Polish mountains: hiking in Silesian Beskidy

Beskidy Mountains
By Joanna Dabrowska

By Joanna
(Contact Me)

Mountain hiking Oct. 19, 2023 Poland Silesian Beskids Beskidy Mountains 2023 Mountain hiking

Mountains in Poland are stunning and diversified, each with its own unique charm. 

The most notable mountain ranges in Poland include the Tatra Mountains which offer breathtaking alpine landscapes.

In the southwest, the Sudetes feature a diverse mix of rock formations and dense forests creating unique Polish landscapes.

The Bieszczady Mountains in the southeast offer a more remote and less-touristed experience with their rugged terrain and wild landscapes.

But there are yet another mountain ranges not well-known to international travellers - the Beskidy Mountains. They have rolling hills and picturesque villages and are great for both hiking and winter sports.

Whether you're a nature enthusiast, hiker, or winter sports enthusiast, mountains in Poland have something to offer every outdoor adventurer.

Silesian Beskidy - beautiful mountains in Poland

Facts about Beskidy Mountains

Poland hiking

Here's a handful of useful facts about these Polish mountains:

⛰️ They're safe. Trails are wide, pleasant to hike and well-marked. There's no avalanche danger or exposure points.

⛰️ Beskidy Mountains are perfect for all kinds of hikers - beginners, families hiking with kids, and basically everyone who wishes to enjoy the beautiful Polish nature.

⛰️ Beskidy are part of the Polish Carpathian Mountains. I'll write a bit more about geography below.

⛰️ The highest peak is Babia Góra Mountain (1,725 m) which belongs to Babia Góra National Park. It's part of Żywiec Beskidy Mountains.

⛰️ The highest peak of Silesian Beskidy is Skrzyczne Mountain (1,257 m).

⛰️ Beskidy are 600 km long, they stretch out from Czechia to Ukraine.

⛰️ These Polish mountains are easily available from major cities like Krakow and Katowice, making them a popular destination for both day trips and longer stays.

Mountain ranges in Poland

mountain ranges in poland

Now some geography of Poland 😉

There are 3 main mountain chains in Poland, each of which is divided into many ranges:

1. Świętokrzyskie Mountains

Also known as the Holy Cross Mountains. They are some of the oldest mountains in Europe, with unique geological formations.

The Świętokrzyskie Mountains are the lowest mountain chain in Poland - the highest peak is Łysica mountain and it reaches barely 613 metres.

There are so many small mountain ranges within the Świętokrzyskie chain that I'll skip mentioning them all.

What's important is the fact that a significant part of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains is protected within the Świętokrzyski National Park which is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It's a beautiful nature reserve, a perfect getaway if you wish to discover some off-the-beaten-path places in Poland or relax after visiting crowded Krakow or Zakopane.

2. Carpathian Mountains

The Polish Carpathian mountains are a perfect option for hiking near Krakow. The closest are Pieniny Mountains, Gorce Mountains and Beskidy Wyspowy Mountains - they are within a 1-2 hour drive from Krakow.

Here are ranges which belong to the Carpathian Mountains:

⛰️ Tatra Mountains - also called the Polish Alps. There's the highest mountain in Poland - Rysy (2,499 m). The Tatra Mountains are divided into High Tatras and Western Tatras.

⛰️ Pieniny - some consider this mountain range even more stunning than Tatras. Hiking in Pieniny National Park is easy and will fill your camera with fantastic photos!
⛰️ Silesian Beskidy - we live nearby and love these mountains!

⛰️ Little Beskidy

⛰️ Makowski Beskidy

⛰️ Żywiec Beskidy - in my opinion the most picturesque of all Beskidy Mountains in Poland. There's Babia Góra National Park - yet another stunning place on the list of National Parks in Poland.

⛰️ Wyspowy Beskidy - located very close to Krakow. This Polish mountain range is the ideal option for a Krakow day trip. Beskid Wyspowy Mountains are low, hiking trails are nice and easy, suitable for all levels of hiking experience. And it's one of the least popular mountain ranges in Poland - there are rarely crowds on the trails.

⛰️ Gorce Mountains - another great option for a day trip from Krakow. There's Gorce National Park.

⛰️ Sądecki Beskidy

⛰️ Low Beskidy

⛰️ Bieszczady - considered the wildest Polish mountains and mostly untouched nature. Fabulous mountain getaway.

