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Folk Art in Poland and Slovakia (9 days)
Day 1. Kraków
Arrival in Kraków. A stroll through the old town and welcome dinner with music & dance performance by the Kraków folklore ensemble.
Day 2. Kraków
Sightseeing tour of the Old Town including visit to the St Mary’s church, the medieval cloth halls at the heart of the main square and the Wawel Hill with Castle and Royal Cathedral. Lunch. Next visit the ethnographical museum presenting the rich collection of Polish folk art, traditional Polish costumes, folk paintings and craft. The rest of the day at leisure. Dinner at hotel.
Day 3. Kraków – Wieliczka – Niepołomice – Kraków (40 km)
An excursion to the nearby salt mine in Wieliczka with the underground world of chambers, corridors, chapels and statues carved in salt by generations of miners – a unique tourist attraction in the world. Next drive to nearby town Niepolomice and lunch in the Renaissance castle, a former summer residence of Polish kings. Then visit the Chamber of Niepołomice Region and watch baking of bread and cakes in an old, traditional oven. Coffee break and tasting the cakes. Continue to Niepołomice forest for the relaxing horse-drawn carriage ride ended with camp fire. Dinner at hotel in Kraków.
Day 4. Kraków – Sromowce – Zakopane (150 km)
Departure for Zakopane. Stop at Debno and visit the XVth century church, admire the unique interior with the brilliant polychromy and wooden carving . Continue to Sromowce Nizne for the 10 km long raft trip on Dunajec river. First lunch and then….the smoothly going wooden rafts led by highlanders, give you a chance to admire the scenic surroundings of Pieniny Mountains with limestone rocks and forests. Arrival in Zakopane in the late afternoon. Check in at hotel and sightseeing tour of the town, including its typical wooden architecture. Dinner at hotel.
Day 5. Zakopane
After breakfast, visit the Tatra museum and then visit the Arts High School. The students will present the different techniques of folk handicraft, such as painting on glass or sculpturing in wood. Lunch at regional restaurant with regional dishes. Free time. In the evening picnic by camp fire with an entertainment of highlanders’ folklore ensemble. Dance, music and tasting traditional highlanders’ specialities.
Day 6. Zakopane – Chochołow – Besenova (180 km)
Deaprture for Slovakia. En route visit the charming, small village Chocholow, a natural open-air ethnographical museum with a unique wooden architecture. Crossing the border with Slovakia. Drive through the picturesque mountain landscape to the “Orava Village Skansen” a spacious open-air ethnographical museum hidden deep in the forest. Lunch and visit the Skansen. You can see a village with cottages, church, cemetery and fire-tour. Some of the buildings are genuine, some have been reconstructed. Arrival in Besenova, a famous SPA resort with large thermal bath facilities in the region of Liptowska Mara (the Liptow Sea). Check in at hotel and dinner with the slovak specialities.
Day 7. Besenova – Spania Dolina – Vlkolinec – Besenova (140 km)
On this day we visit two charming and famous villages. First Spania Dolina, in the past famous for copper mining, now this quiet small settlement (120 inhabitants) is known for traditional bobbin lace-works. Walk through the village and presentation of the lace making. Then short drive and visit Vlkolinec, a picturesque village located on the mountain with splendid panorama on the valley. The village is inhabited by 20 (!) people – two kids included. Among the buildings you can find real architectural jewels, such as the wooden bell tower, or a historic small church. The nearby stream is still the only source of drinking water for inhabitants. The village is placed on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List. Lunch with Slovak folklore entertainment. Back in Besenova and time for leisure and hot water healing treatments. Dinner at hotel.
Day 8. Besenova – Oravski Podzamok – Kraków (190 km)
Departure for Krakow. Stop at Oravski Podzamok and see a mysterious castle situated on a high cliff, which featured once for the Herzog’s film “Nosferatu Vampire”. Guided visit of the castle. Lunch en route. Return to Kraków in the afternoon. Time for shopping. Farewell dinner.
Transfer to the airport for the return flight.