Thursday, 23 November 2017
Hiking in Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia: Conclusion
E3 uses existing trails here but is often mentioned on signposts (which is rarely the case in other countries!).
The terrain is usually easy or moderate - on the E3 I have not encountered any technically difficult trails. Sometimes ascents and descents can be quite steep and slippery in rain but nothing really serious.
In popular areas there are mountain huts which offer accommodation and restaurants. Expect big crowds in summer especially in touristy areas like the Giant Mountains or the Mala Fatra. You will encounter mostly day hikers. I have rarely seen any other long-distance hikers!
Tap water is safe to drink and therefore I never treated water in these three countries becausee I got it either from a tap or spring!
Wild camping is technically illegal in all three countries but I have never had a problem. There is so much forest that you can usually hide somewhere out of sight. Just plan ahead because the E3 traverses several national parks which are monitored by rangers - and for conservation reasons I would not want to camp there anyways.
I encountered very few hunters (which might have been due to the season) but plenty of lumberjacks and berry pickers. Commercial berry pickers work in gangs - so try not to camp in blueberry areas. These people are already up at sunrise so can have an unexpected early morning start! I was discovered once but nobody seemed to bother.
Hotels and restaurants are still a lot cheaper than in Western European countries although they are definitely up to Western standards. I usually paid around 30 - 40 EUR for a single room including breakfast and Wlan and never had any bad experience. On the contrary: Private hotels and pensions have by far exceeded my expectations. The same goes for restaurants: Quality was very high and I enjoyed local specialties like the ubiquitous Piroggi - dumplings filled with various stuffings.
To sum it up: I personally enjoyed hiking here a lot and I would definitely recommend it to a friend. If you are looking for relatively easy but interesting trail with a little luxury like staying in a hotel or eating in a restaurant once in a while, this is ideal - especially when you are interested in history.