⛰️ Sanocko-Turczańskie Mountains - I don't think there are many people (even in Poland) who heard about this mountain range 😉

3. Sudety Mountains

Located in southwest Poland on the border between Poland and Czechia. There are lots of mountain ranges within Sudety so I chose the most beautiful ones:

⛰️ Karkonosze

⛰️ Izerskie Mountains

⛰️ Rudawy Janowickie

⛰️ Sowie Mountains (The Owl Mountains)

⛰️ Góry Stołowe (The Table Mountains)

⛰️ Śnieżnik massif

Best hikes in Silesian Beskidy Mountains

Beskidy mountains hikes

Hiking in Silesian Beskidy Mountains with my friend Dorota from Weekendowka.pl. It was a very hot day 😅

In Beskidy Mountains there are so many hiking trails that planning a trip is fairly easy. You just need a map and a bit of inspiration.

Skrzyczne Mountain

hiking in poland

For more detailed Skrzyczne hiking guide check out this post.

The highest mountain in Silesian Beskidy - it reaches 1,257 m.

I've hiked all of the trails leading to Skrzyczne and the most beautiful is the below yellow/green route:

 Lipowa Ostre village → Malinowska Skała rock formations → Małe Skrzyczne mountain → Skrzyczne mountain hut → Lipowa Ostre village
Length: 15.7 km
Time: 5.15 hour
Difficulty: easy
Height difference: 798 m

Trails' colors: yellow, green, blue
Trailhead: Lipowa Ostre village (there's a parking lot right next to the trailhead)

This Skrzyczne hike is definitely not the shortest but it's the most scenic in the Silesian Beskidy Mountains.

You start hiking on a yellow trail - here's the link to Google Maps showing the trailhead. At the beginning, there's a bit of an asphalt road but fortunately, soon it changes into a dirt trail. The path quickly emerges from the forest - just one hour of hiking and you'll get to admire the amazing Polish landscapes.

On your way, you'll pass an interesting rock formation called Malinowska Skała (1152 m). Nature in Poland is truly amazing!

beskidy mountains poland

Hiking from the parking in Lipowa Ostre village to Skrzyczne peak takes over 4 hours but the ascent is the majority of the route. Hiking down is very fast and takes just 1 hour.

What I like about Skrzyczne is the fact that there are:

  • a nice mountain hut with a big outdoor platform porch where you can buy some beverages and enjoy a fabulous view of the Beskidy Mountains.
  • A viewing tower close to the mountain hut - another spot for great photos.
  • Variety of trails, all of which are suitable for all kinds of hikers, families with kids included.
  • Modern infrastructure - there are newly built lifts which are part of the fantastic Szczyrk Ski Resort.

In fact, together with my husband Bartosz, we like Skrzyczne Mountain so much that we decided to have there our outdoor wedding photoshoot.

Barania Góra Mountain

barania gora mountain

For a more detailed hiking guide to Barania Góra mountain, check out this post.

Barania Góra reaches 1,220 m and it's the second-highest mountain in Silesian Beskidy.

Similar to Skrzyczne mountain, in the Barania Góra area there are several trails to choose from and a viewing tower on the peak.

The difference is the lack of chair lifts and gondolas in Barania Góra. Also, the closest mountain hut is 3 kilometres away from the mountain top.

There is no short option to get to Barania Góra. The below route is the most interesting one and includes a Przysłop pod Baranią Górą mountain hut.

Route: Wisła Czarne (Biała Wisełka) → trail fork → Barania Góra mountain → Wierch Wisełka → Przysłop Pod Baranią Górą mountain hut → Czarna Wisełka trail fork → Wisła, Czarna Wisełka → Wisła Czarne Biała Wisełka
Length: 18.2 km
Time: 5.45 hour
Difficulty: easy (some may argue it's medium because of the length)
Height difference: 712 m

Trails' colors: blue, red, black
Trailhead: Wisła Czarne village - Biała Wisełka street (there's a parking lot at the opposite of firearm station)

This route is an interesting option because you may track the sources of the Vistula River - the longest river in Poland.

Start your hike on a blue trail in Biała Wisełka Valley (White Vistula Valley). Here's the link to Google Maps showing the paid parking near the trailhead - it's the biggest in the area.

