Hiking near Kraków - Beskid Wyspowy Mountains

krakow mountains
By Joanna Dabrowska

By Joanna
(Contact Me)

Mountain hiking Jan. 8, 2024 Poland Śnieżnica Jurków Island Beskids Mogielica Ćwilin Kraków 2024 Mountain hiking

You decided to visit Poland. You chose one of the most popular destinations - Kraków. You like traveling, you're interested in great architecture, museums and art galleries. But you would also like to try hiking near Kraków.

You like nature and appreciate nice landscapes. You need to get away from city hustle and bustle every now and then. You wish to explore the beautiful nature in Poland.

So you think: "If I'm in Krakow, I'll visit Tatra mountains too".

That's, without a doubt, a great choice - hiking in Poland is an awesome adventure! 💙 But this idea has its drawbacks - everyone goes there. Together with Zakopane town Polish Tatra mountains are one of the most popular spots in Poland these days.

So it's worth considering other amazing mountains near Kraków. Less popular and not so crowded, but also offering nice views, beautiful nature, interesting hiking trails and fresh air.

Such a place is the Beskid Wyspowy mountain range.

Hiking near Kraków


Before we venture into these beautiful Polish mountains, you may want to check the below Kraków-related articles:

🏰 Kraków travel guide with lots of insider tips.

🏰 Kazimierz - Kraków Jewish District.

🏰 5-day itinerary for Kraków & Zakopane.

🏰 The best day trips from Kraków.


Beskid Wyspowy - quick overview


This picturesque Polish mountain range is located just 60 km from Kraków (about 1.5 hours of drive). It's perfect as a few-day hiking getaway or just a day trip from Kraków.

Beskid Wyspowy translates to English as Island Beskid (wyspa - island).

I think the name of this mountain range is to the point - the mountains are kind of separated from each other and look like islands scattered on the green sea. 😉

    Beskid Wyspowy may not offer such dramatic landscapes as High Tatras but there are many advantages of hiking there:

    • No crowds.
    • A network of well-marked trails makes it easy to plan and adjust the routes to your own needs (or to weather).
    • Nice and easy hikes, suitable also for families with children.
    • Low prices.
    • Not only rich in natural beauty but also in cultural heritage. You may come across traditional wooden architecture, including churches, small chapels and cottages.


    How to get there?

    day trips from krakow


    The most convenient and fastest way to travel to villages in Poland is to rent a car.

    When we need to rent a car we always use Rentalcars.com and are happy with them, never had any issues with this company.

    You may check deals on car hire in Kraków here:


    If you prefer to travel by public transportation you can get a bus shuttle from Kraków Central Bus Station which is located on Bosacka 18 Street, right next to the Central Train Station.

    Here are the villages in Beskid Wyspowy Mountains which are accessible by bus from Kraków:

    • Jurków
    • Kamienica
    • Mszana Dolna
    • Rabka-Zdrój - this one is a more popular mountain resort with more tourist attractions.
    • Szczawa
    • Tenczyn

    If you would like to hike to the highest mountain in Beskid Wyspowy (Mogielica), then go to Jurków village. There are lots of trails in the area, free parkings and also a few tourist attractions - restaurants, a bathing lake and hotels.

    To check the timetables and available options, go to the Kraków buses website.

    If you'd like to learn how to get to Kraków City from the airport, check this out.


    Hikes in Beskid Wyspowy Mountains


    Mogielica Mountain

    View from Mogielica in Beskid Wyspowy - Poland


    For me, it's one of the best hikes near Kraków. Why?

    • Mogielica is the highest peak of the Island Beskid Mountains - it reaches 1170 metres.
    • There's a wooden 22-metre high lookout tower on the peak, which gives a better chance to admire the fantastic mountain landscape. If the weather permits you'll be able to admire even the Tatra Mountains.
    • There are interesting rock formations near the summit.
    • You can choose from several trails leading to Mogielica Mountain.

    The best option to get there is to start hiking from Chyszówki village - it will be a nice loop:


    Route: Przełęcz E. Rydza-Śmigłego (Chyszówki village) → Pod Mogielicą → Mogielica → Polana u Błazka → Słopnice Królewskie → Przełęcz E. Rydza-Śmigłego (Chyszówki village)
    Length: 9.7 km
    Time: 3:28 hour
    Difficulty: easy
    Height difference: 580 m
    Trails' colors: green, yellow, red
    Trailhead: Chyszówki village, Rydza-Śmigłego mountain pass. There's a big and free parking lot right next to the trailhead (Google Maps link).


    In the beginning, the trail leads through meadows among scarce houses on an asphalt road but it quickly changes into a nice dirt trail. It's a quaint area, hike is nice and easy - a pure pleasure for every nature enthusiast.

