Travel

Hiking + majówka. Two beautiful Polish traditions. 

I wasn’t particularly sporty when I moved to Poland but my husband is extremely sporty and therefore I have no choice. I have to do sports if I want to see him on weekends. But. but. I actually really enjoy hiking. It’s an incredible cardio exercise and after spending a whole week indoors, it’s really refreshing to spend a whole day outside in the fresh air moving your tyłek a bit.

We spend a lot of time in Beskid Żywiecki or Śląski and only sometimes in the Tatras since it’s farther aw
ay. But I have to be honest, I was pretty pissed off during my first hike in the Tatras because I was carrying a backpack about the same size as me and was in abysmal shape. Lots of complaining and bitchface. Anyway, before moving to Poland I hadn’t spent much time in mountains because, well, Florida is totally flat and the closest mountains are a state away. So that’s one of the reasons I love living where I do because I can visit the mountains anytime I want.

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For majówka this year, the most beloved of Polish long weekends, we stayed in Łopuszna, a small village near Nowy Targ. It’s a risk to travel that direction for majówka but we stayed outside the most touristy zone and the traffic on Zakopianka wasn’t a disaster. Dzięki Bogu. So we started off by hiking to Turbacz, a mountain in Gorce, as the path was just behind our pensjonat (whatever that is in English – if anyone has a good translation I’d be happy to hear it. Bed and breakfast? Don’t we have something shorter?) Turbacz could be a nice alternative to Dolina Chochołowska for seeing crocuses, as there were many even when we were there. Also, you get a killer view of the Tatras at the top and they have really yummy żurek in the shelter, I must say. There, we hiked more or less about 15 km total.

IMG_1570 2The second day we went to Dolina Pięciu Stawów, amazing valley in the Tatras, the highest Polish mountains. We again hiked about 15 kilometers but in completely different conditions in order to take in the views and try their supposedly “best szarlotka” (I’ve had better). You start this path on the same asphalt road as everyone walking to Morskie Oko, an amazingly beautiful place completely overrun by simpletons, sadly. As it’s also in the Tatras and  closeby, Dolina Pięciu Stawów is also full of those kinds of people, but possibly even worse because they believe they can hike to the top of a mountain, which is covered in snow, wearing Converse sneakers. I was wearing proper hiking boots and was having trouble going up. And on the descent I rented crampons (raki), which make it much easier and safer. I stunned that people in normal sneakers managed to make it down without any injuries. Respect. The Tatras are lovely but it’s almost not worth it to spend the day in bad company. I can’t tell you how much garbage we picked up on the way down.

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On the last day we hiked Trzy Korony in the Pieniny mountains. I was deathly sore from the previous two days but I’d never been to Pieniny and really wanted to see what they’re like so we trekked on. This area has really fun, rocky paths with railings to help you walk across the steep, jaggedy mountain tops. I’m not big on chains but the railings make you feel comfortable going across. This is definitely a place I’d recommend to anyone – not sure I can recommend drinking the water from the stream as it appears that I got sick from it. We always drink the water from the stream but I guess sometimes you get unlucky.
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These were great paths but I think my favorite path is to Barania Góra. How about you guys? Which paths would you recommend? There are plenty of mountains I haven’t yet been to like Sudety and Bieszczady. As the warm weather is just starting, there will be many trips to come in the near future so recommendations are welcome!

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15 Comments

  • Reply Ola 8 May 2016 at 19:30

    I would recommend the Tatra Mountains in September. There are not a lot of pepole, beautiful views and usually nice weather !!
    In my opinion worth visiting in Tatras are: Szpiglasowy Wierch, Czerwone Wierchy, Przełęcz pod Chłopkiem, Kościelec (last two ones are little bit more demanding :|)) – all they are over 2000 m. and rather long trails but really fabulous.
    I also like Sarnia Skała – it is lower one but also really nice.

    In Beskidy I like Trzy kopce – it’s rather nice walk than hiking but very pleasurable.
    And of course Babia Góra is also great (yellow trail – more demanding than the red one but definitely more interesting:)))

    I also like Mała Fatra in Slovakia Small and Big Rozsutec, Stoh, Krywań etc. I think that these montains are smaller version of Tatra Mountains. In my opinion they are much nicer than Beskidy and really worth visiting. I heard that there were massive pounding after the rain two years ago and I don’t know what was done to “repair them” but anyway they must still be great. “)

    Heh I wrote a long post but it gave me a lot of fun to reminisce my own trips taking into account that I will have a break this year!
    I wish you nice trips!!

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 8 May 2016 at 20:00

      Ola! Best recommendations, thank you! Piotrek said “mhmm, mhmm” to all your suggestions so he just hasn’t taken me there yet I suppose. I will go to these places in honor of you and your time off from hiking 🙂

  • Reply dorota 8 May 2016 at 19:53

    Bieszczady are awesome <3 I love Bieszczady so much. Not so high, but not easy as well. I recommend you to go there in september – it is still warm enough to enjoy hiking and the colours are beautiful. Leaves and grasses in green, yellow orange, red and rusty brown.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 8 May 2016 at 19:56

      Fantastic 🙂 I will definitely try and do that this fall!

