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Szlak samochodowy: Na Pustynię Błędowską szlakiem Orlich Gniazd

Car trail: To the Błędowska Desert along the Eagle's Nests Trail

Wieża zamkowa z zamkniętymi wrotami po prawej. po lewej od drogi drzewa.
Modlnica Tourist region: Jura Krakowsko-Częstochowska, Kraków i okolice
Can the Polish Sahara, the smallest national park in the country, and mysterious castles all be combined? In the Małopolska region, anything is possible! The tour below will take you to the desert wilderness via the first four castles on the Eagle's Nests Trail and the Ojców National Park. The tour will be rich in natural beauty that will not leave you indifferent to its beauty. So, what do you say? Are you coming with us?

Piktogram z długością trasy 68 kilometres

Piktogram z miejscem startu szlaku Modlnica

Piktogram z dojazdem do miejsca startowego szlaku  national road No. 94 between Kraków (2 km from the crossing with the northern bypass of the city) and Olkusz (28 km).

Modlnica - Grodzisko section


Grodzisko - the Błędowska Desert section


We invite you on a trip whose route, although only 70 km long, leads through many attractive, unique places in the Kraków-Częstochowa Jurrasic Highland.

To meet Blessed Salome

In Modlnica, turn in the direction of Giebułtów (to the right if driving from Kraków or to the left if from Olkusz). You will see the first exciting object about a kilometre after leaving the national road. We are referring to the Church of St. Idzi in Giebułtów (on the left), built at the beginning of the 17th century. During the construction of the present Renaissance church, elements of a Romanesque building were used, which was founded in 1086 or 1102 by Judith, wife of King Władysław Herman.

After passing the church, you are faced with a sharp bend and a steep downhill slope, at the end of which you turn left onto road no. 794 (to the direction of Wolbrom). Soon, on your right, you will see the first limestone rocks on your way, which make up the Kraków-Częstochowa Jurassic Highland, as well as a signpost directing you to the left to the castle in Korzkiew. Turn off onto the local road (about 1 km after entering road no. 794), and after less than 2 km, you will see the Castle in Korzkiew among the trees on your right.

Piktogram z parkingiem na szlaku On the trail it is best to park at the free car park on the left side of the road and to reach the castle on foot via stone steps.


The Korzkiew Castle is the first stronghold on the Eagle’s Nests Trail (a description of the Eagle’s Nests Trail). Its construction started in 1352 by Jan Coat of Arms Syrokomla, and his work was continued by the knight Zaklika from Korzkiew. In the course of history, the castle repeatedly changed owners until it fell into ruins at the end of the 19th century. Since 1997, it has belonged to the architect Jerzy Donimirski, who is gradually rebuilding the castle surrounded by a historic park.

Continue in the direction of Przybysławice, where you take road no. 794 again. You must turn left, where a signpost directs you to Skała. When you reach this village, stick to the route to Wolbrom to avoid the centre. When you are north of the town, the signposts will show that road no. 794 leads to the right, and you turn left into Wolbromska Street. Head south along this road, following the arrows that say Grodzisko, ignoring the fact that, after the last houses, the road leads into the forest, and the asphalt ends. In a few minutes, you will reach the complex of sacral buildings comprising the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Blessed Salomea the prebendary's house, houses of prayer, i.e. grottoes and the hermitage of Blessed Salomea, sister of King Bolesław the Chaste (20 km).

The church combines as many as three styles: Romanesque (rectangular body), Renaissance (barrel vault with lunettes) and Baroque (tower helmet, impressive portal). The brick Grotto of Gethsemane is adjacent to the outer wall (the rear wall, as seen from the entrance to the enclosed area).

A little lower down, there is a set of caves dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene (on the left), the Dormition of the Virgin Mary (in the centre) and St John the Baptist (on the right), as well as an intriguing statue-obelisk representing an elephant with an obelisk on its back, which was erected in 1687 after the victory of John III Sobieski at Vienna. The prototype for the statue stood in front of the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome.

A stone staircase called the Rosary steps leads up to the hermitage. The building consists of three rooms, in which the altar of Blessed Salomea and her stone bed have been preserved.

