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Poland & Slovakia: Krakow, Tatras & Bears

Group Tour

9 Days From £2,095

Overview

The mountains and forests of central and eastern Slovakia are refuge to a collection of wildlife that evokes in the imagination a Europe of wild and ancient lore. Its ragged peaks and spectacular national parks are home to wolf and lynx, wild boar and rare chamois. And amongst these Carpathian highlands we can find one of the last bastions of Europe’s wild bears.

Benefiting from the pioneering work of David Guthrie, Peter Lapsansky and the ‘Project Bear’ team, this remarkable journey takes ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

8 x Breakfasts
6 x Lunches
4 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use minibuses and a raft.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

4 nights x Premium
4 nights x Superior

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this particular trip we will be in hotels. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Moderate / High

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

VERY HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Poland & Slovakia: Krakow, Tatras & Bears
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN KRAKÓW (POLAND)

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN KRAKÓW (POLAND)

This extraordinary journey begins in the historic Polish city of Kraków, one of the country’s oldest and most beautiful cities. We will be staying in the heart of the city’s historic Jewish Quarter. This afternoon we’ll enjoy an organised tour of the old city, along with the medieval setting of Kazimierz and its ancient synagogues.

Hotel M29 or similar

DAY 2: MORNING TOUR OF WIELICKZA SALT MINES

DAY 2: MORNING TOUR OF WIELICKZA SALT MINES

Architecturally stunning, with a historical pedigree that can trace its origins back to the 13th century, Kraków’s historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that can lay claim to Europe’s largest market square. This morning we will visit the extraordinary salt mine at Wielickza. Worked since the 13th century, the mine today is an official Polish Historic Monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, whose labyrinthine tunnels and passageways are filled with chapels, chandeliers and statues that offer up a fascinating insight into the creativity and cultural traditions of the miners that once worked these subterranean chambers. The afternoon is then free to continue exploring Poland’s former royal capital at your leisure, enjoying its abundant culinary charms and captivating Renaissance style.

Hotel M29 or similar
Breakfast

DAY 3: KRAKÓW - ŽDIAR (SLOVAKIA)

DAY 3: KRAKÓW - ŽDIAR (SLOVAKIA)

Departing Kraków after breakfast this morning we drive south, towards the Slovakian border and the mountain strongholds of the Goral people. Staunchly traditional, these mountain people have lived in the shadow of the High Tatras for generations and their villages and architecture still retain a uniquely distinctive style. Taking to the forested trails that run through the mountains, we have some good chances of spotting wild boar and red deer this afternoon, before finishing our 10-kilometre walk in the famous Goral village of Osturna.
Approx. 3-4 hrs walking, 10kms, maximum altitude 1190m / minimum altitude 690m

Aja Pension or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: WALKING IN THE BELIANSKE TATRAS MOUNTAINS

DAY 4: WALKING IN THE BELIANSKE TATRAS MOUNTAINS

An early start sees us travelling the short distance to Javorina (1050m), from where we commence a 20-kilometre hike through the beautiful Belianske Tatras Mountains. Part of the Tatras National Park, these trails offer spectacular mountain scenery and some excellent opportunities for seeing some of Slovakia’s fabulous mountain wildlife. Home to endangered Tatra chamois, black woodpeckers and majestic brown bears, we head across the Kopske saddle (1750m) and down to the Plesnivec Mountain Refuge before descending to Kotlina (765m), from where we return to Ždiar.
Approx 5-6 hrs walking, 20kms, maximum altitude 1750m / minimum altitude 765m

Aja Pension or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: ŽDIAR - PIENINY NATIONAL PARK - LIPTOVSKÝ HRÁDOK

DAY 5: ŽDIAR - PIENINY NATIONAL PARK - LIPTOVSKÝ HRÁDOK

Nominated for inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage listing, the Dunajec River and its spectacular 18 kilometre gorge lie within the captivating confines of the Pieniny National Park. This morning affords an opportunity to take to its waters aboard rafts, to enjoy a couple of hours leisurely floating through its serene backdrop. A gentle afternoon drive then takes in the resort towns that lie amongst the High and Western Tatras ranges, ending at Liptovský Hrádok and the beautiful Grand Castle Hotel.

