Dunajec River Gorge
Located in Pieniny National Park, not far from Krakow, the Dunajec River Gorge—which has been submitted as a potential UNESCO World Heritage Site—features cliffs that rise 980 feet (300 meters) above the river and layers of limestone and dolomite rock.
One of the best ways to experience the gorge is to spend time on the water, traveling from the village of Sromowce Nizne to the town of Szczawnica by wooden canoe, traditional wooden raft, or modern pontoon. The trip covers about 11 miles (18 km) and takes 2–3 hours. You can also enjoy hiking trails that run on either side of the gorge, as well as two castles nearby castles, Niedzica Castle and Czorsztyn Castle.
Things to Know Before You Go
There is an unpaved but well-maintained hiking/cycling path that runs for the length of the gorge, mostly on the Polish side.
Visitors can also kayak downstream; the river is suitable for novices.
You can find accommodation and other resources in the nearby town of Krościenko nad Dunajcem.
How to Get There
The Dunajec River Gorge is located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the town of Zakopane and about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from Krakow. To reach the village of Sromowce Nizne from Krakow, take the E77 south to DK47 to the DW969; the drive takes approximately 1.5–2 hours. You can also visit the gorge on a tour that includes transportation.
When to Get There
You can visit the gorge all year round, but rafting season runs from April through October. For optimal weather conditions, head to Dunajec River Gorge between June and early September.
While at the Dunajec River Gorge, make sure to stop at Niedzica Castle, which was originally built in 1325 and boasts a number of ancient artworks. One of the castle’s first owners is said to have married an Incan princess. According to the legend, their daughter, Umina, was murdered and now haunts the spot every night. Daring guests can stay overnight in one of the castle’s suites.
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