Eastern Europe: Hiking
March 26, 2008 1:40 AM   Subscribe

Cool places to take day-trip hikes in Eastern Europe: suggestions?

My brother is coming to visit me in Amsterdam for a couple weeks and, aside from the usual visit to the Netherlands, he wants to take a trip to Eastern Europe. He's pretty into the great outdoors and probably wants to do some hiking. Giving time constraints, I don't think we'll be camping - but aside from that I'm open to new ideas. I hear there's a very nice, old forest in Poland.... he seems interested in this. Any other ideas / indie travel-agencies / suggestions? Thanks!
posted by mateuslee to Technology (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Eastern Europe from Amsterdam isn't really a day trip - it's probably a 6 hour drive to Poland, and longer to the Czech Republic. If you decide to stay overnight, the Krkonoše mountains along the Czech/Polish border are a beautiful area. You can rent a room in a ski resort up there (I've stayed in one in Harrachov) and then just go nuts. It's pretty cheap, too.
posted by cmonkey at 2:12 AM on March 26, 2008

A few hours south of Prague (almost to the Austrian border) is Český Krumlov, a beautiful, old, fairytale-like town sitting on a bend in the river. I took a nice (modest) hike from there to a nearby mountain which houses an observatory.
posted by pjenks at 2:30 AM on March 26, 2008

Slovenia is the European center for outdoor trips - a small nation with six climates all easily reached from the capitol, Ljubljana. The Julian Alps are amazing, and only twenty minutes from palm trees on the Adriatic coast.

Slovakia (no relation to Slovenia) also offers great hiking - during the summer season the ski resorts rent out mountain bikes and such.

The Croatian coast offers great hiking, not to mention good food and beaches.

Romania has eye-opening cultural treasure sin its villages, especially in Maramures, and is developing a lot of networks that help tourists find good lodging in prvate homes. Especially in Maramures.
posted by zaelic at 2:32 AM on March 26, 2008

Response by poster: @cmonkey: A flight is just a couple hours though....
posted by mateuslee at 2:32 AM on March 26, 2008

Krka National Park in Croatia.
posted by fire&wings at 3:38 AM on March 26, 2008

If you're flying, look at how close the mountains/natural bits are to the airport - you don't want to fly to random airport X, take a bus to random town Y, rent a car and drive Z hours to the trailhead, and then do it all again at the end of the day.

What about going somewhere like the Swiss Alps? The area might be better integrated for shorter trips.
posted by mdonley at 3:56 AM on March 26, 2008

The Tatra mountains in Poland are beautiful, and well set up for walking - it's where the Poles do it - stay in Zakopane, very easy to get to from Krakow by bus or train. There are walks straight out of town, and cable cars that you can use to access routes as well. It's really accessible (and a lot cheaper than Switzerland!)

If you're up for a bit more of a trip, the Bieszczady mountains in south-east Poland are also lovely, and they have bears and bison. It's possibly the forest he's thinking off. They are harder to get to though, you'll have to hire a car, and they're a couple of hours drive from Rzeszow. But very much worth the effort if you have the time.
posted by Helga-woo at 4:23 AM on March 26, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips guys... lots of great ideas here! I really appreciate it... lots!
posted by mateuslee at 4:39 AM on March 26, 2008

The Făgăraş and Bucegi mountains in Romania are both good destinations for camping/hiking (though I believe the Bucegi range, near Buşteni and Predeal, is where those bear attacks were last summer, if that's of concern). The Făgăraş mountains are part of the Carpathian range, and there are a lot of glacial lakes around that area. I haven't been yet, but have heard it's beautiful, and plan to go this summer. (It looks like part of the Carpathian Challenge will be there this summer as well.)
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 4:41 AM on March 26, 2008

THere are so many places. My favourite place in the Czech Republic is the Sumava, a gorgeous natural reserve near Cesky Krumlov (see above). THe countryside is breath taking, though the mountains are not that high. There is a lot to do-- canoing, sightseeing, hiking skiing. There's not downside to the place since it's protected by Unesco.

Slovakia is a little less crowded, and has the most beautiful mountains outside of the Alps, the Tatras. On the plus, Slovaks are really kind to tourists.

Zakopane is my favourite region in Poland, and it's not far from Krakow, which is beautiful.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:52 AM on March 26, 2008

I second Gesamtkunstwerk's suggestion about Zakopane. As far as awesomeness, Zakopane and Golub-Dobrzyn (stay in the fortification overnight--find it on google) are tied, in my book that is. The Tatry mountains are unbelievably beautiful and you can hike all day and wind up at a new lodge to sleep at each night if you invest in a map and bring enough cash. The Slovakia side of things is really really cool and you'll love it.
posted by mamaraks at 6:46 AM on March 26, 2008

Seconding Slovenia. Hit up Bled, and hike to the Vintgar Gorge. You can get cheap flights into Ljubljana, then take an hour-long bus or train ride to Bled.
posted by nitsuj at 6:57 AM on March 26, 2008

Zakopane is incredibly touristic. In my opinion, the Tatry mountains of Slovakia and anywhere in Romanian Transylvania are better hiking get-aways.

If you want to go really off the beaten track, I did some fantastic dayhikes in Albania. The southeastern part of the country is spectacular, and the country is very hospitable and safe for travellers.
posted by xanthippe at 9:23 AM on March 26, 2008

Bialowieza Forest is probably what your brother is thinking of. It's on the border of Belarus. I haven't been there, but I'd really like to go.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:14 PM on March 26, 2008

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