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Bieszczady Trails

Overview

These point-to-point trails are set in the glorious Bieszczady region of Poland, located in the south-east of the country overlooking the Slovakian border. The owner and guide, Jozef, has been running these trails for more than 15 years and has a selection of brave, sure-footed horses to look after…

Highlights

  • Unspoiled nature and fantastic wildlife
  • Adventurous riding with river crossings
  • Highly qualified and experienced guide
  • Charming countryside with few inhabitants
  • Beautiful Orthodox churches

Essential Facts

  • 2 itineraries available
  • Max 13 riders per group
  • Average of 5 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 100kg / 220lbs / 15 stone 10lbs

Description

These point-to-point trails are set in the glorious Bieszczady region of Poland, located in the south-east of the country overlooking the Slovakian border. The owner and guide, Jozef, has been running these trails for more than 15 years and has a selection of brave, sure-footed horses to look after you as you explore this remote and scenic region. Jozef holds the highest guiding qualification in Poland and is a skilled horseman, training horses for private owners in his free time.

The human population of this area suffered heavily in the 1940s due to war and post-war migration - it's possible sometimes to ride all day on these routes and not see anybody except your fellow riders or evidence of the wild animals thriving here. The Bieszczady Mountains are home to many large mammals such as bears, wolves, beavers, otters, lynx, deer and even European Bison, plus the birdlife is excellent. The trails pass through abandoned villages and past the ruins of Orthodox churches and old cemeteries. These are adventurous rides with some steep terrain, river crossings and long hours in the saddle - whilst the pace is not always fast due to the long hours and distances, Jozef loves to canter and gallop where the ground allows. The uninhabited meadows allow for memorable long canters.

Jozef speaks only a few words of English but these trails are joined by an additional guide and translator (English, French and Italian translation available) to ensure that you can understand all instructions and learn about this fascinating area. The translator is always an experienced rider who will join you all day. The stables are located on the edge of Sanok town but you are only here to tack up, mount and head off onto the trail - in a very short time you are off into open country and away on your adventure!

Horses & Riding

Tack

The saddles used on these trails are English style trail riding saddles. They are lightweight, with wide padded seats for the comfort of both horse and rider. The saddles have hoops and loops for tying bags and coats to, as well as saddlebags for storing personal possessions during the day. Bridles are more traditional style English ones with simple snaffle bits.

Horses

The horses are mainly Malopolski - a cross breed produced from native Polish horses bred with Thoroughbreds and Arabians. The horses used on the trails have been trained by guide Jozef for this purpose and are experienced across varied landscapes. Spare horses are always available, sometimes coming as a loose horse on the ride or brought in along the way when needed.

Riding

There are 2 itineraries:

  • Mountains of Bieszczady Trail is a trail ride
  • Valleys of Bieszczady Trail is a trail ride

Ages

For the trails in Bieszczady riders should be 12 or older.

Health

General good health recommended.

Weight

100kg / 220lbs / 15 stone 10lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

Breakfasts and dinners are eaten at your accommodation whilst lunch is usually a picnic along the trail or may sometimes be in a restaurant along the route. You are served typical Polish cuisine which is traditionally quite hearty.

Breakfast is typically a continental type buffet (bread, jam, ham, cheese, eggs, tea and coffee). Fruit tea is popular in Poland and served with most meals and throughout the day - if you want black tea then please bring some.

Lunch is often carried by the support vehicle and may be soup with bread or sausages cooked over a fire. On days where a vehicle cannot reach you, you will carry sandwiches in saddle bags.

Dinner often begins with soup and is followed by something like pork chops, potatoes and salad. There is not always a dessert but it is served some nights and common options would be apple pie or homemade doughnuts.

Drinks and alcohol are not included but can be bought locally along the way, but varieties may be limited.

Accommodation

Dormitory type accommodation is provided in agricultural farms, foresters' lodges or local hostels and is determined by where the horses are able to stay overnight. Options are sometimes limit and accommodations are simple - you should be willing to share basic rooms and bathroom facilities.

Itineraries

Mountains of Bieszczady Trail Basic accommodation.

Valleys of Bieszczady Trail Basic accommodation.

Other Activities

Non-riders cannot be accommodated on the trails and most of the day is spent in the saddle. Along the route there may be a little time for some bird-watching or swimming.

Travel

You should aim to land in Krakow by 6pm as the first dinner (you overnight in the city on the first night) is served from 7.30pm. Guests are transferred throughout the day and you will not be expect to wait more than say 30 minutes for other guests to arrive - they will make several separate transfers and will take you straight to your hotel in the city. You can spend any free time before the first dinner exploring the city or resting as you prefer.

On departure day your flight should leave Krakow 1pm or later.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

You are transferred from Krakow airport to your hotel in the city centre. Explore at your leisure before meeting the group for dinner in the evening.

Day 2

Riding: 3 - 4 hours

An early departure from Krakow at c. 6am to transfer to Sanok, a town located near the border with Ukraine and Slovakia (journey c. 3.5 hours). After breakfast, meet your guide and horses and set off on your ride. Cross a small river and ride across beautiful meadows until reaching a path through the forest. Stop for lunch and continue through forests and meadows into the surrounding hills. Spend the night in Wola Piotrowa where you are hosted by locals.

Day 3

Riding: 5 hours

A wonderful ride across hillsides adorned with clumps of trees, grassy meadows, forests and rivers. Stop at the San river for lunch before continuing through wild natural landscapes. You'll ride through an abandoned village where you can see an Orthodox church from the 14th century. At the end of the day, arrive in the small village of Laczki, where you again hosted by locals.

