If you plan a weekend trip to Małopolska, we have some inspirations and ideas about what to see, how to travel, where to stay. Everyone will find something interesting, as there will be something for those who like to be physically active, for cyclists, for families with children, and for those who dream of blissful laziness in the bosom of nature.
So, let us start with something universal – a weekend of exploring the areas south of Krakow. The route connecting Myślenice, Dobczyce, Gdów and the Wielickie Foothills is a proposal for absolutely everyone. If you choose the suitable attractions on the spot, you can hike, admire the surroundings from the perspective of a bicycle seat, or discover historical and cultural monuments. You can set off in Myślenice with its historic Market Square and the 'Tereska' fountain that today is the city's beloved symbol. For the active, the ideal place is the Zarabie district, which provides a base for hiking trails in the Maków Beskids, including the Kudłacze Glade. It attracts downhill skiing lovers with a chairlift to Mount Chełm and its slopes. Moreover, Zarabie is an excellent place for walks with children, and there’s no way they’ll become bored there. Further along the route, you will find Dobczyce with its castle perched on a rocky promontory descending steeply to the waters of Dobczyckie Lake. At the foot of the castle is a small open-air museum of wooden folk architecture, part of the Wooden Architecture Route. Nearby, we recommend the 'Niezapominajka' path in Kornatka. The village of Kornatka is situated in the Wiśnickie Foothills between the southern shore of Dobczyckie Lake and the Glichowiec Range. We recommend the trail to beginner joggers and Nordic walking enthusiasts. The trail mostly leads through a picturesque forest, sometimes among old orchards and meadows full of wildflowers. Along the way, you will climb the peak aptly named Trupielec (476 m). Cycling enthusiasts will be interested in the Gdów Historical and Cultural Red Bike Trail, which allows you to visit the town's surroundings and takes you to Hucisko, with Tadeusz Kantor's famous chair looking fabulous in the autumn mists. There are plenty of agritourism farms where you can stay, and you’ll have no trouble at all finding a comfortable room or cottage. The Kudłacze PTTK Mountain Hostel also offers accommodation to weary travellers.
In the Tarnów area, we have something extremely interesting for the more leisurely and relaxed walkers. From Tuchów or Dąbrówka Tuchowska, you can set off on the trail leading to ‘her height’ Brzanka (536 m above sea level). Brzanka is particularly beautiful in autumn when the forests start changing colours and offer us numerous gifts in the form of mushrooms and fruits. During the hike, it is worth paying attention to the plaque commemorating the partisan actions in this area. Near the summit, there is a view tower, from which the sweeping, three-hundred-sixty-degree views are stunning. After admiring them, we can rest in nearby Bacówka on Brzanka and continue along the ridge of the range or go down to Jodłówka Tuchowska. When planning a weekend there, one must visit the nearby vineyards. Apart from affording the opportunity to indulge in wine-tasting and visits to gently rolling vine-covered hills, many vineyards offer accommodations in beautiful natural surroundings. It’s worth taking advantage of them, especially as the wines are often accompanied by delicious local cuisine and dishes made from local products. There are plenty of additional attractions for younger and older tourists alike, including walks through the fairy-tale petrified town in Ciężkowice, visits to the nearby lookout towers from which to take in the landscape, or moments of spiritual reflection in the silence in the Redemptorist Monastery with its miraculous painting of Our Lady in Tuchów.
