The forested mountain slopes in striking colors or rocky trails emerging from the morning mist are unforgettable sights. The Polish mountains are simply charming — the Tatras and the Bieszczady, but also the Beskids, the Carpathians and the Table Mountains.
“Out-of-season hostel on Tuesday”
The Polish mountains have recently seen a revival of tourist interest. The long summer days are great for mountain hiking, but the season doesn’t end with the first school bell. Fall is just as good, or even winter, although understandably, you must be prepared for lower temperatures and more mud on the trials.
You’ll meet far fewer tourists, and the less frequented tracks might even offer blissful solitude. However, the greatest advantages of a fall trip to the mountains are the picturesque views and the unique atmosphere. The experience will help you understand the tourist ballads sung in the evenings in mountain hostels and by bonfires.
Probably the best fall vibe of all Polish mountains. The alders, beeches and sycamores on the mountain ranges boast a whole palette of golds, browns and reds. The wild climate has long been a magnet for those who drop everything, so you’ll find plenty of colorful personalities in local bars and hostels.
Although the accommodation and tourist infrastructure in Bieszczady is constantly developing, the conditions are often still rather basic. But who needs electricity or hot water with the autumn sun beaming down on the high plains?
One unique way to enjoy this area is from horseback (yes, the bareback, not the saddle!). Hop on a small but sturdy Hucul pony to feel like real a Bieszczadian.
Rudawy Janowickie and Sokole Mountains
It is one of the pearls of Lower Silesia. These small mountains, up to a thousand meters above sea level, are perfect for shorter fall walks. Here you will find one, but nonetheless stylish, mountain hostel. The wooden Szwajcarka was built in Tyrolean style at the beginning of the 19th century. It can be a stopover on a Sunday trip or a basecamp for a climbing holiday. The neighboring Sokoliki is one of the most popular locations among Polish climbers.
For more accessible attractions, try visiting the ruins of the medieval Bolczów Castle or the colorful lakes on the slope of Wielka Kopa. From there, you can continue to Skalnik, the highest peak in Rudawy Janowickie (945 m above sea level).
Unusual geological formations and rock mazes are your thing? Let’s explore the Sudetes near Wałbrzych and Kudowa-Zdrój, starting with the Table Mountains. They are one of the few plate mountains in Europe, owing their name to the flat-lying sandstone plates. The slight elevation of the Table Mountains (the highest peak, Szczeliniec Wielki, measures 919 m above sea level) should be relatively unchallenging, even for beginners.
You have to pay a fee to visit Szczeliniec and Błędne Skały but you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. Did you know that this rocky landscape was immortalized in the film adaptation of “The Chronicles of Narnia”?
Have we mentioned that hikers never get bored in Lower Silesia? Let’s move to the Śnieżnik Massif, the highest part of Kłodzko Land. We’re now over 1,000 meters above sea level, but the trails are still rather gentle.
The hostel at the foot of Śnieżnik can be your starting point for the approximately one-hour-long route to the Bear Cave in Kletno. Other underground attractions include the Fluorite Adit, a remnant of a uranium mine.
The Giant Mountains and Śnieżka are the highlights of the Sudetes. In the fall, the hike may be more difficult, even though the Queen of the Giant Mountains measures only 1,600 m above sea level. You can expect fog, as it occurs there about 306 days a year.
The popular trail from Karpacz to the summit starts at an unusual wooden Evangelical church. Although it may be the oldest wooden church in Poland, it was actually built in Norway. The pine log structure was moved here in 1842 from the village of Vang, which gave the landmark its traditional name.
The Jizera Mountains are yet another beautiful chain in the Western Sudetes. Despite the low height (the highest one, Wysoka Kopa, is about 1,100 m above sea level), in good weather they can provide views of the Giant Mountains and the Jelenia Góra Basin, as well as the Czech side, to be admired an “exclusive” walk on a red carpet of fall leaves.
There are trails here for a short walk as well as for a whole day hike. The most picturesque one leads to a closed quartz mine and Rozdroże pod Kopą.
Hidden in the Jizera Mountains, the Orle Tourist Station is a remnant of an old glassmaking settlement. Today, it’s a great tourist destination, and the gentle slopes are particularly suitable for cycling trips.
This part of the Carpathians is one of the most attractive tourist regions in Poland, so leave your visit for the fall. A climb to Trzy Korony (982 m above sea level) is a must – there’s a viewing platform there for a reason. The trail from the hostel near the summit leads down to Krościenko.
Typical Pieniny attractions include rafting down the Dunajec River Gorge, but if you’re looking for an extreme experience, you can try mountain canoeing. Take your first lessons on the Wietrznice artificial canoeing trail, and warm up your sore muscles in the outdoor banya afterwards.
History enthusiasts will enjoy the ruins of the Czorsztyn Castle and the Niedzica Castle.
The highest part of the unassuming Holy Cross Mountains includes the most famous and the highest peaks: Łysica (612 m) and Holy Cross, also known as Łysa Góra (595 m). In the fall and the winter, the fir and beech forests look phenomenal, and the fog-shrouded rock rubble is even more impressive.
Łysa Góra is rightly associated with witches’ Sabbaths, as archaeologists have found proof of pagan worship there.
Isn’t it a wonderful destination for a fall get-together with friends?
More ambitious and experienced visitors might want to climb the Crown of Polish Mountains. You can start with Babia Góra (1,725 m above sea level) in the beautiful Żywiec Beskids, which is part of the Crown.
Hala Rycerzowa with a cozy shepherd’s hut at 1,100 m above sea level will also provide you with beautiful views of the peaks and even the nearby Tatras. The Żywiec part of the Beskids, located in the Western Beskids, near Żywiec and Nowy Targ, is the second-highest mountain range in Poland.
The Beskid Mountains are forested and usually gentle, but the archipelago-like nature of Island Beskids with their isolated peaks requires a lot of stamina. The height differences between individual peaks are quite significant. You’ll appreciate this when you see the tops of the ‘islands’ emerging from the morning fall mist.
The highest in the range, Mogielica (1,170 m above sea level) is a good viewpoint overlooking the Gorce, the Pieniny, and the Tatras. There are few hostels in Island Beskid – Luboń and Kudłacze are two examples.
Fall is the perfect time for mountain hiking. A Sunday stroll around a luxury resort, a weekend getaway at a hostel, or an adventurous camping trip – the Polish mountains guarantee an unforgettable experience, especially after the high season.
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