There is a common misconception that the Carpathians are best to visit in winter. Sure, numerous ski resorts and high mountains look particularly spectacular with an abundance of snow, yet summertime is just as graceful when it comes to sightseeing. We picked top 10 locations to visit in the Carpathian Mountains featuring hiking tracks, museums, nature reserves and much more.
The largest lake in the Carpathians, Synevyr attracts hundreds of tourists at any time of the year not only because of its incredible size but the rich blue color. Neatly tucked amongst the vast hundred-year-old forests, the lake has preserved its natural beauty for almost a thousand years. The fact that Synevyr is a part of the natural reserve definitely helps to keep the condition — that’s why swimming and fishing are prohibited here. However, there are multiple gazebos scattered around the lakeshore to enjoy the view and the fresh Carpathian air. Those who love horseback riding will be glad to know there’s a chance to ride the trails around the lake.
Stezhka Dovbusha / The Dovbush Path
The 4-kilometer track located in Yaremche village is one of the lesser-known attractions of the place. Named after the folk hero Oleksa Dovbush, the path (“stezhka” in Ukrainian) leads the wanderers through the quiet Carpathian forest, filled with giant pines and firs. Apart from the incredible flora, the faraway spot is famous for Dovbush cliffs, some of which are 20 meters high.
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The path is riddled with blueberry bushes that hide arrays of juicy berries, ready to be consumed. There are multiple road signs, so don’t be afraid to get lost. Stezhka Dovbusha traditionally makes a circle route, but those who want to explore more wonders of Yaremche can drop by one of the most powerful waterfalls in the region — Probiy. Hand-made souvenirs can be bought at the largest souvenir market of the Carpathians that lies nearby.
Carpathian Biosphere Reserve
A brother of Carpathian National Nature Park, this reserve included in UNESCO World Heritage Sites takes up about 140 acres in the eastern region of Zakarpattia. The reserve is truly huge, that’s why finding a spot up to your taste isn’t a problem. Here the famous Valley of Daffodils that lures in tourists in spring lies.
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Among the other attractions, you may find Trufanets, the highest natural waterfall in Transcarpathia; the 92-meters long Milky Stone cave; Teretyn mountain that offers breathtaking views on the Carpathians and nearby villages and much more. Lovers of history and architecture will appreciate the unique artifact of Hutsul architecture — Church of the Ascension built more than two hundred years ago without a single nail in a tiny Yassin village.
The famous mineral resort Skhidnytsia lies in a valley on the shore of a small mountain river Skhidnychanka. The place has been famous since 1970s when the first mineral springs were founded on the territory of the village. On the whole, there are 36 springs that are said to have healing qualities and help in the treatment of stomach, liver, kidneys diseases as well as diabetes.
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Sure enough, multiple hotels and cottages built around the springs aren’t the only things to check out here — Skolivski Beskydy National Park with its crystal clear air and rich flora lies in mere 6 kilometers from Skhidnytsia. Besides, there’s a 17th century Saint Nicholas church built out of stone. The church preserved its original look throughout the centuries.
It’s fair to say that any guide on the Carpathians isn’t fully complete without mentioning Bukovel — the most famous resort that lies in the Ivano Frankivsk region, surrounded by five mountains. While Bukovel is filled to brim with ski fans in winter, it is just as interesting to explore in warm seasons.
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Hiking and conquering Hoverla, the highest mountain in Ukraine, is one of the most popular attractions in the region. If you are not particularly fond of ascending heights, there’s a lot to see in the valleys — for instance, Pysanka museum in Kolomyia or a deer farm in Yaremche. Lovers of extreme sports will appreciate the entertainment on the Molodist Lake: plunging, diving, and rafting are all available here. Bukovel bike park welcomes guests to ride on the long tracks surrounded by forests. Moreover, there are multiple spots to enjoy horseback riding with the great views.
Galician National Park
The national park established in 2004 carefully preserves the delicate fauna of the region — here visitors will find a wildlife rehabilitation center, where animals are looked after with special care. Incredibly popular with adults and kids, it offers to feed baby deer and enjoy the walks around the vast territory. The exotarium of Galician National Park is a home for many exotic birds, including pink cheek Lovebirds and little zebra finches, easily recognized by their lively chirping. The 2-kilometer route near the Kasova Mountain runs across the vast meadows and steppe. Multiple museums, located on the park's territory tell the story of Galich that was once a heart of the mighty Galician kingdom.
One of the highest villages in Ukraine, Dzembronya has been a source of inspiration for many notable Ukrainian personalities — writers Lesya Ukrainka and Vasyl Stefanyk, as well as Serhiy Paradzhanov, director of the critically-acclaimed movie Tini Zabutykh Predkiv. The waterfall cascade located nearby is one of the most famous tourist locations in the Carpathians. The village is really tiny — populated with 250 people and having no industrial plants or factories around, Dzembronya carries true rural Carpathian vibe.
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Often regarded as the Hutsul capital, Vorokhta is also among the most booked ski resorts in winter. Like Bukovel, this village is definitely worth visiting in summer as well. The most famous attraction here is the viaduct bridge, built way back in 1895 when the region was a part of the Austria-Hungary.
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The engineers did an exceptionally good job — one of the longest stone railway bridges in Europe still stays intact to this day. Another intriguing sightseeing spot is the 17th century Nativity of Mary Church that is one of the prime monuments of Hutsul wooden architecture.
Polonyna means “meadow” in Ukrainian but it’s much more than just a geographical term — the word captures the beauty, tenderness, and magic of the place, described by thousands of poems. Borzhava lies between Vicha and Rika rivers and is the longest polonyna in the Transcarpathians. Blueberries and cranberries are abundant on the highest points and serve as a prize for those who have conquered the route.
Finally, a place of interest to those who like extreme sightseeing — Cinderella Cave that 93 kilometers goes deep and is the third largest karst cave in the world. Professional and amateur speleologists have taken a serious interest in this spot and discovered more than 20 underground lakes and vaults. There are various companies providing the guided tours in the cave.
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