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Szlak samochodowy: Na królewskich ścieżkach

Car trail: Following the royal paths

Widok na staw w Puszczy Niepołomickiej. Wokół lasy.
Kraków Tourist region: Kraków i okolice
Not far from Kraków lies Niepołomice, called the second capital of Poland during the reign of the Jagiellons. In the nearby Niepołomice Forest, you will not only walk in the ancient footsteps of Władysław Jagiełło, Sigismund the Old or Sigismund Augustus but also along the paths of the greatest king of these forests: the European bison. During the tour, you will visit places related to the rulers mentioned above and the Campus of Mercy, where Pope Francis' meeting with World Youth Day participants took place in 2016, see the colourful royal murals, and visit the only Phonography Museum in Poland. Niepołomice is worth your attention, and we hope to convince you of this!

Piktogram z długością trasy 21 kilometres

Piktogram z miejscem startu szlaku the eastern ring road of Kraków within the S7 expressway.

Piktogram oznaczający dojazd do miejsca startowego driving from any direction, you need to take the S7 road, its section constituting the eastern ring road of the city and exit it at the Przewóz junction.

On the way to the Campus of Mercy

After leaving the ring road, head east following the Papal Route (from now on, we count the distances given), which leads to the place where Pope Francis met with World Youth Day participants in 2016. Along the way, on the right, your attention will undoubtedly be drawn to the extensive bathing area with a sandy beach – Przystań Brzegi, which was built on the site where aggregate used to be extracted. Soon, you will reach the 2016 World Youth Day Roundabout, where you will turn left.

After a few metres, you will come to an extensive car park on the right.

Start by walking towards the copy of the Gate of Mercy visible in the distance (the original is in the Temple of Divine Providence in Warsaw), through which Pope Francis passed with the young people who came to the WYD, starting the prayer vigil on 30 July 2016. The Gate symbolises the Merciful Christ and His saving work. Walking to the Gate, you will pass the avenue with the Oaks of the 12 Apostles.

After seeing the Gate, return towards the car park and cross the street to the following buildings that make up Campus Misericordiae (the Campus of Mercy).

At the roundabout stands the Bell of Mercy, consecrated in 2016 on Divine Mercy Sunday at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Kraków Łagiewniki, the sound of which greeted Pope Francis as he arrived to meet with young people. A commemorative medal donated by Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, issued on the 20th anniversary of the pontificate of John Paul II, was moulded into the cast.

In the nearby House of Mercy, or Day Support Centre for the Elderly and Disabled, which houses 45 residents, there is a unique room on the first floor. Pope Francis was due to spend the night there after a prayer vigil, but in the end, he only stayed for a few minutes. The objects he encountered are treated as precious keepsakes.

The second building – with a magnificent mural depicting young people holding a vigil with candles of peace – is the Youth House with a chapel and the John Paul II Museum.

At the back is the Caritas Archdiocese Logistics Centre ‘The House of Bread’ in Kraków from which food is distributed to those in need of support from across the archdiocese.

Mound, castle, astronomical observatory

From the car park, turn right and immediately right again onto the bridge, towards Niepołomice. From here on, the road is very winding, and on sunny days, especially at weekends, there are a lot of cyclists on it, so you need to be extra careful. Keep to the main route, and when you reach the crossroads in Grabie, turn left, heading towards Niepołomice. After a few more bends, you will see the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on your right (7 kilometres from the start of the route).

Piktogram z parkingiem przy szlaku near the road, just behind the church.

The first Gothic church in the local parish was built in 1386 and stood on the other side of the Wisła River. Over the centuries, the river changed its course, and the church was moved several times. The present church, with its late Baroque decoration, was built in 1742. The main altar houses the miraculous 17th-century image of Our Lady of Grace, covered with Rococo silver cloths and regency crowns.

The route is much easier from the church, with fewer bends and narrows. Stick to the main road, drive through the industrial areas, and you will reach the roundabout on the Niepołomice ring road. Drive straight through and immediately turn into Grunwaldzka Street, which diverges diagonally, and after about 250 metres, you will see Kopiec Grunwaldzki  / the Grunwaldzki Mound on your left.

Piktogram z parkingiem przy szlakuthere are several parking spaces on the left-hand side of the street.

