Christina/ July 21, 2019/ Culture

oland is a hiking paradies – full stop. We were absolutely thrilled by the panoramas and above all by the extremely well-organised signposting in the mountains. It is really, really fun to hike there and there are so many interesting areas that really make a passionate hiker’s heart beat faster. Although I admit that the Schneekoppe is rather a “must go” and not noted for its exceptionally beautiful or challenging hiking trails. However, it is still quite something to stand on top of it with one leg in Poland and the other in the Czech Republic. My recommendation: Climb up the mountain and take the funicular from the small peak back to the valley.

The High Tatra is a completely different thing. Although Zakopane is already packed in June by locals the hiking trails are marvelous, be it the path to the Kaspersky Wierch or the Five-Lakes-tour. But be careful: the trail to the “Meeresauge” is really crowded (it is part of the Five-Lakes-Tour). It is recommendable to take the carriage from the parking lot to the lake and then climb up to the “Black Lake” from there (it is still very challenging). From there you can hike up to the highest mountain shelter of Poland and thus traverse a ridge. Let me tell you this much: We walked all the way from the parking lot to the Meeresauge, climbed up to the Black Lake, to the highest hut of the Polish Tatra and then back to the start. That makes 25 kilometres and 1.400 meters difference in altitude all together and it is definitely worth it. An absolutely unforgettable hike with marvelous look-outs and perfect weather.

Another highlight are the Carpathian Mountains right to the East of South Poland. Not only the ridge hiking is particularly nice over there, no, I definitely recommend the walk within the border triangle of Ukraine-Poland-Slovakia and thereby the easternmost corner of Europe. Absolutely thrilling. Once again we are on a heavy program: 25 kilometre and 1.400 meters difference in altitude. We start our tour on the Przelecz Wyznianka parking lot and climb the Wielka Rawka at first. From there we walk to Kremenenz mountain at the border between Ukraine-Poland and Slovakia. From there we descend to Ustrzyki Gorne, taking a coffee break.

Our way back leads across Polonina Carynska, another highlight. We let the day fade away at the restaurant “Wilcza Jama” close to Dwernik. My recommendation: Stay until the close the place – because then you will meet the talkative owner and hear all the stories about hunting bears and meeting celebrities.

At the very end we visited the Holy Cross Mountains close to Kielce. Sure they are no hiking paradise like the other places. Still, it is interesting to meet the oblates fraternity in the cloister – those guys, the claim – can save you from the brutal fate to become an official! I was a little bit confused about their business policy, they even charge money for the visit to the bathroom. I wonder what for?