There is not a single trail across the Carpathians. At some parts the main ridge is obvious (Făgăraș) while in other sections a hiker can choose from different mountain ranges.
Some have already tried to chart Via Carpatica or Carpathian Divide Trail but these plans are materializing slowly and have not been completed. Meanwhile handful of people are walking across the whole range every year.
I planned my trail the way it connected ranges that have place in my memory. I also tried to avoid civilization as much as possible, only once I left the trail to get supplies. It started at Pálava – the westernmost point of the range, where Carpathians collide with much older Hercynian platform. Through Slovakia I followed footsteps of Svetozár Krno, Ľuboš Calpaš and Pavel Mach who traversed the Arc in 1984. Unlike most other hikers, I did not finish in Orșova, but reached the Danube in Coronini walking extra 100 km to the west. As there are Czech settlements in the area, it made the magic of hearing my mother tongue at both ends of the Carpathian journey.
Map of the thru-hike
- the trail in gpx format based on my smartwatch treklog, most of the detours, searches for water etc. are erased, added are 40 km across Parâng I unfortunately missed
- water sources coordinates collected along the trail
- shelters – it is always good to know if there is some dry place across the hill
- comprehensive database of POIs for hiking in Slovakia can be found here (in Slovakian), e.g. campsites, shelters and chalets or water springs (here as of April 2020)
- other points of interest (hiking advice, bear areas, shopping, electricity..)
- planned itinerary of my journey not followed in reality, but some may find it useful
- and of course, see the blog from the journey
Download instructions: based on several feedbacks the download does not work by clicking the link in some browsers (Chrome, Safari). In this case, right-click the link and choose the save-as or download option. Based on your online safety settings you might receive a warning that the file is not secure. The reason is the browser/antivirus cannot see inside the zip files containing gpx. Here is an alternative link to a Google Drive folder.
Pages of (reference to) other hikers who walked across the whole Carpathian mountain range:
- VI-IX 1980 Andrzej Wielocha, Piotr Kurowski, Jerzy Montusiewicz, Zdzisław Pecul, Wiesław Tomaszewski, PL
- VI-VIII 1984 Svetozár Krno, Ľuboš Calpaš & Pavel Mach, SK
- XII 1995-V 1996 + V-IX 2004 József Mályi, H
- 2004 + 2013 Łukasz Supergan, PL
- 2011 Simon Dubois, F (link to his trail)
- VI-IX 2013 Piotr Baranowski, PL
- V-XI 2015 Viktorie Hlaváčková, CZ
- VII-X 2015 Andrei Dumitrescu & Vlad Spiru of the SKV tourist club, RO
- summer 2015 + XII 2017- III 2018 Weronika Łukaszewska & Sławomir Sanocki, PL
- V-IX 2017, Dominik Księski, PL (link to pictures)
- VII-IX 2017 Lina Hallebratt, S (link to her blog)
- 2019 Jean-Marc Souchon, F
- IV-VIII 2019 Michał Kulanek, PL (link to his trail)
- V-VIII 2021 Martin Davidov, CZ
- VI-VIII 2021 Ewa Chwalko, PL
I must note that “walk across Carpathians” can mean different things depending on the trail and philosophy you choose so I would be very cautious making any comparisons. Weather plays significant role while on the hike. Starting and finishing points differ. Some walk highest peaks only, some also walk valleys or lower ridges. Some avoid civilization, some pay for accommodation in mountain chalets and villages or make detours to cities. Some have support teams, some depend on local resources. Some walk fast, some slow. Some collect thousands of Euros for their journey, some set their survival limit to 1€ a day. Some sell their experience, some keep it for themselves; I decided to make these webpages to inspire others to fall in love with the Carpathians.
I am grateful to my friend Horaţiu Popa – a keen tourist from Cluj for tips regarding Northern Romania, updates on snow conditions in Făgăraș and help with the support parcel. Joachim Bungert for his superb Quo Vadis software I used for planning and processing maps, POIs and the final version of the trail.