    Then the trail enters a forest and gets a bit pebbly and steep at some points. But it's technically easy.

    After about 3 km you'll arrive at Polana Wyśnikówka (Wyśnikówka Meadow) - it offers fantastic views!

    After the Wyśnikówka Meadow, you'll soon enter Mogielica Nature Reserve which means the summit is very close.

    At the Mogielica peak you will be rewarded with amazing views from the tower (entry is free of charge).

    Whenever I have a chance I prefer to climb down on a different trail than I ascended - that's why I recommend choosing the yellow trail for getting back.

    On the way, you'll pass Polana u Błazka (789 m) - another quaint meadow. In Słopnice Królewskie trail fork (599 m) choose the red trail which will lead you back to the trailhead on the Rydza-Śmigłego mountain pass.


    Luboń Wielki Mountain

    mountains krakow


    The mountain hut on Luboń Wielki is the closest to Kraków.

    Luboń Wielki (1023 m) is one of the highest and most scenic peaks in the Beskid Wyspowy mountain range. There's the largest rockslide in this part of the Beskidy Mountains: Dziurawe Turnie.

    At the summit of Luboń Wielki, there is a small viewing terrace offering a broad panorama. Several trails of varying length and difficulty lead to the top of the mountain.

    The most interesting trail to Luboń Wielki is the below loop:


    Route: Rabka-Zdrój, Zaryte → Skrzyżowanie na Luboniu (trail fork) → Luboń Wielki mountain hut → Pod Luboniem → Rabka-Zdrój, Zaryte
    Length: 7.1 km
    Time: 2:40 hour
    Difficulty: medium because of the stone run ("Dziurawe Turnie")
    Height difference: 555 m
    Trails' colors: yellow, red, blue

    Trailhead: Rabka-Zdrój, Zaryte near road no 28. There's a parking lot right next to the trailhead, close to Lewiatan grocery shop. The parking is paid - you may pay in the store (Google Maps link).


    The loop to Luboń Wielki, starting with the yellow trail and returning on the blue trail, should take you about 3 hours. Hiking the trail itself takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes, but it's worth taking a break near the shelter on Luboń Wielki.

    Starting with the yellow trail, which has a rockier terrain, might be more comfortable for ascent. The yellow trail is called "Perć Borkowskiego". Climb down following the blue markers.

    The first 300 meters lead along the road. The first left turn is the blue trail, which you'll use to descend from Luboń Wielki. The yellow trail forks off another hundred meters ahead.

    The path then leads through pleasant fields and forests, occasionally offering scenic views. It's a good place to find spots ideal for a picnic, although there are no benches or tables. The path gradually enters the forest, and after a while, gets a bit steeper.

    After an hour of walking through the forest, you'll encounter a large red sign saying "Luboń Wielki Nature Reserve." Beyond it, you'll see a drastic change in landscape.

    hiking in krakow


    The trail now winds through rocks and stones, next to a small cliff. This area is home to the largest landslide flint tongue with bare rock in the Beskid Wyspowy. For me, it's one of the most interesting options for hiking near Kraków.

    Large slabs and rock blocks are called "Dziurawe Turnie" and the yellow trail leads through their center! Passing this special section may take 5-10 minutes, but it's such a unique part that you'll probably spend a bit longer here, especially since, in good weather, you can also see the Tatras from here.

    When it's dry, this section shouldn't cause significant trouble, although it's not recommended for seniors or young children. Keep in mind that some boulders may be loose, and if it rains or snows, the situation becomes a bit more complicated.

    This area is rich in numerous caves - there are 13 of them in the area.

    Hiking from the last rocks to the shelter on Luboń Wielki takes about 20 minutes.

    On Luboń Wielki itself, there's a small mountain hut, a viewing point, a relay tower, and a weather station. The panorama reaches to the north and west. Near the shelter, there's also a chapel and a place for a bonfire.

    I suggest climbing down to Rabka Zaryte following the blue trail. The hike back to where you parked your car will take about 50 minutes. Almost the entire trail leads through the forest and the views will appear only at the very end.


    Kudłacze

    mountains near krakow


    The Kudłacze mountain hut is a lovely spot in the Beskid Wyspowy region. It's perfect if you're looking for easy hikes near Kraków which include a mountain hut.

    The mountain hut is located near Pcim village and the summit of Lubomir. We chose the loop trail through Kamiennik mountain but you can easily opt for a shorter route.

    We left our car near the church dedicated to St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe in Poręba. Alternatively, you can park near the store close to the church. There will be no problem with finding a parking space, it's a quiet area, the perfect place if you wish to enjoy Polish nature.