The first part of the trail leads on an asphalt road. Biała Wisełka Valley is a beautiful place to visit in the Polish mountains - there are impressive high stone walls which descend into the river. White Vistula sculpted an amazing riverbed there. You'll also get to see the highest waterfalls in the Silesian Beskidy Mountains.

poland nature

Hiking to Barania Góra mountain top takes about 3 hours and it's 7.5 km long. There's a 15-metre-high viewing tower from which you'll admire a stunning panorama of Beskidy Mountains (have I already mentioned that I love Polish mountains? 😄)

You continue hiking on the red trail leading to the Przysłop Pod Baranią Górą mountain hut (951 m). It's newly refurbished (October 2023) and the food there is awesome (they even serve vegan options!).

I have to admit that shelters in the Polish mountains are getting better every year and they are reaching the standards of Western European mountain huts.

After taking a well-deserved break in the mountain hut continue to descend on the red trail. Soon you get to the trail fork and hike down on the black trail leading through Czarna Wisełka Valley (Black Vistula Valley).

The last part of the trail is an asphalt road leading along rather busy road. It's a 2-kilometre walk. The only option to skip this part is to order a taxi.

Szyndzielnia Mountain & Klimczok Mountain

nature in poland

These two picturesque mountains are located so close to each other that it would be a pity not to hike to both of them during one trip 😉

Szyndzielnia and Klimczok Mountains belong to Silesian Beskidy Landscape Park - it's a scenic nature reserve which is a must-visit if you visit south Poland and wish to enjoy some truly beautiful Polish nature.

Here's the best hiking route which doesn't include the use of the Szyndzielnia cable car:

Route: Bystra Śląska (Juliana Fałata Street) → Przełęcz Kołowrót (Kołowrót mountain pass) → Szyndzielnia mountain hut → Nad Szyndzielnią → Klimczok Mountain → Klimczok mountain hut → Ruiny schroniska Magura-Kąpielisko → Lanckorona → Bystra Śląska village
Length: 12.3 km
Time: 4.30 hour
Difficulty: easy
Height difference: 724 m

Trails' colors: green, yellow, black, blue, red
Trailhead: Bystra Śląska village (Juliana Fałata Street)

Looking at the variety of trail colours on this route it's easy to deduct there are lots of hiking trails in Beskidy Mountains 😉 The route I proposed above can be easily adjusted to your own preferences.

Here's the link to Google Maps showing the biggest parking in Bystra Śląska village. It's also very close to the trails.

The first part of the route (about 1.5 km long) leads along the green trail on an asphalt road but it's still an enjoyable walk. There aren't many cars and you are accompanied by trees on your left side. It's a quaint little Polish village road.

Soon the green trail enters the forest and you start your ascent. At the trail fork (Kołowrót mountain pass) at 775 m you choose the yellow trail. The Szyndzielnia mountain hut is close.

If you have time and energy to spare I recommend you to walk to Szyndzielnia cable car station - there's a 18-metre-high viewing tower. The entry is paid but it's worth every Polish złoty - from the tower you get to admire a fantastic panorama of Beskidy mountains and Bielsko-Biała city. When the air is sharp you may even spot the Tatra Mountains!

poland nature travel

Hiking from Bystra village to the Szyndzielnia mountain hut takes about 2 hours (4.4 km).

I highly recommend visiting mountain huts in the Polish mountains. There's warm, cozy and they serve delicious food (I argue it's not the mountain air which makes you hungry, it's the hearty Polish cuisine). The atmosphere in Polish mountain huts is very welcoming and you may even bring your own food, you're not obliged to order anything like in a restaurant.

Follow the yellow/red trail and after several minutes you reach Szyndzielnia mountain (1,028 m). Keep hiking on the yellow trail leading to Klimczok mountain (1,117 m). Kliczok is definitely the most scenic place in the whole route. I adore Polish nature!

poland nature places

When you reach the second mountain hut you may choose to climb down on the blue trail or hike along the red-marked path. I recommend the latter as it's more interesting and there are more spots to admire mountain views.

Hiking from Klimczok mountain hut to Bystra Śląska village takes about 1.5 hours (it's 5.1 km). If you leave the car at the village center's parking, there's very little asphalt road to walk which is appreciated after a several-hour hike.

Other great hikes in Poland

polish mountains

Best places to stay in Silesian Beskidy Mountains

hidden gems in poland

I admit it was difficult for me to choose the most beautiful and convenient places to stay - there are lots of hidden gems in Poland not known to international travellers.

After giving it a lot of consideration here they are:

→ Istebna village

For me, it's one of the most beautiful villages in Poland. Located on the Polish-Czechia border and very close to the Slovak border (Google Maps link), it's a fantastic place if you're interested in nature travel - you can visit in winter for a ski trip and in the warm months for hiking.

