Visiting Krakow monuments and museums, even the greatest, can tire. We encourage You to go outside the city and see some natural environment of Malopolska region. There are many truly breathtaking attractions in a very close surroundings of Krakow. We highly recommend You visiting the smallest Polish national park. It could be a liberating break from the hustle of the city and an opportunity to enjoy the incredible views and a huge amount of fresh air!
Visiting Ojcow National Park
Ojcow National Park is mainly composed of picturesque limestone rocks, fomed by Mother Nature into the strangest shapes (the most known of them is so-called ‘Hercules’ Club’). The park is full of hills, canyons and valleys. Water drilled soft rocks for centuries, making numerous caves (some of them are really large). The landscape is truly unique!
Its qualities are enriched by medieval castles situated on steep rocks. The most famous are Ruins of Ojcow Castle towers over an incredibly picturesque Pradnik River Valley. Here starts a long chain of fortresses built at the time of King Casimir the Great (14th century) and nowadays known as Trail of the Eagles’ Nests (more about it in our other post). Absolutely worth seeing is also Pieskowa Skała Castle (rebuilt in the Renaissance into a splendid residence) and located nearby the mentioned Hercules’ Club.
The track through the Pradnik River Valley is one of the most beautiful routes in the Ojcow National Park. There is Ojcow Castle on high limestone hill at one end of the valley (picturesque, v-shaped and surrounded by steep cliffs) and Jonaszowka Rock with fantastic viewpoint on the other side.
Nearby, You can visit a Łokietek Cave on Chelmowa Mount. What story hides behind the strange name of the cave? Wladislaus Łokietek (meaning ‘The Short’) was a Polish King (father of Kasimir the Great). He had to hide inside this great cavern, running from pursuers hunting him by the order of Czech King Wenceslaus. Perhaps the most positive character of this story was a meta menardi – extremely rare, venomous spider which, according to the legend, covers the entrance with its web, so the cave looked as abandoned.
Nowadays, some representatives of this species live in another park cave – Jaskinia Ciemna (‘Dark cave’) which is inhabited also by bats (to specify a lesser horseshoe bat specie), and once was by Neanderthals (their prehistoric remains were found at the entrance to the cave. Both largest caves in the Park could be visited with a guide. There are much more attractions in this beautiful area, like the unique ability to pass through the famous Brama Krakowska (‘Krakow Gate’) shaped by Mother Nature with rocks.
The beauty of Ojców National Park is enhanced by superb monuments of traditional wooden architecture – huts, mills and villas built in the early twentieth century for holiday guests. Walking through the Ojców National Park is really a great pleasure, a true joy for eyes and lungs. We offer visiting Ojcow National Park with a fantastic, professional guide!