Hiking from hut to hut in Polish Tatra mountains can be an unforgettable experience! But, to be able to truly enjoy the multi day hike in Tatra you have to prepare well. There are several aspects to consider when planning a hut to hut hike in Poland’s highest mountains, but don’t worry, we are covering them all in this article!
Continue reading to find out hot to plan a perfect hut to hut hike in Tatra mountains Poland, what to expect in the huts (we included detailed information about all 7 mountain huts!) and last but not least, check out the example 6 day hike in Tatra!
ALL YOU NEED TO CONSIDER BEFORE GOING FOR A MULTI DAY, HUT TO HUT HIKE IN TATRA MOUNTAINS
When planning a hut to hut hike in Tatra, you need to consider a couple of points. Some are pretty obvious, but some are known only to seasoned Tatra walkers, we’re sharing them below.
This one doesn’t come as a surprise! You have to train before going for a multi day hike in Tatra as your physical shape will greatly influence the experience (and safety). You will be walking longish routes in mountainous terrain, probably with a rucksack heavier than a day pack and there will be considerable ascents and descent every day.
ACCOMMODATION AND WILD CAMPING
Another important point to keep in mind is: wild camping is forbidden in Tatra National Park! Hence staying overnight in mountain huts is the only option if you’re looking to hike continuously for more than one day. Booking the huts is advance is essential in summer, and highly recommended in other seasons.
BEST SEASON FOR HUT TO HUT HIKING IN TATRA MOUNTAINS
The most important decision to make when planing to spend several days hiking in Tatra is picking the right season. There is no such thing as good or bad season for multi day hikes in Tatra, but some times of the year require extra skills or expertise.
So, first you have to decide when you want to hike. Summer is the most obvious choice, because of warm weather and long days. But at the same time, summer is a period when you MUST book the mountain huts in advance, actually months in advance! On top of that, the trails are going to be very busy; some locations will be even busier that you probably anticipated!
Taking account of the above, we’ll try to convince you to hike in spring (late May, June) or autumn (from September till early November). During these months Tatra’s trails are noticeably quieter, hence the huts are quieter as well. You still may need to book them in advance (especially for weekends), but it’s possible to do only days in advance, without committing half a year earlier. We always struggle with such commitments therefore we are advocating for skipping hut to hut hiking during summer months.
ALL ABOUT MOUNTAIN HUTS IN TATRA MOUNTAINS, POLAND
There are 7 mountain huts in Tatra National Park. The huts may vary in size and capacity, but they all have good facilities and serve good, hearty food from early morning till evening. However, note that out of season operating hours are usually different from summer hours meaning: the kitchen will be open later and closed earlier. In summer you can expect the huts’ kitchen to operate from 7am till 9pm, but winter working hours are roughly 9am to 5-6pm.
Let’s have a closer look at mountain huts in Tatra National Park.
Dolina Chocholowska mountain hut
Easily accessible and the biggest mountain hut in the national park; located in Tatra’s longest valley. It provides 121 beds in rooms for 2 for some privacy, or dorms for 4,6,8 and 14.
Current prices and booking information can be found HERE (website in Polish only)
Easy access by foot or by bike makes it’s a popular destination for day trippers; it’s not uncommon the tourists having a beer in a hut till very late etc, so bear in mind that this hut can be noisy.
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org, +48 660 144 510
Hala Ornak mountain hut
Hala Ornak mountain hut is located at the very end of Dolina Koscieliska (Koscieliska Valley) and is rather small. But this one is most definitely worth visiting, as it serves the best food, in our humble opinion. Remember to try szarlotka, traditional apple pie; spoil yourself with the ‘deluxe’ version with fresh fruit and cream or custard. It’s to die for!
Similarly to Dolina Chocholowska, this beautiful hut is easily accessible and it tends to be very busy throughout the day.
Accommodation-wise, it offers 48 beds in double rooms, and dorms for 3,4,6 and 8 people with bunk-beds.
Current prices and booking information can be found HERE. Unfortunately the website is only in Polish, but it’s quite easy to work out the prices.
Contact details: email@example.com, +48 18 20 705 20
Hala Kondratowa mountain hut
This boutique mountain hut is located at the foot of iconic Giewont, the symbol of Zakopane and Tatra mountains. It offers accommodation for up to 20 people, in rooms for 6 and 8.