Two weekend days are also enough time to set off on the cycle trail around the Carp Valley. The Carp Valley Bicycle Trail has been designed as a loop and marked in red. It belongs to the Greenways trail network. Advanced cyclists may complete the entire route in one day, but we suggest doing it over two days. The symbolic beginning of the trail is Osiek and the resting point for cyclists is near the historic St. Andrew's Church, where there’s an information board where you can learn a lot of interesting facts about the Carpathian Valley area. The trail runs among fields, meadows, and ponds known for fish breeding, especially the Royal Carp, which is a must-try. The Carp Valley Trail, though demanding, evokes extraordinary visual experiences in cyclists. Beautiful landscapes combine fragments of nature with the agricultural and fishing economy dominant in the area. Waterfowl, including rare species such as the night heron, fly overhead. The varied terrain is a real challenge for cycling enthusiasts. When you get tired of cycling, you can always switch to a canoe. Canoeing down the picturesque Vistula River and Łączna Canal is a service in which the well-known local outfit, Carp Valley, is famous for specialising in. It is a rafting trip in two-person tourist canoes. Part of the 10 km-long route leads along an ornithological path. The views and impressions of the trip will be unforgettable!
Autumn is an ideal time to visit Podhale and the Tatra Mountains, something of a breather, a break between summer and winter tourist invasions on the most popular trails of the area. You can set off on the trails in peace, even on those that are busiest in high season, and the museums invite you with the absence of queues and the possibility to admire the exhibitions unhurriedly. Silence, peace and the beautiful scenery that autumn paints in yellow, red and gold, tempt us to spend at least two days in the area. This time, we would like to invite you to Rabka Zdrój, an amiable town for both younger and older tourists. The younger ones will be interested in the Rabcio Old Puppet Theatre with its murals painted based on old show posters and the Beetle Sounds Theatre with a rich repertoire for all the little ones. Rabka is a very child-friendly town, so not only will the kids have a great time there, but they will also get a breath of fresh air. Together with their parents, they can also go on a hiking trip to Maciejowa. The trip starts in Spa Park, which dates back to the second half of the 19th century. Ten thematic gardens with various plants, the Brine Graduation Tower and the Pump Room for mineral waters were created as part of the Park’s revitalisation. The red hiking trail signs point the way towards the Gorce Mountains, and the dirt road leading to Maciejowa (836 m above sea level) follows the Park. A short climb through the forest will lead you to the Przysłop Glade with the Na Maciejowej PTTK Mountain Hostel (852 m). It’s the junction of many Gorce trails, from where you can continue to Stare Wierchy and Turbacz. It is worth having a snack and a cup of tea there while admiring the beautiful views, because when the weather is clear you can see the Tatra Mountains and Mount Babia.
We suggest planning a weekend slightly off the beaten path in the Nowy Sącz region. Apart from admiring the beautiful views, it’s worth getting to know the local crafts and picking up some souvenirs of history and culture. We suggest starting from Łoś, whose enterprising inhabitants became rich in the past selling petroleum products. We start our sightseeing from the Orthodox Church of the Birth of the Virgin Mary. Behind the church in Łoś is a unique open-air museum called Zagroda Maziarska, which tells the village's history connected with the makers of all manner of unguents, such as grease, and the trade in grease and lubricants. The micro-museum is a real ethnographic gem, and you need to reserve about 1.5 hours to visit it with a guide. On the way back, you will go through the settlements located in the Ropa Valley to the Klimkówka Dam. Klimkówka Lake can be an excellent option for water sports enthusiasts. On a bright autumn day, you can rent a canoe at the Słoneczna Przystań campsite and admire the surroundings from the lakeside perspective. It’s also well worth heading for the charming town of Gorlice and the ‘Magdalena’ Open Air Museum of Oil Industry, then to Szymbark with its famous cachet and the Prof. R. Reinfuss Pogórze Rural Areas Open Air Museum. Let’s not overlook Biecz, a real gem of a town among the lovely towns in southern Poland due to its unique architectural and urban planning values. Numerous monuments concentrated in the relatively small area of the ancient old town enclosed within the thick, strong defensive walls built in the Middle Ages, give it a unique character. The view from the tower of the Town Hall in Bobowa captivates everyone who climbs the steep stairs to the top. On the way to Bobowa, the centre of lace making where you can admire the intricate works of local lace makers, take some time out to visit the Beekeeping Museum in Stróże. You are sure to be impressed by the wooden exhibition huts, chapels, sculptures and lots of original beekeeping accessories.