Jo’s Monday walk : the Dunajec Gorge

Shall we start at the chair lift?

Shall we start at the chair lift?

To be fair, I have so many photos it’s hard to know where to start!  After the wedding, my Polish family were wonderfully indulgent of my wandering ways.  I had booked into an old wooden villa for a couple of nights, in the upper part of the thermal spa town of Szczawnica, right down on the border with Slovakia.

Why there?  Well, I already knew that the scenery in nearby Zakopane was beautiful.  Part of the Tatra Mountain range, it is renowned for Summer hiking and for Winter sports.  But, as always, I wanted to see somewhere new, yet still within reasonable distance of Kraków.  The Pieniny Mountains are not so high, nor so busy, and they have a beauty all their own.

Szczawnica (rough pronounced ‘Sh-chav-nitsa’) sits in the river valley of the Grajcarek, a tributary of the Dunajec River which forms the border with Slovakia.

Come with me on my walk, and see what you think.

Ok- so from the chair lift we're going to walk alongside the river

From the chair lift we’re going to walk alongside the river

Using this lovely boulevard

Using this lovely boulevard

And crossing some of the many bridges

And crossing some of the many bridges

And sometimes looking back to check the view behind

Not forgetting to look back to check the view behind- peaceful, isn’t it?

This was one of my favourite houses- just look at that roof!

This was one of my favourite houses- just look at that roof!

And always, the river, rushing along beside

And always, the river, rushing along beside

After many twists and turns the Grajcarek flows into the Dunajec, and the beckoning scenery becomes much more dramatic.

One of my reasons for choosing Szczawnica is that it sits at the end of a stretch of the Dunajec famed for river rafting.  Not the white knuckle ride that phrase might conjure up for you, but nevertheless, a strong test of the skills of the boatmen.  The Dunajec Gorge drew me to the area.

Szczawnica przystan, or marina

Szczawnica przystan, or marina

The view from the landing stage

The view from the landing stage

A peaceful island lures you for a closer look

A frail bridge lures you for a closer look

A rather strange bird, guarding his territory

At this strange bird, guarding his territory

And the empty benches

No wonder the benches are empty!

And you never know what might lurk in the caves

I wonder what might lurk in these caves?

But the flora are delicate and pretty

But the flora are delicate and pretty

The water and trees are so many different shades

The trees and water are a myriad of colour

But what's this, patiently waiting?

And what do we find, patiently waiting on the river bank?

Wooden canoe trips have been organised through the Gorge since the early 19th Century, when customers came primarily from nearby castles at Niedzica and Czorstyn (more of these in a later post).  The Gorge loops through the valley, the limestone rock reaching 300 metres in height almost all the way.  It makes for some very beautiful walking and cycling, not to mention the opportunity to river raft.

Gentle aquamarine

Hues of gentle aquamarine

Still and smooth

Still, smooth water

And interesting patterns in the cliff face

And interesting patterns in the cliff face

Light and shade

Wandering through light and shade

The shadows adding a layer of mystery

The deeper shadow adding an air of mystery

Families, walkers and cyclists all have access to this dramatic beauty, though Spring and Autumn are probably the times to see it at its peaceful best.  In Summer and on public holidays there are mountain huts where you can find food and information.

An interesting sign appears

I found this sign quite interesting

And then a further clue

And then a further clue- welcome to Lesnica, written in Slovak

Without realising it I had crossed over the border into Slovakia, part of which is formed by the River Dunajec.  It felt quite strange, and looking at the remaining distance to Cerwony Klastor (approximately 2 hours, according to the sign)  it seemed a good time to retrace my steps.  But not without first paying homage to one of the nation’s favourite sons, who loved to hike and ski in the mountains.

Just one more sign- a view dedicated to Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II)

The view is dedicated to Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II)

In no time at all I was back at the marina with a hard-earned beer

In no time at all I was back at the marina, with a hard-earned beer

Fast approaching, round a bend in the river, some boatmen!

Where I saw, fast approaching round a bend in the river, the boatmen!

But that needs to be the subject for another post.  For now, I’m hoping that you’ve enjoyed our Monday walk.  I certainly did!

If you’d like to join in, you’re more than welcome to add a link to a walk you’ve enjoyed in the comments, or to link back to me from your post.  Either way, I really don’t mind.  I try to keep it free and easy so you can join in any day of the week.  The more beautiful walks, the better- right?

Whilst I was in Poland, kind people continued to contribute walks to cheer me up on my return. I’m delighted to be able to share them with you.  Enjoy your walking.  See you next time.


