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The Ultimate Hiking Guide to Ukraine's Carpathians
Are you looking to go hiking in Ukraine? If so, there is no better place to hike than in Yaremche, a town in the middle of stunning Ukraine's Carpathian Mountains.
When I was traveling in Ukraine, I didn't find any information at all about hiking in Ukraine's Carpathians so I decided to set out on my own, choosing Yaremche as a base, and went off and hiked some of the trails around Yaremche.
I'm here to report that I may have found the best base for you to go hiking in Ukraine's Carpathians. Yaremche is located right in the middle of the Carpathian mountains South West of Lviv.
It is easily reachable by train from Lviv and has an amazing trail with an epic panoramic view that you can walk to from the town as well as close proximity to Hoverla (2,061m), the highest mountain in Ukraine that you can climb.
Yaremche may be the best hiking town in Ukraine's Carpathians and so here is the ultimate hiking guide to Yaremche in the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine that will answer all the burning questions you have about hiking in the Ukrainian Carpathian mountains.Table of Contents
- Ukraine's Carpathians Hiking Trails Map
- Ukraine Travel Video
- When to Visit the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine
- Where to Base to Hike the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine
- Where to Stay in Yaremche
- How to Get to Yaremche
- How to Get Around Yaremche and the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine
- How to Get to Mt. Hoverla from Yaremche
- How Many Days to Spend in Yaremche and the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine
- How Much Money Do I Need for Yaremche
- Is it Safe in Yaremche?
- Internet in Yaremche
- Travel Insurance
- Things to Prepare before Hiking the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine
- Recommended Hiking Trails for the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine
- Where to Eat and Drink in Yaremche
- Other Things to Do in Yaremche
- Further Reading for Ukraine
Ukraine's Carpathians Hiking Trails Map
Ukraine Travel Video
When to Visit the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine
If you are interested in summiting Mt. Hoverla, the highest mountain in Ukraine, the trail opens from May - September so anywhere between this period is the best time to visit Yaremche in the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine.
Due to its higher altitude, the weather can be quite cool even in the summer. You should be able to hike in shorts and t-shirts around Yaremche in the summer months of June - August just fine but you will need a windproof and insulating jackets for Hoverla even within the hottest time of the year as the temperature hovers around 6°C - 17°C and goes down to -2°C during shoulder seasons.
Where to Base to Hike the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine
Within the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine, many people have suggested many places to base yourself out of such as Ivano-Frankivsk or Kolomyya but from my personal experience, none of these cities are actually in the mountains and that is not the place you want to base yourself out off if you are planning to hike in the Carpathian Mountains.
The best base to go hiking in the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine is Yaremche, a town further South from Ivano-Frankivsk and Kolomyya. Yaremche is surrounded by mountains making it a great place to base yourself in the Carpathian mountains. There is even an epic day hike you can do straight from the city in Yaremche.
Local tour companies also run transfer services to many of the mountains in the region so you can easily get information on hiking trails here and start hiking. The town is also easily accessible from Lviv with a 5-hours direct train.
Yaremche used to be a remote sleepy town that is not worth staying back in the days but now, as of 2019, the city has developed so much that it is now the best place to use as a base of exploration in the Carpathian mountains.
They now have cheap hostels as well as expensive resorts, good restaurants and transporation option. If you are looking for a base to go hiking in Ukraine's Carpathians, Yaremche is the place to be.
Where to Stay in Yaremche
Budget - Hostel Mansarda - 10 USD/Night (Dorm) - Well located just behind Yaremche train station. Very clean and cozy.
Mid-Range - Girske Povitria 2 - 28 USD / Night (Deluxe Double Room without Balcony)
How to Get to Yaremche
In order to get to Yaremche, first and foremost, you will have to get yourself to Ukraine and there are 2 major cities you can fly into, Kyiv and Lviv.
Lviv is much closer to the Carpathian Mountains so I would recommend you fly there. Unfortunately, it is not a big hub and if you are traveling from outside of Europe, you will likely have to go through Kyiv.
After you get to Kyiv, there are quite a few overnight trains and buses that go directly to Yaremche which should take around 10 hours (buses) to 16 hours (trains) that you can take. For the train and bus schedule, you can check them at Tickets.ua. If you can't find Yaremche, try copying and pasting Яремче into the search bar and Iaremche should show up which is the same as Yaremche.
