Polish Mountains riding holiday in Poland - Far and Ride
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Polish Mountains, Poland





Horses



Type of horses:

Mainly Malopolski - a cross breed from native Polish horses crossed with Thoroughbreds and Arabians.

Nature of horses:

Well trained, even tempered, strong, brave and experienced in the mountains

Height of horses:

15.2 - 16.2 hh

Weight limit:

120kg (but only one horse capable of this weight - please check)

Tack type:

English style saddles and bridles

 

Travel Advice



Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.
 

Ride Description

This small, family run ride is based in southern Poland amongst the wild mountains of Bieszczady and Pieniny.

The Pieniny National Park is located 120km south of Krakow and partially includes the Tatras mountain range on the Polish-Slovakian border. The vast grassy plateaus are the result of human activity that has cleared the great forests to breed sheep - however, they are perfect for long canters! The high meadows are famous for their profusion of butterflies as well as many plants and mountain flowers. The rides in Pieniny are centre based so suitable for groups with non-riders and children, but the riding still includes trots and canters as well as the occasional gallop!

The Bieszczady mountains are in the far south-east of Poland and are one of the most beautiful regions for lovers of virgin landscapes and isolation. These mountains also provide shelter to large mammals such as bears, wolves, beavers, otters and lynx as well as deer and European bison. The human population of Bieszczady suffered heavily in the 1940's due to war and post-war migrations so the rides pass through abandoned villages and past the ruins of Orthodox churches and old cemeteries. These rides are all mobile trails which move on each night and there are itineraries which pass through the valleys or higher in the mountains.

The two different rides are offered by two brothers - one in Pieniny and the other in Bieszczady. They each have their own herd of horses but will switch between them if needed. All of the horses spend most of their lives outside and are only trail horses with no arena work. Although the brothers don't speak great English, they are very communicative and sociable. For larger groups an English speaking representative will join to enhance the experience.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Basic dormitory accommodation is provided in agricultural farms, foresters lodges or local hostels.

The accommodation is determined by where the horses are able to overnight and on trips into the wilderness, options are limited.

On the centre based Pieniny ride, you stay in a family run guesthouse but the accommodation is still basic rooms with bathrooms.

All meals are included. The food is typical Polish cuisine.

Breakfast and dinner are taken at your accommodation whilst lunch is usually a picnic along the trail, or sometimes a restaurant along the route.

Breakfast is typically a buffet (bread, jam, ham, eggs, coffee, tea).
Lunch is often carried in the support vehicle and may be soup with bread or sausages cooked over the fire. On days where the vehicle cannot reach you, you'll carry sandwiches.
Dinner might be soup followed by pork chops with potatoes and salad, followed by apple pie. There is not always a dessert.

Drinks and alcohol are not included but can be bought locally.

 

Activities

The stationary ride at Pieniny is perfect for mixed groups of riders as there are plenty of other activities possible, including cycling, hiking and bird watching. There are also castles to visit (Niedzica and Czorsztyn) or you could take a cruise on the lake. These additional activities may be at extra cost.

On the trail rides in Bieszczady you need to be a rider and non-riders cannot be accommodated.

 

Further Details

Languages: Polish, English, some French and Italian

Health requirements: General good health

Age limit: Children are welcome on the centre based option.

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, meals, riding,

Not included: Flights, insurance, tips, drinks

 

Travel Information

Transfers are available from Kracow airport.

For Pieniny you should aim to arrive before 5pm on day one to allow time for the transfer, which is c. 2 hours.
For Bieszczady you should aim to arrive before 6pm as you overnight in the city and dinner is c. 7.30pm.

For all rides your departure flight should be later than 1pm.

Airport: Kracow

 

Programmes


Pieniny Stationary Ride



Discover the grassy plains, beech and pine forest of the Pieniny mountains from horseback. There are beautiful villages with wooden buildings where rich local cultures and ancient traditions are still evident and huge numbers of butterflies, birds and flowers. In winter, the area is ideal for snow-lovers and offers the added attraction of skiing and horse drawn sleigh rides. 

Day One:

On arrival at Krakow airport you will be collected and transferred to Jaworki, a small village in the heart of the Pieniny mountains (c. 2hr drive). Jaworki is known for its church dating from the 18th century that has traces of the culture of the old Lemkh inhabitants of the area. 

If you arrive early enough, then along the way you can stop to visit Szczawnia, a picturesque town located along the Grajcarek river between the Radziejowa peak and Male Pieniny mountain range. Szczawnica is a health resort specialising in the treatment of allergic and respiratory conditions. You can visit the Mineral Water Bar where you can taste six different types of mineral water and also walk through the town to admire the architectural style of the spa buildings and villas. The Dworek Goscinny (guest manor) is a magnificently designed art and cultural centre. There are also two beautiful parks - the Dolny (lower) with a botanical garden and the Gorny (upper) with different sculptures.

On arrival at Jaworki you will meet your guide and his horses before a welcome dinner.

Day Two:

After breakfast, saddle the horses and set out for your first ride of c 3 hours duration. Climb up into the hills of Male Pieniny with lots of open spaces and panoramic views of Tatras and surrounding hills. You'll ride along the border with Slovakia, crossing montane meadows where locals still graze their sheep. You should also see Trzy Korony (Three Crowns mountain at 982m) and Sokolica mountain (747m) before returning to the farm for lunch.

