What to do and see during winter in Poland
Snow, white frenzy, and later warming yourself up by the fireplace with a cup of tea (or a different drink) and admiring the snowy mountain peaks – these activities can be a description of a perfect winter vacation, but for others it might sound like a report from an unreal trip to the north pole. Luckily, Poland has lots of attractions to offer in the winter for amateurs of active vacation in the mountains (which might seem the most obvious) as well as for people, who are searching some other kinds of offers.
In this article we will introduce you to numerous suggestions on how to spend a winter vacation in our country. So there will be obvious attraction – not to say banal – without which it’s impossible to imagine a successful winter vacation for many Polish people. But there will also be some places and activities, which might be a total surprise at first glance. In the first part of the article we have prepared offers associated with the mountains, skiing and everything more or less related to them. The second part is still about mountains, but it will rather be for those, who love the atmosphere of the mountains, but are not big fans of skiing down the slopes. In the next part of the article we will take our readers away from the highlands and and the mountains, but we will search for typical mountainous wintertime attractions. The final propositions will not be related with the mountain atmosphere at all – these attractions might be totally unconventional, and even surprising for some people.
These places are beloved by many for its beauty and majesty. The cause admiration and delight, but at the same time they cause respect. Between spring and autumn they are crowded by amateurs of hours of walking trips with a backpack. Meanwhile, in the winter they attract fans of white craziness, coming from near and far with skis under their arms towards the ski lifts. When we think of the winter break, the first thing that comes to mind are the mountains and all the attractions associated with them. In the following part of our article we will take a closer look at them and also give some suggestions about interesting alternatives for people who don’t necessarily want to go crazy in the snow.
Many people associate winter and the mountains with one thing – skiing, or eventually riding a snowboard. We are very lucky, because there are plenty slopes in our country and we can take a doze of white craziness without going beyond the border of our home country. Our resorts might not be as highly developed as the alpine ones, but every year they are offering better and better conditions and an increasing number of attractions for tourists. Below we will introduce you to some offers for everyone who enjoy a typical, active winter vacation in our mountains.
The Tatra mountains – the most popular place for white frenzy
This place might be crowded, loud, expensive and banal, but still the Tatra mountains, and especially Zakopane are enjoying an unabated popularity as a place for a winter vacation. The most popular routes for skiers and snowboarders are located at Kasprowy Wierch and Nosal. Other equally popular places include the Gubałówka Meadow and the Szymoszkowa Meadow. Both experienced sportsmen and amateurs will find places and routes with a proper difficulty level. After going crazy at the slopes you can go to Zakopane and visit probably the most famous street in Poland – Krupówki – where with the sounds of music (not necessarily by highlanders) you can eat as many (not always local either) dishes as you want and also purchase more souvenirs for your dusted collection on the shelves.
For people, who can’t imagine the winter holiday without the Tatra mountains, but don’t really want to visit the crowded Zakopane, we recommend going to the nearby smaller towns. Some of the most well-known and appreciated villages among fans of winter craziness are definitely Bukowina Tatrzańska and Białka Tatrzańska, but there are also other towns with an increasing popularity, such as Małe Ciche and Witów. There you can enjoy good skiing infrastructure, hotels, guesthouses and gastronomic points, and all of that is located in a slightly calmer atmosphere
Resorts in the foothills of Śnieżka and Szrenica
Sudety are a place with something special for fans of both downhill and cross-country skis. It is also a place of the unofficial battle between Karpacz and Szklarska Porębafor the title of winter capital of this mountains region in our country. Ski slopes located in Sudety, especially those focused in the surroundings of Karpacz and Szklarska Poręba are enjoting enormous popularity among tourists. At the slopes of Śnieżka and Szrenica you can find skiing routes with various difficulty levels. But the most popular slope of them all is Zieleniec, located in the Orlickie Mountain range.