If you are already in Lviv, there are 3 direct trains that you can take. I took the one that leaves at 06:35 and arrives at 11:01. The journey took 4.5 hours and cost around 150 UAH.
You can book your trains online through their official website here: Book Ukraine Train Online or through Tickets.ua. You can simply pay with your credit card and you will receive an email with a QR code and all you have to do is show it to the ticket master when you are on the train.
How to Get Around Yaremche and the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine
One of the reasons why Yaremche is such a good base for hiking in the Carpathians is that the town sits right in the middle of a valley and so you are within walking distance to many mountains such as Mt. Makovytsia and only 30 minutes car ride away from Hoverla, the highest mountain in Ukraine.
Yaremche is a small town and so most of the attractions and things to do are within walking distances. For places further away like Bukovel and Mt. Hoverla, you will either have to take a bus or a shared transfer service which can be booked in Yaremche.
For more information on local tour companies and what day trips they are operating, you can check out Yaremche Official portal. Unfortunately, they are all in Russian or Ukrainian but you can use Google Translate to translate to English and get some ideas on what day trips they offer.
How to Get to Mt. Hoverla from Yaremche
To get to Mt. Hoverla from Yaremche, you will have to rely on a shared minivan operated by local tour companies that take day-trippers to the trailhead every day.
When you arrive, you will have no trouble finding these local tour companies as you will be bombarded with people giving you brochures of different local tour companies offering similar trips at the same local rate (very cheap). They are all pretty much the same to be honest so you can pick whichever.
You can book a day trip from one of these people under an umbrella that is everywhere along Yaremche's main street, pay them and show up at the right time the next day.
The day trip includes 2-way transfers from Yaremche to Hoverla trailhead and a none-English speaking guide to guide you along the trail. It costs 300 UAH per person and the tour begins at 9 AM and you will be back in Yaremche by 6 PM.
How Many Days to Spend in Yaremche and the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine
There are quite a few hikes and day trips you can do from Yaremche so I would say, spending at least 2 full days is recommended in Yaremche.
Day 1: Spend your first-day exploring Yaremche, visiting the Probiy Waterfall on your way to hike the Makovytsia mountain, a 7 km hiking trail that will take you 3 hours to climb and 2 hours to come down. Make sure to book a tour to Mt. Hoverla for tomorrow before you end your first day.
Day 2: A day trip o summit Mt. Hoverla. It will take the whole day from 9 AM - 6 PM.
Day 3 (extra): Visit Bukovel for a day and spend the rest of the day back in Yaremche.
How Much Money Do I Need for Yaremche
Yaremche is a resort town so things may not be as cheap as you would hope but still very cheap compared to western standard. Let's begin our calculation based on minimum 2 days 3 nights stay:
Accommodation: 10 USD per night so 30 USD (758 UAH) total.
Food: The food costs around 100 UAH per meal so 300 UAH for a day. Although since we are going to hike both days, we can deduct 50 UAH off because you will have to prepare your own lunch. In total it will be 500 UAH for 2 days of food.
Transportation: For this itinerary, you will only pay for the trip to Mt. Hoverla so the total will be 300 UAH.
Activities: Both hiking trails, Mt. Makovytsia and Mt. Hoverla will require you to pay for the park entrance fee which is 30 UAH each so 60 UAH in total.
Total Budget for Hiking in Yaremche for 2 days: ~1,618 UAH (64 USD).
Is it Safe in Yaremche?
Like most western Ukraine, Yaremche is very safe. It's a small mountain town and so petty thefts are almost none existent. You are safe to hike around care-free.
Internet in Yaremche
The hostel I stayed at did not have any WIFI and I only find 2 restaurants with not fast but manageable WIFI and so if you want to stay connected while in Yaremche, be sure to get a local sim card before you arrive.
You can either get the one from Vodafone or Kyivstar. They both offer similar plans with data ranging from 2GB to unlimited costing between 55 UAH - 220 UAH.
For more information about Ukraine local sim card: Ukraine Prepaid Data Sim Card.
If you are looking for travel insurance to go along with your trip to Ukraine, I would recommend WorldNomads.com, which is what I use to look for travel insurance that fits my kind of adventure.
Things to Prepare before Hiking the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine
- Water bottles: At least 2 liters of water for each trail you are doing is recommended. Ukraine in the summer can be quite hot especially at a lower altitude trail like the one going up Mt. Makovytsia so make sure you have enough water.
