Beskid Sądecki and Low Beskids
The Beskids captivate with their peaceful beauty, offering safe trails and beautiful landscapes. Despite the different nature and height, they have a lot in common: valued health resort, numerous wooden monuments, cultural traditions and events that have gone down in the history of the world. During the First World War, the eastern front was broken near Gorlice – the German and Austro-Hungarian troops defeated the Russian forcing their army to retreat. Every year, a historical staging commemorating this event takes place in Sękowa. Those who fell in the battle were buried in war cemeteries, e.g. Magura Małastowska, where the front line used to run. Much earlier, the Gorlice Land was famous for oil deposits, which began to be mined around the world in the 1850s. Stanisław Jabłonowski is considered one of the pioneers of the oil industry. He built the first kopanka – oil well thanks to which oil was pulled out in buckets deep from the ground.
For nature lovers
If you are looking for peace surrounded by the Beskid nature, you will undoubtedly find it in the Magura National Park, which was created in 1995 in the Low Beskids. Almost 800 species of plants and 200 species of animals have been recorded here, among which there are rare or endangered birds (golden eagle, lesser spotted eagle, eagle owl and honey buzzard), butterflies (clouded Apollo, scarce swallowtail, common yellow swallowtail) and beetles (Alpine longhorn beetle and Cerambyx scopolii), or come across large predatory mammals. The park was established in areas which until 1947 were inhabited by Ruthenian highlanders – the Lemkos. There are numerous monuments in the form of roadside figurines and chapels, Orthodox churches and churches.
One of the attractions is Lake Klimkówka – immortalised in the movie “With fire and sword”, where you can go windsurfing.
Beskid Sądecki boasts the Poprad Landscape Park with its Natura 2000 Ostoja Popradzka area, as well as many educational and ornithological paths, among others on the slopes of Góra Parkowa, Jaworzyna Krynicka or in Łopata Polska. Thanks to health resorts famous for medicinal waters, Poprad Landscape Park is considered one of the most attractive areas in Poland. There are 13 nature reserves here, of which Kłodne nad Dunajcem, Obrożyska and Pusta Wielka are particularly noteworthy. When you come here, don't miss the Bobrowisko natural enclave in Stary Sącz, cool carbon dioxide fumes in Tylicz – called mofety, the Czarna Młaka pond near Muszyna, or the fancy spiral viewing platform in Wola Krogulecka.
For lovers of museums and open-air museums
In museums and open-air museums located, among others in Nowy Sącz, Krynica, Stary Sącz, Gorlice, Muszyna and Łoś you can find collections of valuable exhibits from various eras and different areas of human activity.
The headquarters of the District Museum in Nowy Sącz was moved in 2018 to the historic building of the former Austro-Hungarian Bank. The modernisation allowed to emphasise the representative character of the staircase and the main hall on the top floor, where variable exhibitions, meetings and concerts take place. The departments and branches of the District Museum contain exhibits depicting the extraordinary history and culture of the inhabitants of the Beskids.
In the Sądecki Ethnographic Park in Nowy Sącz there are several thousand exhibits presenting the folk culture of Lachy, Polish Highlanders, Highlanders of Łącko, Lemkos and Carpathian Gypsies. It houses, among others over a dozen peasant homesteads with characteristic rural buildings. An element unique on a national scale are the reconstructed temples of three denominations: the church of St Martyr Dymitr from Czarne, the wooden 18th century church of St Peter and Paul from Łososina Dolna and the church from Świniarsko, which originally served the Protestant colonists.
A Galician Town, modelled on the 19th-century Galician settlements, was created next to the Ethnographic Park. You can see there the Old Town Hall and the noble manor house from Łososina Górna, in which there is a conference and training centre, a fire station and two residential buildings housing a set-up of watchmaker's workshop and potter's workshop.
Classic art can be admired at the Gallery of Maria Ritter in Nowy Sącz, located on the first floor of a historic, 200-year-old tenement house. The collection of works donated by the painter from Nowy Sącz include oil paintings, watercolours, graphics, drawings, collages, sculptures and wall paintings. The interior design introduces guests to the atmosphere of the apartments of the former burgess.
The Nikifor Museum in Krynica, in turn, presents the work of one of the most famous representatives of primitivism in the world – Nikifor Krynicki or actually Epifaniusz Drowniak. The documentary part of the exhibition consists of souvenirs of the artist and publications devoted to him. The museum is also a place for exhibitions of well-known artists from the area of non-professional and folk art. In Tylicz we will find the Museum of the History of Tylicz, which in addition to ethnographic exhibitions has also a collection dedicated to the Bar Confederation.
Souvenirs of famous residents of Stary Sącz can be seen in the local Regional Museum. The exhibits collected in the historic building know as Dom na Dołkach show the history of the city, handicrafts, military items, as well as works of art. The tenement house, which houses the museum, was the only one to survive the great fire of 1795 and retained the 17th-century Baroque character. It owes its name to its placement in the (once) lowest place (dół) of the market square, or, as another legend says, from pits (dołki) dug in the tenement basement by a local gravedigger.
