Recreational possibilities of Verhkovyna District

All environmental conditions with no exception are favorable for the development of tourism in Verkhovyna district. There is a number of factors due to which Verkhovyna has gained the status of the standard-bearer of Ukrainian tourism. These factors are:
  • Remoteness of the district from big cities and industrial centers of the region;
  • Absence in the district of industrial plants which would pollute the environment;
  • Bordering of the district with under-populated and ecologically clean mountain areas of Romania, Zakarpattya, Bukovyna and Ivano-Frankivsk region;
  • Diversity of the untouched mountain landscapes specific for the mountains of the central Europe;
  • Entirely mountainous relief of the territory with the altitude ranging from 600-800 meters to above-the-cloud heights of the two-thousanders;
  • The unique mountain range where all Carpathian two-thousanders with their glacial forms of relief are located called Chornohora;
  • Proximity of the settlement Verkhovyna (40 km only) to the highest point of the Ukrainian Carpathians – mountain Hoverla (2061 m) – peculiar symbol of the young Ukrainian state, and nearness (only 24 km) to the third highest mountain top – Pip Ivan Chornohirskyi (2026 m) which is famous for the ruins of the old Polish meteorological observatory on its summit;
  • Large amount of forests (more than 60 %) in the territory, mainly evergreen spruce forests. Their needles kill harmful microbes which improves the health of tourists and holiday makers;
  • Existence in the Chornohora Range of two vegetation belts – alpine and subalpine, which are also specific for the Svydovetsky Mountain Range in the Ukrainian Carpathians;
  • The great quantity of springs with mineral water which has unique treatment characteristics;
  • Unique plant kingdom, the bigger part of which has endemic and relic origin. Such plants hardly grow somewhere else in Ukraine;
  • The wonderful animal kingdom, specific only for the Carpathians;
  • Favorable climate with soft snowy winters, sub-humid and not hot summer and warm and dry autumn;
  • Numerous rapid streams with clean, cold and clear water and cascades of magnificent Carpathian waterfalls;
  • A part of the Carpathian National Nature Park is located in the territory of the district;
  • The river Chornyi Cheremosh is one of the best objects for water sports tourism in Ukraine;
  • Picturesqueness of non-complex Pokuttya-Bukovyna Carpathians, such as mountain Pysanyi Kamin (1221 m), Synytsi (1186 m), Bila Kobyla (1477 m), the tops of which are crowned with stone blocks of the naturally polished Yasmenets sandstone;
  • Generous natural resources of mountain forests and alpine meadows: mushrooms, berries and herbs;
  • Wrapped in mysterious legends and tales alpine lakes of the Chornohora Mountain Range – Maricheyka, Nesamovyte, Brebeneskul, which are located in deep glacial hollows

And if we add all these to those created by people:
  • Comfortable motor transport communication;
  • A number of tourist institutions and the network of green tourism village cottages;
  • Ski slopes equipped with the mountain rope hoist, ski rental agencies and services of the qualified alpine ski trainers;
  • Cozy mountain settlements located in the broad intermountain hollows;
  • generous and hospitable residents of this land – Huzuls – who scrupulously keep the ancient traditions, customs and culture of their ancestors;
  • traditional annual Huzul festivals and other folklore ethnographic events;
  • existence of the valuable architectural and historical monuments (wooden churches, private houses and others);
  • original Huzul manufacture goods made of wood, metal, leather, clay, wool, beads and others;
  • the beauty of so-called “Huzul Athens” – village Kryvorivnya, famous for visits of the prominent Ukrainian scientists and writers: Mykhaylo Hrushevskyi, Ivan Franko, Mykhaylo Kotsyubynskyi, Lesya Ukrayinka and many others;
  • specific and delicious Huzul cuisine

then you will see that not only was Verkhovyna the land of tourism in the past, but the bright tourist future is waiting for this wonderful district.  

The third highest mountain of the Ukrainian Carpathians – Pip Ivan Chornohirskyi (2022 m) with the ruins of the old Polish meteorological observatory on its summit is especially interesting for tourists (see Photos section). In one of the glacial hollows on the slopes of the mountains the alpine lake with the tender name Maricheyka is located.

There are no fashionable and private hotels now in Verkhovyna. Among the organizations which most actively provide services to the tourists is The District Council of Village Green Tourism Development Promotion. This type of tourism is mistakenly considered to be new, but the first tourists appeared in the Huzul territory in the 19th century. Many of them spent their vacations in the houses of Huzul people and had enough time to visit on foot or on the horseback almost all the nearest mountains in a few summer months. 100 years ago many famous people spent their holidays in the village houses and due to them we have learned a lot about the beginning of the tourism in Verkhovyna district. These people were Ivan Franko, Mykhaylo Hrushevskyi, Mykhaylo Kotsyubynskyi, Larysa Kosach (Lesya Ukrayinka), Hnat Hotkevych, Yakiv Holovatskyi and many others.

By the development of the green tourism infrastructure Verkhovyna district takes one of the top positions not only in Ivano-Frankivsk region, but in the Carpathians in general. More than 60 village cottages in the district annually take in guests from Ukraine and from abroad. About 300 tourists can have a rest there at the same time. Most of houses have all modern conveniences inside, rooms are well-furnished, with wall-to-wall carpeting, TV-sets and all other household appliances necessary for the proper rest.

In addition to the tourist excursion program, guests are proposed to have an interesting and useful cultural entertainment. These are Huzul evening parties, live Huzul musical performances, the staging of a real Huzul wedding, concerts near the Huzul fire and many other things. Tourists are thrilled with riding a horse in summer and sledging in winter. All this completes the formed stereotypes about recreation in the Carpathians - hiking in the mountains in summer and skiing on the snowy slopes in winter.