    Here's our loop:


    Route: Poręba village → Punkt widokowy na Kamienniku (viewing point on Kamiennik) → Kamiennik → Przełęcz Sucha (Sucha Pass) → Kudłacze mountain hut → Działek → Poręba village 
    Length: 11.7 km
    Time: 4:00 hour
    Difficulty: easy
    Height difference: 595 m
    Trails' colors: green, red, green

    Trailhead: Poręba village. We left our car at a small parking next to the village's church - 49.7960, 20.0183. (Google Maps link).


    In the beginning, the green trail leads through Poręba village. You're headed to Kamiennik mountain (776 m) and further to Sucha Pass (708 m).

    You will pass by a grocery store on the right (open from early morning) and a school on the left.

    Shortly after passing the school, turn right and walk between houses. The green trail is well-marked. The trail changes to a gravel road, gently ascending. Behind you and to the left you'll admire nice views of Beskid Wyspowy Mountains. Soon you'll enter the forest.

    The ascent to Kamiennik mountain is gentle, there are no steep climbs. Along the green trail, you'll come across signs leading to a viewpoint and I highly recommend taking this short detour. It's only 2 minutes and it offers great views. This spot is located next to an already inactive quarry.

    On your way, you'll reach the lower summit of Kamiennik and then Sucha Pass – a very interesting place. During World War II, numerous partisan units in the region often held inspections on the meadow. On September 3, 1944, a solemn field mass was held here, during which the flag of the Myślenice district of the Home Army was consecrated.

    In 2002, a large boulder with a commemorative plaque and cross was unveiled on the meadow. The shrine mounted on it comes from the nearby Lubomir summit.

    There is also a tourist shelter, a camping area, and an educational corner with informational boards. If you'll be lucky to hike there in the spring you'll see beautiful crocuses on the meadow.

    After a 30-minute walk through the beautiful forest, you'll arrive at the shelter on Polana Kudłacze (727 m).

    mountains in poland near krakow


    The mountain hut is small but they serve delicious food.

    To return to Poręba village, choose the red trail near the Kudłacze mountain hut. After about 40 minutes you'll arrive at Działek trailfork (600 m). Choose the green trail which leads directly to Poręba village.

    The hike from Kudłacze mountain hut to Poręba takes about 1 hour. The trail leads through forests and meadows and it's very pleasant to hike.


    Map of Beskid Wyspowy Mountains

    Joanna reading map of Tatra mountains

    Having a paper map is good for a few important reasons, especially when you're out exploring Polish villages or mountains. Here's why:

    ✅ Paper maps don't need batteries like phones or electronic devices do. So, even if your gadgets run out of battery, you can still use a paper map to find your way.

    ✅ In places where there's no internet or a weak signal, a paper map comes in handy. It doesn't rely on technology, making it reliable in remote or off-the-grid locations.

    ✅ Maps (especially laminated ones) handle rain and low temperatures much better than electronic devices. It's always less hurtful to ruin a map rather than a smartphone.

    Here you may buy a map of the Beskid Wyspowy Mountains:


    Best places to stay


    I think the best two options to choose from, if you wish to discover mountains near Kraków, are Rabka-Zdrój resort or Kasina Wielka village.


    Rabka-Zdrój

    rabka poland


    The addition of "Zdrój" to the town's name indicates its status as a health resort. Rabka-Zdrój has a long tradition as a spa and health destination, known for its therapeutic microclimate, clean air and mineral waters. It attracts visitors seeking relaxation and wellness.

    The town offers various attractions, including parks, hiking trails and recreational areas:

    • Park Zdrojowy (Spa Park) is a popular spot for relaxed strolls
    • Rabkoland is a family-friendly amusement park. It features various rides, attractions, and activities for children
    • Rabka Rope Park - for adventure-seekers
    • Ski lifts

    For more information about this beautiful resort in the Polish mountains, check out this complete travel guide.

    Below you will find highly-rated places to stay in Rabka-Zdrój. They're all listed on Booking.com and have lots of favourable opinions from the guests.


    Sienkiewiczówka - a perfect place if you'd like to stay in an apartment. Located close to Rabka-Zdrój center. Guests are content with the decor, furnishings, cleanliness and comfort. This place offers access to the garden and parking.


    Hotel Wiosna - a comfortable hotel located close to Park Zdrojowy. Guests appreciate spacious rooms, buffet breakfast and SPA facilities. The hotel offers parking.



    Willa Szarotka - a beautiful guesthouse located close to Rabka-Zdrój center. Besides location, guests are happy with comfortable rooms, well-equipped kitchen and cleanliness.


