Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland are the gems of this five-country hiking adventure, a step back in time into Old World Europe as you discover timeless villages and mountain trails where eagles soar. On our incredible journey, you’ll come upon the folkloric heritage of Romania’s Maramures region, walk the pilgrim path to Slovakia’s Spissky Hrad castle, and hike on both the Polish and Slovak flanks of the High Tatras. Our cultural encounters introduce you to shepherds, woodcarvers, weavers, and people of many ethnic backgrounds—Hutsuls, Slovaks, Rusyns—each with distinctive styles and traditions. Along the way you’ll sample the best local cuisines and wines, from tasty Ukrainian-style borscht to the fine Eger vintages of Hungary.
What a grand introduction to an area I had not visited. I most enjoyed feeling like I was off the beaten ‘tourist’ path.
— Nancy M., Pullman, WA
Days 1-5, Aug 28 - Sep 1, 2016
Lviv, Ukraine / Rakhiv / Sapanta, Romania / Maramures
After exploring charming Lviv, head out on hikes among the rock outcrops of Makovytsia Mountain and on Mt. Dovga (4,525'), and explore Rakhiv, a center of Hutsul culture, a Carpathian mountain people known for their woodcarving, pottery-making, weaving arts, and distinctive wooden architecture. A hike right across the border brings you into Romania, where you’ll visit Sapanta’s “Merry Cemetery,” with its graves marked by charming folk art and a humorous poem, and explore the Maramures region, where traditional dress is still worn.
Days 6-10, Sep 2 - 6, 2016
Eger, Hungary / Levoca, Slovakia
In Hungary’s Eger-Tokaj region, hike in the Bukk (“Beech”) Mountains and sip delicious wines in cellars dating to the 15th century. Heading across the border into Slovakia, our hikes lead through traditional villages to the towering ruins of hilltop Spissky Castle.
Days 11-15, Sep 7 - 11, 2016
Tatras Mountains / Krakow, Poland
In the Tatras Mountains, hike beneath snow-capped peaks and into broad glacial valleys laced with blue mountain tarns. One hike brings you right from Skalnate Pleso, a spectacular Tatras observation point, directly to our hotel located above Stary Smokovec, the oldest resort in the Slovak Tatras. Our journey ends in medieval Krakow, an exquisite city of Gothic and Renaissance architecture and the seat of the Polish kings for three centuries. Depart on Day 15.