New, updated edition of The Ukraine Carpathians: Europe's last great wilderness

Ukraine Carpathians

Alexander Stemp introduces us to a little known corner of Europe that is waiting to be discovered. With its beautiful mountains, valleys and forests, the region offers the chance to step back in time and leave the modern world behind. Here you can experience one of the last great wildernesses, where horses and carts still travel the roads and local people still work the land in traditional ways.

Alexander Stemp has visited the Ukraine Carpathians on various occasions. He gives a unique glimpse into this still relatively unknown part of Europe and provides information and advice on finding your way around the area, including a number of sample itineraries by bicycle and train.

This second edition of the book has been fully updated and extended, with new chapters devoted to Uzhgorod, Beregszasz and Slemence.

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Extract from the book

Visiting the Ukraine Carpathians is to step back in time into a wilderness.  the Carpathian environment makes for wonderful cycling and walking through vast, silen valleys, forests and mountains.  Horses and carts still ride on the main roads.  The wooden houses and churches that I often came across make a haunting setting.  Local people still work the land in traditional ways.  Much here has a wild, other-worldly appeal as well as a slower pace of life.  The Carpathians are brimming with atmosphere and offer a step back from the 21st century.  When reaching the Carpathians, the traveller leaves modern-day Europe behind.  For me, this was one of the most compelling aspects of the Carpathians, together with meeting interesting local people.

Of course, times are changing. The Carpathians have now begun to welcome outside visitors, and efforts are being made to encourage investments in tourism. Tourism infrastructure is developing constantly, so now is an excellent time to enjoy the Carpathians, before the crowds inevitably arrive. This is Europe’s last great wilderness.

Transcarpathian view by Alexander StempThis book gives a brief overview of the region and provides relevant information on cycling itineraries through my personal experiences there. I have now visited the Carpathians on the Ukrainian side several times. I have made three travel itinerary suggestions; one to Veretskyi per (Vereckei-hágó) and the others to Synevyr Lake (Szinevéri-tó) and Mount Hoverla (Hó-vár). Each on its own will take a long weekend, but to combine the three together, allow ten days in all.

The Budapest to Moscow train service travels through the Carpathians. The main line stops are at Chop (Csap), Mukachevo (Munkács), Volovets (Volóc) and Skole. From these towns, the Carpathians are a mere step away. This through train then passes from the Carpathians on to Lvov and Kiev.

Without a car, planning ahead is wise. Early morning trains are best for making a good start to the day. They are inexpensive, and most will take bicycles. There are buses too, and now and again taxis can be useful to save time and get you where you want to go quickly and directly, with your bicycle in the boot. Should you be a foot passenger, check the local “marshrutka” mini-bus services that run fairly frequently, from one town to the next, for a small charge.

For me, the combination of train and the occasional taxi worked best. However, most of my extensive travel has been made by bicycle through this area. At the time of writing, getting to some out-of-town places by local transport may be a bit complicated and time-consuming. Cycling has been most important to get me more directly to spectacular landmarks, such as Veretskyi per (Vereckei-hágó) and Synevyr Lake (Szinevéri-tó). I found most roads perfectly adequate for cycling. Beyond the towns, very few cars or pedestrians passed me. As I was cycling through the valleys and remote roads, the only sounds that I was likely to hear were those of a distant train, a running stream, wind in the trees, a dog barking far off or an early cockerel greeting the morning.

My bicycle is a very standard middle range town and country bike. It has travelled with me comfortably for hundreds of kilometers around the Carpathians. A solid, reliable bike with a few gears is necessary. If you intend to cycle around the Carpathians, as I have, I advise you to bring your own bicycle, with spare parts. Bicycle shops can be found.  Bicycle tourism is developing.  Further information can be found at tourist office centres.

In September 2012, the author was asked to make a short film on the Carpathians.

Publishing information

Revised 2013 edition:

ISBN: 9780957195950
Title: Ukraine Carpathians: Europe's last great wilderness.
Second revised and extended edition
Pages: 88
Published: July 2013

2011 edition:

ISBN: 9780956264954
Title: Ukraine Carpathians, The
Sub Title: Europe's Last Great Wilderness
Format: Paperback
Published: 30/03/2011
Author: Stemp, Alexander
Availability: in print/stock
Price: £14.95
Publisher Milton Contact Limited
Distributor Milton Contact Limited
Primary Publisher BIC: WTH - Travel & holiday guides
Publisher BIC Qualifiers: 1D - Europe/
Dimensions: 233mm x 156mm
Spine: 5mm
Pages: 76
Rights: Worldwide : Exclusive
Nielsen BookData BIC subject: WTH - Travel & holiday guides
Nielsen BookData BIC qualifiers: 1D - Europe/