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.
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 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.
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 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, 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.
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.