Walking Tour in Czech Republic, Poland, Tatra Mountains and Slovak Republic
The Eastern Circuit is not only a cultural and historical walk but also an opportunity to discover one of Europe's most amazing Nature Reserves - The High Tatras, which pass through both Poland and Slovakia. Our route starts in Munich in Southern Germany. Travelling east, we stop for lunch in the delightful town of Regensburg. It is beautifully located on the Danube River and is home to the famous 13th century cathedral and 12th Century stone bridge. The town is built on Roman ruins, which date back to 90 B.C. In the afternoon we continue through Bavaria before we cross the border and enter the Czech Republic near Cheb.
Our route takes us through the delightful region of the Ore Mountains before reaching the picturesque countryside of Bohemia, famous for its spas and maze of walking trails. After indulging ourselves in the spa town of Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad) for 2 nights, we travel the short distance to visit one of the finest cities in Europe, Prague. Naturally one could spend a week in this romantic city but during our visit guests are given a great overview - it is very easy to explore all the worthwhile sights on foot directly from our centrally located hotel.
We travel further East through the Czech Republic and cross the border into Poland. We spend two days in Cracow, Poland's former capital and one of the great art and cultural centres of Europe. Located on the Vistula River, the city stands on the place where the Little Poland Upland and the Carpathian Mountains meet and form the so-called "Cracow Gate".
In the Polish Tatras we base ourselves in the beautiful mountain resort of Zakopane. Located in a picturesque valley, it is renowned for its quaint timber houses and folklore. From here we discover high peaks and ridges, alpine meadows, cosy alpine chalets and crystal clear streams flowing into breathtaking mountain lakes such as Morskie Oko.
The next day takes us across into Eastern Slovakia into one of the most beautiful natural wonderlands in Europe - the High Tatra Mountains National Park. The region is alive with marmots, rare chamois, eagles and even bears. Our walks take in more spectacular mountain scenery, including a visit to Scalanaty Pleso where there is an option via cable car to visit Lomnicky Stit, the second highest peak in the Tatras.
Our final day takes us to the sophisticated Austrian city of Vienna. On our way we travel through the beautiful little Carpathian Mountains. They begin in Romania and in Bratislava they finally come to an end. Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak Republic, is located on the Danube River and the Austrian border is almost in sight of the city.
Our Hotels and Cuisine
Our first 2 nights we spend in a beautiful hotel in the old spa town of Karlovy Vary. Even today it still has a Victorian atmosphere and the wide boulevards and architecture are outstanding. A highlight is the aperitif in one of Europe's oldest hotels, The Grand Hotel Pupp.
Our 2 nights in Prague are in a delightful hotel next to the river and near the famous Charles Bridge. All the main historical sights are just a 10 minute walk away.
The next two nights are spent in a charming family run hotel in the centre of Cracow. We dine in one of Cracow's famous cellar restaurants where we enjoy fresh local trout or Kings Shaslics cooked on an open grill.
During the 4 days in the Polish Tatras we stay in an extremely comfortable hotel in the bustling resort town of Zakopane. Our dinners will be in cosy local restaurants with excellent Polish cuisine.
Our final 3 nights are spent in the High Tatras in the Slovak Republic. We stay in the venerable old Grand Hotel in Stary Smokovec. This historic building which dates back to the beginning of the last century has lots of old world charm, next to the Tatra Mountains NP.
Another great tour with Graeme. The walking in the Tatra mountains was a highlight - seeing the sherpas carrying all the goods for the huts was amazing. All the places we stayed at were great with lots of atmosphere and history. I especially enjoyed Krakow. Thanks again and look forward to another tour in the future!