The most popular kinds of tourism in the territory of the district are hiking (going to the mountains on foot), skiing, whitewater rafting on catamarans and kayaks, and motor transport tourism (motorcycle and automobile travelling). During the last decades the quantity of ski tourists decreased, or rather this kind of tourism transformed into Alpine skiing and the quantity of its fans increased several times.

Alpine skiing is now developing due to the ski slopes which are equipped with the mountain rope hoists. There are two of them in the district: the slope of the mountain Pushkar in the settlement Verkhovyna and the slope of the mountain Zapidky in the village Iltsi. The length of the first one is 320 meters and the width ranges from 20 to 60 meters. The slope is located between the two parallel spruce forest belt areas. Average steepness of the slope is 18 degrees. The ski tug of the type LB-300 produced in Estonia, belongs to the Health and Recreation Centre “Verkhovyna”.

The slope on the mountain Zapidky in the village Iltsi is bigger. Its length is almost 500 meters and the width ranges from 30 to 40 meters. The average steepness is 26 degrees. The ski tug of the national production is private property. Both ski slopes have the North exposure which keeps the snow cover from the beginning of December till the end of March. There are several ski rental agencies and a dozen of qualified ski trainers in the district. Another popular kind of sport in the district is water sport. It exists here due to the complex rapids of mainly Chornyi Cheremosh and partly Bily Cheremosh.

The banks of these rivers became popular with the water tourists in the beginning of the 1970s. They were attracted by the rapids of the Chornyi Cheremosh to which they later gave names: Dzembronya, Bilyi Kin, Huky. The most interesting water route goes along the mainstream of the Chornyi Cheremosh, from the village Zelene to the village Usteriky, through Krasnyk, Verkhovyna, Kryvorivnya, Yaseniv and further along the Cheremosh through Marynychi, Biloberizka, Roztoky, Pidzakharychi, to the twon Vyzhnytsi in Bukovyna district. According to the sport classification this route has the third category of difficulty with the elements of the fifth category (there are five categories of difficulty). The length of the route is 86 km. The duration of passing is 4 to 5 days. The most difficult rapids are located in the section starting from the village Nyzhnya Dzembronya and finishing in the village Krasnyk. During the rafting season (it usually takes place in the end of April – at the beginning of May) the water sport tourist meetings, water rafting technique competitions and water rallies are conducted in this section of the route. In the past years tourists mostly used pneumatic floats and canoes. Time has changed things and now tourists tend to use catamarans and kayaks. Undoubtedly, the Chornyi Cheremosh is one of the most difficult rivers in Ukraine for the water slalom and its route is one of the most popular water routes in the country.

Bicycle tourists now can’t be met as often as skiers or water sport tourists, but due to the production of modern off-road capability bikes in advanced European countries, there is a tendency to the active revival of this kind of tourism. The nature of roads and tracks in the most picturesque places of the land is favorable for this, too. And these days rare groups of cycle tourists travel along the earth roads and examine the Carpathian mountains.

Horse tourism is in the same situation. The quantity of people who wish to travel on the back of a horse is increasing year after year. The foreigners like it especially. Many of them can ride a horse quite well and wish to admire the unique mountain scenery with a minimum physical effort.

Great hopes in the Carpathians are built around the revival of the extinct species of the Huzul horses (Huzulyky). And while the horse tourism is developing, the tourists coming to the Huzul land enjoy the short horse journeys in summer, one-day tours and sledging in winter. Almost all hiking routes are fit for the horse tourism as well, but they have to be equipped with the special stops for the proper rest, not only for tourists but also for the horses.

Unlike the horse and water tourism, the relevant infrastructure has already been created for the most numerous motorcycle and automobile tourists. In the Ukrainian Carpathians there are now enough camp sites, hostels and just the houses of the local residents, where tourists can stay. In addition to the bed, tourists will be offered delicious dishes of the Huzul cuisine, car and motorcycle repairing services, and the qualified consultation concerning the chosen route. At their disposal there are a lot of cafes and restaurants along the road, recreational areas, motor transport stops, equipped recreational places and so on. While travelling in Carpathians tourists do not refuse to go by the motorway of the national standing – from Bukovetskyi to Vorokhta passes through Verkhniy Yaseniv, Kryvorivnya, Verkhovyna, Iltsi and Kryvopillya. Simultaneously the more distant settlements can be visited: Krasnoyillya, Usteriky, Dzembronya and others. Travelling by car can be combined with the hiking variants: climbing Hoverla mountain (2061 m), Pip Ivan (2026 m), Pysanyi Kamin (1221 m) or any other summit. You can also gather mushrooms or just relax in the tents near the river Prut, Cheremosh or Rybnytsi.

Still, the most available, the most interesting and popular kind of tourism is hiking. To travel on foot you don’t need a car, a motorcycle, a bike, a horse, a catamaran or ski equipment. You just need good shoes, comfortable clothes, backpack – and you join the numerous army of the dreamer-travelers. This is the kind of tourism which enables you to feel confident, happy and proud after the summit climbed, it makes you stronger physically and gives a lot of impressions on the route.

That’s why it’s not surprising that the network of hiking routes is very dense. Hiking is possible for any age of a tourist and during the three seasons: spring, summer and autumn. Below there is a list of almost all logical routes through the most picturesque places of the district and everyone going on holiday can chose the route according to one’s likes and physical abilities, or use the list to make one’s own route.

Of course, the most interesting routes are those which come along the watersheds of the mountain ranges, which spread north-west to south-east in the general Carpathian direction. Those ones which start from the residential areas and spread through all landscape zones to the highest tops are also worth attention. Excursions and sightseeing in the district, including visits to the museums and architectural monuments are also very popular.