You return to Wolbromska Street along the same road, heading for the centre of Skała. When you are in the market square, take road no. 773 toward Olkusz and go down it to the phenomenal Prądnik Valley. Now head to the left to Ojców.

Driving through the picturesque Prądnik Valley, you pass Osada Boroniówka on your left (a mill and water sawmill, the oldest and most valuable mill complex in the Prądnik Valley and a rare example of wooden industrial architecture) and the Chapel on the Water dedicated to St. Joseph the Craftsman. Why such an original name? Tsar Nicholas II issued a decree forbidding the erection of religious buildings in the Homeland, so the ban was cleverly circumvented by erecting a building 'on the water.'

At the next intersection, you will be faced with the choice of car park to use, either at the foot of the castle (turn left) or on Mt Złota (go straight ahead, uphill). On a clear weekend day, it is better to head straight for Mt Złota, as the car park at the foot of the castle is small; it is difficult to find a free spot while arriving in the middle of the day.

Ojców National Park

Although the Ojców National Park is the smallest in Poland, it hides the most fabulous treasures!

Piktogram z parkingiem na szlaku On the trail at the two car parks mentioned above, there are hourly fees for the parking meters. You can also use private parking spaces, which you will pass on the way to the centre.

To get to know the charms of the park, we suggest an hour-and-a-half walk from the car park on Mt Góra through the Sąspowska Valley and the Prądnik Valley.

Map of the walk

You start by following the green trail to the Sąspowska Valley (a description of the Sąspowska Valley) (10 min.) and then the yellow trail to the Prądnik Valley(35 min.), from where you follow the red trail to the left, admiring the characteristic buildings of Ojców on the way. You will reach the village centre about an hour after setting off from the car park.

Piktogram z opcją wycieczki

If you have more time, after reaching the Prądnik Valley, you can turn right to walk to Brama Krakowska / the Kraków Gate (approx. 15 min), admiring numerous rock formations along the way.

In the 19th century, due to its exceptional natural beauty and the establishment of a therapeutic facility in 1855, the village served as a centre for patients. Although Ojców had no unique microclimate or healing waters, it was frequently visited. Fryderyk Chopin, Jan Ursyn Niemcewicz and Cyprian Kamil Norwid, among others, stayed here. Unfortunately, during the January Uprising in 1863, almost all the spa buildings were burnt down. Only a few buildings have survived to the present day, including the current building of the Władysław Szafer Natural History Museum, Willa Pod Berłem, Willa Pod Koroną, and Willa Zawiszówka.

Another gem waiting to be discovered are the ruins of the Ojców Castle, a testament to the grandeur of King Casimir the Great's reign. This fortress was not just a protective barrier for Kraków from the north but also protection for merchants travelling along the trade route. A leisurely walk along the green trail from the castle to the car park takes about 30 minutes.

More castles ahead of you: Pieskowa Skała and Rabsztyn

Let's move on because new adventures await! From Ojców, head to the junction with road no. 773, towards the next castle – Pieskowa Skała (34 km) – which you will soon see against the background of Maczuga Herkulesa / the Hercules Mace.

Piktogram z parkingiem na szlakuparking places on the trail are at the foot of the castle by the road.

The castle is a real gem on the Trail of Eagle's Nests. The defensive structure, erected by Casimir the Great, was given a Renaissance character, modelled on Wawel, by its successive owners – the Szafraniec family – in the 16th century. Today, it houses a museum presenting the stylistic changes in European art and the largest gallery of English paintings in Poland.

A legend connected with the castle says that in the tower, called Dorotka, the daughter of the Tęczyńskis, who were the owners of the building over the centuries, died of starvation. She was supposed to be punished in such a cruel way for her love of a lute player, with whom she tried to run away. For some time, she was saved from death by a dog that climbed the rock and dropped its mistress waste.