In the afternoon, you'll take a minibus to Sromowce Wyzne where you can raft through the gorges of Dunajec on wooden rafts piloted by Flisacy (raft sailors) dressed in traditional costumes. These beautiful river gorges twist through the mountain slopes and you can admire majestic elevations of several hundred metres high dominating both sides of the river. After 2-3 hours you'll end in Szczawnica where your minibus will transfer you back to the farm for dinner. 

NB. In low season (winter) there is no rafting, but the afternoon is free for walking or skiing.

Day Three:

After breakfast set off riding in the direction of the Przechyba Mountain, following the beautiful forests of the Radziejowa mountain range - the most common woodlands in this region are Carpathian beech with the European beech and silver fir. After around 3 hours of riding, stop for a picnic lunch (unless it's raining, in which case you'll return to the farm for lunch). 

In the afternoon you have free time. Your guides recommend that you visit Homole gorge - this deep canyon has steep walls reaching up to 120m high and is very picturesque and popular. The walking path crosses the stream many times on metal bridges and there are seemingly endless stairs, but at the top you are rewarded with panoramic views. There is a cafe with a terrace where you can buy a coffee to take in the views. Return to the village by foot or on the chairlift before dinner at the farm.

Day Four:

Set off riding towards Wysoka mountain, the highest in Pieniny at 1050m. The summit is composed of red limestone and is not accessible on horseback but you'll get great views of the region and rocks of Homole Ravine. After 3 hours of riding you enjoy either a picnic lunch or return to the guesthouse for lunch.

This afternoon you are again free to relax, walk or cycle, or you may prefer to visit Niedzica castle (about 40mins by vehicle). The castle was built in the 1320's and is well preserved, now housing an interesting museum and views across to Lake Czorsztyn and the ruins of Czorsztyn castle across the lake. Legend says that the castle houses a map of Inca treasures which have yet to be found... 

Day Five:

Ride in the direction of Piwniczna village, following the Grajcarek river and traversing fields and meadows with views of Pieniny and Tatras. You'll also see White Water and Black Water Valleys before reaching Pokrywisko which was once a village but abandoned due to Operation Vistula, the 1947 forced resettlement of Ukrainian minorities including Boykos and Lemkos from the south.

Stop for lunch in a small restaurant atop Obidza mountain with beautiful views (access to this restaurant may not be possible in winter).

In the afternoon you can either rest or visit Muzyczna Owczarnia (Musical Sheep Yard) in Jaworki - a special concert hall with a unique atmosphere which hosts several concerts a year. 

Day Six:

A wonderful full-day ride of 4-5 hours beckons as you cross the border of Slovakia and ride though the woods and open spaces with glorious landscapes overlooking the Tatra mountains. There are many opportunities for long canters/gallops across the meadows before stopping for lunch and cooking sausages over the open fire. 

In snowy months this ride is replaced by a shorter 3 hour ride followed by a horse-drawn sleigh ride in the magnificent White Water Reserve.

Final goodbye dinner in the evening.

Day Seven:

After breakfast you are transferred to the airport for your flight. If time allows you can stop in the centre of Krakow for a quick visit.



Accommodation: You stay in a family run guesthouse with your guide and his wife. The rooms are basic but clean and warm with a homely atmosphere.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: You should be comfortable riding in all three paces in the outdoors, including posting to the trot and cantering in a forward seat.
Type of ride: Stationary with trail rides
Total riding time: 7 days / 6 nights / 5 days riding (c. 3 hours most days)
Departure dates: 2020: Arrival day is Saturday.
Arrivals possible any week except: 25-31 January, 1 March-11 July, 19-25 December.
 
Pricing: 2020:

High season (July-October)
£806 per person sharing
Single supplement £86
Non-riders: £655

Low season (November-February)
£730 per person sharing
Single supplement £86
Non-riders: £591

Price includes c. 18 hours of riding in summer or c. 15 hours in winter plus sleigh ride, use of bicycles, Dunajec river raft trip (not in winter), full board accommodation and airport transfers.
Payable locally are additional attractions (entry fees, visits to Niedzica etc), flights and insurance.

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.



Mountains of Bieszczady



Journey deep into the Bieszczady mountains which are rich in flora and fauna - a paradise for those seeking isolation on horseback. Don't be surprised if fox, hare or even deer cross your path.

Day One:

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 Two:

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 Three:

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 Four:

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 Five:

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 Six:

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 Seven:

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 Eight:

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.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 13
Ability description: 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.
Type of ride: Mobile trail
Total riding time: 8 days / 7 nights / 6 days riding
Departure dates: 2020:
6-13 June
18-25 July (ride runs in reverse)
 
Pricing: 2020:

£986 per person sharing

Includes full board accommodation and transfers
Payable locally are Drinks and entrance fees.

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.



Valleys of Bieszczady



Journey through the valleys of the Bieszczady mountains discovering abandoned villages, Orthodox churches and the beautiful wild landscapes of the region.

Day One:

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 Two:

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 Three:

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 Four:

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 Five: 

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 Six:

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

Day Seven:

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 Eight:

After breakfast you are transferred back to Krakow for your flight home (3.5 hour journey).



Accommodation: Basic dormitory style accommodation is provided in farmhouses, foresters lodges and local hostels.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 13
Ability description: 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.
Type of ride: Mobile trail
Total riding time: 8 days / 7 nights / 6 days riding
Departure dates: 2020:
16-23 May, 1-8 August, 22-29 August, 12-19 September, 3-10 October.
 
Pricing: 2020:

£986 per person sharing

All meals and accommodation are included.
Drinks and entrance fees are payable locally.

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.