Poland is my homeland, where I spent most of my life. Always love to come back and explore off the beaten path places in Poland. I want to share with you some fascinating destination, which you may not find in a tourist guide.
Off the beaten path in Poland
Poland is a big country with over 312 000 km², so believe me, we have much more than the well-known touristic attractions! From amazing mountains through medieval towns, lakes and beaches. Therefore, if you would like to see some off the beaten track spots, now few propositions.
Sandomierz on the south east of Poland is definitely the most lovely town in the whole country, not only because it’s my hometown. Historical old quarter, Vistula river or natural gorges are not the only attractions for tourists. Sandomierz is a perfect place for a weekend trip in Poland. To find out more I prepared a guide around Sandomierz, where you will see more photos and surely get tempted to come here.
2. Pepper Mountains
If you ever come to Sandomierz, you must also visit Góry Pieprzowe which means pepper mountains. Not many people come here and know that they are the oldest mountains in Poland. However, strong erosion made them look like a little hills with characteristic fragile rocks. When you take the stone in your hands, you will understand how week is that, as it’s easily breaking into pieces, which look like a black pepper.
Pepper Mountains is a National Reserve as there are several unique species of flora and fauna, especially wild roses. What’s more, this natural reserve will provide you stunning views at the Vistula river and panorama of the town. Absolutely worth visiting, especially on sunrise!
For those who don’t like to move a lot, you can get to Pepper mountains by car and have a short walk to the viewpoint. If you like to hike, I recommend taking the whole day and walk from the old town of Sandomierz through all Pepper Mountains. You can find a trail leading there on the old market, or ask in the tourist information.
3. Krzyżtopór Castle
Staying in the south-east Poland I want to introduce you the most stunning castle ruins which you can see in Poland. Imagine that: 4 bastions like 4 seasons, 12 halls equals the number of months, 52 chambers as much as weeks in a year and 365 windows – analogous to the number of days. The dining room in the tower had supposedly a glass ceiling, through which an aquarium with exotic fish could be seen. This is Krzyżtopór Castle headquarters of Ossolinski family, which today is unfortunately a ruin, but incredibly impressive. Prior to the creation of Versailles was the largest object of this type in Europe, in full glory it functioned only eleven years.
4. Five Ponds Valley
Most of the tourist visiting Poland visit Zakopane in Tatra mountains but they choose the well knows crowded paths like Morskie Oko. I have admit, that Zakopane is not off the beaten path spot in Poland. Thousands of tourists visit it every year. However, as I highly recommend visitng this city I decided to mention one of the less visited trails.
Five Ponds Valley is a perfect off the beaten path trail, not too hard and less famous. It’s my favorite spot in astonishing Tatra mountains. Hike trhough the valleys, climbing one steep mountain and breathtaking view from over there. On the way to the valley you will see the highest polish waterfall named Siklawa.
5. Ancient mines of optimism stone
I am taking you to the biggest ancient mines in Europe. In Świętokrzyskie region, there are mines of striped flint known in the world as “Stone of Optimism”. It exists only in one place in the Earth, in a large reserve area in south-east Poland. In Neolithic, it was a huge business of 4 000 mines which created millions of axes and other tools. Like a huge factory! They also believed that this unique stone is a talisman protecting from evil. Nowadays, lots of people come here to see the mines and get a stone of optimism as a souvenir. The stone looks nice with the grey stripes and is fashionable jewlry element.
The ancient mine is in Krzemionki village. The touristic path is around 1,5 km of the musem as well as part of the underground tunnels. They also tried to reconstruck the ancient village. Thinking that it’s the only place like that in the world, I would highly advice putting in on your off the beaten path in Poland list.
Mountains is definately one of the reasons you should visit Poland. Bieszczady Mountains in the south-east Poland is where you can still feel out of the world. They hide this wild ambiance to feel out of the planet. Perfect place to forget about worries or job and find inner peace. Just you and nature. If you plan to visit off the beaten path spots in Poland, you shouldput it on your bucket list. Stunning views and solitary paths will surely make you want to come back.
They become more and more popular but place I am going to propose for you is less crowded, however not less beautiful than other parts. Talking about Rawka Peaks you will find yourself in heaven. Just you, nature and amazing views. They are my favorite mountains in Poland therefore I hardly recommend it and write more details in a separate article. Check: Places you must see in Bieszczady mountains.
7. Skull chapel
This chapel was made from 3 thousands human bones and 20-30 thousands more are under its floor. This enormous tomb of remains which were collected in the area of Kudowa Zdrój in south Poland.
Bones or families and soldiers of wars, enemies and friends together, remind how fragile is our life. Chapel was built in 1776 by Father Waclaw Tomasz, who was collecting and cleaning the remains for eight years… It is the only one in Poland and one of three in Europe. The other 2 are in the Czech Republic and Portugal. The chapel made an amazing impression on me, prompted the reflection on history. Being there I was feeling overwhelmed and thoughtful about history of my country.
8. Moszna Castle
99 towers and 365 chambers! No it is not Disneyland or Loire Valley, it is Poland. This magic castle in Moszna not only looks like from fairy tale but also organizes wizards academy as in Harry Potter. The castle in Moszna has its own spirit! According to legend, the castle of Moszna has a white lady who is miserably in love with the Countess. The castle is surrounded by a park where rare rhododendrons grow. Moszna in on the west of Poland, not far from Wrocław.
9. Kazimierz Dolny
Next lovely place off the beaten path in Poland is Kazimierz Dolny. Amazing history, stunning views, nature – you will be impressed! Place of painters, artists hosts as well film festival every summer. Besides town is set in the middle of national park with walking paths, gorges and Vistula river. Does it sound like a plan for trip?
10. Kurozwęki Palace
Lastly, on off the beaten path in Poland I present you Kurozwęki Palace in Świetokrzyskie province. Current owner of the land not only renovated the building but created there many interesting attractions for tourists. Huge property has bison, you can have a Safari and see variety of animals in mini ZOO. Get lost in adventurous corn labyrinth. The tour includes a courtyard, underground full of fairy tales and legends, as well as cellars with the history of the palace.
Whenever I meet foreign tourists coming to Poland, they visit only well known touristic attractions such as: Warszawa or Kraków, Auschwitz, Zakopane, Wrocław Poznań and Gdańsk. I hope I inspired you to visit other off the beaten path spots in Poland.