Category: Outdoor Activities

Category: Outdoor Activities

Kadzielnia Reserve Kielce

Kadzielnia is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kielce. The former quarry attracts visitors interested in music, extreme experiences such as ziplining and also geology enthusiasts.

It is located on a hill as part of the Kadzielnia Range and is 295m above sea level. As a quarry back in the 18th century, it was a significant source of limestone, which was required primarily for road construction and you can still find traces of mining activity around the area.

In the centre is the Geologists Rock and this is protected as part of the Kadzielnia Nature Reserve and is not open to tourists, instead visitors admire the rock from the surrounding paths and viewpoints surrounding the quarry.

You’ll find a number of attractions in Kadzielnia such as the underground tourist route, the amphitheatre, a zip-line station and a waterfall.

Kadzielnia is very popular with palaeontologists and geologists who come to the area in search of fossils. Many different fossils have been found including sponges, corals, daylilies, brachiopods and snails.

Kadzielnia is also home to 25 caves. There are three caves open to the public and this is where you can find the 140m long underground tourist route.

The Kadzielnia Amphitheater is one of the most unique and beautiful stages in the country. The surrounding rocks provide a natural backdrop and also enhance the acoustics. The amphitheatre has operated for more than 50 years and underwent a thorough modernisation in 2010, today it can seat as many as 5,430 spectators. During inclement weather, the stage and auditorium is covered with a retractable roof.

Kadzielnia Amphitheater

The amphitheater hosts large, modern artistic shows and concerts, among them the cult “pinwheel”, the International Scout Festival of School Youth Culture and the annual Kielce Festival.

There’s much more to Kadzielnia than a concert among the rocks, exploring the caves and the amazing views. Thrill-seekers come to the area to admire the scenery from a height of 40m during a free rope descent. The Kadzielnia Rope Park includes three descents.

Every year, the Kadzielnia Sport Festival is hosted in the area and attracts extreme sports enthusiasts from near and afar.

Lesser Poland (Malopolskie)

Lesser Poland

Lesser Poland – updated 22 September 2022

Lesser Poland (Malopolskie) is located in south-east Poland and has the city of Kraków as its administrative capital. The region has played an important part in Polish history and once was the focal point of the ancient Polish kingdom.

Lesser Poland

Mountains

The region is very rich in natural beauty, to the north you will find the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, to the south, the Tatra, Pieniny and Beskidy Mountains and to the west is a broad range of hills.

National Parks

Lesser Poland has six National Parks and 11 Landscape Parks including: Tatra National Park and Babia Góra National Park in addition to many areas for tourism and recreation, including Zakopane, which is Poland’s most popular winter resort.

Lesser Poland

Skiing

In the winter, thousands arrive in Zakopane to ski, especially around Christmas and in February. The most popular skiing areas are Kasprowy Wierch and Gubałówka. There are a number of cross-country skiing trails in the forests surrounding the town.

Historic sites

The province also has many historic sites. The salt mine at Wieliczka, the pilgrimage town of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, and Kraków's Old Town are ranked by UNESCO among the most precious sites of world heritage.

Lesser Poland

John Paul II

At Wadowice, birthplace of John Paul II is a museum dedicated to the late Pope's childhood. The area of Oświęcim, with the former Nazi concentration camps Auschwitz-I and Auschwitz-II-Birkenau is visited annually by a million people.

Lesser Poland

It is widely agreed that everyone should visit Auschwitz at least once in their lives, it is a stern reminder of the horrors that human beings can inflict on each other and for some people, a life-changing experience.

Another tourist destination is the town of Bochnia with its salt mine, Europe's oldest.

Krakow

Kraków may no longer be Poland's political capital, but it makes a strong case for being the country's cultural capital. Cited as one of Europe's most beautiful cities, its Old Town was declared the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world. According to official statistics, in 2019 Kraków was visited by over 14 million tourists including 3.3 million foreign travellers.

Tours & Attractions

Subcarpathia (Podkarpackie)

Subcarpathia

Subcarpathia – updated 23 September 2022

Subcarpathia (Podkarpackie) is located in the south-eastern corner of Poland and has the city of Rzeszów as its administrative capital. The region is one of the greenest provinces in Poland with nearly 36% of the area being protected. The protected elements are mostly woodland including remnants of ancient primeval forest.

National & Landscape Parks

Within Subcarpathia, there are two National Parks (all of Bieszczady National Park, and parts of Magura National Park) and eleven Landscape Parks.

