A couple of hours drive from Krakow is the border with Slovakia. You can cross deep in the Tatra mountains, or Pieninski National Park. It’s a beautiful area, no matter which way you go. You can also go on a traditional raft along the Dunajec river. This runs along the border and finishes in Szczawnica. From here you can rent a bike and ride along the river and cross between the two countries.
I enjoy going here during the summer and cycling along the river. With a quick stop in a cafe across the border for some traditional Slovakian food. The garlic soup and deep fried cheese are not exactly healthy, but they do taste amazing.
The views here are awesome, and you can see various mountain ranges, but my favourite is the Trzy Korony (Three Kings). A series of three peaks and you can hike up them, although I haven’t tried that yet.
Go a different way and you will go past Morskie Oko. This is a nice trip too, up a mountain. The main goal is the crystal clear lake at the very top. It is quite a hike though, and took us about 4 hours. There is an option to take a horse-drawn cart up there instead though.
Once you get here there are a load of trails that you can follow, but watch out for bears! These mountains are home to Eurasian Brown Bears. If you have had enough walking already, there is a cafe where you can get food & drinks.
I took the picture above from the side of the road when we were travelling to Stary Smokovec. Many of the roads in the High Tatras have similar views. Stary Smokovec is also a great place to visit for a weekend. It’s a nice quaint Slovakian town in the mountains, and has easy access to the chair lifts. It also has some great views!
This is our view from the hotel room at the Grand Hotel Stary Smokovec. It’s a nice hotel with a fantastic history and excellent service.
If you are visiting Krakow, think about heading south and out of the city. It’s a gorgeous part of the world and I recommend hiring a car for a couple of days and heading into the mountains.