- Sturdy shoes that can withstand muddy trails: the trail can get quite muddy if it rained the day before so be sure your shoes can handle that. If it's been sunny than a regular trainer should get the job done.
- Wind-proof and insulating jackets: This only applies to Mt. Hoverla trail since it gets very windy and cold up there due to the altitude (2,061m) and the exposed trail.
- Lunch and snacks: Both trails take around 5 - 6 hours so you will be having lunch and snacks while on the trail so prepare some before you set out on the hikes.
- Maps.me: Maps.me has both hiking trails I recommended in this travel guide in case you get lost so be sure to download the app and make it offline before you set out on the hike. The app is available on both Android and iOS. Make sure you download the offline maps before you hit the trail.
Recommended Hiking Trails for the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine
Hiking Makovytsia Mountain in Yaremche
Hike Time: 4 hours (roundtrip)
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate.
The first hike I would recommend you to do is the Mt. Makovytsia trail. The trail begins from Yaremche as you head south along the railroads across the Prut River bridge.
You will have a chance to explore one of the attractions in Yaremche here before you start the trail. As you walk along the railroads southward you will arrive at a parking lot on your right leading to Probiy Waterfall. Now you have the option to go right to the waterfall or go left across the road up to Mt. Makovytsia trailhead. For now, we will follow the hiking trail and leave Probiy Waterfall for later.
After you have crossed the road you will arrive at a ticket booth where you will have to pay 30 UAH for the park entrance fee. After you have entered the park, simply follow the well-marked trail up the mountain. Now, you are on your way to Mt. Makovytsia summit.
For about 15 minutes you will arrive at an observation deck where you will get a glimpse of the view of Yaremche from above. You are still 2 hours away from the summit though so do not rest for too long.
From there, it's a steady climb up the mountain. Thankfully, the trail here is mostly under tall trees which help elevate the heat from direct sunlight a bit.
If you think you might get lost, be sure to follow this yellow-white stripes painted on trees and rocks along the trail. If you are still unsure, you can rely on Maps.me as I did and just follow the trail shown on the app.
Occasionally, you will find a sign pointing to "Маковиця" which means Makovytsia in Cyrillic. After hiking for about 45 minutes, you will have the option to go right and go on a side trail toward Dovbush rocks. We can leave that for when we are coming down.
Hiking up for another 45 minutes and you will arrive at a ridge where the trail becomes exposed and you will be able to see the summit of Mt.Makovytsia as well as Yaremche from above, a view that will get better and better as you climb.
From there, the trail should be very clear and all you have to do is follow the path for another 20 minutes until you find a cafe. You can rest here for a bit or you can continue for another 10 minutes to the top.
This large stretch is quite a steep climb and you will be directly under the sun for the entire time making it quite challenging but once you are up there, you will have one of the best views of the Carpathian mountains, its rolling hills of valleys and mountains, and Yaremche from above.
Once you are at the top, you should also continue and walk a little bit south to see the Carpathians from the other side. The green rolling hills of the Carpathians seems to go on forever from this side.
When I was up there, I met a lovely mother-daughter duo from Kyiv who climbed all the way up from Yaremche together as I did. We took a photo together to commemorate our accomplishment. Ukrainians aren't known for being very sociable but in the mountains, everyone becomes friends even with the language barrier. I met her again when we took the same train out of Yaremche. A great random memory of the Carpathians.
Now, remember the side trip I told you previously? We can do that on our way down. Simply follow the trail back the same way and right at the intersection located at 48.441974, 24.559603 on the map (input that on Maps.me to see the exact location).
From there, you will have to go left (on your way down) instead of going down the same way and follow the trail to 48.440266, 24.563683 (again put that coordinate on Maps.me as the location of Dovbush Rock isn't clear on the app) and you will arrive at Dovbush Rock, a significant sight for the history of the people living in the Carpathians back in the days.
From Dovbush Rock, I would recommend you to go south instead of back up the same way so you get to see a different trail on your way back. Go south and stick to your right for about an hour and you should arrive right back at the highway here.
From there, you can simply walk along the road up north until you arrive at the Probiy Waterfall parking lot again where you can drop by there or head back to your accommodation and visit there some other time. For more information about Probiy Waterfall, check out our Other Things to Do section.
Hiking Hoverla, the Highest Mountain in Ukraine
Hike Time: 5 hours (roundtrip)
Are you ready to climb the highest mountain in Ukraine? If so, first you will have to know where Mt. Hoverla trailhead begins, how hard it is and how long it will take you to get up there.
