Poznaj Pieniny – English

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Pieniny, Pienińskie 10 NAJ


The Pieniny Mountains are a picturesque mountain group located in southern Lesser Poland and the northern part of Spiš.

Suggestions of the most interesting attractions in the Pieniny Mountains can be found in article Pieniny TOP 10.

About Pieniny

The extraordinary natural world of the Pieniny Mountains

The Pieniny Mountains are considered one of the most beautiful corners of Poland. It was about them that the first guidebooks were created. They are famous for their richness of nature, complicated geological structure, beautiful views and highlander culture.

It is here where the oldest national park in Poland, the Pieniny National Park (PPN), was established in 1932, and the first international nature reserve in Europe. Since 1967 there is also Pieninský Národný Park (PIENAP) on the Slovak side. We will see here: Erysimum pieninicum – a flower that grows on limestone rocks, we will see it only in the Pieniny Mountains), mountain Apollo – one of the largest daily butterflies in Poland) or the famous relic pines with the most famous pine in Sokolica.

The heart of the Pieniny National Park – the Central Pieniny

The heart of the Park are the Central Pieniny (Pieniny Właściwe), with the majestic Three Crowns Massif (Masyw Trzech Koron) with a viewing platform on Okrąglica (982 m above sea level) and the world-famous Dunajec Rafting through the Pieniny Gorge (Przełom Pieniński Dunajca).

The most popular version of the Dunajec rafting ends in Szczawnica, a spa town beautifully situated between the Pieniny Mountains and Sącz Beskids (Beskid Sądecki). Szczawnica’s mineral waters and mountain climate have been helping to treat diseases of the upper respiratory tract since the 19th century.

Lesser Pieniny the highest!

Contrary to the name, the highest part of the Pieniny Mountains are Lesser Pieniny (Małe Pieniny). Located to the south-east of the Pieniny Właściwe, they are a great starting point for the highest peak of the Pieniny Wysoka (1050 m above sea level) and in the neighboring Beskid Sądecki Radziejowa (1262 m above sea level). In Lesser Pieniny it is worth seeing the nature reserves: Wąwóz Homole and Biała Woda or walking along the ridge of Lesser Pieniny through Durbaszka, Wysoki Wierch to Palenica.

Czorsztyn Castle, Niedzica and Czorsztyn Lake

One thing that attracts people to these mountains is their rich history. Two medieval castles, once located on the medieval trade route – “Wronin” Castle in Czorsztyn and “Dunajec” Castle in Niedzica. They used to guard the borders and today they are open to the public. Lately construction of a retention reservoir on the Dunajec River, called the Czorsztyn Lake, changed the local landscape. And while being in Niedzica it’s worth to discover more about historical region of Spisz and the least well-known part of Pieniny – Spisz Pieniny (Pieniny Spiskie).

The proximity of the border with Slovakia opens the way to getting to know the Slovak northern Spiš and planning one-day trips around the Pieniny Mountains. UNESCO monuments in Slovak Spiš

Recommended mountain guides for your trip in the Pieniny, Beskids and Slovakia

Location and division of Pieniny

In order to be able to determine exactly which peaks are in the Pieniny Mountains and which one don’t, we do need a moment to define the borders of the Pieniny Mountains as a mountain range. In our case, borders recognised by the tourists will define the Pieniny region for us.

Conventional borders – different for different authors – are marked by: from the west by the Białka River, from the north by Czorsztyn Reservoir, Krośnica and Grajcarek streams valleys, from the east by the Rozdziela Pass, from the south by the Kamionka and Lipnik streams, the Dunajec, and finally Niedziczanka and Łapszanka streams.

J. Nyka, Pieniny przewodnik, wyd. Trawers, 2010,

From the south, the Pieniny Mountains border the Spišská Magura (Magura Spiska) range, from the north with Gorce Mountains (Gorce) and Sącz Beskids (Beskid Sądecki), from the west Pieniny border the Orava-Nowy Targ Basin.

Pieniny can be divided into three parts:

  • Spisz Pieniny (Pieniny Spiskie) – between the Białka Valley and the Niedzica Castle; the highest peak, Żar 879 m above sea level;
  • Central Pieniny (Pieniny Właściwe) – between Czorsztyn and Szczawnica; the highest peak Three Crowns 982 m above sea level
    • Czorsztyn Pieniny (Pieniny Czorsztyńskie) – from the Snozka pass (the border can be marked on the streams: Krośnica, Kluszkowianka) to the Szopka pass (Szopczański stream, Pieniny stream), the highest peak Nowa Góra 902 m above sea level.
    • Three Crowns Massif (Masyw Trzech Koron) – from the Szopka Pass (the Szopczański stream, the Pieniny stream) to the Dunajec River, the highest peak Three Crowns (Trzy Korony) 982 m a.s.l.
    • Pieninki – from the Pieniny stream to the Dunajec, the highest peak Czerteż 774 m above sea level.
  • Lesser Pieniny (Małe Pieniny) – stretching between the Dunajec River near the Szczawnica and the Rozdziele Pass in the east, the highest peak Wysoka (Wysokie Skalki; 1050 m above sea level) is the highest peak of the entire Pieniny Mountains.

based on: J. Nyka Pieniny, J. Kondracki Geografia regionalna Polski, pieninypn.pl

Pieniny National Park

The Pieniny National Park is the oldest national park in Poland. It was created on June 1, 1932. (The Białowieża National Park is a bit younger, from August 11, 1932). At the same time, it is the second smallest national park in Poland (the smallest is Ojców National Park).

The Pieniny National Park covers the Central Pieniny (Three Crowns Massif, Pieninki, Czorsztyn Pieniny), and a fragment of the Lesser Pieniny (around the Bystrzyk peak) and the former Zielone Skałki natural reserve in the Spisz Pieniny. On the area of Pieniny NP there are 35 km of hiking trails.

Attractions of the Pieniny National Park

The biggest attractions of the Pieniny National Park are:

  • rafting on traditional wooden rafts through the Pieniny Gorge of the Dunajec River,
  • scenic points at the top of Tree Crowns and Sokolica,
  • ruins of the Czorsztyn Castle in Czorsztyn,
  • Pieniny Castle ruins

Worth visiting:

  • exhibitions at information points (free) and a nature exhibition at the Pieniny NP headquarters in Krościenko nad Dunajcem.

Pieniny area

These mountains, due to their attractiveness and convenient location, are an ideal starting point not only for mountain trips in the Pieniny Mountains. In the area, you can go on 1 day trips to the Pieniny area (Gorce, Sącz Beskids, Spiš Magura, Podhale, Orawa, Żywiec Beskids or Island Beskids) and you can also quickly get from Pieniny to Slovakia. Thanks to this, you can easily visit the Slovak Tatras, Low Tatras, Slovak Paradise. Those who prefer sightseeing to the mountains will also find plenty of attractions in the vicinity of the Pieniny Mountains. For example, you can go on a tour and see the monuments enlisted on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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