Sandra from Castlemaine, VIC Australia 
We had been thinking about a walking tour ever since we stayed in one of your apartments in Forcalquier in 2007. Not sure why it took us so long to get around to it but we are glad we did. Everything was professionally done, from the time we first spoke to Trish in Australia (very helpful in providing information and guiding us through the process) right through until Graeme put us in a taxi to our hotel in Vienna on the last day of the tour. We didn't really know what to expect but everything surprised on the upside. We saw some spectacular scenery, and places we didn't know existed that we would never have visited ourselves. Great Accommodation. Hotels were well located and of a good standard. Food was excellent, both in the hotel restaurants and at the many local restaurants that we were taken to. We were very impressed with how smoothly everything ran - it seemed there was nothing that Graeme didn't have arranged or had not thought about. We were also impressed with the level of friendship/recognition afforded Graeme by staff at all levels at the various hotels and restaurants we visited. It was obvious that Graeme and "Walkabout" had built an enviable reputation with those establishments over many years. Perhaps we were a little spoilt as some late cancellations meant that we were part of a fairly small group, resulting in very personalised attention, although I suspect Graeme would provide the same experience to much larger groups. He is very knowledgeable - didn't bore you with two much information but made sure you got the key bits. Also did a good job of managing the tempo of the walks, particularly on some of the bigger days. All in all a wonderful experience, made especially so by the only two people we dealt with - Graeme & Trish!
Les & Jan from Brisbane, QLD, Australia 
I really loved the walk, both for the beauty of the Tatra mountains and the people and culture of the countries we visited. It far exceeded my expectations and I would even consider doing the whole tour again... I loved Karlovy Vary, Prague, Kracow and Starry Smokovic. So interesting and visually lovely. The group I travelled with along with Graeme and Sabina our wonderful guides made it one of the best holidays I have had. Thank you and I look forward to my next adventure with you. Sandy from Melbourne, VIC, Australia 
For me, the Tour provided an enjoyable mix of central European history and culture combined with alpine walking in very scenic surrounds. Our accommodation and meals were outstanding and well located in the centre of the daily activities. Importantly, I appreciated that our guides Graeme and Trish, provided an informative and caring environment which made the Tour such a great experience. Lastly, I also appreciated the friendliness and companionship of the other participants which resulted in a happy and pleasurable trip. Martin, Melbourne, VIC, Australia 
Stewart and I thoroughly enjoyed our experience. We especially loved the hiking in the last 5 days, probably next time we would choose a tour with more hiking & spread out over the 14 days (we understood this was not that type of tour). The accommodation and food was excellent & the location of the hotels very central which enabled us to do our own exploring after the day's activities. The group was great mix, characters and interesting. We think what makes a success of any trip were a group of personalities are involved is the quality of the leaders. And we were very fortunate to have 2 of the best in Graham & Trish. Both involved themselves in everything we did & were very accommodating with any requests i.e. helping us find a place to eat in Prague, without them I don't think the experience would have been as relaxed & fun. We are going to contact Trish to start looking at our next adventure but this one is going to be hard to top! Lorraine, Brisbane, QLD, Australia 
Mary and I had a fantastic time. This is the 6th or 7th tour we have been on and they just keep getting better! The walks were varied, associated with enough challenge to be satisfying but all achievable by the mild to moderately fit. The scenery was breathtaking (sometimes literally) and the company enjoyable. Hotels were well chosen with good to excellent amenities (loved the whirlpool and saunas). The food was an unexpected highlight as i assumed it was going to be a little bland and heavy but though was of course regionally appropriate it was excellent. There was even good shopping options. Something for everybody! We are already searching through the new tours for options for 2013. Michael & Mary, Camberwell, VIC, Australia 
A wonderful tour going to places we would never have known about like Karlovy Vary without Graeme's help. We now have a bucket load of unforgettable, cherished memories. We loved the combination of long walks during the day in beautiful countryside followed by excellent evening meals. Graeme looked after us well. He was a very knowledgeable and considerate guide who went out of his way to accommodate the needs of everyone in the group, including those of us who occasionally found long-distance walking a challenge. We would certainly recommend the tour to our friends and will be back for another tour in the future. Nigel & Mary-Anne, Canberra, ACT, Australia