Note, however, that you will need a car to go there as Polish public transportation is good mainly for travelling between cities. To visit hidden gems in Poland like Istebna village, a car is indispensable.

I've chosen the best places to stay in Istebna according to Booking.com. All these places have high rates and very good reviews.

Złoty Groń Resort & Spa - located just 20 metres from the upper station of a "Złoty Groń" chair lift. Guests are delighted with beautiful views, comfortable rooms and the hotel's decor. The hotel features an outdoor and indoor swimming pool and sauna, free private parking and a restaurant.

Apartamenty Złoty Groń
- a perfect option if you prefer to stay in an apartment. Guests appreciate the location - very close to the chair lift. Guests are also happy with peaceful and quiet surroundings, beautiful views and the apartments' furnishings.

Agroturystyka „Na Połomiu” - an ideal place if you would like to experience ecotourism in Poland. Guests praise delicious breakfasts which include produce grown by the owners of this place. This guesthouse is located in a quiet, peaceful and green area, right next to a hiking trail.

→ Szczyrk Mountain Resort

It's not only a great place for hiking - it's a lively ski resort in winter. Modern chairlifts and a variety of hiking trails and ski slopes make Szczyrk perfect for outdoor travel.

Here are the highest-rated hotels in Szczyrk:

Michałówka na Kubalowej Łące - beautiful guesthouse built in a traditional Polish mountain style. Guests are happy with the amazing views, location (the guesthouse is situated at the foot of Klimczok mountain) and friendly staff. Breakfast included.

Beskidzka9 & Free Sauna
- perfect option if you prefer to stay in an apartment. Located very close to Szczyrk center and chair lifts. Besides location, guests appreciate the comfort and furnishings of the apartments. Free access to the sauna.

Aparthotel Pod Stokiem z sauną i jacuzzi - Dream Apart
- modern and comfortable hotel located very close to Szczyrk center and trailheads. Guests are content with great views, comfort and decor. The hotel features a sauna and tub spa.

→ Bielsko-Biała city

beautiful towns in Poland

Bielsko-Biała is a perfect option if you would rather stay in a city rather than a village but still close to the Beskidy mountains. It's definitely easier to get there by train or bus and there are more options for rainy weather.

Bielsko-Biała is one of the most beautiful towns in Poland. It's also called the "Polish Vienna" - the town's architecture resembles Vienna

Bielsko-Biała things to do:

📌 Sightseeing - everyday buildings like a train station or post office are examples of beautiful Austrian-like architecture.

📌 Take a walk on 11 Listopada Sreet - go for a stroll there and make sure you have your camera with you 🙂

📌 Visit The Saint Nicholas' Cathedral - the main church in Bielsko-Biała, created by Viennese architect Leopold Bauer.

📌 Go to see Stara Fabryka Museum - Old Factory Museum. The best museum in Bielsko-Biała, a real treat for history enthusiasts.

📌 Visit Sułkowskich Palace - Château de Sułkowscy. The oldest and the biggest monument in Bieslko-Biała. It's home to a Historical Museum.

📌 Go for a hike in the Silesian or Mały Beskidy Mountains.

Here are the highest-rated Bielsko-Biała hotels:

Qubus Hotel Bielsko-Biała - a comfortable hotel located very close to Bielsko-Biała Old Town. Guests appreciate quiet and spacious rooms, delicious breakfasts and helpful staff.

Apartamenty Orkana
- spacious and modern apartments located in Bielsko-Biała center. Besides location guests are happy with cozy decor, equipment and cleanliness of the apartments.

Hello Hostel & Apartments
 - a great budget-friendly place in Bielsko-Biała center. Guests are delighted with the friendly staff, and clean and spacious rooms.

Hiking in Silesian Beskid mountain range in Poland

Me at 20 years old. Had no money for outdoor sportswear, just knew I loved mountains and hiking made me happy.

Is Poland a beautiful country?

beautiful poland

Oh yes, it is!

Don't hesitate to discover the natural beauty of Poland. From the picturesque lakes of the Mazury Lake District to the rugged beauty of the Tatra Mountains, Poland is a nature lover's paradise. Explore dense forests, pristine rivers, and breathtaking national parks. Witness the last European bison in the ancient Białowieża Forest, or embark on scenic hikes in the Sudetes and Beskidy ranges. Diverse landscapes offer boundless opportunities for outdoor adventures and ecotourism in Poland.

Come and visit beautiful places in Poland!

We wish you many happy hikes in Poland! 🧡

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