Beskid Sądecki – eight ideas for day trips

Beskid Sądecki Wierchomla
Would you like to peer into a volcano, see the most beautiful road in Poland, immerse yourself in Polish history and improve your health? Only in Beskid Sądecki.

Tired of the same places – and often the same faces – during your weekend getaways? It is time for a change. Beskid Sądecki is a peaceful haven within the limits of well-balanced nature and civilization. There is everything a person needs for a couple days of rest. There is some wilderness and freedom, enough ease and comfort. Everything is cheaper than in the Tatra Mountains, there are smaller traffic jams, shorter queues to museums, more relaxation in pubs.
So let us present: A pleasant countryside with lofty hills (from 700 to 1,266 m above sea level) crossed by river valleys. The high absolute elevation of the peaks gives an incredible sense of otherworldliness, and the rather large areas of forest (often old beech forests) add a pioneering flavour. Not only are the roads not onerous, they are downright fabulous, such as the route from Nowy Sącz to Krynica-Zdrój along the Poprad River. It is probably the most beautifully located road and railway in Poland. Plus the atmospheric towns of Stary Sącz, Krynica-Zdrój, Rytro, Piwniczna-ZdrójŻegiestówMuszyna and Tylicz. They are simply pearls and gems. Here, we present a few of them.

Trip #1: To Hala Łabowska

Beskid Sądecki is a land of diversity. You can do everything here, from long hikes to mountain runs and bike rallies. The network of trails, well-located hostels and convenient transport conditions mean that there is a place for every requirement, from family excursions to challenges for mountain trial participants. It’s not just for those on the advanced levels, but also for beginners. Most of the trails lead up hills without steep and tiring ascents, but with fantastic views that, in good weather, even include the Tatra Mountains. Of course, you have to take into account your skills and fitness. But it is worth it. The Beskid range will surprise you with its wilderness and dignified peace. It should also be noted that Beskid Sądecki, with its top-flight ski stations and excellent skiing and cross-country skiing trails, is every bit as delightful in winter as it is in summer.

We suggest a trip to the mountain hostel on Hala Łabowska located in the very centre of Beskid Sądecki. You can get here from:

This is a suggestion for those travelling by car. Walking the entire section of the red Beskid Trail between Rytro and Krynica takes about 10 hours and requires different logistics, with an overnight stay on Hala Łabowska. 

Trip #2: For health and beauty

Beautifying, pampering, firming, relaxing, conditioning, and mineralising treatments. Dry, aromatic, herbal saunas. Mud and steam baths. Massages of all traditions and specialised massages for every part of the body. And plenty for any and all fitness cravings. This is a rather modest preview of what you can find and what you should try in the Beskid Sądecki spa towns. This part of Małopolska has very clearly set its sights on such treatments. And indeed, the beauty and regeneration offer here is enormous, and not at all expensive. In today’s busy and stressful times, this is one of the best ways to relax and recharge your batteries. Even a one-night stay in one of the Nowy Sącz resorts can be spent on a session to improve your beauty and well-being. Most such places are in Krynica-Zdrój, Piwniczna-Zdrój, and Muszyna. 

Trip #3: Springs, or mysterious Żegiestów

However, the greatest treasure of this land is the springs. And it’s not just mineral waters, whose composition and properties help to keep health in check and which have healing properties. It is about the atmosphere of places such as Krynica-Zdrój, Muszyna, and Żegiestów-Zdrój (description of Żegiestów-Zdrój). Krynica, the pearl of Polish spas, is a classic resort with an iconic atmosphere of living in the moment. No one is in a hurry here and no is racing to go anywhere. It features fantastic buildings that set the imagination in motion on a journey into the past. Muszyna, on the other hand, is a quiet resort that combines a Galician town with a large park. The place is charming with its positive parochialism. And finally, Żegiestów – there is probably no other place in Poland that is so unique, so hidden in nature, and so monumental in its urban space. This small village among the forests on the high bank of the Poprad River hides fantastic examples of modernist architecture. Some buildings bristle with newness, others haunt with emptiness, but each inspires admiration. A place to be seen. The local mineral waters are oxalates, which treat rheumatic diseases, kidney, and urinary tract diseases. 

Trip #4: Unique Stary Sącz

Even against the background of small towns in Małopolska, Stary Sącz has a unique aura, which it owes to Princess Kinga, daughter of Hungarian kings, and her husband, Bolesław V the Chaste. It was they who founded the Poor Clares Monastery here, with which the history of the town began. When you stand in the courtyard of the monastery today and enter the interior of the church whose walls still remember the Piast dynasty and the Hungarian princess who later became a saint, the thickness of the walls and the cramped, cold spaces transport you several hundred years into the past. Visiting Stary Sącz, located at the fork of the Dunajec River and the Poprad River, stepping into the stone-lined Market Square, strolling along narrow streets among centuries-old houses, we feel as if we are halfway between modern times and the days of old. It is a feeling worth experiencing.

