Recently, we had the opportunity of visiting the beautiful country of Poland. While in Krakow, we wanted to visit the well known Ojców National Park which is just 16 kms from Krakow and a wonderful location for nature lovers.
Ojców National Park is the smallest national park of Poland with around 15 sq.kms in area. However, it makes up for it’s small size with it’s serene beauty.
As it was so near to Krakow, we decided to take bus 210 from Bronowice in Krakow. Although we knew at which stop we had to get off the bus, the problem was that there was no indication about which stop we were arriving at and also all the stops did not have the name written. There was an electronic board which kept showing all the stop names in sequence. So when we spotted a stop which had the name written, we started counting the number of stops remaining to our stop from that one from the names in the electronic board. Luckily, our stop Czajowice had it’s name written.
After getting off the bus we asked a few people about the direction to the national park and kept walking. The walk was quite long and at times we doubted if we were going in the right direction.
Finally we arrived at the woods and met a group of older people who were already hiking there. We made our way towards the direction which said ‘Ojców’ and were treated to some of the best natural beauty.
We were simply awestruck at the vastness of the woods
There were also a wide variety of undergrowth which fascinated us by their variety and beauty.
We kept walking downwards through the marked trails to find some more beautiful paths.
Finally, we reached Brama Krakowska or Krakow Gate which is one of the few rock gates of the park and a wonderful natural structure.
A short walk from the gate, we reached the path to Jaskinia Ciemna. Jaskinia in Polish means ‘cave’. We had to buy tickets to visit the cave which was a nominal value.
We then started our hike towards the cave which was short but steep. The cave is believed to have been occupied by neanderthals hundreds of years ago and these models of them try to demonstrate their life.
We also had a beautiful aerial view of the Brama Krakowska from the top.
We had to wait at the entrance to the cave for the guide who would take us for a short tour inside the cave. This was the best part as we were about to witness the place and the ways neanderthals lived hundreds of years ago.
The cave was extremely dark and we were all given a small candle mounted on a half cut inverted plastic bottle. This was one of the most wonderful experiences of our life. The guide spoke in Polish as all the visitors except us were Polish. We were the only ones who spoke English but unfortunately there were no arrangements for English guides.
However, that did not stop us from enjoying the cave to our fullest.
The trail took us further upwards amidst beautiful nature.
Aerial views of the park were really fascinating.
We then reached a point which allowed us to view one of the best features of Ojców National Park, the Skała Biała Ręka or the white hand rock. It is one of the best natural wonders that I have ever seen.
After admiring the views, we made our way down and walked further towards the Ojców Centrum which was also the location to visit the Ojców Castle.
The castle was once of the form as shown in the below picture, but today it stands only as a ruin with the only remnants being the gate, a tower, a well and some portions of the wall.
Rock formations like these are very common throughout the park and add to the beauty of it.
We had already walked throughout the day including high and low hikes and we were already exhausted.
As we waited at the Centrum for the last bus to Krakow, the clouds started clearing and creating a wonderful painting along with the colors of the setting sun.
Although we did not have time to visit the Pieskowa Skała castle which was 8 kms away, altogether the trip was completely worthwhile and we enjoyed hiking and enjoying this wonderful natural beauty.