Meet 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, its primeval beech forests are a part of UNESCO World Heritage.
♦ Sightseeing Kolomyia – the center of Hutsul highlanders’ culture, and visit to its famous Easter-Egg Museum
♦ Hiking among the beautiful beech forests of Carpathian Mountains
♦ Learning more about the environmental challenges of the region
♦ Visiting local Hutsul artisans and learning more about traditional local crafts
♦ Exploring intricate Hutsul wooden churches and architecture
♦ Tasting delicious traditional delicacies, made by a host family
♦ Visiting Hutsul shepherds and learning about the custom of cheese making
Day 1. Arriving in Kyiv or Lviv
Reach Ivano-Frankivsk by train from Kyiv(around 10 hours) or Lviv(around 3 hours)
Day 2. Introduction to the Carpathians
Arrive in Ivano-Frankivsk and transfer to the town of Kolomyia – the cultural centre of Hutsuls that represent an ethnocultural group of highlanders in Ukrainian Carpathian mountains, which has retained its distinctive culture and traditions. Visit town’s impressive Easter Egg Museum with over 6,000 beautifully decorated eggs from all over the world. On the way to the mountains visit the Church of Assumption of the Virgin which was constructed in 1600.
Take an easy 3-hour hike to a mountain valley Rosohata and test Carpathian elevations. Visit the cave and traditional highlanders’ hut. For many years, every summer Hutsul shepherds take herds of cows and sheep from all surrounding villages and spend three months in the mountain valleys, looking after the animals and preparing delicious cheese ‘brynza’. You’ll have the chance to witness this old tradition, learn about the shepherds’ life and try their famous cheese.
Overnight in a family-owned guesthouse next to the river with all facilities.
Total hiking: 3 hours
Day 3. Kosiv, Smuharsky waterfalls
Transfer to the town of Kosiv fairly considered as the capital of folk crafts. Take a sightseeing tour around the town, visit the Hutsul life and art museum and the fair of folk wares, where one can choose a brilliant souvenir for a beloved relative or a friend. After lunch start hiking to explore the Smuharsky waterfalls, the altitude of which vary from 5 to almost 20 meters, spectacular Protyati cliffs, which resemble animals and fairytale characters. You will finish hiking at Nimchych mountain pass. There is a unique panoramic view on the surrounding mountains and the Cheremosh valley there.
Total hiking: 5 hours
Distance: 15 km
Return to Kosiv guesthouse.
Day 4. Hutsul villages, crafts and cuisine
Today you’ll have a chance to relax and unwind from the strenuous hike the day before. Enjoy delicious home-made food and participate in the creative process and the work of craftsmen.
Kosiv is famous for its beautiful unique decorated pottery. You will visit a family which still preserves and develops this technique. Take your chance to work with clay and decorate your own plate. You will also take part in weaving a woolen blanket or carpet on a loom, learn to paint Easter eggs. Later the mistress will offer you a dinner in her authentic Hutsul farmstead. After lunch you will visit a plunged mill, where the blankets are elaborated in a stream of water from a mountain brook.
Than you will transfer to Verkhovyna – an important tourist center with its particular museums: Hutsul regional historical museum, private museum of musical instruments, a museum of Hutsul magic. You will sure want to visit one of them.
Spend overnight in a cottage at Bily Slon campsite which is situated in the footage of the highest Carpathian range.
Day 5. Uhorski Skeli hike /Pip Ivan hike/
This day you will walk Carpathian hills to discover its variety of forms and subtle beauty. Your destination – Uhorsky Skeli (Eng. Hungarian Rocks) – a range of megalithic structures which steeply rise above the surrounding territory. 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; make sure your guide approves those are safe. Back at the camp you may relax in a sauna.
Total hiking: 8-10 hours
Distance: 30 km
OPTIONALLY you may take a more challenging hike to Mt. Pip Ivan (2028 m) with an abandoned former Polish astronomic observatory on its top.
Day 6. Rafting(optional) Leaving the mountains
Since this is a departure day we offer you an alternative activity. Black Cheremosh river is the best for rafting 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 rafting, our guide will show you more of Carpathian paths and local sights. After lunch transfer to Ivano-Frankivsk railway station.
Departure to Kyiv or Lviv
► Accommodation: 4 nights in family-owned guesthouses► Meals: full board - 3 days; half-board - 2 days► Point-to-point transfers► English-speaking hiking guide for the duration of the tour► Masterclasses
Price does not include:
► Air ticket to/from Ukraine► Hotel overnight in Kyiv or Lviv► Transfer to Ivano-Frankivsk (train tickets can be arranged for additional payment)► Clothing and additioal equipment for rafting/kayaking► Tips and personal expenses, drinks► Travel insurance
Price of extra services: ►single room supplement: 60 euro per person