The Małopolska region is not only about a variety of landscapes, rich tradition and culture, but also natural treasures hidden underground. It is about mineral and healing waters. More than 20 sources of it are covered by legal protection in the region.
Water has many faces
Using water every day, we do not think about its properties. We simply know that it is necessary for our life, that its lack causes headaches, memory disorders or dry skin. Water from natural springs differs from that from waterworks in the content of various minerals. Their presence depends on the geological structure of the area and its vegetation. A separate category is medicinal waters, the therapeutic properties of which have been confirmed by scientific research.
The recommended daily consumption of water is approximately 2 litres. More than half of it should be mineral water, i.e. water containing at least 1000 mg of minerals in each litre. The most important of them, having a beneficial effect on our health, include, among others: magnesium, calcium, bicarbonate and sodium. In Poland, the best conditions for natural mineralization of water are in the Małopolska region, hence the richness of elements and other substances in the springs here.
Mineral waters from the Małopolska region also have a variety of aromas, flavours and degree of mineralization, which was assessed by specialists in various fields, including: hydrosommeliers. Their tips help choose water helpful in the prevention of various diseases, perfectly harmonizing with dry wine or the taste of various dishes. Here are some examples:
- Kinga Pienińska water is drawn from sources in the buffer zone of the Pieniny National Park. Due to its low sodium content, it is healthy and good for the heart. For its distinctive and refreshing taste, the water received the prestigious Superior TasteAward 3 stars awarded by the International Institute of Taste and Quality in Brussels, which associates independent chefs and sommeliers.
- Muszynianka water coming from Muszyna, from the Poprad Landscape Park, with a subtle aroma, with a hint of crushed gravel and limestone, will perfectly complement the taste of dairy desserts, pates, fine cold cuts and firm grilled meats.
- Kryniczanka still water from the Main Spring in Krynica-Zdrój with a fresh, flint, vegetable aroma, it is perfect for ripe white cheeses, meat and vegetable snacks, and intense red and white wines.
- Wysowianka water with iodine from the source in Wysowa has a noticeable note of iodine, it is well saturated with small bubbles and will work well with fortified wines and even aged strong alcohols.
- Coming from Piwniczna-Zdrój Piwniczanka water is characterized by a unique proportion of minerals, including calcium and magnesium, which allows them to be perfectly absorbed by the body and has a positive effect on the work of the heart, nervous system and muscles.
- Mateczny-Zdrój and Anton are mineral waters flowing from springs almost in the centre of Kraków, you can taste them in Krakówska Pijalnia Zdrojowa on Wadowicka Street! Their names are a tribute to Antoni Mateczny, who discovered them in 1898. Both waters are easily absorbed by the body, and its cells naturally absorb their components. Mateczny-Zdrój water is unique on a global scale, as it contains even selenium, known as the element of life. Both Kraków waters affect the proper condition of the gastric mucosa, prevent the formation of kidney stones, counteract gout and help in the fight against the effects of heavy metal poisoning and excessive alcohol consumption. Their importance for health is evidenced by the fact that in the second half of the twentieth century they were supplied to steelworkers so that they could quickly replenish the minerals sweat out during hard work.
These are just some of the mineral waters available in the Małopolska region. The richness of aromas and flavours is enormous. There are no obstacles to experiment on your own, create compositions of dishes and waters tailored to your preferences.
The most famous healing waters in the Małopolska region
The composition of minerals, the amount of dissolved salts and gases determine the healing or taste qualities of the water. Regular drinking of medicinal waters by people with an increased risk of a specific disease significantly reduces the possibility of falling ill. Medicinal waters are most often used in treating diseases of the digestive system, kidneys, urinary tract, but also in stress therapy or in muscle pain.
Medicinal properties of sorrel from Szczawnica have been known for over 200 years. The Józefina Water, the name of which is associated with the name of the owner of the spa in the 19th century - Józefina Szalay, coming from the oldest spa in Szczawnica, known already before 1810, is indicated in the treatment of pharyngitis and rhinitis, asthma, gout and the treatment of obesity. On the other hand, the Stefan Spa (named after the husband of the aforementioned Józefina Szalay) is recommended for diseases of the urinary tract, bronchi and emphysema. On the other hand, the Magdalena water, discovered in 1939 and named after the patient Magdalena Kownacka from Ponikwa, is indicated in diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, gall bladder, gastric and duodenal ulcers and mild neuroses.
Waters Zuber and Jan from Krynica-Zdrój prove that the unpleasant taste and smell do not prevent water from having a beneficial effect on our health. The first one is irreplaceable in the treatment of peptic ulcer and duodenal disease, fighting obesity and overweight, and it alleviates the unpleasant symptoms of alcohol abuse. The second helps with kidney and urinary tract diseases and the treatment of diabetes.
The healing waters from the springs in Szczawa are very versatile. Hanna, or alkaline-salty sorrel, is recommended for diseases of the respiratory tract, digestive system disorders, diabetes and hypothyroidism. The Dziedzilla Spa is more condensed than Hanna and is used in treating similar diseases. In turn, the water from the Szczawa I spring is a brine used, among others, in the treatment of depression (it contains rare lithium), nervous hyperactivity and diseases of the urinary system. Due to the high iron content, it must be drunk through a straw to prevent the teeth from turning black.
Let us emphasize that healing waters have a significant impact on the mineral balance of our body. Therefore, regular use of them should always be consulted with a doctor, so that the treatment of some ailments does not cause others.
Spa infrastructure and tourist attractions
Centuries ago, the bravest ones ventured into the mountain valleys. Later, they were followed by researchers who discovered the rich flora and fauna of those areas, and their natural resources, and then studied the springs gushing in the mountains. Proving the healing properties of the latter contributed to the creation and development of today's health resorts, e.g. Szczawnica, Rabka-Zdrój, Krynica-Zdrój. The latter, together with Piwniczna-Zdrój, less than 40 kilometers away, and Muszyna, Żegiestów-Zdrój and Łomnica-Zdrój located between them, form a series of health resorts with several spas used in the treatment of various diseases.
The history of the oldest health resorts in the Małopolska region dates back to the end of the 18th century, many of them flourished in the second half of the 19th century, when spa houses and guesthouses were built, and services for the growing number of patients were developed. It was with them in mind that roads were modernized, railroads were built, spa parks were created and walking trails were marked out. The surrounding villages also benefited from it, where patients were sold local products (e.g. food, clothes, souvenirs), sleigh rides, hunts and other attractions were organized for them.
Some of the facilities from the beginnings of spa activities in the Małopolska region have survived to this day and after modernization they impress with their architecture (e.g. wooden buildings in Krynica-Zdrój), climatic interiors and a unique atmosphere (the spa part of Szczawnica). It can be safely said that they not only serve as a spa, but are also a tourist attraction, just like the gondola lift to Jaworzyna Krynicka in Krynica, themed gardens (e.g. the Muszyńskie Bible Gardens), monuments and museums as well as natural peculiarities (e.g.. the Homole gorge near Szczawnica).
Flavour, health and beauty
Being in the Małopolska region, we have a real treasure at our fingertips. It is worth reaching for it, finding out about the unique properties of the Małopolska region's waters. For our health, to improve beauty or simply for the taste.