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For me, the best part of travelling somewhere new is getting out in nature and experiencing a country’s beautiful scenery. Poland is no exception to having stunning landscapes and is full of pristine lakes, enchanting forests, towering mountains, gorgeous lakes, streams, rivers and powdery soft sandy beaches. Yes, you read that correctly. Poland does have sandy beaches.
Whether you’re into winter skiing holidays while careening down the snowy mountains, or would rather relax in the sun along the shores of the Baltic Sea, Poland has got you covered when it comes to diverse landscapes.
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After spending a few days exploring cities and towns, I definitely crave some quiet time hiking and walking outdoors and what better way than to be surrounded by nature.
If you’re like me and enjoy escaping the hustle and bustle of the city life and trading it for a little peace and quiet, then this post is for you.
Here are a few places in Poland that are perfect for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
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Poronin is the perfect place to visit if you enjoy less crowds and a ton of gorgeous scenery complete with mountain views. Nestled between the towns of Nowy Targ and Zakopane, sits the small mountain village of Poronin in southern Poland. With an approximate population around 4,000 people, Poronin is mainly used as a base for those that are looking to explore the Tatra Mountains, but at a fraction of the price that it would cost within a touristy place like Zakopane. Poronin may not be well not within the tourism sector, but I found this quaint mountain village to be serene, inviting and picturesque, which made it the perfect escape for a few days of solid relaxation. It is the place to go if you really want to immerse yourself within Polish culture. English wasn’t really spoken in any of the restaurants, stores, or bakeries, but most of the locals were warm, friendly and patient with me trying to communicate with them and some tried very hard to speak some English back to me.
Located in the south of Poland surrounded by stunning nature at the foot of the Gorce Mountains (part of the Carpathian Mountain range), lies the small picturesque town of Nowy Targ. With a population of approximately 34,000 people, Nowy Targ is the perfect place to visit if you are craving some serenity, getting out into nature and enjoying some small town vibes. Despite Nowy Targ’s small population, every winter and summer, the number of Polish tourists soar as people make their way to the Podhale Region, especially Nowy Targ, due to its close proximity to the Carpathian Mountain range, specifically the Tatra Mountains, which is the highest in the range. Tourists love to stay in Nowy Targ as a base for their skiing and hiking holidays and for good reason; it’s beautiful. Make your way to the Bor na Czerwonem Nature Reserve and immerse yourself amongst the tall pine trees and keep your eyes peeled for some owls, small birds, deer and other wildlife. There aren’t any harmful animals to worry about, so you can take your walk without any issues.
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Situated in the very south of Poland in the Podhale region at the foot of the Tatra Mountains in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, lies the beautiful resort town of Zakopane. This beautiful mountain paradise lies near Poland’s border with Slovakia in a valley between the magnificent Tatra Mountains and Gubałówka Hill. Mostly visited by Polish and other European tourists, Zakopane is still rather unheard of when it comes to travellers coming from North America. Zakopane is to Poland what Banff is to Canada; a magnificent wonderland for winter activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, hiking and snowboarding. In the summer and fall, tourists flock to the green Tatra Mountains to bask in the beauty of dozens of hiking trails, ride ATVs and dirt bikes, enjoy the beautiful scenery and relax in the fresh mountain air. If heading to Zakopane, make sure to book your accommodations well in advance because it is considered one of the most popular places in Poland to visit for nature lovers.
While in Zakopane, why not stay an extra day to do a hike to the beautiful (and popular) Morskie Oko. Morskie Oko, or Eye of the Sea in English, is the largest and 4th deepest lake in the Tatra Mountains, in southern Poland. Morskie Oko is located deep within the Tatra National Park in the Rybi Potok Valley, of the High Tatra mountain range at the base of the Mięguszowiecki Summit. Morskie Oko is by far, the most popular destination for visitors to Zakopane and to the incredible Tatra Mountains in Poland and due to its popularity, I suggest you get up bright and early to beat the crowds that fill the trails. For those of you heading to Poland, I cannot stress enough just how breathtaking the views are during the hike to Morskie Oko and the hike around the lake as well. You’ll be blown away by the serenity as you take in the views while breathing in that crisp, fresh mountain air. Morskie Oko is one of the cleanest lakes in the Tatra Mountains as well due to the fact that boats are not allowed and as tempting as the clear water may be on a hot summer’s day, neither is swimming. A visit to Zakopane isn’t complete with a day trip to Morskie Oko and no photo on the internet can prepare you for the sheer beauty of this place.
Żywiec is a gorgeous little town in the south of Poland in the Silesian Voivodeship on the Soła and Koszarawa rivers with a population just a little over 31,000 people. Its quiet streets, friendly locals and charming small town feel are the definite draw cards for this delightful Polish town. Żywiec is one of those places that you visit if you want to get away from the crowds, populated cities and traffic. It is also home to Żywiec Lake, or Jezioro Żywieckie. I was pleasantly surprised by just how much nature Żywiec had. I spent most of my day there walking along the lake, talking with locals about my travels and sitting down with a coffee while watching the train travel down the tracks across the lake and blowing its horn in the distance. If you’re looking for a place to visit that is unknown amongst the tourist crowds, then Żywiec is the place for you!
Poland is such a vast country that is sprawling with fantastic landscapes and nature reserves to visit, so this is just a short list of places to visit if nature outings are at the top of your to do list. If it’s solitude you are searching for, you’ll find it within Poland, whether you head north, east, south, or west. There are so many enchanting corners within Poland that are still undiscovered by international tourists that you’ll be spoiled for choices while travelling through this incredible country.
What do you guys prefer when travelling? Are you more of a city goer, or is being out in nature more your jam? Let me know in the comments below. xo
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