Mountains

Karkonose

(Poland/Czech Rep.)

Time: 3 days in total

Start Point: PKS Karpacz (Bus station), Konstytucji 3-maja 48, Karpacz

 

Giant mountains as they're apparently called in English (Krkonoše - Czech) and (Karkonosze - Polish) are a beautiful mountain range on the Polish/Czech border in the South-West part of Poland / North part of the Czech Republic. They're not that popular (at least not as popular as High Tatras) and not as overcrowded as High Tatras because they're lower and have less appeal to "sunday tourists" as we call people who go into the mountains with little or next to no preparation (and they often walk in the mountains in sport shoes...

We visited Giant Mountains in late June and it was quite quiet (you do get a lot of people in the area of Sniezka - the highest peak of Giant Mountains, especially in the summer or on the weekends). Because it was already summer, the temperatures were quite high (probably around 15-20 degrees but higher in the mountains it was colder and the nights were very cold - more on that later).

How do I get there?

You can fly to Wroclaw airport in Poland or to Prague in Czech Republic. Wroclaw is the closest and you can take a train (which we did) from Wroclaw to Jelenia Gora.

Here's the map showing you the location and the route from Wroclaw to Jelenia Gora leading into the mountains (black line represents the railway:

Here's the link where you can see departures of the trains (train from Wroclaw to Jelenia Gora takes about 2hours):

Wroclaw -> Jelenia Gora trains.

At the time of writing (April 2016) the ticket costs PLN23 one-way (that's about £4 or Euro5).

That's us, me and my long-time friend Marcin, on the train:

We started on the eastern end of the Giant (Karkonosze) mountains, starting from Karpacz - a lovely small town..

To get to Karpacz you take a bus from Jelenia Gora, like this one (we managed to get on the last bus leaving Jelenia Gora at 22:10):

The route

As I mentioned, we started in Karpacz. From Karpacz we took the red route towards the mountain hut Nad Lomniczka where we were going to stay overnight. It's normally about 2h 30min route but as we arrived very late and by the time we found the route it was even later, we did the route in probably 2 hours or so. By the way, it was the middle of the night, we got to the hut around 2am...

We stayed on the floor in the dining area (very common in Polish mountains and very cheap - it cost us PLN10 each (about £2 or Euro3)).

That's the image of where we stayed:

In the early morning we left. Interesting enough, we were the last ones to arrive (around 2am) and we were the first ones to leave in the morning (around 7am). As you can see from the image above everyone was still sleeping as we were leaving.

We quickly went using the red route to the main range of the mountains and we climbed Sniezka - the highest peak of the Great (Karkonosze) mountains and the highest peak in Sudety mountains range - 1602m.

On the top of Sniezka, we had our breakfast ;-)

That's me on the top of Sniezka below:

And that's Sniezka from the main range of the mountains, as seen from the west:

That's also the route we took. Once we climbed the peak of Sniezka, we went along the main range of the mountains following the blue, then red and yellow route. This lead us to Spindleruv Mlyn, a small town just south of the main range of the Great (Karkonosze) mountains.

The route from Sniezka to Spindleruv Mlyn takes about 3 hours. So by the time we got to Spindleruv Mlyn, we still had plenty of time, we arrived at the town around 1pm.

We spent a little bit of time in Spindleruv Mlyn, had a rest, and moved on moving more west.

This is the view of the route leading into Spindleruv Mlyn from east, very beautiful:

Leaving Spindleruv Mlyn, we were slowly moving towards our destination for the day, our camping place. What we found for the night was a very unusual place...

This is one of these beauties of travelling in a companionship with a friend who, like yourself, is very open and doesn't mind sleeping in very unusual places and unusual conditions. Our "camping" for the night appeared to be a beautiful spot in the middle of nowhere, at the bus stop....

Here it is:

The night was so cold that it felt almost like being in Himalayas (not really but very cold). The temperature dropped to about 0 degrees and we were very cold. Actually, in all the years I have been climbing the mountains, I have never been so cold. We were sleeping in our sleeping bags wearing jackets. If we knew it was going to be so cold, I would take my 3 season sleeping bad instead of the summer one (that's what I take nowadays).

The image above was taken in the morning, at 6:30am. That's when we packed and started our last day's route, which would lead us back into Poland (we spent most of the time so far on the Czech side).

Thanks to both countries being now in the EU we moved from the Czech side to the Polish side without problems and we moved along the main range of Karkonosze mountains (Great mountains) close to a beautiful spot called Sniezne Kotly (Snowy Pits).

And from these we took slowly down to catch a train home.

This is one of the images I took on the last day, of Sniezne Kotly (Snowy Pits) :