, travelling between the 1200 and 1000 metre contour. We get off the train at the picture-postcard mountain village of Stary Smokovec (a good place to stock up on snacks or batteries) before climbing aboard the funicular which climbs from the centre of the town up into the mountains to the Hrebienok station at 1285 metres. From here we have a short downhill walk of no more than 10 minutes to reach the Bilikova hut which will be our overnight halt. We aim to arrive here around 11.00 am and after some refreshment we can leave our bags and travel light for the afternoon's walk which will take us up into the heart of the Slovakian High Tatra. Starting in pine forest, we follow a trail through the stunning Starolesna valley and climb up into an alpine landscape of high mountain tarns surrounded by imposing rock peaks. Our aim is to reach the Zbojnicka hut where we can have some refreshment with a spectacular view. We should reach the hut in around 3.5 hours and the return trek will take 2 - 2.5 hours. We stay overnight at the Bilikova hut.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 750m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1000m

    • Time 9 hrs trekking

  • Walk to the the Pri Zelenom hut and optional hike into the Jagniecy Mountains.

    For the first 15 - 20 minutes we follow the same trail as yesterday through woodland. Passing the entrance to the Starolesna valley we now continue on the main trail which crosses the river and then climbs to a cascading stream. After around an hour of walking we reach the pretty Zamkovskeho hut, the perfect place to stop for a refreshing drink. At this point we are still below the tree line but as we climb higher the views open out with high mountains on our left and the Slovakian plain on the
    right dotted with towns. After a further hour and a half we reach the lake of Skalnate where there is an astronomical observatory and also a station for the telephrique which runs between the town of Tatransca Lomnica at around 850 metres and the peak of Lomnicky at 2634 metres. We continue climbing for a little over an hour to the Svistovkou Pass (2023m)
    where we cross Lomnicky's NE ridge. We can take a short detour from the pass to the small summit of Velka Svistovka, where the views of the Bielskie (White) Tatra and the Kezmerska Valley are superb. Dropping down from the pass we reach the Pri Zelenom (Green Lake) hut, one of the most picturesque hut settings in the Tatra. The surrounding karst landscape of the 'White Tatra' is quite different from the mountains we have walked through thus far. Leaving any items not required for the afternoon at the hut, we make a lightweight hike up into a tarn-filled valley below Jagniecy Peak (2230m), the abode of wild goats. Exactly how far we climb will depend on our time of arrival at the Green Lake hut and
    anyone who has had enough walking for the day can just enjoy relaxing in this spectacular location. We stay overnight at the Pri Zelenom hut.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bld

    • Time 5 - 6 hrs trekking

  • Walk through the Javorova Valley to Tatranska Javorina . Transfer to Krakow.

    After breakfast, we hike for around 40 or 50 minutes on a gradually ascending trail to Velke Biele Pleso, the ‘Great White Lake’. Here there is a path junction with one trail heading east and down out of the mountains
    to Tatranska Kotlina and the other, which will be our trail today, heading west and climbing to a pass at 1778 metres with spectacular views. We descend momentarily before climbing to a second pass at 1750 metres which we should reach in less than an hour from the trail junction. From this second pass we begin our descent dropping first to flower-strewn meadows and then into the wooded Javorova Valley. We follow the river which heads west and then swings north to take us out of the mountains. Reaching the road-head above the town of Tatranska Javorina, our transport will be waiting and we drive for approximately 2 hours back to Krakow, where we check into our hotel. Depending on our arrival time in
    Krakow we may have time for a short city tour before going out for a celebratory dinner (not included).

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bl

    • Time 6 - 7 hrs trekking

  • Departure Day. An escorted group transfer to Krakow Airport is provided

    After breakfast there will be an escorted group transfer on public transport to Krakow Airport where KE Land Only package services end.

Holiday Information

  • An experienced English-speaking trek leader
  • A second local guide on the ascent of Ryzy for groups of 10 or more
  • Single Krakow Airport group transfers on Day 1 and Day 8 of the holiday itinerary
  • All other road transport (including public transport) within the holiday itinerary
  • All accommodation as described in the holiday dossier
  • Meals as detailed in the Meal Plan

  • Travel insurance
  • Airport transfers (other than group transfers)
  • Tips for local staff
  • Some meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc.