Continue along road no. 773 in the direction of Olkusz. You will pass through the unusually long village of Sułoszowa, which is divided into 3 parts for organisational reasons, and after 14 km, in Sieniczno, you reach road no. 94, where you started your journey. Turn right (in the direction of Bytom), and when you reach the traffic lights (2 km), turn right again onto route No. 783 (in the direction of Wolbrom). On your left, you will see the blocks of flats of the Słowiki estate, which are sometimes called smurfs because of their blue roofs. Follow the Olkusz bypass. When you reach the roundabout, leave the main road, turn left and after about 1 km, you find yourself at a car park at the foot of the next castle (56 km).

Parking: just off the road, about 500 m from the castle.

The name of the castle - Rabsztyn – derives from the German Rabenstein, meaning Krucza Skała / the Krucza Rock. For a long time, there were only its small ruins, but the reconstruction works carried out since the beginning of the 20th century have made the building look more and more impressive. In 2021, it won the prestigious 'Zabytek Zadbany' competition. Every year, spectacular knightly tournaments are held beneath the castle, and on the third weekend of September, there is the Sarmatian Juromania, the Festival of the Kraków – Częstochowa Jurassic Highland.

In the immediate vicinity of the castle is the cottage where Antoni Kocjan, an outstanding glider constructor, was born on 12 August 1902. His gliders set 40 national gliding records and many international records. During the war, Kocjan headed the air intelligence of the Union of Armed Struggle, then of the Home Army. It was he who discovered the secrets of the German V1 and V2 weapons and led the Allies to bomb the German testing ground and rocket factory at Peenemunde on the island of Usedom, which delayed the production of the guns and had a considerable impact on the course of the war.

Polish Sahara

At the end of the day, a real gem remains – the Polish Sahara: Błędowska Desert. You need to head towards Olkusz from the castle but not reach the centre. When the signposts to Jaroszowiec and Bogucin Duże appear, you must follow them, turn right (about 3.5 km from the car park after the castle), and stick to the main road. In Bogucin (4 km), you have to turn left and, after another kilometre, turn right onto road no. 791 in the direction of Zawiercie. This route will lead you to the roundabout in Klucze, where you will follow the signs to the 'Czubatka' lookout point. The trip can be shortened slightly by turning around at the roundabout to enter a car park near the shops and, via a narrow street almost parallel to the road you came from, go directly to Czubatka (68 km).

Piktogram z parkingiem na szlaku on the trail at the end of the street.

By the car park, there is an observation tower and a lookout point that allows you to take in the vast expanse of the Błędowska Desert. A board placed there informs you that you are in the Eagle’s Nests Landscape Park, and a photograph makes it easier to identify the visible objects. If the visibility is good, you can even see the buildings of the Katowice Steelworks in Dąbrowa Górnicza and the area of the military training ground. Few know that soldiers of the 4th Battalion of the Polish Legions practiced here in November 1914.

Legend has it that devils living underground contributed to creating the Błędowska Desert. The devils were very angry that the Olkusz mines were getting deeper and deeper and decided to cover them with sand from the Baltic Sea. As there was one clumsy and weak devil among them, who snagged his bags on the Błędów church tower, the sand was spread around the area, creating a desert.

Piktogram z opcją wycieczki

We suggest driving to another car park for those who do not want to look at the desert and would like to stand on its sands. You have to go down the same road from Czubatka to reach it. When the main street turns left, take narrow Środkowa Street to the right.

After about 200 m, you will be on road no. 791, where you have to turn right. Attention: minimal visibility!!! You need to make skilful use of the traffic mirror opposite.

Here, continue straight ahead all the time, ignoring the fact that the main road turns left. After about 2 km, you will see a sign pointing in the direction of the Błędowska Desert. Turn right and, after about 700 m, turn right again to the car park. From here, there is still about 300 m left to the sea of sand, which is best covered on foot.

At the edge of the desert is Róża Wiatrów / the Wind Rose, a system of pavilions and jetties providing a base for a picnic or setting out on a desert expedition. There are several refreshment outlets in season, and whatever the season, you can look through a hiking telescope and sit in the gunner's seat of an anti-aircraft gun.

This is the end of the tour, which took us from castle to castle and between picturesque rocky outcrops. Returning in the direction of Kraków, you can take a brief detour to Olkusz to let yourself be charmed by its atmosphere and return sometime for a more extended visit to get to know all the attractions of Srebrne Miasto / the Silver City.

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