Among museums, there are plenty of those that will appeal to children, e.g. The Starost's House in Muszyna, which currently houses the local cultural centre, the Toy Museum in Krynica run by a married couple of enthusiasts, in which toys from almost all eras can be found, or the Zagroda Maziarska in Łoś, a homestead where you can see everyday clothes and items of the old oil dealers.
For lovers of active leisure
A rich network of tourist routes allows you to reach all the most attractive parts of the region. Beskids offer tourists hiking, biking, horseback, cross-country, ski, as well as cableways and recreation centres. There are two cableways in Krynica-Zdrój: one goes to Góra Parkowa and another to Jaworzyna. The latter is the longest gondola lift in Poland.
Among the walking routes, the red Main Beskid Trail, and the blue Żegiestów Zdrój – Leluchów trail are particularly recommendable. The most interesting bicycle routes are the yellow bicycle trail Wysowa Zdrój – Regietów – Wysowa Zdrój, which allows you to see wooden post-Lemko Orthodox churches in the vicinity of Wysowa-Zdrój. Beskids sites are also included on the VeloDunajec and VeloNatura routes.
There are many studs and horse-riding centres in the Beskids – it is a very popular activity in the region. In Gładyszów there is the largest Hutsul horse farm in Europe. Individual and group rides for tourists are organised here, as well as horse riding lessons with an instructor, horse rides, carriage rides and sleigh rides. Around 100 km of marked horse trails have been led in the vicinity of the centre. Every year in September, a three-day event known as Hutsul Days is organised here. The horse trail worth recommending is Rytro – Uhryń – Hańczowa – Nieznajowa – Kotań – Olchowiec, a fragment of the Transbeskid Horse Route, which leads form Rytro, located in Beskid Sądecki to Olchowiec, which is already in Low Beskids. The trail runs through the Magura National Park.
The offer of sports activities in the winter season is so rich that it is impossible to list everything. The most frequently chosen by tourists include: cross-country ski trails, trail skiing, skitouring and hiking in snowshoes. Beskid Sądecki and Low Beskids boast top-level ski resorts, of which Słotwiny Arena, Henryk, Jaworzyna Krynicka, Tylicz Ski, Master Ski and Wierchomla are particularly worth recommending. If you are just starting your adventure with skiing, try smaller lifts, such as: Kokuszka, Kamianna, Magura Ski Park and Smerekowiec.
Visitors to the Beskids should take advantage of the rich offer of stationary centres where you can have just as much fun as on the trails. The most visited are rope parks Ablandia in Rytro, rope park in Wysowa, Winter Sports Centre in Ptaszkowa as well as Recreation and Sport Centre Zapopradzie. Lovers of water madness in the summer season can take part in the river trip down the Poprad river.
For lovers of health resorts
It is worth going to Beskid Sądecki and Low Beskids to have some rest. The balance of both spirit and body is restored by water from the local springs, appreciated for its taste and healing properties. Beskids are truly famous for their health resorts. Many mountain towns are visited throughout the year by tourists who come here to improve their health. The list of most-valued resorts includes:
Krynica-Zdrój, called the pearl of Polish health resorts. It has not only the features of European resorts such as the promenade, stylish guesthouses or spa houses, but above all the pump rooms where most of the local natural treasures are available – 23 mineral water intakes, with the most popular “Kryniczanka”, as well as the Słotwinka, Jan and Zuber sources.
Wapienne is one of the oldest health resorts in Poland. Sulphide water intakes are used here in the treatment of musculoskeletal and rheumatic diseases. Before the war, the town was famous for oil production, as well as a stonemason's centre, and to this day it is inhabited by several Lemko families. The local spa houses use mud and medium mineralized sulphide waters from the Kamila, Marta and Zuzanna sources.
Piwniczna-Zdrój specialises in the treatment of respiratory and digestive diseases as well as prophylaxis of locomotor organs. Here, you can taste for example the “Piwniczanka” water. There are excellent tourist and walking areas around the town, attractive both in summer and winter, as well as sources of mineral waters – most of them offer tasty, healing water flowing straight from the ground or solid rock. Sources can also be found in the beautifully situated valleys of Beskid Sądecki in Łomnica-Zdrój or Wierchomla.
Muszyna – once the centre of a large area called the “Muszyna state”, today it is eagerly visited by sufferers of respiratory and digestive diseases.
Wysowa-Zdrój is a small health resort famous for the “Wysowianka” mineral water. In the local health resort park, you can try medicinal waters from the following springs: Józef, Franciszek, Henryk, Słone and Bronisław. They are recommended for the treatment of respiratory, digestive and urinary tract diseases.