    Kasina Wielka

    villages of poland


    It's a beautiful village in the Polish mountains, perfect for nature lovers and all those who seek a picturesque getaway (especially after visiting a busy Kraków City). Great starting point for hiking. In winter, Kasina Wielka becomes a hub for skiing enthusiasts.

    Check out the below highly-rated places to stay:

    Agrorelax - Kasina Wielka - a comfortable farm stay located right next to a ski lift and bike park. Guests appraise the comfortable rooms, well-equipped kitchen and friendly host.


    POD RÓŻĄ - a guesthouse located close to hiking trails. Guests are content with spacious rooms with balconies, beautiful views and a super helpful host.


    Pokoje na Wzgórzu - a budget-friendly option. Guests appreciate the quiet and peaceful location and lovely views.


    Other great hikes near Kraków

    hiking near krakow


    There are quite a lot of mountains near Kraków and you may be interested in the below beautiful areas:

    ⛰️ Gorce National Park - another getaway, not too many hikers on the trails, lovely views.

    ⛰️ Pieniny National Park - some consider Pieniny Mountains the most beautiful in the country. Easy and scenic hikes.

    ⛰️ Babia Góra National Park - perfect for exploring Polish nature. The highest mountain outside Tatras.

    ⛰️ Easy hikes in High Tatras - a list of hiking trails suitable for everyone in the highest mountains in Poland.

    ⛰️ The most famous hiking trails in Tatra Mountains, Poland

    Hiking in Poland is safe, trails are well-marked and there are lots of mountain huts.


    One of our adventures in Beskid Wyspowy Mountains

    hiking poland


    Mountains near Kraków aren't high which doesn't mean you can't get tired there.

    One of our hiking trips to Island Beskid proved that exploring such low mountains can be exhausting.

    Together with our friends from Weekendówka, we hiked over 40 kilometres in three days. Part of this hike was done with tenting gear in our backpacks (oh yeah!). Together with added "bonus" of scorching sun and 30°C it turned out to be quite a challenge. Here's our route:

    Friday night:


    Saturday morning:


    Saturday-Sunday:


    We spent the first night at the Polana Wały campsite. It's a simple campground which offers basic amenities.

    There are no luxurious showers or tiled toilets - everything is wooden and outdoor. There's also a kitchen shed where you get warm tea and boiling water for free. For hikers without a tent there are big shared tents available but we decided to bring our own gear.

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    What I liked the most about this campsite is the fact that it's not possible to get there by car - it's located in a meadow in the forest and we had to hike for about an hour there. Thanks to it, there were no crowds - only us and the host with his family.

    We sat by the campfire and then admired the moon eclipse.

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    At 3 AM we set off to Mogielica peak, as our friends wanted to take photos of the sunrise. It was quite a challenging experience as I didn't manage to sleep in the tent but well worth the effort - mountains at dawn are even more beautiful.

    After breakfast, we climbed down to Półrzeczki village to continue our trip. We drove to Jurków village, left our friends' car there and started our 2-day hike.

    That day Ćwilin peak was on our radar. What I like about this mountain is its wide and flat top from which we can admire the vast landscape of Beskidy mountains.

    Beskid Wyspowy. Best places to visit near Krakow.jpg


    The blue trail leading to the top is also used by mountain bikers but it's for experienced folks - lots of stones and roots on this trail.

    We were quite exhausted when we got to the youth hostel located on Śnieżnica mountain slope. I think the lack of sleep was getting to us, because the hike itself wasn't very strenuous, but we were dead tired.

    What's important to mention is that this hostel is used mainly by religious groups for retreats. There's no beer or other alcoholic drinks available at this place. If you enjoy a cold beer after a whole-day hike, then you might want to consider staying at another place. 😉

    Also, we were woken up around 10 PM by religious singing. I guess they were singing the last songs before quiet hours, so they decided to double the volume.

    Anyway, what I liked about this place is that the staff was very nice and friendly and we got breakfast for free. It definitely outweighs the lack of beer.

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    On Sunday, with our stomachs full, we set off for a long but not demanding hike to Pcim village where we left our car.

    Generally hiking in Island Beskid is very pleasant. There's not much height difference to do, trails are wide and safe, and there are not so many people as in other mountain ranges.

    Beskid Wyspowy are picturesque mountains near Kraków and are definitely worth visiting if you're a nature enthusiast and hiking lover.

    I need to say that after such a demanding trip almost every part of my body was aching, but I felt alive. Much more alive than after a day spent in the office.

    It's a paradox for me, but it's always the same story. My body hurts, but my mind is refreshed, my thoughts are calmer and I'm much more energized. These are some of the most important motivations for me to hike in the mountains.



    Hiking in Poland - practical info

    Great places to visit near Krakow Poland

    Top Tatra National Park trails

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    I wish you a happy hiking near Kraków! 

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