As mentioned earlier, you will have to rely on a local tour company to take you there and back as Mt. Hoverla trailhead is 50 km south of Yaremche. You can pick whichever local tour company you find in Yaremche as they are pretty much the same.
The people selling these tours are often under green or blue umbrellas along the main street in Yaremche and all you have to do is go up to them, tell them which day you want to go and they will tell you where to meet, what time and what to prepare.
The tour usually begins at 9 AM at the main street opposite the Nativity of John the Baptist Church and they will take you to the trailhead in about 1.5 hours.
When you arrive at the parking lot, you will have a chance to buy breakfast, coffee and use the toilet before your hike begins. Since the tour comes with a guide, you will have to wait for him/her to gather the group and explains something in Ukrainian (I wish I knew what my guide was saying) but afterward, you can tell your guide that you go ahead first if you hike fast, or simply follow the group.
In my experience, they were REALLY slow, so I would suggest you do the same as I did and give your guide a heads up. If you think you are lost, just backtrack to the intersection and wait for your group.
The trail is a bit tricky at the beginning but once you get out of the forest and starts climbing up, it is pretty straightforward. Otherwise, just follow Maps.me and you will do just fine.
After about 15 minutes in the forest, the trail will become exposed most of the time be sure to put on some sunblocks before. The vista from then on is nothing short of extraordinary though.
From the exposed trail, it will be a solid 2 hours up climbing up the steep trail until you arrive at the summit. You might be surprised at how many people are doing this trail but since it is the highest mountain in Ukraine and it is considered to be a pilgrimage trail for Ukrainians, it is understandable.
Congratulations, you are now at the top of Ukraine! Now you can see the Carpathians in its full glory from both sides of Hoverla. The beautiful rolling green hills and mountains of the Carpathians as far as the eye can see!
Up at the top, it can get very windy and cold so if you are in need of a hot beverage, fear not. There were a few locals that were selling hot drinks and snacks to tourists at an inflated price but you deserve a reward so get yourself a coffee, sit and enjoy the view.
You might arrive a little faster than your tour group so just relax and enjoy your time up there. Once you are ready to go down and your guide has arrived, be sure to tell him you are heading down. The way down is pretty straightforward and takes only an hour or 1.5 hours to complete.
Once everyone in your group arrives back at the parking lot, you will start heading back to Yaremche. Another 1.5 hours ride and you should be back in Yaremche, strong and proud! Time to celebrate your accomplishment with a good well-deserved meal at Krasna Sadyba Restaurant!
Where to Eat and Drink in Yaremche
Eat Local Food at Krasna Sadyba Restaurant
Krasna Sadyba Restaurant has got to be my favorite restaurant in Yaremche. They serve real authentic Ukrainian food as well as grilled steaks and fish for you to indulge yourself in.
The restaurant is in the center, yet it's tucked away in the corner where it overlooks the thick green forest of the Carpathians. The interior is also cozy and spacious with fire and oven where they grill their meat and seafood for you. There is no better way to treat yourself after hiking Hoverla than to feast at Krasna Sadyba Restaurant.
Have a Cup of Coffee at Barberry
If you are looking for a nice cup of coffee or sandwich to relax during the day, Barberry is a great place to be. They serve great coffee, desserts and ice cream as well as Sushi if you are somehow craving for it in Ukraine 😅.
Other Things to Do in Yaremche
Visit Probiy Waterfall
As mentioned before, Probiy Waterfall is a nice place to stop on your way to hike Mt. Makovytsia. The waterfall is an 8 meters high rushing waterfall on the Prut River with restaurants, souvenir shops and an observation bridge that you can explore.
Check Out th Nativity of John the Baptist Church in Yaremche
The Nativity of John the Baptist Church is one stunning church to visit in Yaremche. With its red bricks exterior, golden domes, and its central location, the Nativity of John the Baptist Church is probably one of the most iconic architecture in the city and it is just across the main street from Yaremche train station.
Buy Authentic Carpathian Souvenirs
The Carpathians are rich in culture that is totally different from what you might find in Kyiv or Lviv so if you are looking for unique gifts from your trip in the Carpathians for your friends and families, be sure to check out some of the Souvenir markets in Yaremche.
Visit Bukovel, Ukraine Largest Ski Area
Photos by Frank Treak.