Bieszczady National Park

Whilst exploring the region, you’ll find hundreds of kilometres of tourist trails. The area is extremely popular with hikers who come to the province to enjoy the scenery and fauna, which includes lynxes, wildcats, wisents and golden eagles to name a few.

Cycling

There are over 1,750 kilometres of cycling routes with varied levels of difficulty in Subcarpathia. Experienced cyclists are attracted by the routes in the Bieszczady, Low Beskid and Slonne Mountains. The Green Velo Eastern Cycling Trail is popular with beginners and families with children.

Cycling in Poland

Tourist attractions

There are many tourist attractions in the province including historic and heritage sites. The Wooden Architecture Route comprises 9 trails and has a total length of 1202 km. It leads to 127 landmarks of wooden architecture, such as churches, tserkvas, open-air expositions, complexes of small-town buildings, manor houses and palaces. Of particular notice are the jewels of wooden architecture recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

Castles & Palaces

Lovers of castles and palaces will not be disappointed, the region has many including Lancut Castle and the fairy tale Krasiczyn Castle.

Krasiczyn Castle

Krasiczyn Castle is more of a palace come stately home than a castle and is beautifully photogenic, the kind of place where young girls dream of marrying their Prince Charming. Whitewashed walls, turrets and an arcaded courtyard all help to give Krasiczyn that Cinderella feeling.

The City of Glass

No trip to Subcarpathia is complete without a visit to Krosno, known as, “The City of Glass”. Check out the Glass Heritage Centre. In the past each and every Polish household had some glassware from Krosna in their home.

Silesia (Slaskie)

Silesia

Silesia – updated 23 September 2022

Silesia Voivodeship is located in southern Poland and has the city of Katowice as its capital. The province is one of the most important industrial regions of Poland with a proud history of mining.

Silesia province

Densely populated

The Silesia region is the most densely populated voivodeship in Poland (379 people per square kilometre, compared to the national average of 124) and also one of the wealthiest. Over 13% of Poland’s gross domestic product (GDP) is generated there.

Landscape Parks

There’s much more to the Silesia Voivodeship than industry, the region also has 8 Landscape Parks including: the Eagle Nests Landscape Park, the Little Beskids Landscape Park and the Silesian Beskids Landscape Park. You’ll also find nature preserves and mountain ranges within the region.

Trail of the Eagles Nests

Taking the Trail of the Eagles Nests is a great way to explore many historical sites including a chain of 25 medieval castles between Częstochowa and Kraków. The trail has been named the “Eagle's Nests”, as most of the castles are located on large, tall rocks of the Polish Jura Chain featuring many limestone cliffs, monadnocks and valleys below.

Tourist attractions

Favourite tourist destinations include the castle in Pszczyna or the Hochbergs hunting lodge in Promnice and mining facilities such as the “Guido” Coal Mine, the Queen Louise Adit and UNESCO listed Tarnowskie Góry Silver Mine which have been turned into fascinating and educational underground tourist attractions.

Guido Coal Mine

Winter sports

The town of Bielsko-Biała is surrounded by the Beskidy Mountains and this part of the region is very popular with winter sports enthusiasts. There are around 200 km of ski routes to enjoy serviced by over 150 ski lifts. Many of the ski slopes are equipped with artificial snow generators and are illuminated at night. The most visited winter resorts are Szczyrk, Brenna, Wisła and Ustroń.

Jasna Góra

Each year, millions of pilgrims from all over Poland flock to Jasna Góra in Częstochowa, mainly to see the blessed icon of the Black Madonna. Pilgrims travel on foot for several days often covering hundreds of kilometres.

Tours & Attractions

Opole (Opolskie)

Opole

Opole – updated 23 September 2022

Opole (Opolskie) is Poland’s smallest province at just 9,400 square kilometres; however, it packs a punch for its size and is a treasure trove of attractions for tourists. The province is rich in culture with famous castles and palaces, lots of historical sites and an abundance of beautiful lakes and rivers. The capital of the region is the city of Opole.

Opole

Ethnic Germans

Opole is located in southern Poland and around 15% of the one million inhabitants of the voivodeship are ethnic Germans (that’s 90% of all ethnic Germans in Poland). Ethnic Germans first came to this region during the Late Middle Ages because the area was once part of the Prussian province of Silesia. As a result, the German language is co-official in 28 communes.

