Where in Europe will you come across the only desert? Where can you find unique museum collections and witness unusual customs? Where will nature amaze you with its diversity? The answer is simple – only in Małopolska! Kraków – the region’s beating heart…
Małopolska is the region with the highest number of historical sites in Poland, the birthplace of Polish culture, a place that fosters traditions and possesses varied natural endowments.
The underground world
Ten kilometres away from Kraków there is a historical mine in Wieliczka, where salt has been mined continuously since the 11th century. The Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Poland, inscribed on the first UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978. The mine tourist route is almost 2 km long and leads through 22 chambers, e.g. St Kinga’s Chapel (which can seat 500 people!)
In Małopolska one can find the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, also entered into the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This shocking memorial from World War Two functions today as a museum. This is also a place for contemplation and prayer for the throngs of visitors who come here.
Along a mountains trail, along a mountains slope…
Małopolska, thanks to its exceptional geographical location and varied surface features with dominant mountains and uplands, has the best conditions for climbing in Poland. The Tatras – Poland’s only alpine type mountain range – stretch out in the region’s southern part. Extremely beautiful, young, dangerous to frivolous people, demanding. In the Tatras Polish alpinists and mountain climbers acquire knowledge that leads to the tops of the world. In Małopolska, there are scores of ski centres, tens of slopes and hundreds of ski lifts. Winter in Małopolska means also unforgettable cultural and sports events such as the famous Kraków Christmas Fair, Highlanders’ Carnival in Bukowina Tatrzańska, and the World Ski-Jumping Cup in Zakopane.
The enchanted world of wood
The Wooden Architecture Trail in the Małopolska Region is a unique proposal for the protection of the world made of wood. Entire architectural complexes are protected in the region – from churches, Orthodox churches, chapels and belfries, to granaries, rural huts and noblemen’s manors. The greatest treasures of the region are churches in Sękowa, Binarowa, Lipnica Murowana and Dębno Podhalańskie – UNESCO sites.
The delicacies of Małopolska – finger-licking good! Once famous mainly on the Polish market, today appear on the tables of European gourmets. Ten products, i.a. bryndza podhalańska (soft cheese made of sheep’s milk), oscypek (smoked sheep cheese) or Lisiecka sausage have been entered into the EU register of reserved origin names.
The lights don’t go out
The hard-working and resourceful residents of Małopolska can have great fun as well. He who hasn’t floated the Dunajec River gorge in the Pieniny Mountains at the beginning of the raft season should absolutely do so. Here, a wedding that lasts even several days can happen, and Łemko people from all over Europe celebrate their Watra in Zdynia. Here, Kraków Kazimierz celebrates the Jewish Culture Festival. In Kraków, street theatres, classical music festivals and film competitions feel at home. Sacrum Profanum and Misteria Paschalia attract tourists from the remotest parts of Europe, and the Cracovia Marathon is the third, after London and Paris, biggest sporting event of this kind in Europe. Closer than you think… 2-hour flight and you’re here. Spring, summer, autumn, winter – Małopolska invites you in every season of the year. Exceptional treasures wait to be discovered!