gypsy villages, rusyn culture and ancient legends
Košice – Prešov – Uzhgorod – Carpathian National Park – Baia Mare
This tour is offered on a regular basis from May through September. Let us know your desired departure month by clicking on the learn-more button below: we will match your preferences with the next relevant scheduled group departure. If you are still unsure about your desired departure date, then simply tell us a period or a season of the year and we will provide you a range of scheduled group departures: just pick up yours!
Our scheduled group departures don't suit your plans? If you are travelling with more than 4 friends, you can set your own departure date: we will arrange a bespoke tour just for you for the same price per person advertised below. If you are travelling solo or with less than four companions, we will then organise a slightly more expensive tailored tour according to your time schedule and specific geographical preferences.
Day 1 - Košice
In the morning you will meet your tour guide in the lobby of the designated hotel (exact hotel address and meeting time will be communicated well in advance per email; private airport pickup and shuttle service available for a small additional fee).
Introductory briefing about the region and the route of this tour.
Socialist and gypsy tour around Košice on a retro Škoda from the 70s: gargantuan apartment blocks, Soviet memorials, lively markets, nostalgic atmospheres and Romany hoods.
Lunch, dinner and overnight in Košice.
Day 2/3 - Slovak Carpathians
From Košice we'll move east towards the Carpathian Mountains and enter the magical country of Ruthenia, a historical region of Eastern Europe homeland to both the secretive Rusyns and the often despised and discriminated Romany.
Rusyns, also known as Ruthenes or Rusnaks, are a little known ethnic group who speak an East Slavic language known as Rusyn (morphologically related to Russian) and inhabit the Carpathian Highlands.
The Romany people, colloquially known as Gypsies or Roma, are a traditionally itinerant ethnic group living mostly in Europe and the Middle-East and originating from the northern Indian Subcontinent (Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Sindh).
During our stay in the region we will visit ancient castle ruins, picturesque mountain hamlets, pristine natural reserves, nailless wooden churches and traditional countryside taverns as well as the Andy Warhol Museum in Medzilaborce (the father of the American pop art had Slovak-Rusyn origins) and several Romany osadas (shantytown settlements) scattered across the dark woods of Eastern Slovakia.
Lunches, dinners and overnights in a traditional Slovak-Carpathian homestay.
Day 4/5 - Ukrainian Zakarpattia
We'll leave Slovakia and enter Carpathian Ukraine, an isolated region of bucolic landscapes and ancient traditions.
Carpatho-Ukraine was an autonomous region within Czechoslovakia and in the late 30s and was even declared an independent republic by the fascist priest Avgustyn Voloshyn on March 15, 1939; Voloshyn named himself the president and asked Adolf Hitler to support him; Hitler did not reply and let Hungary annex the territory, which remained under Hungarian control until the end of World War II, when it was ceded to the mighty Soviet Union.
In the Ukrainian Zakrapattia we will enjoy long walks in the woods, easy-to-medium hikes in the hills, cultural tours around atmospheric Rusyn and Ukrainian settlements and pilgrimages to ancient monasteries hidden deep in the thick forests covering the gentle slopes of the Carpathian Mountains.
Lunches, dinners and overnights in a traditional Ukrainian-Carpathian guesthouse.
Day 6/7 - Romanian Maramures
From Ukraine we will head south and enter Northern Romania and precisely the fairy-tale region of Maramures, known for its pastoral and agricultural traditions, largely unscathed by the industrialisation campaign that had been carried on during the communist years of Ceausescu.
Maramures is also famous for its rich and diverse cultural sceneries resulting from the harmonic marriage between local Dacian heritage, Slavic traditions, Romany flavours and Austro-Hungarian influences.
Travelling around secluded Maramures, we will pass through untouched landscapes, traditional hamlets and medieval cities alike while indulging into the many culinary wonders of this paradisiac patch of Eastern European land.
Lunches, dinners and overnights in a traditional Romanian homestay.
DAY 8 - Flight back home or transfer to further destinations
After enjoying a last Ruthenian-style breakfast together we'll take care of your transfer to the airport/train station of choice.
For those flying out: transfer to any of the following transportation hubs in Romania: Cluj Napoca International Airport, Oradea International Airport, Satu Mare International Airport.
For those wishing to take the train/bus to reach further destinations: transfer to the central train/bus station.
End of the tour.
3 to 9 participants: 1190 € per person
The price includes: double/twin room accommodation (breakfast included; single supplement: 25 euro/night), private transport in the region (car or minivan), entrance fees to the attractions listed in the itinerary, guiding and translation service.
The price does not include: international flights and any other flight not explicitly included in the tour price and itinerary, meals, drinks and tips, transport to and from the airport of arrival/departure (35 euros/ride), visas if required, entrance fees to attractions not listed in the itinerary, insurance.
The route of this tour has been carefully designed after several research trips in the region. It is, however, always possible to slightly modify the itinerary according to the needs and the suggestions of the participants. Our motto is flexibility.
Please note: It’s advisable to arrive in Košice one day before the actual tour begins. You should notice, however, that you’ll have to take care of your accommodation for any day and night preceding the actual start date of the tour. If your flight lands on the same day as the tour begins and you prefer to rest a bit before going out sightseeing, you will then meet your tour guide and the rest of the group at the designated hotel in the late afternoon.
Airport transfer/pickup in Košice and Cluj is available for just 35 euros per ride.