Landscape Parks

Opole province is a green region and has the warmest climate in the country. It has three Landscape Parks, Opawskie Mountains, Góra Świętej Anny and Stobrawa and three large lakes, Turawskie, Nyskie, and Otmuchów. Lake Turawskie can be reached by bicycle from Opole and is an ideal location for boating or kitesurfing, fishing for pikeperch or birdwatching from the lake’s sandbanks or lagoons.

Lake Nyskie

Lake Nyskie, a reservoir on the River Nysa Kłodzka with a view onto the Opawskie Mountains and Czechia’s Rychlebské hory, is the perfect place for sunbathing, camping, angling and boating, particularly during summer season.

Tourist attractions

Popular tourist attractions in the region include the Silesian castle in Brzeg, built during the reign of the Piast dynasty, the Franciscan monastery on top of Saint Anne Mountain and the medieval defence fortifications in Paczków (referred to as the Upper Silesian Carcassonne).

Opole

Museum of the Silesian Piasts

The Silesian castle in Brzeg was initially a stronghold. Today it is the Museum of the Silesian Piasts, among other exhibits, the museum houses Europe’s largest collection of gravestones of a single dynasty.

Another castle of note is the fairy-tale castle in Moszna; which was allegedly once inhabited by the Knights Templar.

JuraPark Krasiejów is the world’s only museum standing on an active palaeontological dig and here you can take a journey back in time and view almost 200 models of 70 species of Mesozoic amphibians and reptiles. The Palaeontological Pavilion houses Europe’s biggest fossils from Triassic amphibians and reptiles, viewed through the glass floor.

Łambinowice

The Central Museum of Prisoners of War in Łambinowice  is a unique place commemorating the prisoners of the three POW camps that operated within the local military training ground. The first camp was set up by the Prussians for French POWs during the Franco-Prussian War. During World War II, one of the biggest Wehrmacht POW camp complexes existed here: Stalag VIII B, Stalag 318/VIII F and Stalag 344. After the war, part of the complex was used by the Polish Security Service (SB) as a labour camp where Germans and Silesians were held before being displaced from Poland and former members of Nazi organisations were imprisoned.

Wooden Religious Architecture Trail

The Wooden Religious Architecture Trail will take you from Opole across Opole Silesia to a total of twelve charming old churches, among them a top-class historical site: St. Anne’s Pilgrimage Church which is based on the outline of a five-petal rose.

West Pomerania (Zachodniopomorskie)

West Pomerania

West Pomerania – updated 23 September 2022

West Pomerania (Zachodniopomorskie) in north-west Poland has a border with Germany to the west and the Baltic Sea to the north and is considered to be one of the greenest regions in Poland and also one of the most attractive for tourists. There’s plenty on offer for visitors including beaches, woodlands, national parks, lakes, seaside resorts, golf clubs, cycling routes and health spas.

Szczecin

Its capital and largest city is Szczecin, which is a busy working port. Other important ports in the region are Świnoujście and Police. The major seaside towns in West Pomerania are Międzyzdroje, Dziwnów, Kołobrzeg and Mielno.

West Pomerania

Wkrzańska Forest

West Pomerania has a very diverse landscape ranging from sandy beaches to lakes to large forests. One of the most popular forests in the region is Wkrzańska Forest, which is shared between Germany and Poland with 22% of the forest being on the Polish side.

National Parks

The province has two national parks, Wolin National Park, situated on the island of Wolin and Drawa National Park, which is a part of the huge Drawsko Forest. It also has 6 natural parks, 75 reserves, 3 forests and upwards of 1,100 Sites of Unique Nature.

Crooked Forest

Each year, many tourists visit the Crooked Forest located near the town of Gryfino. It is a grove of about 100 oddly shaped pine trees planted around 1930. The reason why the pines are shaped this way has never determined and remains a mystery to this day.

West Pomerania

Golf

Golfers can enjoy a good choice of courses such as: Binowo Park Golf Club, Amber Baltic Golf Club, Modry Las Golf Club & Kamień Country Golf Club.

Szczecin was once called Stettin and was a city located in Germany. It was transferred to Poland at the end of World War II. The city is known for its 19th-century Wały Chrobrego, or Chobry Embankment, and the renovated Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle, now a cultural centre.

Tours & Attractions

Warmia-Masuria (Warminsko-Mazurskie)

Warmia-Masuria

Warmia-Masuria – updated 23 September 2022

Warmia-Masuria (Warminsko-Mazurskie) is the water sports capital of Poland, and it is dominated by the Great Masurian Lakes. Every year, thousands of kayakers, windsurfers and sailors arrive in the province to have fun on the water.