During this trip the group will spend 1 night in a pension in Zakopane and 1 night in a hotel in Krakow. Accommodation in these places is twin sharing with either en-suite or shared facilities. There are also 5 nights staying in huts which are mostly maintained by the Mountaineering Association of Slovakia. These are wooden or concrete structures usually with 4-6 bedded rooms or dormitory style with communal facilities which usually include restaurant area, toilets and showers. Hot water at these huts is usually provided by solar heating and in some huts may be available only for a limited period each evening. In the more inaccessible mountain huts, facilities will be more rudimentary. Sleeping bags are not required at the huts, as bed sheets and blankets are supplied. However, you may wish to carry a cotton or silk sheet sleeping bag.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

7 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners are included in the holiday price. Where there is a wide variety of dining options we have not included these meals in the price preferring to leave the choice of where to eat and the budget for these meals to you. We recommend that you allow from £7 to £20 for each of these meals for a total of 2 lunches and 2 dinners.

In the hotels in Zakopane and Krakow, breakfasts are normally buffet style with cereal, fruit, eggs toast and a selection of cheeses and meats with bread.  Both Zakopane and Krakow have a very wide range of restaurants with international cuisine plus inexpensive cafes and local fast-food outlets.  In the huts, breakfasts are usually bread with a selection of meats and cheeses and sometimes cooked eggs and ham.  Dinners normally consist of filling, home-made soups, pasta, goulash etc.  Packed lunches of sandwiches and fruit are also provided at each of the huts.  Additional snack food items, such as chocolate bars, can be purchased at the huts alongwith beers and soft drinks.  Beer has been brewed in Krakow for the last thousand years and is excellent.  The city has an abundance of pavement cafes and local bars to sit and watch the world go by.

Within the Land Only price of this trip, we will provide a single escorted transfer on public transport from Krakow Airport into Krakow City and a single escorted transfer on public transport to the group's accommodation in Zakopane on Day 1 of the trip itinerary. The transfer from the Airport into Krakow will depart late-morning. Depending on flight arrival times, clients will have some free time in Krakow centre before the transfer to Zakopane at approximately 5.50pm. Clients arriving in Krakow later than mid-day on day 1 should make independant arrangements to meet the group in Krakow for the transfer to Zakopane. There is a very efficient shuttle service by train into Krakow. The train station is inside the airport (200 metres from terminal 1) and trains depart every half hour. The journey time into central Krakow is 18 minutes and tickets cost 12 Polish Zloties (approximately 3 Euro). If you wish to be met at the airport by a representative of KE this can also be arranged for an extra cost. On Day 8, there will be a single escorted transfer from the hotel in Krakow back to Krakow Airport in the early morning. Full joining instructions together with hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation. Clients MUST provide the KE office with full details of their flights.

This trip will be led by a locally based, professional, english-speaking guide

The local currency in Poland is the Polish Zloty and in Slovakia it's the Euro.  We estimate that the equivalent of £150 should be sufficient to cover your incidental expenditure including tips for local staff, drinks and souvenirs, it is possible to purchase beer, wine and soft drinks at all the huts in Poland and Slovakia.  An approximate split is £100 changed into Polish zloty and 60 euros for your time spent in Slovakia.  Please be aware you will need your Polish Zloty and Euros before you start trekking.  Euros, dollars and sterling can be changed into Polish Zloty at the airport or in Krakow centre.  Cash in Polish Zloty can be withdrawn from ATMs on arrival at the airport, in Krakow centre and in Zakopane.  Please do not bring travellers cheques as these can be time-consuming to exchange.

Tipping is the accepted way of saying ‘thank you’ for good service.  It is important to remember that tipping is voluntary and should be dependent on good service.  On this trip we recommend that you give a tip to your guides on the trek and also on the city tour of Krakow.  We estimate that €20 – 25 per person will be sufficient for these tips.