There is a small playground in the fenced-off area, a historic chapel from 1854 and, of course, Kopiec Grunwaldzki  / the Grunwaldzki Mound commemorating the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald. From the top of the Mound, there is an extensive view of the surrounding area.

Continue to the end of Grunwaldzka Street, where you turn right into Młyńska Street, which will take you to road no. 964, and then turn left towards the roundabout a few dozen metres away, where you will stop (13 kilometres from the beginning of the route).

There is a free car park right next to the roundabout. If there was no space here, you must head to the right, take Piękna Street to the edge of Market Square, and go around the church to turn right at the next roundabout. The car park here is more extensive and less frequented. The walk around Niepołomice will then be in the opposite direction to the description below.

Assuming you have parked at the first roundabout, cross the street, heading towards the public transport stop, and the park visible a little further on. As you reach it, you will see the Royal Castle in Niepołomice on your right, called the second Wawel Castle because it resembles the Kraków seat of kings. Today, it houses the permanent exhibitions of the Niepołomice Museum presenting, among other things, works of sacred art from the treasury of the old Gothic Niepołomice Church and chronicles and photographs documenting the history of the town.

Piktogram z ciekawostką o szlaku According to legend, the vaults of the Niepołomice Castle are home to one of the chakras, or Earth glands, which are a source of extraordinary energy.


As you leave the castle courtyard, head to the right. After passing the building and the car park further on, you will see on your right the characteristic building of the Małopolska Sound and Word Centre with the only Phonography Museum in Poland. There, you can admire many now-forgotten sound reproduction devices. A great attraction awaits music fans! Part of the exhibition is a listening room with around 2,000 vinyl records available to visitors. Here, you can sit on soft armchairs and enjoy the sounds of a gramophone.

After leaving the Centre, head to the left to reach the Błonia Niepołomickie, of which the Queen Bona Gardens are a part. Walk through them diagonally towards the left. After a few metres, you will stand in the corner of Market Square in Niepołomice. Walk along its edge to the east. Turning left into Mikołaja Kopernika Street, after about 150 metres, you will reach the Youth Astronomical Observatory. Its main aim is to popularise astronomy among children and young people.

The same route will take you back to the main street to direct your steps to the Sanctuary of St. Charles Borromeo, visible on the other side of the street. The cult of this saint in Niepołomice dates back to 1604, when Anna Branicka regained the power in her legs, believing that this was due to prayers to St. Charles Borromeo. Several decades later, the Governor of Kraków, Stanisław Lubomirski, founded a chapel by the temple where a miraculous image of the saint was placed. The church is also dedicated to the Ten Thousand Martyrs, who are commemorated by a painting on the vault.

Piktogram z ciekawostką o szlaku

At the beginning of the 20th century, the church interior was covered with a polychrome modelled on the one in St. Mary's Basilica in Kraków.

Once you have explored Niepołomice's peculiarities, it is time to have a bite to eat at one of the catering establishments on or near Market Square because a trip into the forest and a walk through the woods awaits you! Before the forest walk, look at the beautiful and colourful murals depicting Polish queens.

And now, it's time to take a peek into the primeval forest!

From around Market Square, head east into Bocheńska Street. After 200 metres, at the Chapel of Our Lady and Jesus of the Merciful Heart, where the road surface changes, turn left again. You will find yourself on the Royal Route, used centuries ago by kings visiting the castle in Niepołomice to travel deep into the forest. Following the Royal Route, you will cross national road no. 75, and after 7 kilometres, you will find yourself at the car park in Wola Batorska.

Piktogram z parkingiem przy szlaku on the right-hand side, at the side of the road. On sunny weekend days, it may be challenging to find a free space. The alternative is to stop somewhere earlier or look for a place a little further among the buildings.


The trails in the forest have a grid pattern. You will come to the Bison Conservation Breeding Centre if you continue along the Royal Route. The area is fenced and sheltered. Unfortunately, it isn't easy to see the King of the Forest. There is a chance to see some small game when moving away from large concentrations of walkers and venturing into slightly more remote areas.

Piktogram z ważną informacją na temat trasy Many of the roads look very similar, but the network of marked trails is not very dense. You have to be on the lookout to avoid getting lost.


We encourage you to take a walk to admire this unique forest complex that has been preserved so close to the big city. You can transport yourself back in time to centuries gone by and imagine yourself wandering with knights and kings. Have a nice rest in nature!

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