Way out in Western Australia we have Pauline, walking on the foreshore :

Sylvia is busy packing up her home in South Africa, but still found the time to cherish a few memories in her walk :

Tish Farrell brought me back to her home in Much Wenlock, a beautiful part of Shropshire :

A lovely surprise from a lady I’d not met, Gunilla, but will certainly spend some time with :

And last, but never least, my sunny friend from Virginia, USA- Cathy, with an arboretum walk :


Here are some of this week’s walkers,

Paula has been to the zoo :

And Elaine introduced me to Finsbury Park in London :

And who can resist Amy’s Iphoneography? (is that spelt right?)  What that girl can do with a flower!

We’re going to be busy reading this week, aren’t we?



      1. Indeed. One that I hope I will see again. That architectural in that reason is amazing! We likened some of the buildings to the Norwegian stave churches and our guides commented that a lot of people say that, but the structure and building methods are vastly different.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m going to be exhausted with all this walking Jo 😉
    How lovely is that tiled roof on the house there and a balcony to boot …
    I can imagine it being very popular around there looks ideal for those taking a gentle stroll as well as all the other … more adventurous activities 😉
    I’m popping around here on your blog to catch up .. wow YOUR feet haven’t stopped have they …


    1. Hi Poppy 🙂 Remind me- have you been away on holiday or for work? I’m just about keeping my head above water with the blog visits since I came back so I sorry if I’ve missed you.

      I’m happy with armchair travellers. No need for us all to have blisters 🙂


      1. WORK !!! Squeal oh no Jo * big giggling here
        I had some me time down in Cornwall camping with Lottie dog and then visiting with Chillbrook for a full on week of photography and fun 🙂
        I’m so behind with catching up :-/ but I do think the right people always understand about such things don’t you 🙂
        Take it as it comes is one of my mottos . And with that … it’s bedly time here chez nous …. ‘Nite Jo x


  2. It was such a lovely walk as usual Jo and the views are just amazing. Great shots hon. I loved that little house. So cute! 😀


    1. Thanks, Sonel 🙂 The weather was so kind to us, too. Dad just arrived home yesterday and said it has rained for the last couple of days. Charmed life, somebody mentioned 🙂 Hope you’re well?


      1. Glad to hear that Jo and I can see you truly enjoyed it. 😀
        I’m okay thanks – hubby was out of town for the whole week – new installations and training – and well, then I feel like half a person – but he is coming back today and I can’t wait to have my other half back. LOL!

        Thanks for asking hon. Hope you are doing much better. 😀 ♥ Hugs ♥


  3. Wow Jo, what a beautiful walk. I love the little boulevard beside the river. And the roof of that house is fantastic. What was the weather like? I’m glad you included the pronunciation. I can never even begin to pronounce Polish words. Lovely walk, as always. Thanks for bringing us along. 🙂


    1. Oh, and I forgot to say, when I saw the beer reward at the end of your walk: “Cheers!” I remember fondly sharing wine and meals with you and Mick in Portugal last summer. It seems like ages ago. 🙂


    2. This is one of my favourite walks to date, Cathy, and the weather was perfect. Especially on the day we did the river raft, which took 2 hours, so that was a real treat. 700-800 photos so you might be a little tired of Poland by the time I finish 🙂

      I really must look at booking some Algarve flights. Last Summer feels like a lifetime ago.


      1. Oh Jo, I love river rafting so much. Can’t wait to read about that. 700-800 photos?? I’m not at all surprised. I often wind up with thousands of pics after a holiday!! It’s fun to go through them and relive the trip though, isn’t it?

        I’m glad I’m not the only one for whom last summer seems a lifetime ago. Sometimes I wonder when I’ll be traveling again. I miss it so much…. I’m just not meant to be here in the USA!


    3. I feel so sad for you, Cathy. I hate that ‘trapped’ feeling, and I know you do. Don’t know when we’ll ever get to share a hug again. Here’s a big virtual one coming your way. 🙂


      1. Thanks so much for your virtual hug, Jo. I know, I feel pretty depressed right now. But it turns out I’m going to teach a summer class back at the college this summer and will probably apply abroad again, just because I can’t stand not having the financial freedom to travel. I’m not getting any younger though, as as I approach 60, I realize it will be harder and harder to get hired. That’s why I better do what I can do now. And hoping to get my book published and using the principals of The Secret to wish my way to success!!! 🙂


    1. Or the week after will do, Lucy 🙂 I know the feeling- I had 700 -800 from Poland but I don’t edit so much as reject those I don’t like. I take it you had a wonderful time?


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