Podhale and Tatra Mountains - Once upon a time...

View of the Tatra Mountains from Rusinowa Polana
Podhale is a real paradise for lovers of communing with nature and a Mecca for tourists who love mountain hiking. The region is divided into “Rocky Podhale” (the southern border of which is marked by Zakopane, among others) and “Niżne Podhale”. Along the Polish border, there are Tatra Mountains, protected in the area of the Tatra National Park.
The historical capital of the region is Nowy Targ, while the town most important and most visited by tourists is the “winter capital of Poland” – Zakopane.

We can admire the beauty of the Tatra landscape by going on mountain trails, somehow which will be crowned with the conquest of one of the Tatra peaks: Kasprowy Wierch, Giewont or Rysy – the highest peak in Poland (2,499 metres asl). We can admire the beautiful mountain views by using the funicular to Gubałówka, the cable car to Kasprowy Wierch and the chairlift to Butorowy Wierch. Experienced tourists, who already know the Tatra trails by heart, can face Orla Perć – one of the most difficult marked routes in the entire Tatra Mountains. Hiking in the mountains and valleys is facilitated and varied by a network of picturesque Tatra mountain hostels, e.g. the Morskie Oko mountain hostel or the Valley of Five Polish Ponds.

However, mountain peaks are not everything, as Tatras offer also beautiful valleys carved by the streams, climatic caves and transparent lakes. The most frequently visited valleys are: Rybiego Potoku, Kościeliska, Chochołowska, Gąsieniców, Valley of Five Ponds, Roztoka, Strążyska and Białego. When visiting the Kościeliska Valley it is worth to explore the tourist-accessible caves: Mroźna, Raptawicka, Mylna, Obłazkowa and the Dragon's Den. Chochołowska Glade, in turn, is the most beautiful in spring, when it shimmers with purple crocus flowers.

A characteristic element of the Tatra nature are the beautiful streams, lakes (called ponds) and waterfalls. Tatras are also source of several rivers draining both this mountain range and the entire Podhale region: Biały Dunajec, Czarny Dunajec and Białka. The famous Morskie Oko lake, as well as the Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza waterfall, located next to the trail leading to Morskie Oko, both enjoy great popularity. We also recommend the Five Ponds Valley and the Gąsienicowa Valley abounding in ponds, high peaks and rich vegetation. It is especially worth coming to see Wielka Siklawa – the highest waterfall in Poland.

Also noteworthy is the “Bór nad Czerwonem” peat bog reserve in Nowy Targ, which is one of the oldest nature reserves in Poland. The reserve has a special educational and nature trail and lookout platform, from which you can admire the mountains surrounding the Nowotarska Basin.

The brave can take advantage of the tourist flights over the Tatras or Gorce, proposed by the Municipal Airport in Nowy Targ.


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