day trip
marcelina słowik
Bats, caves, castles, fantastical rock formations and picturesque gorges – all of this is less than a half-hour drive away from Kraków. Welcome to Ojców National Park! It’s an ideal place for a short excursion, whether on foot or by bike. And it’s heaven for rock-climbers.Ojców National Park
day trip
The quickest way to get there from Kraków is by car or city bus (line no. 210), but if someone has a bit more time and energy, it’s not too much of a challenge to reach it by bicycle. It’s amazing that after only half an hour of travel and a distance of slightly over 20 km from the city centre, we find ourselves in a completely different world. Ojców National Park is the smallest national park in the whole country, but at the same time – it’s one of the most interesting. There are over 400 caves, 17 species of bats and numerous limestone rocks with fairytale-like shapes, attracting thousands of tourists. A hike through picturesque Prądnik Valley, among rocks that are several dozen metres high and winding streams, is a wonderful weekend adventure. But we can enrich it even more. For those who wish to visit the interior of caves, we can confidently recommend King Lokietek’s Cave, open from mid-April to November, in which, according to legend, King Łokietek hid while escaping from the Czech army of Vaclav II. He managed to hide thanks to a “patriotic” spider which supposedly covered the cave’s entrance with a web. Nearby there is the Dark Cave (also open only in tourist season), inhabited 125,000 years ago, according to archaeological studies, by Neanderthals, cousins of Homo Sapiens. It contains not only delightful rock formations but also bats, moths and cave spiders. It’s necessary to dress warmly because the temperature in the cave remains about 8˚ Celsius year round, regardless of the season.
day trip
And if someone prefers romantic castles to dark caves, there is a 14th-century castle built by King Kazimierz the Great. This excellently preserved castle on Pieskowa Skała (Little Dog’s Rock) is known as the “Pearl of the Polish Jurassic Highland” and dates from a similar time period to Waweł Royal Castle in Kraków. This spring, the castle on Pieskowa Skała will once again be open to tourists after a thorough renovation. It’s worth visiting because of its rich collection of European art – the exhibited items date from the Middle Ages as well as later periods. Even if we are not interested in exploring the museum, it’s worth visiting the hill the castle is situated on in order to admire the gorgeous view of the surrounding area, including Maczuga Herkulesa (the Cudgel of Hercules), probably the most famous rock formation in all of Poland. This 20-metre, limestone rock gained its name from its unusual shape. It’s also called Maczuga Kraka (the Cudgel of Krak), since King Krak is said to have used it to kill a dragon that had been ravaging the country, and then placed the weapon in the valley as a warning for anyone heading to Kraków with evil intentions. If this isn’t enough for you, you can expand your excursion by visiting picturesque valleys located not far from here – Kluczwoda, Bolechowicka and Będkowska. In the latter, there is a
fishing village on a pond, visited by fans of fresh fish. You can even catch some yourself. But there are many other alternatives in this area if you’d like to find a snack. Tickets to the castle on Pieskowa Skała and the caves are affordable (prices range from a few złoty to slightly over 10 zloty). The most demanding visitors can visit Ojców National Park with a guide. The price of all-day service is 350 zł, and if you wish to shorten your excursion to 5 hours, the price is 290 zł.
day trip