Poland – a journey beyond the beauty of Lesser Poland Voivodeship
In the coming weeks, we will discover the amazing natural and cultural attractions of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship. Our starting point will be the city of Zakopane, which is also the community center of the entire region.
Today we leave the city of Zakopane to the southwest along the road No. 958 to the huge village of Koscielisko, which includes 21 villages. Our first stop is the part called Kiri, where we park and go for a walk along the Koscielisko Valley. You can only walk around the valley on foot, but in summer you can also ride in wheelchairs, and in winter in a sleigh. Near the entrance to the valley you can eat, and there is also a gift shop ..
The Koscielisko Valley offers a more than 9 km walk from the foot of the Tatra Mountains to the main ridge. This is the second largest valley of the Polish Tatras. A stream flows through the valley, at first breathtaking limestone rock formations – gates come out on the sides, then the valley branches and turns into a high-mountain landscape. The highest point is the relatively poorly defined end of the northern ridge Bystra – Blish. The Koscielisko Valley is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the country, and in addition to the stunning mountains, you will also find several caves here, including the deepest and longest cave in Poland and the Tatra Mountains – the Great Snow Cave. During the hikes you can also admire the view of the chapels and the typical Tatra flora, if you are lucky you will see some animals. Since it is a very popular place, we recommend a visit out of season.
Khokholovskaya Valley Khokholovskaya Valley
But we did not plan large alpine ascents, so after a few hundred meters we turned and returned to the parking lot. Then we continued on to the longest (10 km) and largest valley in the Polish Tatras – the Khokholovskaya Valley. We parked in a dedicated parking lot (SIWI Polana), and then continued on foot. The beginning of the valley was very similar to the Koscielisko valley. We admired the surrounding hills, the many alpine huts and the majestic Tatras in the background. The valley gradually branches into three main branches, and then into several small valleys. Even here we had the opportunity to observe a number of karst phenomena and caves, but, unfortunately, they are not accessible to tourists.
Polyana Khokholovskaya – shepherd’s log cabins (Batsovka) – shepherd’s log cabins (Batsovka)
We followed the bed of the Khokholovsky stream and less than two hours arrived at the Glade of Khokholovskaya. There were log cabins (Batsovka), a little further the largest tourist hostel (PTTK hostel) in the Polish Tatras and a sacred treasure – a mountain chapel named after John the Baptist. The local chapel was glorified by numerous visits to St. John Paul II, as well as one of the scenes from the movie about Janoszyk (Polish TV series 1973). Masses are regularly held here during the tourist season.
Polyana Khokholovskaya – shepherd’s log cabins (Batsovka) – kaplička
If you want to shorten the return trip, you can use the seasonal tourist train that travels from Siva Polana to Gusitska and back, which will save you more than an hour. Bicycles can also be rented.
Polyana Khokholovskaya – shepherd’s log cabins (Batsovka) – mountain chapel (interior)
We recommend completing the tour with a tasting of local dishes. We are returning to Zakopane to restore strength and embark on a new adventure.