Last but not least, you can go on a day trip to Bukovel, one of the largest ski resort areas in Ukraine. During the summertime, there are several activities you can do there like hiking and taking a panoramic lift for a stunning view of the city and the landscape around it.
Needless to say, if you have a day to spare, I would recommend you spend it in Bukovel. To get there, you can take a 40 minutes bus ride from Yaremche to Bukovel and back for only 2 USD.
You can book the bus from Bus Radar or you can also charter a taxi for around 400 - 500 UAH both ways including wait time.
And there you have it, the ultimate hiking guide to Yaremche including how to hike Mt. Hoverla, Mt. Makovytsia, things to do and where to eat and drink in Yaremche in the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine. Do you have any questions regarding hiking in the Carpathians? If so, feel free to let me know in the comments below.
Further Reading for Ukraine
Looking for more information for your trip to Ukraine? Here is a collection of articles about Ukraine that might help you with your trip planning:
- Ukraine is one of the few hidden gems left in Europe and in order to see the country and all it has to offer, you will need a complete travel guide. Here is a One Month Itinerary for Ukraine.
- Ukraine has recently loosened up their borders a little to non-European travelers with an E-Visa program. Here is my experience applying for an E-Visa for Ukraine and things I wish I knew before applying.
- Of course, one of the reasons why you are visiting Ukraine is to learn more about Chernobyl nuclear disaster and what better way to learn about it than to go in the field and see it with your own eyes. Here is a complete guide on how to visit Chernobyl.
- If you think Kyiv is just good for Chernobyl and Brutalist architecture enthusiasts, then you are in for a big surprise when you find out how awesome the city is. Here are top 18 things to do in Kyiv, Ukraine.
- Are you a coffee snob like I do? If so, then you will love Kyiv and its unmatched indie cafe-culture. Here are 8 best indie cafes you should check out in Kyiv, Ukraine.
- The Tunnel of Love is one of the most photogenic attractions in Ukraine, and it would be a shame to miss it on your trip to Ukraine. Here’s a complete guide on how to visit the Tunnel of Love independently.
- Thinking of visiting the Tunnel of Love and not sure where to base yourself out of? I would recommend Lutsk and here are 8 best things to do that will make you fall in love with Lutsk.
- Lviv is the cultural capital city of Ukraine. It is what St. Petersburg is to Russia, Prague is to Czechia, and Krakow is to Poland. It is the most European city out of all Ukraine and it has so many things to do, you will need a great guide to navigate it. Here are 10 Best Things you should do in Lviv, Ukraine.
- Lviv is another great city to go cafe-hopping if you love coffee and here are my Top 10 Cozy Cafes in Lviv you should check out.
- One of the most impressive architectural wonders in Ukraine is Chernivtsi National University in Chernivtsi, a remnant from the Austro-Hungarian Empire time that still survives today. Here are 7 Best Things to Do in Chernivtsi, Ukraine.
- Kamianets-Podilskyi, an island city home to Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle, one of the most beautiful castles in Ukraine, is a place that seems like it came straight out of a fairy tale and a place that you should not miss. Here’s a backpacking guide and top 8 things to do in Kamianets-Podilskyi.
- Odesa is known as the Pearl of the Black Sea and in order to understand why you will need to dive deep into its history and even further down underground into its infamous catacomb. Here is a complete guide on tourist attractions and 8 great things to do in Odesa.
- You may not have heard of Kharkiv before, but once you see what I saw when I was traveling in that city, your mind will be blown away at how beautiful it is. Here are the 10 best things to do in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
- Did you know that Kharkiv is also home to the prettiest metro stations in Ukraine? Here are 8 most beautiful metro stations to check out in Kharkiv.
- My words are not convincing you about traveling to Ukraine? How about you see it for yourself with my Ukraine travel video? Ukraine Beyond Travel Video
- Want to know where to go after Ukraine? How about visiting Poland, drop by Kosice in Slovakia or go bar-hopping in Budapest, Hungary? We have travel guides for those too.
- For all articles about Ukraine, visit Ukraine Travel Guide page.
- You can see all my Eastern Europe related articles on my Eastern Europe Travel Guide page.
- You can also see all my Europe related articles here: Europe Travel Guide page.
- For more of my travel guides like this, visit my Destinations page.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by Pete Rojwongsuriya, the founder of BucketListly Blog where we will follow his solo journey around the world as he experiences different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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