Contact details: +48 18-2019114
Schronisko Murowaniec (Murowaniec mountain hut)
Its fantastic location and easy access to many hiking trails makes Schronisko Murowaniec a very desirable accommodation, so you will find that its prices tend to be higher than in other huts. Also the hut is fully booked most of the year, therefore you’ll have to book the bed well in advance.
Schronisko Murowaniec is a modern establishment which can be booked online; they also take card payments – which still isn’t really a standard in Tatra. The hut provides 116 beds, in dorms for 2,3,4,5,6,8,10, and 12.
Prices and online booking form can be found HERE; the website is in Polish only.
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org, +48 18 20 12 633
Mountain hut at Dolina Pieciu Stawow Polskich
Mountain hut at Dolina Pieciu Stawow Polskich is the highest located hut; one of the two built in High Tatra in Poland. The location is second to none, hence it’s one of the most difficult to book a bed. The hut provides 67 beds in double rooms, or dorms for 4,7,8 and 10.
The hut is ran by two sisters, who also founded 5 plus Mountain Academy; they offer various courses held in the valley and provide guidance for day hikes in the rocky mountains around. Learn more about it HERE.
Mountain hut prices and booking information can be found HERE. Website in Polish and English!
Contact details: email@example.com, +48 781 055 555
Morskie Oko mountain hut
We have said that Dolina Pieciu Stawow Polskich hut is a busy place, so we need to add that Morskie Oko hut is extremely busy in summer months! Located in most beautiful surroundings, and easily accessible by a 9 km hike on tarmac road it attracts thousands of people daily! Nope, we’re not exaggerating! Everyone wants to visit nearby Morskie Oko lake, also this hut is en-route to Rysy, the highest peak in Poland. So now you can imagine how busy this mountain hut gets!
Last time we visited the hut in November and it was magical and relatively quiet. Therefore choosing the right season for visiting the hut is crucial – you can either enjoy the tranquillity of its remote location, or be a part of thousand people strong crowd; it’s your call!
Establishment at Morskie Oko consist of two huts – ‘the new’ and ‘the old’. The New (which anyway is over 100 years old) provides 36 beds, in dorms for 3,4,5 and 6. The Old hut offers rooms for 13, 14 and 16 – all together 43 beds. Check-in for both huts is in the New building.
Prices and booking information can be found HERE. Website in Polish and English!
Contact details: +48 602-260-757
Mountain hut at Dolina Roztoki
This is the least popular hut, however the carer takes a great pride in ensuring the hut is cosy and provides a real mountain atmosphere. The hut provides 75 beds in double rooms and dorms for 3,4,5,6,8, and 9.
Prices and booking information can be found HERE. Website in Polish only.
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org, +48 600 443 733
Mountain huts in Tatra mountains, afterwords
We thought that some of you may appreciate to know what kind of experience to expect at mountain huts in Tatra mountains, right?
The huts are meant for hikers, and are more of hostel standard rather than a hotel. Online we have seen some comments of people who expected a hotel-like standard and ended up disappointed. You should keep in mind that the huts are to provide a relatively basic, but comfortable and safe overnight stay. The huts are clean and well taken care of, they have a lot of charm and the food is good, but after all they are hikers accommodation.
Some huts allow visitors to sleep on the floor (for a fee), in case all beds are taken. Other huts won’t accommodate late comers, which forces hikers to return to Zakopane in the darkness, and can possibly spoil your holiday. Therefore, remember to plan ahead!
The huts are open all year round!
Every hut sells hearty homemade food, hot and cold drinks, including alcohol. You can bring your own food and consume it in the restaurant/canteen, you can also get boiling water for free.
And last, but not least, remember to carry cash! Only Murowaniec and Dolina Pieciu Stawow Polskich huts accept card payments!
MAP OF TATRA NATIONAL PARK
Another important point is – please get a map of Tatra National Park as soon as you arrive to Zakopane. The maps are not expensive, but are essential for hiking. Despite the fact that paths are fantastically marked and it’s really difficult to get lost, it is crucial to have a map should you need to change your planned route.
However, at preparation stage this interactive hiking map may come very handy! It greatly helps with planning the route; you can measure distances, total ascents and timescales. Sadly, his map WORKS ONLINE ONLY!