  • Reply Kira 8 May 2016 at 20:38

    I know you speak polish, so… 😉

    Kasprowy Wierch (Tatry) – bo wejście nietrudne, a na górze czeka zimne piwko 🙂
    Mogielica (Beskid Wyspowy) – bo podejście atrakcyjne, a na górze czeka wieża widokowa. Nad ranem z jej szczytu Beskid wygląda najpiękniej!
    Szczeliniec (Góry Stołowe) – bo dojście zajmuje ok. 30 minut, a na górze czeka zimne piwko!
    Magurki (Gorce) – nie ma tam klasycznego szlaku, ale warto przejść się ścieżką edukacyjną i zobaczyć widok na Tatry 🙂

    Kiedy Babia? 🙂

  • Reply David 9 May 2016 at 00:30

    I’m glad you like Turbacz and Pieniny. In fact, Pieniny and Beskid Sądecki are my favourite mountains and I strongly recommend you these places for hiking 🙂 Sokolica, Wysoka (highest peak in Pieniny) are worth seeing, especially Wysoka – the view from the top is breathtaking, better than on Trzy Korony. Wąwóz Homole is amazing. In Beskid Sądecki, the best path for hiking is to Radziejowa (highest peak), view from the top is even better than on Wysoka 🙂 Being in this area, you could go round to Krynica-Zdrój, Muszyna, Piwniczna-Zdrój – really lovely mountain towns. And last but not least, Nowy Sącz – one of the most beautiful cities in Poland 🙂 am not particularly sporty (not counting gym, but it doesn’t help in mountains), that’s why I don’t like hiking in Tatras – this is too much physically demanding for me 🙂

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 13 August 2016 at 22:07

      I have to try these places for sure. I’ve heard a lot about Wysoka and I’ve never been to the places around like Krynica or Muszyna that you mentioned. I know what you mean about hiking in Tatry, it’s kinda hard sometimes. Especially with a backpack! Or in the damn snow :/

  • Reply acurrent91 9 May 2016 at 23:36

    I know places you describe 🙂 Not because I’m Polish, but because my parents loved mountains. I think they still do, but they just don’t find time to go there anymore. Me – I will soon change place of living. Cracow in my Poland to Switzerland (french part). There I will have Alpes 😀 I hope my boyfriend won’t torture me too often with paths off the trail.
    I really like your blog.
    Best wishes 😉

  • Reply Tomasz 12 May 2016 at 11:33

    I learned at scholl that “pensjonat” can be translated to “guesthouse” . How do you think? Is it o good word?

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 13 August 2016 at 22:06

      I think it’s a very good translation. Thanks for that!

  • Reply SosnoKrakus 24 August 2016 at 23:35

    Hmm… I wanna go on Ślęża this yeat but i heard about Biskupia Kopa, near Prudnik (from Gliwice through Kędzierzyn Koźle it will be less than 100 km) with the stone or brick tower from early XX century on the top… Check also Mogielica in Beskid Wyspowy. Btw, Do You know that we have regions where we produce wine? The most closer is near Ojcowski Park Narodowy. Ma favorite winery is called Słońce i Wino from Świńczów.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 25 August 2016 at 21:01

      There are wineries in Poland? This is very very good information for me 🙂

  • Reply SosnoKrakus 24 August 2016 at 23:58

    A w ogóle to się zastanawiam dlaczego poprzedniego postu nie napisałem po polsku. 😊 A jak Twoja znajomość języka polskiego? Bo polskiego obcokrajowiec będzie się uczył całe życie 😃… Pozdrawiam

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 25 August 2016 at 21:03

      No tak mowię (i piszę!)…nie mam wyjścia hah ale masz rację. Trzeba się uczyć całe życie! Okropne 🙂

  • Reply usia 22 March 2017 at 11:15

    Bieszczady- especially beutiful in the fall (Tarnica, Połoniny, Kremenaros)- You can stay in Ustrzyki Górne and from there everything is near 🙂
    Beskid Sądecki- I spent my high school years there (ok, weekends 😉 – love Radziejowa and my personal favourite is Chatka Pod Niemcową- there you won’t have any conveniences (you need to take your own food , sleeping bag and stream is the only washing option)-but spending the night is soo worth it- You can meet amazing people there 🙂 Is best during the season, beacuse Niemcowa without people , music and conversation looses most of its charm. You can also go to Cyrla-they used to have great pierogi, maybe they still do 🙂 Also go to Stary Sącz- it’s really old and charming 🙂
    And in Sudety:
    Szczeliniec-awesome view (and zimne piwo;)
    Karkonosze – Snieżka is beautiful, during the season maybe a bit crowded; Szrenica- they have the best naleśniki z jagodami; Samotnia-charming place with a beatiful surroundings. And You don’t have to stick to Polish side, on the Czek side there are a couple of schroniska (they call it sth. Buda 😉 with great piwo and knedliki 🙂

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