Land of a thousand lakes

Masuria and the Masurian Lake District are known in Polish as Kraina Tysiąca Jezior and in German as Land der Tausend Seen, meaning “land of a thousand lakes.” These lakes were ground out of the land by glaciers during the Pleistocene ice age, when ice covered north-eastern Europe. By 10,000 BC this ice started to melt. Great geological changes took place and even in the last 500 years the maps showing the lagoons and peninsulas on the Baltic Sea have greatly altered in appearance.

Warmia-Masuria

Elbląg–Ostróda

At 24,192 square kilometres, Warmia-Masuria is not the biggest region in Poland, but it sure has a lot to offer. Once you’ve explored the lakes, you can experience water of a different sort on one of the world’s most intriguing canals, the Elbląg–Ostróda; which runs 80.5 kilometres southward from Lake Drużno to the river Drwęca and lake Jeziorak. The canal uses a system of inclined planes between lakes to overcome a 100 m difference in water levels and is considered one of the most significant monuments related to the history of technology.

Krutynia

Warmia-Masuria also has countless rivers, swamps and wetlands to have fun in. The river Krutynia, which flows from Lake Warpuńskie into Lake Bełdany is a popular destination for kayakers and is considered to be one of the most picturesque waterways in Poland.

The province's name derives from two historic regions, Warmia and Masuria and its capital and largest city is Olsztyn.

Warmia-Masuria is home to Hitler’s wartime hideout, the Wolf’s Lair, one of Europe’s most significant WWII sites. There’s also Palaces, Gothic castles, Gothic churches and museums to explore.

Wolf’s Lair

One of the most-visited attractions in Warmia-Masuria is the Lidzbark Castle, which was the residence of bishops for hundreds of years. It was here that Nicolaus Copernicus sketched the first draft of his theory on the movement of the Earth.

Wolf's Lair

The Wolf’s Lair in Gierłoż is well-worth a visit. Wolf’s Lair is the standard English name for Wolfsschanze, Adolf Hitler’s first World War II Eastern Front military headquarters, one of several Führerhauptquartier (Führer Headquarters) or FHQs located in various parts of Europe. Hitler first arrived at the Wolf’s Lair late on the night of 23 June 1941 and departed for the last time on 20 November 1944. Overall, he spent over 800 days there during that 3.5-year period.

The Germans blew up this enormous complex of 80 buildings and bunkers near the end of World War II, but some buildings remain. You can also see the remains of the conference barrack that was the scene of an unsuccessful attempt on Hitler’s life.

Other places that are worth visiting include: the pyramid in Rapa, which is the family mausoleum of the von Fahrenheid family and is loosely inspired by the architecture of ancient Egypt. The family members buried there were mummified.

The English version official website for Warmia and Masuria is actually quite good and is worth looking through for further information about the region – https://mazury.travel/en/

Tours & Attractions

Balloon Flights

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Hiking in Poland

Hiking trails Poland

Hiking in Poland – Updated 23 August 2022

If you enjoy getting your boots on, strapping on a backpack and setting off to the great outdoors, then hiking in Poland is definitely something you should consider. The variety of routes and terrain on offer is impressive, from Poland’s mountainous areas to their National Parks, hiking options range from long treks lasting a week to short rambles alongside lakes.

Hiking in Poland

Poland has 15,000 miles of well-marked hiking paths taking you through an incredible variety of landscapes ranging from dense forest to mountain passes. There’s a route for hikers of all abilities and ages, from gentle strolls around lakes to the high peaks of the Tatra Mountains.

The mountains

The mountain regions such as the Tatras, Beskids and Sudetes are delightful to explore and they attract many thousands of walkers each year and in every season.

Hiking in Poland

All of the 23 national parks in Poland have a well-developed tourism infrastructure. Many of them offer specially prepared hiking trails with shelters. Within the Carpathian Mountains, there is a cluster of six national parks, the remaining seventeen parks are scattered all around the country proving visitors with the full range of flora & fauna, rivers & lakes and landscapes in Poland’s portfolio.

For exciting high-altitude hikes head for the southern mountain ranges. The Tatra Mountains are the most popular destination in Poland for hiking. The High Tatras are the most challenging and many hikers head for the cross on the summit of Mount Giewont at 1895m. If you don’t like steep slopes, then there are plenty of alternative walks available, particularly in the valleys around Zakopane.

Hiking in Poland

Hiking in the Tatra Mountains

With the collapse of the Iron Curtain, border relations are now freer than ever. Thus, for dedicated hikers, the opportunity to explore the region in depth is very much an option. Poles are the first to say how wonderful the Slovakian Tatras are, and it’s well worth bearing this in mind if you want to get a full flavour of this wild region.

