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A view of the centre of Szczawnica spa focusing on the Dom nad Zdrojami pump room. There is a round fountain with waterjets and a woman’s statue in the foreground, and Café Helenka above it on the right.
Szczawnica

Szczawnica spa: where boredom is hard to find

 

Do you prefer an active or a leisurely stay at a spa? Especially if your answer’s been “both”, Szczawnica, the ideal Małopolska spa, is the right place for you! Even if leisure was expected to be leisurely, there are so many options to be active in and around Szczawnica that not getting active during your stay or visit verges on the impossible. Whichever activity you choose, you can do it at your favourite pace, whether entirely unhurried or active-active. One thing is certain: you will feast your eyes on the beautiful panoramas of the nearby mountains.

 

A view of an impressive, partially ruined castle of white stone standing among lush trees in the foreground, on a hill overlooking a blue reservoir. A handful of small vessels scuttle across it surface, under white clouds peering from behind the mountains on the horizon.
Niedzica Castle

Szczawnica is a spa that was recovered by the heirs of its original owners. Its centre, now returned to its original splendour, is worth spending some leisurely time. Perhaps you’d care for a concert at the Dworek Gościnny (Homely Manor, also a perfect place for a wedding) or at the nearby Muzyczna Owczarnia – the Musical Sheepfold that takes in stars of prime magnitude? And why not have some of Szczawnica waters first: Jan (works for respiratory diseases), Józefina (same, plus asthma and obesity), Stefan (the diseases of the urinary tract but also asthma), Magdalena (the diseases of the digestive system and obesity), and Pitoniakówka (also the diseases of the digestive system).

A great option to be active is to rent a bike and follow the flat bank of the Dunajec to the Red Monastery (Červený Kláštor), crossing the Slovakian border on the way. The forest along the cycle path offers pleasant shade yet lets you admire the white towers of rock above you and on the other side of the river, down which the rafts quickly glide. Being flat and offering splendid views, it is also perfect for laid-back walks. Obviously, there are much steeper roads away from the shore: the choice is yours.

The most picturesque valley in the other part of the Pieniny opens near the Musical Sheepfold: the perfectly walkable Homole Gorge with magnificent walls and towers of rock on both sides. The Pieniny proper offer steep climbs that aren’t long and take you in the matter of minutes to their most famous peaks – Sokolica overlooking hundreds of feet of vertical wall of white rock, and Trzy Korony with a panoramic platform. The Beskidy Mountains with waymarked trails are a great hiking opportunity, with Dzwonkówka a mere two-hour walk away, and the tourist shelter on Przehyba perhaps twice that.

But these are just a handful of hints, and there is more to be found here.

The Czorsztyn Reservoir, where you can sail, swim, or sunbathe between two historical castles on their rocky promontories, is also in a very comfortable distance. You’re welcome to rent the necessary equipment and try your hand in your favourite water sports.
Szczawnica lies on the Dunajec River and is the terminal of the famous rafting trips that offer breath-taking views of the nearby Pieniny Mountains accompanied by a plethora of local tales, and perhaps a peek into the customs and culture of the Pieniny Highlanders.
With the initial cluster of four consonants, Szczawnica seems unpronounceable. Well, you can try. Here is a life hack for you: Try saying these three English words quickly, as if they were one word: chav – niece – are. There you are!

Małopolska has more to offer. Look and see: