Ukrainian pilgrims raised almost 2000 € for charity during their hiking

Vinnytsia hiking guide Svitlana Hordiychuk, together with two companions Yevhenia Rakhmatova and Maria Drozdova, walked the Camino Podolico route from Vinnytsia to Kamianets-Podilskyi in eight days. They actively shared their impressions through Instagram stories, talking about their adventures on the way. 

All this was in order to popularize the Camino Podolico route and raise money for an inclusive car with a lift for military personnel undergoing prosthetics and rehabilitation in Vinnytsia. During the hike, the travelers managed to raise almost 2000 euros, however the charity raise is still ongoing.

Having returned from her trip, Svitlana Hordiychuk shared her impressions for the Camino Podolico website. 

She is an experienced hiking guide, but this trip became the longest in her life so far. Hiking is mostly 1-2 days trips, but Camino Podolico is a cultural and pilgrim route 252 kilometers long, which connects 13 settlements of Vinnytsia and Khmelnytskyi regions and can be covered in 12-14 days. The travelers managed to cover it in 8 days, and in addition, Svitlana Hordiychuk prolonged her trip for 2 more days along the new part of the route: from Kamianets-Podilskyi to Zavallia. 

What was your personal discovery on the Saint James Way of Podillya?

– I know the Vinnytsia part of this route, since I walked its different parts by myself and with some groups of tourists. For me the biggest discovery was Khmelnytskyi region - the second part of Camino Podolico. I really like the villages of Maliivtsi and Zinkiv…I was impressed by the village of Pidlisnyi Mukariv: you enter it and there is one abandoned house where no one lives, another abandoned house without anyone, and then there’s a third house and there are some people still living there. Each house has a very interesting, unusually built stone fence. You continue walking and at some point you reach the center of the village and there you see the cathedral of the 18th century (it is still functioning, well furnished), and then the locals say: “There’s also a pipe organ there”. I was very impressed. 

– I am really glad that I continued walking till the village of Zavallia, where you can see the Atlantida cave. I recommend everyone go further, at least 25 kilometers away from Kamianets-Podilskyi and see this beauty. I am very happy that I saw the Khmelnytskyi region from a different angle. 

What was the hardest part during the trip?

– I had a hard time with my backpack. My legs didn’t hurt at all as opposed to my back. That was when I understood that if I walk the route again in the future, alone or with groups of tourists, the backpack has to weigh no more than 10 kilograms. Sometimes we took them off in the places where we stayed overnight, and walked around the city without them (in Zinkiv, Dunaivtsi, Kamianets-Podilskyi).The girls had problems with their legs, so they took their sneakers off and walked just in flip-flops. Maria walked like this the whole way from Yaltushkiv to Vinkivtsi (it was easier for her than wearing sneakers). I am used to walking in sneakers. However, I want to give a recommendation: if you are not used to hiking, it’s better to take some crocs or something similar with you. The girls told me as well, that they saw people walking the Spanish part of Camino de Santiago who did the same: they wore trekking socks and crocs.

What advice can you give to the future travelers and pilgrims who will walk the Saint James way of Podillya? 

–  The most important advice is not to be afraid. Don’t focus on the thought that something bad will happen to you … A lot of people wrote to me (especially girls) asking if it is possible to complete the route by themselves. I told them that in 2016 when I found out about Camino, when I came to Portugal, I met a volunteer who was walking the route alone (with a backpack and a tent…). I was also surprised. And then I understood that it is just our fears. So if you want to go alone - then go and do not worry. Before us, another girl walked the Camino Podolico route by herself: locals told us about her in Zinkiv, Panivtsi… I was walking by myself as well for two days and nothing bad happened. Moreover, when you walk alone, you have more thoughts, you analyze more, what happens in your life…And this is the main mission - walking, analyzing your life, finding a mental break, balance and exactly in this moment you come up with some new ideas. I am very happy that I walked and some ideas did come to me. 

– Also a lot of girls wrote that they want to walk the route together with somebody. Because of this, if I manage to collect a group of people willing to walk, I plan to make a hiking trip for them along the Camino Podolico route from Vinnytsia to Bar in July and September. But it won’t be 100 kilometers covered in 3 days, like we walked. It would be 5 days to show that it isn’t that hard. And then if they want, they can continue walking from Bar to Kamianets-Podilskyi by themselves.

How to help

Charitable contributions can be made at card transfer via the link: or PayPal:

Name of the legal entity: HROMADSKA SPILKA "VINNYTSKYI

Code according to the EDRPOU: 43622201

Сurrency: EUR

Account number (IBAN): UA743510050000026000879139134


Beneficiary bank (AT "UKRSIBBANK"): 07205696 UKRSIBBANK

Intermediary Bank: BNP PARIBAS SA

Purpose: Charity donation for veteran rehabilitation


Photos by Svitlana Hordiychuk