Since you will be carrying all the personal equipment you need for this trip you should make every effort to keep this to a minimum and we recommend that you have a trial walk with your packed rucksack.  With careful planning and considering that you will not have to carry a sleeping bag, it should be possible to keep the weight of your sack down to 8 or 9 kgs / 20 lbs.  It is possible to leave any items not required on the trek at the group’s hotel in Zakopane.  Please note we have a walk of around ¼ mile between the bus station and the group’s hotel in Zakopane and we therefore recommend that you travel with only your rucksack and an additional small fold-away bag to store travel clothes etc which you wish to leave at the hotel.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

The altitudes attained on this holiday are not extreme and the maximum altitude attained is no more than the equivalent of a pressurised cabin on an international flight. You may ‘feel’ the altitude the first time you trek above 2000 metres but all that is required is a slower pace to compensate. You should pay particular attention to your hydration levels while trekking above 2000 metres.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Walking boots
  • Lightweight shoes or sandals (for hut use)
  • Socks
  • Spare laces
  • Trekking trousers / pants
  • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers / rainpants
  • Underwear
  • Shorts
  • Baselayer shirts (at least one long sleeve)
  • Shirt or mid-layer
  • Warm fleece jacket or jumper
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Sun hat or cap
  • Warm hat
  • Eyewear-Sunglasses
  • Lightweight thermal gloves
  • Daypack 35 to 40 litres
  • Headtorch / headlamp with spare batteries
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
  • Water bottles 1 litre (x2)
  • Minimal toiletries
  • Antibacterial hand wash
  • Small travel towel
  • Basic First Aid Kit including : Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium) painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, Insect repellent (DEET), and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

The following items are optional:

  • Wet wipes
  • Trekking poles
  • Camera, batteries
  • Penknife
  • Travel clothes
  • Small padlock (to lock trek bag)
  • Earplugs (Especially if you are not the one snoring)
  • You will need to carry all of your personal gear for the 5 or 6 days that are spent in the Tatras. On account of this, we advise that you take a rucksack of around 40 litres capacity. Note that bedding including sheets is provided in the refuges and, therefore, a sleeping bag is not needed. The refuges all have hot showers but towels are not provided.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa Europe

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa.

You should contact your GP or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations. UK residents should obtain a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance which is still vital when travelling overseas.

The unit of currency in Poland is the Polish Zloty.

The unit of currency in Europe is the Euro.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:


It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking or climbing trip getting some additional exercise.  The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience.  The best preparation is regular hill-walking with mountain walks every couple of weeks or so where you are out for 7 or 8 hours with several hundred metres of ascent.  Failing this, we would suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime leading up to your trip.  Running, squash and swimming are good for developing better stamina.  Whatever your exercise programme, we recommend that before departure, you try to fit in a number of long walks in hilly country.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: www.fco.gov.uk. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

The main season for mountain trekking in this part of Poland / Slovakia is from July to September and the weather is generally very good.  We can expect daytime, valley temperatures of between 20ºC and 25ºC, dropping to 12ºC or lower at night dependent on the altitude we stay.  As with any mountain area, there is always the risk of some poor weather, with rain and wind and the occasional storm.  However, this area usually enjoys a very pleasant and stable climate at this time of year.

  • The Rough Guide to Poland
  • Lonely Planet Poland
  • Cicerone: High Tatras
  • A Country in the Moon: Travels in Search of the Heart of Poland - Michael Moran


EKO-GRAF Polish and Slovak Tatra Mountains

This map covers the three main groups of the Tatra Mountains: the High Tatras, Western Tatras and the eastern Beliansk Tatry. Coverage extends from Zakopane in the north to the southern boundary of the Tatra National Park in Slovakia. West/east the map extends from the Sivy Vrch peak and Liptowsk Mikul to Tatransk Lomnica. Contours are at 20-m intervals and shading and graphic relief give a very detailed picture of the areas topography. Numerous peaks, passes, valleys, etc. are name, and waymarked trails are indicated. Also marked are cable cars and huts. Also included is a street plan of Zakopane showing main streets and an overview road map at 1:600,000 of the area between Krakw and the Tatra Mountains. The map legend includes English.

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