Total tour distance: 173 miles
Daily tour distance: 22 miles
Difficulty: 50 / 100
Slovakia – the Czech Republic’s poorer partner in the days of Czechoslovakia - came out of the Velvet Revolution, quiet and mysterious. She removed the Eastern bloc uniform to reveal a refreshingly sincere, kind place, so far unencumbered by many trappings of the Western World.
You will begin in Hungary, just outside Budapest. After visiting Esztergom’s massive cathedral, the historic seat of the Hungarian church, you will cross the Danube River and enter Slovakia, stopping at Banska Stiavnica to fathom its legacy of mining and minting. You will visit Kremnica, with its castle and seven peaks, and the village of Vlkolinec to see the largest undisturbed collection of traditional architecture in Slovakia.
Climb from there into the thrilling terrain of the Low Tatras, before an unforgettable descent to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, where the Stations of the Cross end at an imposing Bernardine monastery. The final stop before Krakow is the awe-inspiring salt mine at Wieliczka, where an intricately sculptured salt cathedral attests to generations of workers who toiled and worshipped underground. This is a land where folk traditions have survived foreign attempts at dominance, to which a plethora of castles and watchtowers pay testament, but whose people have maintained their welcoming spirit!
We recommend that you consider staying an extra day in Krakow if you want to visit Auschwitz.