The health resort in Szczawnica is situated between Beskid Sądecki and the Pieniny, close to the famous Pieniny gorge. As the name suggests, the town is famous for highly carbonated waters, called "szczawy" in Polish. The oldest spa quarter, hidden in a small valley, delights with its cosy atmosphere. It is difficult to get bored in Szczawnica: numerous attractions in the area and various opportunities for active leisure, both in the summer and in winter, are the assets of this health resort.
Despite the fact that Szczawnica was founded among the mountains at least in the 15th century and that the mineral waters were known already in the 16th century, its career began only in 1839. This is when the town found a great administrator and populariser in the person of Józef Szalay, who came from a rich Hungarian family of Szczawnica owners. On his initiative, the first baths (a baths centre), pavilions by the mineral springs, and many (usually wooden) guesthouses and villas were created. Szalay also ordered to expand the spa park and made sure that such balneology celebrities as Józef Dietl visited and promoted Szczawnica. The health resort soon became fashionable and, among others, famous writers such as Henryk Sienkiewicz and Bolesław Prus, as well as one of the most famous Polish painters, Jan Matejko, came here "for the waters". The health resort in Szczawnica came to existence thanks to the mineral water springs which rinse precious minerals off the rocks. Highly carbonated alkaline waters with bromine and iodine content prevail here. Mineral waters: “Jan”, “Józefina”, “Magdalena”, “Stefan”, „Helena”, „Józef”, “Pitoniakówa”. The centre of the old part of this health resort is the Dietl square, surrounded by 19th century spa buildings, e.g. the Szwajcarka and Holenderka villas, and a grand building called the “Palace”. The first floor of this original wooden building with a terrace and a small tower houses the SPA Museum. There you can see historic exhibitions devoted the history of the health resort and the region. The surroundings of Szczawnica are famous for unique mountain landscapes: on one side of the town you can see the wild, forested ridges of Beskid Sądecki, and on the other, Małe Pieniny (Lesser Pieniny), known for mountain meadows, on which graze large flocks of sheep. Not far away, beyond Dunajec, the white walls of rocks mark the low, but bold shapes of the peaks of the Pieniny Właściwe (Central Pieniny). It is also worth climbing up the famous Pieniny peaks: Trzy Korony (Three Crowns) (982 m asl), the highest in Pieniny Właściwe, and Sokolica (747 m asl), which is cut with a massive cliff. From the peaks you can view the picturesque Dunajec gorge from a completely different perspective. Unique landscapes can also be seen in the Lesser Pieniny. The location among the mountains makes Szczawnica a wonderful place both for summer and winter holiday. The chairlift to Palenica, together with smaller ski tows on top and two long slopes, create excellent conditions for downhill skiing.