Probably the easiest way to get to the Polish side of the Tatras is to take a plane to Krakow and then take the train (five hours) to Zakopane. If you want to get to the Slovak side, then Bratislava airport is currently rebranding itself as a low-cost hub (Vienna East!). Alternatively, Vienna to Bratislava is only about an hour and-a-half by train. From Bratislava take the train via Poprad to Stary Smokovec. Poprad also has an airport.

Further exciting hiking experiences can be found in the nearby Pieniny Mountain range and the Bieszczady Mountains in the south east.

Beskid Sądecki is a mountain range in the eastern section of the Western Beskids, and this provides hikers with a good selection of walking paths and mountain hostels.

The Sudetes

The Sudetes, are a mountain range in Central Europe, shared by Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. A favourite way to explore the Sudetes is to take a trip to the Karkonosze National Park, a 55.75 sq. km belt that runs along the Polish – Czech border for some 25km. The park is the most popular hiking territory in the Sudetes and has 33 different trails covering a total of 100km. The two main gateways are Szklarska Poręba and Karpacz, from where most tourists ascend Mt Szrenica and Mt Śnieżka respectively. The ancient and peculiar ‘table top’ rock formations of the Góry Stołowe (Table Mountains) are among the highlights of the Sudetes.

National Parks

Most of the National Parks in Poland provide excellent hiking routes, those that are worthy of a special mention are: Wigry National Park, Świętokrzyski National Park, Roztocze National Park, Biebrza National Park, Kampinos National Park, Wielkopolska National Park and Wolin National Park.

The Świętokrzyski National Park in Małopolska near Kielce is the lowest mountain range in the country and has a well-known 18 km walk that includes an ancient holy site that is now a monastery.

For those that enjoy easy walks and gentle terrain, Roztocze National Park is ideal.

Winter Activities

Poland Winter Activities

Winter Activities in Poland – Updated 23 August 2022

The two most popular winter activities in Poland are skiing and snowboarding and the country is the ideal location for those who have not skied before or are still in the learning phase. Poland is not the Alps however and experienced skiers and snowboarders will probably not find the excitement they are looking for, black runs in Poland are akin to a tricky red run in the Alps.

Winter Activities in Poland

Despite not having huge vertical drops and above treeline bowls, Poland still attracts many winter sports enthusiasts, mainly due to the fact that it is so much cheaper to ski there and costs are much less than in the well-known resorts such as Courchevel, Zermatt and St. Moritz. Typically, accommodation in a Polish resort can range from as little as 40zł for a hostel to 300zł + for a decent hotel. Ski-lift passes are approx. 100zł per day.

There’s around 500 kilometres of slopes in Poland to enjoy in addition to swathes of countryside, which are ideal for cross-country skiing. Due to the increasing popularity of winter sports, new pistes have been developed recently in the Kasuby, Podlasie and Masury regions and you’ll also find artificial slopes popping up such as Malta Park in Poznan and Szczesliwice park in Warsaw.

Winter Activities in Poland

Tatra Mountains

The Tatra Mountains provide the best skiing & snowboarding experience in the country and that’s where you will find the town of Zakopane, known as the winter sports capital of Poland.

Kasprowy Wierch (1985m) in the Tatras is very popular with Polish skiers and is suitable for all skill levels and has a 4300m run. Gubałówka with its 1500m run is also a decent place to ski and has fantastic views. The good thing about Zakopane is that the ski season can often last into April some years. Snowboarders in Zakopane have a couple of good spots to choose such as the Szymoszkowa Clearing, Witow and Bialka Tatrzanska.

Sudetes Mountains

A great alternative to the Tatras is the Sudetes Mountains with Karpacz and Szklarska Poręba in Silesia being the most visited. Situated at the foot of Mount Szrenica, the city provides outdoor types with almost 15km of skiing and walking routes including some decent cross-country trails.

In the Silesian Beskids, you’ll find the village of Szczyrk; which is home to the Polish Winter Olympics training centre. This is the preferred destination for novice skiers and snowboarders. Other good locations are Jaworzyna Krynicka, Wisła and Korbielow.

There are alternative winter activities other than skiing and snowboarding that can be enjoyed in Poland. Snowmobile tours are very popular, there are many places where you can find sleigh rides and for the adventurous, Poland’s lakes freeze over in the winter and make excellent locations for ice skating and ice sailing.