When I hiked the Three Crowns trail a couple of years ago, I was surprised to find how crowded the Polish mountains can get. Fortunately, I soon learned when and where to embark on my trips to make the most of my time among nature without dealing with too many tourists.
Ever since I moved to Poland, I’ve been trying to make the most of the picturesque hiking trails scattered all over the Polish mountains. But I soon learned that the best time to explore these trails is once the summer seasons ends and the trails aren’t overflowing with tourists.
Come spring or autumn, the weather is still nice and stable – just perfect for organizing hiking trips. Not to mention the spectacular views of trees gradually transforming their colors into yellow, orange, red.
Here are my 6 favorite hiking trails in Polish mountains I find myself returning to, year after year.
Bieszczady Mountains are just perfect for all those who enjoy quiet holidays in the mountains. If you find yourself in the area, you simply can’t miss out on Tarnica, one of the most characteristic summits in Poland. Bieszczady are located at the border of Ukraine and thanks to their gentle slopes and picturesque sights, they are known as a refuge for yuppies who want to escape their busy lives.
The peak is an amazing panoramic points. If you’re lucky to hike there during a sunny day, you will see not only the nearby summits, but also a stunning view on the Tatra Mountains. You can reach Tarnica from Ustrzyki Górne within 5 to 6 hours of hiking (counting in the return trip).
Orla Perć trail
Leading through the slopes and rivulets, Orla Perć is the most challenging and dangerous hiking trail in Poland. But the trail figures and as a key goal of all people who love the mountain thanks to the sheer beauty of the views it offers. Still, only seasoned hikers should embark on the trail.
The summit can be reached through several different trails, or instance from Hala Gąsienicowa following six different hiking routes, all lasting from 2 to 3 hours. Naturally, this location also offers easy access to one of the loveliest mountain towns in Poland, Zakopane or to sightseeing Krakow, Poland’s historical city. Nothing helps to relax more after following that trail all day than some warm oscypek cheese with cranberry sauce from one of the local eateries.
Trzy Korony (Three Crowns)
This place could easily serve as the background to an episode of Game of Thrones. If you travel to Pieniny Mountains, you simply must visit Three Crowns, the highest summit in this mountain range and probably the most distinctive location in the entire region.
You can reach the summit from several locations, such as Szczawnica, Czorsztyn or Krościenka. On the highest spot on the summit you will enjoy a panorama on the glistening waters of the Dunajec River.
These mountains are one of the most interesting natural sights and their unique geological structure inspired the creation of a national park in 1993. The National Park of Stołowe Mountains includes three different reserves: Szczeliniec Wielki, Błędne Skały and Wielkie Torfowisko Batorowskie.
The first, Szczeliniec Wielki, is the highest point of the mountain, located at 919 m. You can reach it by following the trail that features a total of 700 steps. Once you find yourself on top, you’ll get to enjoy a broad, breathtaking view that has been featured in the film adaptation of the Chronicles of Narnia. You can get some rest at the mountain refuge before embarking on the return trip.
Don’t forget about the Errant Rocks, the most famous rock creations that are definitely worth a visit. Following the narrow paths around Errant Rocks is a boost to imagination – trying to see the figures hidden in the amazing shapes of these rocks in one of Poland’s pristine state forests, widely promoted by the local government, is quite an exercise!
One of my favorite hiking trails in Poland is the one leading to the highest summit of Karkonosze Mountains. Śnieżka (Snow White) is located at 1602 m and it is well known all over the country for its unique, slightly mysterious atmosphere.
Located in the western part of the mountains, Śnieżka towers above its surroundings. The most popular hiking trail leads to Śnieżka from Karpacz within approximately three hours. Trust me, it’s worth your time.
Moszczona Valley Route
This hiking trail is 24 km-long, and it connects the villages located at the shores of the lovely Moszczona River. Walking along the trail is pure pleasure because of the sheer variety of landscape.
It goes through the villages such as Moszczona Pańska (at 6 km), Sycze (9,5 km), Grabarka (11 km), Oksiutycze (12,5 km) and Szerszenie (18 km). For extra exercise during your hike, try to pronounce these names!
I think this is one of the most picturesque trails in the entire region because it allows to visit several historical monuments. The village of Grabarka, sometimes called the Czestochowa (the primary destination of Polish pilgrims) of the Orthodox Church, is worth a visit. Nearby the village, visitors will find as small hill called the hill of penitents where throughout the years local people would set up crosses made of metal or wood.
Exploring these hiking trails takes plenty of time (and sometimes courage!), but I believe that it’s time well spent. Exploring these paths offers an opportunity not only to admire the Polish natural landscape, but also to learn more about the complex history of the regions.
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