Meet the Hutsuls – an autonomous ethnic group of Ukrainian highlanders, that always remained different from the rest of the country, with their own particular traditions, music, and lifestyle. Take a trip back in time where people still plow their fields, make their home carpets, bake bread in ovens and spend their summers with the sheep flocks. Discover the pristine beauty of Carpathian Biosphere Reserve with its primeval beech forests -a part of UNESCO World Heritage.
♦ Kolomyia – the center of Hutsul highlanders’ culture
♦ The Carpathian Mountains
♦ Local Hutsul artisans
♦ Hutsul wooden churches and architecture
Day 1. Welcome (-/-/D)
Pick up at the airport and transfer to the town of Kolomyya - the cultural centre of Hutsuls. Hutsuls represent an ethno- cultural group of highlanders in Ukrainian Carpathian mountains, which has retained its distinctive culture and traditions.
Day 2. Smuharsky waterfalls hiking (B/L/D)
Today we will visit the town’s impressive Easter Egg Museum with over 6,000 beautifully decorated eggs from all over the world. Take the chance and sit for a master-class to paint your own Easter Egg. On the way to the mountains we will visit a wooden Church constructed in 1600 which is the oldest one in the area. The Carpathians is a hospitable land. Holidaymakers will meet friendly hosts here, that will house you, take care of the food, show you the sights and introduce you to the history, culture, folk customs and rites. Visit to the fair of folk wares in Kosiv town, where one can choose a brilliant souvenir for a beloved relative or a friend.
We will take an easy 3-hour hike to test Carpathian elevations. We will explore Smuharsky waterfalls which are created by Smuhariv Brook, a right tributary of the Cheremosh River. The smallest waterfall is about 4 meters, and the highest one - almost 20 meters. In a 5-hour hike we will pass all the waterfalls and find spectacular Protyati cliffs, the highest of which is Hawkeye. These Rocks are a place that every Ukrainian climber knows. Extreme lovers come here from all over the country. Stone cliffs created by nature resemble animals and fairytale characters.
The final point is Nimchych mountain pass. In the summer this place serves as leisure and hiking base and in the winter it becomes a ski resort. Return to Kosiv.
Day 3. Hutsul villages, crafts and cuisine (B/L/D)
Today you’ll have a chance to relax and unwind from the strenuous hike the day before. You will get to enjoy delicious home-made food and participate in the creative process and the work of craftsmen. You will personally weave a carpet or work on the potter's wheel, learn to paint Easter eggs or carve ornaments on crockery. We will visit Yavoriv village - famous for wool bedcover weaving. It is actually the last shelter of the craftsmen, who make this particular kind of sheep wool throw. You will try to work on a loom, exactly as it was done centuries ago. Later the hostess will offer you a dinner in her authentic Hutsul farmstead. After dinner we will visit a plunged mill, where the blancets are elaborated in a stream of water from a mountain brook. Yavoriv is also a woodcarving centre. We will have a look at the masterpieces of local craftsmen at the School of crafts. Return to Kosiv.
Day 4. Verkhovyna (B/L/D)
Today we are travelling to Verkhovyna - an important tourist center with its particular museums: Hutsul regional historical museum, Private museum of musical instruments and a museum of Hutsul magic and medicine. You will sure want to visit one of them. Visit the traditional shepherds in the highlands. For many years, every summer Hutsuls take herds of cows and sheep from all surrounding villages and spend three months in the mountains, looking after the animals and preparing the delicious cheese brynza. You’ll have the chance to witness this old tradition, learn about the lives of Hutsul shepherds and try their famous cheese. On the way back, you can take a bath in the river to refresh yourself. Overnight in a family-owned guesthouse next to the river with all facilities and sauna.
Day 5. Uhorski Rocks (B/L/D)
Today we will walk the Carpathian hills to discover its variety of forms and subtle beauty. Our destination - Uhorsky Skeli (Eng. Hungarian Rocks) - a range of megalithic structures which іsteeply rise above the territory around.
Your journey will continue to the altitude of max 1583m above sea level along Krynta- Skupova mountain range. On your way back to the camp you might pick up some mushrooms and berries as long as you make sure your guide confirms those are safe.Back at the camp where you can relax in sauna.
Optionally: a more challenging hike to Mt. Pip Ivan (2028 m) with an abandoned former Polish astronomic observatory on its top.
Day 6. Kayaking (optional) (B/L/-)
Since this is a departure day we offer you an alternative activity: Black Cheremosh river is the best for kayaking beginners. A camp instructor will give you a lesson and accompany you in your first runs. If you are not a kayak noob, river's rapids that spanned for up to 15km are to your disposal. If you would still prefer walking to kayaking, our guide will show you more of the Carpathian paths and local sights. After lunch transfer to Lviv.