In this resort, which is characterized with a specific microcliomate similar to that in the Alps, the snow sheet can be seen for as long as 150 days in a year. It is also worth mentioning, that all the larger winter resorts in Sudety have an interesting and wide relaxation and food offer for tourists, who are tired after a whole day of craziness on the slopes.
Or, how about Beskidy?
Wisła, Szczyrk, Istebna, Ustroń, Korbielów – these are the most popular villages for a winter vacation in Beskidy. In terms of the winter offer for tourists, this region is developing more rapidly and is more confident in competing with the Tatra mountains and Sudety. The local slopes situated at Skrzyczne, Czantoria and Pilsko – which is the second highest Polish mountain behind Kasprowy Wierch available for skiing – offer diverse and interesting routes.
However, what if you’re dreaming of a winter break in the mountains, but don’t want to or can’t ski? Is it even worth to go there in the first place? Of course it is. That’s because mountains have a lot to offer for people who would rather stay away from the slopes in the winer as well.
Trails, mountain shelters, trips…
Our mountains give us a possibility of organizing many interesting winter trips, and not necessarily just for experienced hikers. That’s because there are plenty of trailsm which are also perfect for „sunday” tourists. You can have a wonderful time while admiring snowy mountain peaks along the way, hearing the crunching snow under your feet and drinking warm tea in stirring and friendly shelters.
Among the last group we must mention the Samotnia shelter in Sudety, the Chatka Puchatka shelter in Bieszczady and the famous Morskie Oko shelter in the Tatra Mountains.
Searching for health in winter – health spas
There are quite a lot of health spas located in the mountains, which also attract tourists in the winter. In that time, you can enjoy healing treatments and any other sanatory charms in a slightly calmer atmosphere than in the summer, while at the same time admiring the dignity and incredible winter atmosphere of the mountain towns. One of such places is definitely Krynica-Zdrój with its healing waters and countless winter-time attractions for tourists.
Funicular railways – snowy peaks from a different perspective
If we want to admire the beauty of snowy mountain peaks from a more interesting perspective, it is definitely worth going on a trip by one of the many cable railways available in our country. During this trip we can easily and efficiently go on large heights, from which we will be able to admire much more than even from the most charming valley.
We can choose between the most popular cable ride, leading to Kasprowy Wierch, the „Żar” funicular railway in Beskid Mały and the „Stóg Izerski” gondola ride nearby Świeradów-Zdrój.
Journey through the snow (without skis)
What if you would risk for a larger contact with the snow than just building a snowman? You don’t have to immediately put on your skis and slide down the slopes. There are plenty other possibilities to choose from. One of them is definitely a sleigh ride: horses, sleigh, singing, warm rugs protecting from the cold, torches lighting up the darkness and the snowy route… this type of trips is organized by most mountain resorts and are quite a delight for tourists who want to feel the wind in their hair. For those, who need more adrenaline, highlanders will organize rides on snowmobiles or dog sleds.
It’s getting very warm – thermal waters
When we want to escape from the mountain wind, snow and freezing weather and immerse in a more pleasant atmosphere, we can purchase a ticket for one of the many thermal pools. Some of them are objects with thermal water, which has healing ad, of course, relaxing qualities. The most popular places of this type located in the mountains include: Termy Bukovina in Bukowina Tatrzańsk, Aqua Park Zakopane, Terma Bania in Białka Tatrzańska and Gorący Potok in Szaflary.
Far away from the mountains
We can also spend our winter break in Poland away from the mountains and that absolutely doesn’t mean we’ll be bored. Below we will introduce you to some ideas for people, who don’t want to or just can’t go to the highest located parts of our country. We cam offer them offers associated with winter frenzy on skis as well as those that have nothing to do with skiing.
An active vacation on skis or a snowboard is possible in Poland not only in the mountains, and that’s thanks to artificial ski slopes, which can be encountered in large cities and even by the Baltic Sea. Obviously, we won’t be able to admire gorgeous mountain sights while skiing, or enjoy the unique atmosphere of local inns and guesthouses after getting off the route. But luckily, our muscles will be equally tired, and the level of the endorphins will be just as high as in the case of winter craziness in the south of the country.
