Outstanding Pieniny, especially the central part, is one of the most attractive tourist regions in Poland. In terms of the number of tourists, they occupy second place in Poland after the Tatra Mountains.
The Pieniny Mountains are located near the border of Poland and Slovakia. The mountains also offer a Pieniny National Park where the tourists can sit down and enjoy the surrounding beauty. The capital of Pieniny is Szczawnica – a beautiful spa resort, while the symbol of the mountains is a dwarf pine growing on the scenic peak of Sokolica.
For lovers of the Pieniny, but also for those who are just planning trips here, we have prepared a list of the biggest attractions and the most beautiful places that are absolutely worth seeing.
Dunajec River Gorge
Rafting down the Dunajec River is undoubtedly one of the most popular attractions of the Pieniny Mountains. Beautiful views that can be admired from the perspective of rafting is an excellent form of visiting the Pieniny, which will be appreciated by tourists of all ages.
The tour on the raft takes at least 1 hour and 45 minutes and is 14 kilometers long. Tourists are often intrigued by the dressing of the rafters as they tend to dress up in a way that can represent their culture.
Tourists planning to go for rafting should wear waterproof shoes as shoes tend to get wet during the long journey. Moreover, it often gets chilly, so it is better to take warm clothes along with you.
This is the most famous mountain range in the Pieniny. From Okrąglica, the highest and incredibly scenic peak, you can admire the Dunajec River Gorge and surrounding Mountains.
Unfortunately, the observation deck holds only fifteen people, so in the peak season, you sometimes have to queue to feast your eyes with the mountain landscape.
If we look at the map of mountain hiking trails crossing the Pieniny, we will find out that all of them lead to the Three Crowns. Therefore, the choice of route depends rather on which of the towns you choose as a base. The shortest route leads from Sromowce Nizne and takes about 2 hours.
There is also Mountain shelter Three Crowns Located next to the trail, which leads to the most famous Pieniny peak.
A perfect place to relax at the foot of the Pieniny Mountains. From the windows of the rooms, you can admire the traditional rafts flowing down the Dunajec River, the Red Monastery, or the Tatra Mountains.
The hostel is famous for its excellent regional cuisine and, of course, for clean mountain air. The restaurant here is open to everyone, including tourists passing by.
The location of the hostel makes it an ideal starting point for mountain trips, bike trips, or ski trips. The hostel can be reached all year round, also in winter, where the road is regularly cleared of snow and also available for cars.
You can stay there overnight and admire the beautiful starry sky. This is an excellent idea for a romantic night with your other half in the midst of nature.
The gorge has been known since the 15th century as a place of treasure hunting. The canyon impresses with the height and steepness of the enormous rock walls.
Homole Gorge is one of the greatest natural attractions of the Pieniny mountains located in the village of Jaworki. The rocky part of the canyon is V-shaped and reaches a length of 0.8 km.
The Kamionka stream flows through the narrow bottom of the valley. Particularly noteworthy here are its unusual and picturesque cascades, which are amazing. They are an incredible inspiration for artists.
It is impossible not to notice the high colored walls reaching 120 meters, built of white and red crinoid limestone and the fanciful shape of the crags themselves. In the gorge, we can also observe a vibrant flora and fauna. Many animals also find shelter here, including eagle owl, kestrel falcon, or spotted lizard.
Czorsztyn Lake and Castles
An additional attraction of the Pieniny is the water dam and the artificial Czorsztyn Lake, on which you can sail a cruise ship between the historic castles in Czorsztyn and Niedzica. Both facilities are open to tourists.
The castle in Czorsztyn is one of the most interesting and also the most mysterious tourist attractions of the region. Many legends have been created about the castle. Some of them have survived to this day and are still alive among the inhabitants of the surrounding towns and tourists arriving in Czorsztyn.
The castle was built in the fourteenth century on the initiative of Casimir the Great, as a border fortification, to protect the trade and diplomatic route located in the Dunajec valley.
The fall of the fortress began in the eighteenth century when it was first devastated by Cossack troops, and later in 1790 severely damaged by a fire caused by a lightning strike. Since then, the castle has systematically declined.
Serious security and reconstruction works of the castle began at the beginning of the 90s of the 20th century and are ongoing to this day. The stronghold was opened to the public in 1996.
The biggest attraction of Niedzica is beautifully situated fortification from the 14th century. Despite the turbulent history, fires, and numerous wars, which the ancient walls witnessed, the Dunajec Castle still impresses with its charm.
We can admire the Renaissance lower castle from the fourteenth century and the Gothic upper castle, which was severely damaged in the fifteenth century.
There is a fascinating legend associated with the castle about the Inca treasure hidden here. Apparently, in 1946 the Inca kipu was found here. Several films were shot at the castle in Niedzica, including “Janosik” and “Holidays with ghosts.”