Day 4

Riding: 5 hours

Start the day by crossing the San River and then ride through fields and forests before crossing the river again and passing through another abandoned village with an Orthodox church. Stop for lunch at a hotel in Berezka before continuing through small villages, meadows and forest to Rybna, where you spend the night hosted by locals.

Day 5

Riding: 5 hours

Ride across open spaces and follow the mountain ridges with wonderful views of Solina Lake, also known as the Sea of Bieszczady - this is the largest artificial lake in Poland which is fed by the rivers San and Solinka. Pass through the village of Bukowiec and visit another Orthodox church in Gorzanka. If the weather is kind then you can climb to the top of the mountain Korbania for superb views of the region. The night is spent in Terka where you are hosted by friends of your guide.

Day 6

Riding: 5 hours

Another day for nature lovers as you ride through open spaces with views onto the surrounding hills and meadows. Pass through the former villages of Krywe and Tworylne where you'll see the ruins of an Orthodox church from the 14th century.

Stop for lunch in the forest then continue along a path next to the San river. The forests become wilder and wilder - if you are lucky you may spot a bear.

You spend the night at a ranch in Dwernik where the owner keeps Hucul horses. These small horses originate in the Carpathian mountains and have a heavy build and great endurance and hardiness. The breed gets its name from the Hutsul people who live mainly in the Caucausian mountains of Ukraine and Romania.

Day 7

Riding: 5 hours

There are several possibilities for today's ride, depending on weather and local conditions. You may climb up onto Dwernik Kamien mountain for panoramic views of the Biesczcady mountains or you could take a different path through the forests of Otryt where you'll stop for lunch at the charming Chata Socjologa before continuing through the village of Chmiel and back to Dwernik. Final farewell dinner at this ranch.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast you are transferred back to Krakow (c. 3.5 hours drive) for your flight home.

Accommodation

Basic dormitory style accommodation on agricultural farms, foresters lodges and local hostels.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

You should be a capable rider who can rise to the trot and adopt a forward seat in canter and gallop. You should also be fit for 4-6 hours a day in the saddle. Minimum age of 12. Riders are expected to groom and tack up their own horse and to mount and dismount without help.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 13
Departure windows

June 4, 2022 - June 11, 2022

Pricing

2022
Sharing
£975 $1230 €1145
Included 7 nights accommodation in shared rooms, full board meals, 6 days riding and Krakow airport transfers.
Not included Flights, personal travel insurance, drinks, tips or personal expenses.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Transfer from the airport to your hotel in Krakow city centre. Free time to explore until meeting your group for dinner in the evening.

Day 2

Riding: 3 - 4 hours

An early start from Krakow for the 3.5 hour transfer to Sanok on the border with Ukraine and Slovakia. Breakfast on arrival and then meet your guide and horses. Set off across wide open spaces and through villages abandoned during Operation Vistula (a codename for the 1947 forced resettlement of Ukranian minorities including Boykos and Lemkos from the south eastern provinces of post-war Poland to the Recovered Territories in the west). You will also have the chance to see a church built in the 16th century.

Overnight in Wola Piotrowa where you are hosted by locals.

Day 3

Riding: 5 hours

A beautiful day of riding ahead with long meadows, forests and endless canters. On the way you'll pass old cemeteries with tombs hidden by plants. Stop at the village of Turzansk to admire the 19th century gothic wooden church which has designated UNESCO status. Your destination is Roztoki Dolne.

Day 4

Riding: 5 hours

Another fantastic day for nature lovers as you pass through fields and forests, feeling the atmosphere of abandoned villages. Pass through the small village of Zernica where you'll see a wooden Orthodox church. Overnight in Rybne.

Day 5

Riding: 5 hours

Cross open spaces and follow the mountain ridges with wonderful views of Solina Lake, also known as Sea of Bieszczady - the largest artificial lake in Poland, fed by the rivers San and Solinka. Pass through the village of Bukowiec and view another orthodox church in Gorzanka. In good weather you can also climb the mountain Korbania for magnificent views of the region. Overnight Terka.

Day 6

Riding: 5 hours

Continue your journey along Solina Lake, crossing San River several times before reaching Postolow to overnight.

Day 7

Riding: 5 hours

Todays ride takes you to Sanok and there are different paths through the beautiful forests on the mountains of Slonne so your route may vary. One option offers the chance to see the ruins of Sobien castle before crossing the San river to reach the largest ethnographic park in Poland - a museum of different ethnic groups living in the Polish-Ukraine border region with farms, churches and mills. An alternative route takes you to the Discalced Carmelite monastery ruins.

Eventually you reach Sanok for your final dinner and overnight.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast you are transferred back to Krakow (c. 3.5 hours drive) for your flight home.

Accommodation

Basic dormitory style accommodation is provided in farmhouses, foresters lodges and local hostels.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

You should be a capable rider who can rise to the trot and adopt forward seat in canter and gallop. You should also be fit for 4-6 hours a day in the saddle. Minimum age of 12.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 13
Departure windows

May 7, 2022 - May 14, 2022

Aug. 20, 2022 - Aug. 27, 2022

Sept. 10, 2022 - Sept. 17, 2022

Oct. 8, 2022 - Oct. 15, 2022

Pricing

2022
Sharing
£975 $1230 €1145
Included 7 nights accommodation in shared rooms, full board meals, 6 days riding and Krakow airport transfers.
Not included Flights, personal travel insurance, drinks, tips and personal expenses.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.