How to use this online map: ‘Planuj’ means ‘plan’. Use this tab to mark your starting point and ending points on the map (by typing the name or clicking the white dots on the map)
Green flag – START (Poczatek trasy), orange flag – FINISH (Koniec trasy). If you need to mark a specific point you want to visit along the way, just click it and choose ‘Idz przez’ (‘go thru’, white flag will appear). Hope this helps you with planning the route!
HUT TO HUT HIKE IN TATRA MOUNTAINS, POLAND
If you need a bit of help with planning your hut to hut hike in Tatra mountains, check out below itinerary!
After arriving to Zakopane, take a mini-bus to Dolina Chocholowska / Witow. Walk 7.5 km along the valley to the mountain hut. Total ascent is 278 metres, time approx 2 hours 15 mins.
Make sure to visit a small wooden church, just before the hut. We believe that the hut will give you a good feel about what you can expect while staying in the hikers accommodation in Tatra.
Overnight stay: Dolina Chocholowska mountain hut.
Route: from Dolina Chocholowska hut to Hala Ornak mountain hut. Distance: 15.2 km, total ascent 1325 metres, time approx 8 hours.
This day is going to be rather tough, but very rewarding in terms of views to both Polish and Slovak mountains. Some route variations are possible, but we’re focusing on the shortest one.
From the hut in Dolina Chocholowska take RED trail to Trzydniowianski Wierch (1765 masl). It is a constant climb for over 2.5 hours, height gained is just shy of 700 meters. Trzydniowianski Wierch is your first mountain of the day. From there GREEN trail takes you to Konczysty Wierch (2002 masl) and then final big climb to Starorobocianski Wierch. At 2176 masl, this peak is the highest of the day and it won’t disappoint you with views!
From Starorobocianski Wierch you’ll be mostly descending, phew!
Overnight stay: Hala Ornak mountain hut.
Tip: If you feel energetic enough, you can take a short walk to the nearby pond, Smerczynski Staw (about 1.3 km one way from Hala Ornak).
Route: from Hala Ornak mountain hut to Hala Kondratowa hut. Distance: 12 km, total ascent 1300 metres, approx time 6.30 hours
This day will provide classic and yet amazingly beautiful hiking experience. You will walk along Czerwone Wierchy and optionally can conquer Giewont along the way. The hike will also be shorter and easier than day 2, so you can rest in beautiful surroundings of Hala Kondratowa at the end of the day.
From Hala Ornak hut take GREEN trail. This is one of our favourite trails – very quiet path with fantastic views over Dolina Tomanowa. It is a rather long climb to the top of the ridge, but the views will keep you distracted. After approximately 3 hours of climbing, you will reach Chuda Przelaczka – yet another point with beautiful views! Only a short walk further is Ciemniak (2096 masl) – first peak of Czerwone Wierchy ridge. The hike will then become a gentle ridge walk over 3 peaks: Krzesanica (2122 masl), Malolaczniak (2096 masl) and Kopa Kondracka (2005 masl).
From the last top descent to the hut ‘Schronisko na Hali Kondratowej’, your accommodation. First, take YELLOW trail down to Kondracka Przelecz and then change to BLUE, directly to the hut. Optionally, at Kondracka Przelecz you can opt for a hike up to Giewont mountain. This will add about 1.5 hours to your hike.
Just bear in mind that Giewont is extremely popular and can be crowded, especially at midday. That potentially could add even more time to your hike.
Overnight stay: Hala Kondratowa mountain hut.
Route: from Hala Kondratowa mountain hut to Schronisko Murowaniec. Distance: 8.6 km, total ascent 877 metres, approx. time 5 hours
This is a short and relatively easy day, only 5 hours of hiking. Therefore you can either take it easy, or after checking-in at Murowaniec hut you may wish to conquer Koscielec – one of the finest mountains in Tatra mountains.
The biggest challenge of the day will be the climb back to the Czerwone Wierchy ridge, within first 2.5 km you have to re-gain over 500 meters, this takes approximately 90 minutes. Please keep in mind, that you do not need to use the same path as previous day. Instead, take a GREEN trail directly to Przelecz pod Kopa Kondracka. Once on the ridge, follow the RED trail to Kasprowy Wierch.
From Kasprowy Wierch take YELLOW trail all the way down to Schronisko Murowaniec.