Castle currently houses a museum. You can see here, among others, exhibits related to the history of the object, the torture chamber, the hunting hall, and the guard chamber, which are also open to the public.
Czorsztyn Lake is one of the most scenic lakes in the Polish mountains. Sitting in the cockpit of a sailboat, we can admire the panorama of the surrounding mountains.
Czorsztyn Lake is an artificial reservoir, beautifully situated at the foot of the Pieniny, between Niedzica and Czorsztyn. The area around the lake is so picturesque and is a favorite stopping place for tourists heading to Pieniny.
Cruise ships run along the picturesque Czorsztyn Lake during the season to help you explore the beautiful surroundings. This fantastic attraction allows tourists to move quickly between medieval castles, magnificent Dunajec castle in Niedzica, and the ruins of the castle in Czorsztyn.
Sokolica reaches a high of 747 meters above sea level, being next to the Three Crowns, one of the most popular Pieniny trips destinations. The name of the summit comes from the fact that falcons once had their nests in this place.
The relict pine growing on the peak of Sokolica is the most photographed tree in Poland and undoubtedly symbol of the Pieniny Mountains.
Sokolica is an excellent viewpoint. From there, you can admire Dunajec river Gorge, Pieniny Mountains, and the Tatra Mountains.
Admission to Sokolica is paid (6 PLN), but the ticket also allows you to enter the Three Crowns. The trail from the Three Crowns Hostel to Krościenko via Sokolica has a length of 8.9 kilometers and takes about 3 hours 20 minutes in summer.
Szczawnica is a well-known health resort with over 150 years of tradition. The resort specializes among others in the treatment of diseases of the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and conditions of the musculoskeletal system.
The main tourist attractions located in Szczawnica are rich sources of mineral waters. Although there are not many valuable monuments in Szczawnica itself, it is worth paying attention primarily to the old stylized spa buildings and houses in quite a good condition from the 19th century.
If you are looking for an exciting holiday base that will provide various attractions, from sports to cultural events, be sure to visit Szczawnica, located at the foot of the Pieniny National Park.
Where Should You Stay In Pieniny?
People who love traveling prefer to look for locations that are not too costly but offers scenic spots and environment that can help them relax without any hassle. If you are planning to try rafting on your visit, then it is better to book a place right next to the Dunajec River Gorge. However, it is recommended that you either book a hotel or a guest house if you are planning to stay for an extended period.
Some of the places you should consider for your stay in Pieniny Mountains are listed below:
1. Hotel Nad Przelomem
Hotel Nad Przelomem is the most comfortable accommodation you can get in the Pieniny Mountains. It offers a breakfast buffet to its visitors along with full-day access to the wellness are inside the hotel.
Tourists who are tired of the activities in the mountains can get a 60-minute massage. It will help them feel fresh.
2. Hotel Lokis
Hotel Lokis has been rated the highest in terms of the best location and facilities. It offers a scenic view of the Pieniny Mountains. Tourists can enjoy activities like hiking and skiing during their stay.
Moreover, tourists also get a chance to enjoy the breakfast buffet that is available regularly. It is a Wi-Fi free zone, which means that they can keep uploading their new pictures on different social media platforms.
3. Hotel Smile Pieniny
Hotel Smile Pieniny is located near the Pieniny Mountains, as the name suggests itself. It offers spacious and modern rooms to their visitors, and some of the places also have an attached balcony.
The balconies can enhance your experience as you can enjoy the breathtaking view from your comfort zone. It also has an in-built spa where tourists can relax and enjoy the massage facilities available. However, the spa facility has extra charges.
4. Hotel Jan
Hotel Jan is a three-star hotel that is also located near the Dunajec River Gorge and the Pieniny Mountains. It has an in-built spa, sauna, gym, and a salt cave where tourists can relax after they are tired of exploring the mountains.
It serves several polish delicacies that can be enjoyed within the comfort of your room. Moreover, it also has a bar that offers famous drinks from across the world. You name it, and they will have it for sure.
5. Dom nad jeziorem Hubka
Dom nad jeziorem Hubka is located in Maniowy, on the Czorsztyńskie Lake, the hotel offers rooms with a private bathroom, a restaurant specializing in Polish cuisine, and spectacular views of the lake.
The property also offers bicycle and cross-country ski rental. A bicycle path around the Czorsztyn Lake and the VeloDunajec path run next to the property.
Charming Pieniny mountains offer a well-organized accommodation base at affordable prices, hiking and biking trails, a number of restaurants and pubs, as well as impressive historical facilities.
While being in the Pieniny, it is worth visiting the surrounding beautiful towns: Szczawnica, Kroscienko, Czorsztyn, Sromowce Niżne, and Niedzica.
Pieniny an ideal place for tourists who are looking to relax in the bosom of nature!