Chateau Grand Castle or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 6: SEARCHING FOR BEARS AMONGST THE VALLEYS AND FORESTS OF THE TATRAS MOUNTAINS

DAY 6: SEARCHING FOR BEARS AMONGST THE VALLEYS AND FORESTS OF THE TATRAS MOUNTAINS

A pre-dawn start sees us heading off into hidden valley landscapes in the company of specialist rangers. Walking up through the pine forests and along animal trails that lead out above the tree-line, we enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks as we emerge into a landscape that is amongst the finest anywhere in Europe in which to see bears in their natural environment. After a day of walking we spend this evening overnighting at the stunningly located Tri Studnicky Ranger Pension.
The walking distance today will depend on local information about bear sightings, approximately we will be walking for 5 - 7 hrs covering an altitude between 1,200m - 2,000m

Tri Studnicky or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: MORNING HIKE THEN ON TO POPRAD AND SPIŠSKÁ SOBOTA

DAY 7: MORNING HIKE THEN ON TO POPRAD AND SPIŠSKÁ SOBOTA

Continuing this morning much as we ended yesterday, we again set off in the company of an expert ranger to search out the bears and other wildlife that make these mountains their home. Venturing far from more established trails we make a number of stops along the route, in the hope of spotting some of the regions more exotic fauna. Following lunch we then drive the short distance to the historic town of Spišská Sobota, whose beautifully preserved medieval square provides the setting for a leisurely afternoon.
The walking distance today will depend on local information about bear sightings, approximately we will be walking for 3 - 4 hrs

Sv Juraj or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: SPIŠSKÁ SOBOTA - SPIŠ - LEVOCA - SPIŠSKÁ SOBOTA

DAY 8: SPIŠSKÁ SOBOTA - SPIŠ - LEVOCA - SPIŠSKÁ SOBOTA

Slovakia’s Spiš region grew rich on the trade that once plied the routes through the High Tatras during the 14th and 15th centuries. Our day will include visits to the magnificent setting of Spiš Castle, as well as the UNESCO listed town of Levoca, whose historic heart is considered a Renaissance jewel among the Slovak towns of the region. Home to the world’s highest Gothic wooden altar, the town can also boast the patronage of one of the medieval world’s finest woodcarvers, Master Pavol of Levoca.

Sv Juraj or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9: SPIŠSKÁ SOBOTA - KRAKÓW (POLAND)

DAY 9: SPIŠSKÁ SOBOTA - KRAKÓW (POLAND)

Early this morning we will head back to Kraków airport, where our trip ends.

Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

REVIEWS OF THIS TRIP

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

Projekt MedVed

Projekt MedVed was established in 2007 when creators David and Peter began working alongside the Tatra National Park Authorities to help better understand the behaviour of the European Brown Bear, particularly in terms of conflict with the local people in the area. The project is funded by taking small groups of enthusiastic visitors into the mountains to watch and learn about the bears and in 2015 the project funded the study of 7 bears to see how they interacted with local communities. The research compiled found that although most of the bears were keen to avoid local villages they were being enticed into the area by humans and their waste. 

As a result of the project and its ongoing research there are now local community groups monitoring waste practices and the information shared is helping communities understand that by having the bears visible it is not only a source of pride and status for Slovakians, but will also help to avoid any potential conflicts. 

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
BA 872 London Heathrow (LHR) 08:30 Balice Airport (KRK) 12:00
BA 873 Balice Airport (KRK) 11:50 London Heathrow (LHR) 13:20

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders currently do not require a visa for Poland or Slovakia. 

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Krakow

Why not extend your time in Poland by enjoying a few days in the historical city of Krakow either before or after this fascinating tour.

Allow 2 - 3 days

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

The best time to travel and walk in the Tatras Mountain region in Slovakia is from late spring to early autumn. Temperatures at the end of spring and the start of summer are usually between the low and mid 20s (C) due to the mountainous areas. In Autumn you can expect the temperature to drop to an average of 15C.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a decent state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour. However, please note there are planned walks on most days, some of which are longish and which do take in some steep gradients. Therefore all participants should be sufficiently fit and both used to and comfortable with hill-walking.

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £200 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking. 

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 1764 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Airport Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION