Małopolska has the most national parks in Poland and two world biosphere reserves

View of the forested Beskids.
The diversity of the land and the variety of landscapes makes the region attractive for visitors, offering a range of activities in terms of tourism, sightseeing and culture. More than half of the region is under nature protection, and one of its forms is a national park. In Małopolska, six national parks have been established to protect particular natural areas. These are the Tatrzański, Babiogórski, Pieniński, Gorczański, Ojcowski and Magurski National Parks. A network of tourist trails of varying difficulty and varied landscapes run through the areas of the national parks. Each presents different natural conditions shaped by various geological and natural factors. Thanks to this diversity, resting in the bosom of nature in the national parks of the Małopolska region becomes exceptional in many respects, thus ensuring an extraordinary aesthetic experience at any time of the year.

The Tatra National Park - the last refuge of the last great predators

The Tatra National Park, whose borders reach the highest peaks of the Tatra Mountains crossing the Polish-Slovakian border, is one of the largest national parks in our country and undoubtedly enjoys the most significant interest among visitors. The soaring crags, vertical walls and gentle slopes of the ridge, majestically dominating the Podhale region, encourage visitors to undertake excursions and climb the various peaks. Diverse in nature, the Tatra National Park consists of all vegetation levels (from the lower wooded sections to the floura), and the Tatras are the only mountains of an alpine character in this part of Europe. The high-mountain climate and natural conditions make the area of the Tatra National Park a place to see rare animal and plant species. Depending on the vegetation level in the Park, you can meet chamois, marmots or even bears and observe rare plant species, such as Edelweiss, spring gentian or pasqueflower. Tourist trails of varying difficulty cross the most important valleys and lead to the most crucial mountain passes and summits; among the highest ones, we should undoubtedly mention the Rysy (2,501 m, along the border), Świnica (2,302 m) and the highest peak lying entirely on the Polish side: Kozi Wierch (2,291 m).

Admission to the Park is by ticket (7 PLN for standard tickets, 3.50 PLN for discounted tickets), and the fees are collected at all entrances to the valleys.

The Babia Góra National Park - a sea of forests

The Babia Góra National Park, located at the foot of Babia Góra (Mount Babia), the highest massif of the Beskid Mountains, being at the same time the highest Polish peak outside the Tatras, enchants visitors with its unique landscape - a sea of forests crowned with cone-shaped hills, with the Queen of the Beskid Mountains dominant in the south - Babia Góra, with the highest peak - Diablak (1,725 m). Diversified climatic conditions determine the occurrence of plants characteristic for high mountains, which are a sanctuary for many plants and animals, among which two endemic species are worth mentioning: red deer and alpine hornwort. The tourist trails winding through the thick forests emanate tranquillity and mystery, thus attracting experienced hikers.

The entrance fee to the park is 7 PLN (a standard ticket) or 3.50 PLN for a discounted ticket.

The Pieniny National Park - mountains cut by a river

The Pieniny National Park covers the area of the Pieniny Mountains, astonishing due to its unique landscape: rock formations dominating the Dunajec Gorge. The meanders of the Dunajec River biting into the limestone and the Jurassic and chalk rock formations of the Pieniny peaks are undoubtedly the most characteristic feature of the Pieniny terrain. The area of the park is also distinguished by varied fauna and flora. Beech and fir forests are the mainstay of lynx and wildcat, while the meadows typical for the area delight visitors with a variety of plants blooming in different seasons of the year. Undoubtedly, one of the biggest attractions of the region is rafting in the Dunajec Gorge.

Entry to the Pieniny National Park is free, with fees charged only for access to certain areas. Depending on the object or place, prices range from 4 PLN (a discounted ticket) up to 8 PLN (a standard ticket).

The Gorce National Park - extraordinary views

The Gorce National Park, its range covering the central and north-eastern part of the Gorce Mountains, protects the areas of their greatest natural wealth - the Carpathian Primeval Forest. Lower hills covered by spruce forest are a refuge for the eagle owl, capercaillie, spotted salamander, wolf and lynx. A peculiarity of the park is the vast pastoral glades, through which run exceptionally scenic hiking, cycling and horse-riding trails. An additional charm of some pastures are shelters, which remained after the old sheep grazing. The highest peak of the Gorce Mountains is Jaworzyna Kamienicka (1288 m).

Admission to the park is paid, with the price of a standard ticket being 6 PLN and a discounted ticket being 3 PLN.

The Ojców National Park - the land of bats

The Ojców National Park, which includes the Prądnika Valley, the Sąspowska Valley and several surrounding ravines, is the smallest national park in Poland. The phenomenal landscape of deep valleys and ravines delights sightseers with its extraordinary rock formations carved by water. As a result of this activity, canyons and unique rock formations were formed, e.g. the famous Krakowska Gate or Deotyma's Needle. Undoubtedly, a characteristic feature of the Ojców National Park is its numerous caves (their number is estimated at 700 and two are open to the public), as well as Poland’s largest population of bats.

Admission to the Ojców National Park is free. A fee is charged for entry to the caves, with prices ranging from 13 PLN (a discounted ticket) to 26 PLN (a standard ticket).

The Magura National Park - the largest forest in Poland

The Magura National Park encompasses the central area of the Niski Beskids and is considered to be the most forested national park in Poland. Low hills (the highest one, Wątkowa, is 847 m above sea level) are covered with fir and old beech forests. Picturesque meadows, heathlands and pastures, where sheep graze, add charm to the forest landscape. The meandering Wisiołka River is a characteristic element of the landscape.

Admission to the park is paid, with the price of a standard ticket being 6 PLN and a discounted ticket being 3 PLN.

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