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map of the hiking trail

The Loop: A long distance hiking trail in Poland

The Loop: a Polish long distance hiking trail 

Kungsleden, GR20, Tour du Mont Blanc, Laugavegur... Many countries have their own long-distance hiking trails. Recently, Poland has joined this list with the opening of The Loop, a 225 km long trail in the south of the country near the borders of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Hiking The Loop offers a unique experience in many ways! Not only is this my first visit to Poland, but it has also been a while since I last did a multi-day hike, so I must admit I am starting this journey with a bit of trepidation!

The Beskid Mountains: how to get to this hiking area?

The Beskid Mountains are located in the far south of Poland, approximately 1,200 km from Belgium. That's quite a long drive! However, since March 31, 2024, Brussels Airlines has been offering direct flights to Krakow. From Krakow, it's only an hour and a half drive to the start of the hiking trail, in the town of Bielsko-Baila.

Bielsko-Baila, the hiking capital where it all starts (and ends!)

Bielsko-Biała is a vibrant mountain town surrounded by the Beskid Mountains, with the 1725-meter-high Babia Góra peak in the background. When I walk in Bielsko-Biała, I can already feel the hiking vibes, with stores filled with hiking gear and locals who seize every opportunity to go hiking in the Beskids. It's no wonder that last year, a creative hiker, Mateusz Zmyślony, decided to combine different hikes into a spectacular long-distance trek: 225 kilometers of hiking trails, over 11,000 meters of elevation gain, and - this is really unique for a long distance trail - you walk in a loop. A real challenge for everyone who loves hiking!

city of Bielsko-Baila
city of Bielsko-Baila
city of Bielsko-Baila
city of Bielsko-Baila

Beskid Mountains, the place where you find endless hiking fun

The Beskid Mountains are less known than their neighbor, the Tatra Mountains. However, this part of the Carpathians, located in the border area of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, is a paradise for anyone who loves hiking!

Our guide, Mike, is waiting impatiently for us to get ready to head into the mountains. He has a fantastic trip planned. I’m curious about his plans because my fitness level isn’t great at the moment, and a challenging hike could be very painful for my unprepared muscles!

little spring in the mountains
hiking trail
hiking trail

Our journey begins with a challenging climb. Over a distance of 6 kilometers, we ascend 1000 meters. We leave the tree line behind as we head towards the summit of the 1535-meter-high Pilsko, Hrancia. The view makes the strenuous climb worth it: rolling green mountains and forests as far as the eye can see. A short descent, partially over ski slopes, brings us to our first lunch spot, Schronisko na Hali Miziowej, an impressive restaurant/hotel centrally located in this ski area.

We get acquainted with Polish cuisine. Here, hearty meals dominate the menu, featuring lots of meat, rich sauces, and local specialties like pierogi, a type of ravioli with the most surprising fillings. The food is delicious and gives an energy boost, exactly what I need right now. Mike assures us that the hardest part is behind us and we can leisurely walk towards our first mountain lodging. He is right; the path follows the rolling landscape, and before dinner, we arrive at our first hut: Schronisko Górskie PTTK Rysianka. A good meal, a warm shower, and a comfortable bed are all I need right now!

hiking trail
mountain hut
view point

Day 2 is exciting. Mike insists that a 31 km hike with significant elevation gain is within my capabilities. I’m not entirely convinced but decide to go for it after much hesitation. By the time we reach our lunch spot in Węgierska at noon, we’ve already covered 17 km. A creamy tagliatelle will keep me going for the rest of the day. The next few kilometers uphill lead us to the top of Barania Góra. Even with my tired body and mind, I can still enjoy the beautiful view. But my energy is running low. Upon reaching the second hut, Schronisko PTTK Przysłop pod Baranią Górą, the distance tracker reads 34 km—my personal hiking record in the mountains! A warm shower eases the muscle pain. The soft, comfortable bed feels heavenly! I’m secretly proud that I accomplished this challenge!

mountain hut
view over the mountains
mountain hut
hiking

Day 3 starts with a delicious breakfast. We’ll need the energy because another 16 km is on the agenda. No more steep climbs; it’s more about following the natural undulations of the Beskid Mountains. Yet, I feel every step. Despite the predominant muscle soreness, I can tell that my fitness is improving compared to the beginning. On this last day, we traverse another ski area, walk along a lake with the presidential palace in the background. The end of our journey is approaching, but I feel that the hiking bug that has always been present in me is patiently waiting for more of this! That will come in time, first to recover and savor the memories of this experience!

view point
mountain cable car

A multi-day hike... what needs to be in your backpack?

Because there are mountain huts, hostels, and restaurants all along the route, you don't need to bring your own tent, sleeping gear, or food. A 30-liter hiking backpack should be sufficient. What are some essential items you should bring?

  • Trekking pants and shorts + thin thermoactive drawers, underwear

  • Fleece jacket (as an isolating layer)

  • A waterproof jacket

  • Waterproof, comfortable shoes and enough hiking socks

  • Buff scarf + hat + sunglasses + sunscreen

  • Water bag (min 1 liter), enough snacks for a day (you can buy extras in the mountain shelters)

  • Medical kit with basic drugs + patches

  • Toiletry bag

  • Power bank + cables

  • Trekking poles with baskets

  • Headlamp

  • For evenings spent in mountain hostels - flip flops, shorts or thin pants, t-shirt

Hiking gear doesn't have to be expensive. However, if you plan to hike often, it's wise to invest in good equipment. With quality gear, a long hike becomes much more enjoyable!

The map of the hiking trail

map of the hiking trail

The 225 km Loop route covers these stages:

  • Bielsko Biała Dębowiec – Brenna (17,1 km)

  • Brenna – Hostel Soszow Wielki (17,9 km)

  • Hostel Soszow Wielki – Kubalonka Pas (12,3 km)

  • Kubalonka Pas – Węgierska Górka (24,6 km)

  • Węgierska Górka – Hostel on Rysianka (16,3 km)

  • Hostel on Rysianka – Korbielów Kamienna (12,3 km)

  • Korbielów Kamienna – PTTK hostel Markowe Szczawiny (20,3 km)

  • Markowe Szczawiny – Babia Góra – Zawoja Małe Widełki (19,4 km)

  • Zawoja Małe Widełki – Chatka Adamy (13,5 km)

  • Chatka Adamy – Chatka Gibasówka (20 km)

  • Chatka Gibasówka – Międzybrodzie Żywieckie (21 km)

  • Międzybrodzie Żywieckie – Wilkowice (14,9 km)

  • Wilkowice – Bielsko Biała Dębowiec (14,2 km)

Want to visit Poland or find out more about the Beskid area? The website of the Polisch tourism organization contains all the information you need.

More hiking trails? Check this route in Austria!! Check other adventure itineraries here.

Hi! We are Bart, Kris, Lore and Ruben. We are a family of 5, yes, we also have a dog named Spike.

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