Łysa Góra in Sopot
Łysa Góra in Sopot is an altitude with the height of 110 meters above the sea level, located close to the famous Woodland Opera. The local ski station invites to enjoy the charms of winter, and also admiring the unique panorama of Gdańsk, Sopot and the Gdańsk Bay. Here, you can improve your skiing skills under the watchful eye of the instructors, and taste the delicious food in stirring interiors below.
Gdańsk is another place on the map of the Tricity, where we can easily enjoy winter craziness, and it all happens… indoors. That’s because this is the location of Skimondo – an indoor artificial ski slope, open all year long. All amateurs of skiing and snowboarding can get introduced to these sports as well as improve their techniques and styles. They should definitely enjoy the artificial ski slope constructed based on a ski simulator.
Gubałówka of Szczecin
In Szczecin, from which it is not so far to the seaside (although not as close as some tourists searching for an approach to the beach believe), you can also easily go skiing. All you have to do is go to Gubałówka of Szczecin located in the Osowo district, in order to enjoy two illuminated and artificially snowed ski slopes with diverse difficulty levels and a modern platter lift. Amateurs of riding a sledge and ice skating will also find something special for themselves, and when you get hungry and want some hot food in highlanders’ climate, you can go to the wooden shepherd’s hut.
The Cztery Wiatry Mountain in Mrągowo
Mazury can also be proud of skiing and snowboarding routes. One of the most well-known resort around here is locatedat the Cztery Wiatry Mountain (182.5 meters above the sea level) in Mrągowo on a peninsula at Lake Czos. From here extends a wide panorama of the surroundings. Fans of winter craziness will find here, among others, five skiing routes with various difficulty levels, two ski lifts,m a „donkey meadow” for beginners, am equipment rental and a rich gastronomic offer.
The Szczęśliwicka Hill in Warsaw
The citizens of the country’s capital don’t have to go beyond its borders, to enjoy snow and skiing. All they have to do is go to the slope located at the Szczęśliwicka Hill (152 meters above the sea level), which is the highest natural point in Warsaw. The „Szczęśliwice” resort – which is the name of the slope – has plenty of winter attractions to offer for its customers all year long without having to go to the mountains.
Ice sailing in Mazury
The feeling of freedom, speed, adrenaline, spectacular views – that’s how ice sailing is described by its passionates. Iceboats, because that’s the name of these units designed for riding on the ice, are gaining an icreasing number of fans. This winter form of spending your free time will definitely be enjoyed by anyone, who are searching for stronger thrills and love the undeniable charm of Mazury.
A similar amount of adrenaline to that from iceboats can also be received during… a winter kayaking trip. Back in the mid-20th century, this form of outdoor sport was considered extremely dangerousm, and even life-threatening. But today, it is very popular, an nobody can seny its good influence for the overall well-being. While deciding to go on a kayaking trip in the winter, you just have to keep in mind, that this trip is very different than that in the summer season and requires gwtting ready properly. After the preparations, you can easily enjoy the beauty of winter admired from the perspective of the river and breathe deeply with healthy and frosty air.
The chilled Baltic
The Baltic Sea is gorgeous and charming at any time of year, but every time it stands out in a different way. Most of us is more familiar with the summer vacation look of our sea, but it’s definitely worth seeing it in the winter as well. If we are lucky enough, we might even be able to see frozen water and snoe covering the beaches. It might ot be an attractions equaled with a sleigh ride to Sweden, as it might have been possible in the past, but it will definitely be an incredible view.
Winter in Poland is a time, when we can go crazy at ski slopes with various difficulty levels, which are located in different mountain ranges as well as relax in more or less wintery surroundings in other parts of the country. So, during the winter break in Poland we can choose between: skiing in the Tatra mountains and in the Tricity, raising your adrenaline level thanks to a ride in an iceboat or a dog sled, and admiring the winter landscapes from the perspective of hot thermal pools or a freezing river during a kayaking trip…