Trip #5: Fruit as if from Eden

If anyone would like to test Beskid Sądecki’s moniker as the Polish Tuscany, it is worth dropping in to the Łącko municipality and taking a look at the surrounding gentle hills rolling down to the Dunajec River. It is on these slopes that some of the most famous and best Polish fruit is born (we can confirm this with our subjective judgment) – the apples and plums of Łącko, grown here as early as the 13th century. Both are on the list of traditional products and protected by European certificates. To quote the experts, ‘Łącko apples are characterised by their strong juiciness and blush, strong aroma and relatively high acidity, described by connoisseurs as a mountain green note. Some varieties have a waxy coating. The texture of the flesh depends on the variety – it can be crumbly medium-firm or firm’. For experts, there is no doubt that these delights depend on the microclimate of the land.

Trip #6: In a Galician Town, or a journey in time

The Galician Town, one of the newest attractions in the Beskid Sądecki region, is part of the Nowy Sącz Ethnographic Park. It features 19th and 20th century original residential and commercial buildings from the entire region. There is a town hall, a manor house, an inn, workshops, a pharmacy, a gendarmerie station, a fire station, and even a confectionery. All this from the times when the Nowy Sącz region was part of the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, an important part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Galicia, governed mainly on an autonomous basis, represented a peculiar culture that was a mixture of elements from different nations. A representative of this civilisation was, for example, Julian Dunajewski, the son of a police commissioner in Nowy Sącz, who, having completed his secondary education in that city, became a professor and then rector at Jagiellonian University, then became the Mayor of Krakow, and later one of the most important officials of the Habsburg Empire – the Minister of Finance. Among other things, we owe to him the construction of the Galician Transversal Railway, which covered almost 1,000 kilometres and ran, among others, through Nowy Sącz. Apart from its museum function, the Galician Town is an active cultural centre presenting art, culture and traditions, but also local food products.

Trip #7: The most beautiful road in Poland

It is an almost unadvertised attraction of this part of Małopolska. The road from Nowy Sącz to Krynica-Zdrój  is winding, narrow in places, and strenuous, but offers unrivalled views. It is only 66 km long, but the attractions it offers are enough for a whole day of motorised touring. Let’s start with the fact that most of it runs along the Poprad River, a river that is not quite as picturesque as the Dunajec, but just as interesting. Firstly, it also flows from the Tatra Mountains, but exactly on the other side of the Main Ridge. Secondly, it also has its gorge separating the Beskid Sądecki  into the Radziejowa and Jaworzyna ranges. Add to this the unusual phenomenon of the river meander in the already mentioned Żegiestów, where the river turns around 180 degrees and where it has formed a peninsula with a spa district. Starting from Stary Sącz, the route leads, among others, through Rytro (the ruins of a medieval castle), Piwniczna-Zdrój (excellent healing waters, charming Galician marketplace), Żegiestów-Zdrój (pearls of modernistic architecture), Milik (old Lemko village with a wooden Orthodox church from the beginning of the 19th century), Muszyna (aspiring resort with mineral water pump rooms, sanatoria, and a modern park for active leisure), Powroźnik (Orthodox church inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List). However, the views from the trail alone, especially in autumn, are a delight – there are rocky cliffs, wide boardwalks, forest tunnels, and extensive river valleys. For the sake of completeness, we would like to add that the Poprad River also has its own rafting trip (description of rafting on the Poprad River). 

Trip #8. Peer into a volcano

Last but by no means least, something truly sensational. According to legends repeated even by official information literature, in the southern part of Beskid Sądecki there were strictly secret places where freshwater algae that subsisted on carbon dioxide were grown. They were to serve as high-energy food for the cosmonauts. The truth is even more sensational. In the area of Tylicz and Muszyna, there are so-called mofettas, (description of mofettas near Muszyna) the only active volcanic phenomena in Poland. These are places where gasses from volcanic processes taking place deep below the surface come to the surface. Their main ingredient is carbon dioxide, which at higher concentrations causes the death of insects, birds and even cattle. The largest of the mofettas, located on the Muszyna-Złockie border in Jastrzębik, is open to the public. These are springs that bubble with escaping gas. However, you must be careful. But the thrill is there!

Beskid Sądecki also includes: 

  • the Wooden Architecture Route
  • walking in the footsteps of John Paul II
  • walking the trails of the Jews of Małopolska (description of the In the Footsteps of Polish Jews trail)
  • Cycling trips – Velo Dunajec, VeloNatura, AquaVelo, Mineral Waters Trail (description of the Mineral Waters Trail
  • Horseback riding tours: Trans-Beskid Horse Trail.

Beskid Sądecki in an eco rhythm 

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