Overnight stay: Murowaniec mountain hut
Route: from Schronisko Murowaniec to Dolina Pieciu Stawow Polskich mountain hut. Distance 8 km, total ascent 781 metres, approx time 4.30 hours
When you look at the map you’ll notice many paths running from Murowaniec hut towards Dolina Pieciu Stawow Polskich mountain hut. They greatly vary in length and difficulty level.
We highly discourage you from planning to climb Kozi Wierch via Kozia Przelecz (YELLOW trail), as this is one of the most difficult trails in Polish Tatra mountains.
The route we’re recommending will give you some experience of rocky terrain, with chains fitted for your security. At the same time the route won’t be too difficult even if you carry a big backpack.
The route takes you thru Zawrat saddle and down to hut in Dolina Pieciu Stawow Polskich.
Overnight stay: Dolina Pieciu Stawow Polskich hut
Route: from Dolina Pieciu Stawow mountain hut, back to Zakopane via Dolina Roztoki. Distance 8.5 km, total descent 750 metres, approx time circa 3 hours
Descent from Dolina Pieciu Stawow Polskich hut is rather long, but the valley itself is nice and varied. If you choose GREEN trail, you’ll pass Siklawica, the highest waterfall in Polish Tatra and enjoy walking in a beautiful forest along the Roztoka river. Soon you’ll come to another waterfall – Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza.
From Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza follow the tarmac road to Palenica Bialczanska, where you can get a mini-bus back to Zakopane.
If you would rather spend 7 days in Tatra mountains you could extend the hike and instead descending from Dolina Pieciu Stawow Polskich hut to Palenica Bialczanska, continue through Szpiglasowa Przelecz to Morskie Oko mountain hut. Then, on day 7 return to Palenica Bialczanska and Zakopane.
If you feel you can manage hiking more kilometres on day 2 you could add another 2 peaks to the itinerary: Wolowiec and Jarzabczy Wierch. Keep in mind that additional 2 peaks mean extra 10 km and approximately 5.5 hours of walking.
If the sound of climbing Zawrat mountain pass (day 5) is not appealing to you, you could hike up via Krzyzne mountain and then descent to Dolina Pieciu Stawow Polskich.
If you’d like to climb some of the mountains in Tatra with just a light backpack, book some extra nights in the huts. Some of the mountains to consider are Koscielec or Swinica.
If you’re after an ultimate Tatra adventure, why not stay a couple of nights at Morskie Oko hut and climb Rysy (the highest peak in Poland) or Przelecz pod Chlopkiem, famous for being challenging but incredibly rewarding!
ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR HIKING FROM HUT TO HUT IN TATRA MOUNTAINS
A few more tips which will help you to improve experience in Polish Tatra mountains:
- Always check current weather conditions and forecast before heading out; online weather forecast for Kasprowy Wierch, you can also ask about weather and current conditions (snow cover, ice etc) at the huts.
- Always be prepared for all kinds of weather and ensure to have these when heading out: warm, windproof and waterproof clothing, hat, gloves, sun cream. If you travel in May or October be prepared for snow (make sure to have micro spikes and walking poles, or ice axe)
- Check whether the trails are open. Recently a couple of trails were closed due to active rockfall or security features maintenance. Ensure to check your planned route with the staff at the hut.
- Do you have direct emergency number for Tatrzanskie Ochotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe (mountain rescue team)?? Save this phone number in your mobile today: 985 !!!
- Ensure to always carry a hiking map of Tatra National Park. A map is essential should you need to change your route!
- Have a first aid kit with you.
- Learn some basic phrases in Polish; locals always appreciate your attempts in Polish, even if your pronunciation isn’t perfect!
- Never walk off the trail in the national park (it’s actually forbidden by law) and take all your litter with you (you can dispose of it at the huts)!
Hut to hut hiking in Tatra is suitable for someone with some general mountain hiking experience, but not necessary in extreme conditions. The 6 day route we shared above has many options for entry or early exit, if needed. There is always a safe place for you to stay at the end of each day and you will meet many other walkers along the way, if you need help. Moreover, the route described above doesn’t require any technical skills (apart from walking up to Zawrat pass, which involves scrambling).
Stay safe and enjoy your hike!
If you have any questions or need some more information about hiking from hut to hut in Tatra mountains, feel free to drop us a line! We’re happy to help!