Hidden Gems to Discover on the Borders of Krakow


Krakow is named as one of the UK’s top 2 favorite European city break destinations. A hot spot for its cultural sights and attractions, shopping, accommodation, and affordability, Krakow continues to attract visitors looking for the best value money can buy. In addition to the abundance of activities that you can do from the city, there are several driving routes on the outer edges of Krakow that are worth exploring.

Podleze, Wieliczka County

One of the most convenient ways to explore a new place is by land travel. Bringing or renting a vehicle provides the flexibility to choose your routes and destinations. You can take detours, explore off-the-beaten-path locations, and change your plans on a whim. If traveling with several people, a van or mini-van is a suitable choice because they have larger capacities compared to regular cars ideal for carrying more passengers or cargo. Furthermore, vans are roomier for a comfortable ride. It’s also possible to convert some vans into campers for those who enjoy camping or want a mobile living space.

Podleze is a destination that you can easily reach from Krakow, a mere 28 minute ride on the A4 through Wielicka. This quaint village is admired for its natural beauty of lush hills, verdant forests, and pristine lakes. Visit the Podleze lake and try your hand at fishing. If you’re not an angler, rent a boat and chill out on the water surrounded by beautiful nature. Consider taking a picnic basket with you and find a spot on the banks of the lake to enjoy your spread. Look out for birds while you relish the tranquility of the area. Hike or bike  and be rewarded with gorgeous views and the local wildlife. History and culture buffs will appreciate as well the frescoes and stained glass windows of the Podleze church which dates back to the 16th century. All in all, Podleze is a charming village that has plenty to offer its visitors from outdoor activities to cultural explorations.

Modlniczka, Gmina Wielka Wies

Southeast of Krakow is Modlniczka, a charming village dotted with rolling hills, blooming forests, and picturesque cottages. To get there, drive northwest on Basztowa toward Pawia. You will reach Modlniczka in 25 minutes or less depending on the flow of traffic. Its proximity to Krakow makes it an ideal day trip destination without the need to find accommodation in the area. Furthermore, there are several points of interest that will suit different types of tourists.

 Explore the 14th century medieval fortress that is Mondlnica Castle. Take in the impressive architecture and listen as guides recount its opulent history. Swing by at the Church of St. Bartholomew, a well-kept 15th century Gothic church. Examine its ornate interior and stunning stained glass windows. If you prefer outdoor adventures, Modlniczka will not disappoint. Visit the Modlnica Nature Reserve and see its diverse range of flora and fauna. Hike or go on nature walks, relish the striking landscapes, or simply revel in the tranquility of the vicinity. Equally, you can cycle or horseback ride in Modlniczka with the scenic town providing a beautiful backdrop for your outdoor pursuits.

Skawina, Malopolska Province

Another lesser known village on the fringes of Krakow is Skawina. Depending on the traffic, it will take you around 27 minutes to drive 18.4km on the A4 making the place accessible if you’re touring Krakow. The town is nestled in a large valley on the banks of the Skawinka river, a tributary of the Vistula River. It offers a variety of activities for visitors looking for cultural, historical, or nature experiences.

Stop by at the Church of St. Stanislaus the Bishop and Martyr and observe its Baroque styled architecture. Underneath the church is a crypt which serves as a burial place for notable Poles. Don’t miss the Regional Museum in Skawina for its historic and folk art collections. Regional artefacts relevant to the town and its environs are also available as well as photographs and documents that explain the past of Skawina. For outdoor lovers, Park Miejski is a must. Guests of the town can enjoy a quiet day amidst nature at the park which features verdant vegetation, walking paths, playgrounds, and picnic areas. Afterwards, sample traditional Polish cuisine at the town’s restaurants.  

Skawina is known for serving delectable local dishes such as pierogi (filled dumplings) and zurek (sour rye soup).

Poland’s second largest city does not only offer a diverse range of nature, historical, and cultural interests, it also makes an excellent base to discover hidden attractions on the city’s periphery.  Podleze, Modlniczka, and Skawina are relatively unknown destinations that offer many interesting spots for locals and visitors alike to enjoy.

Article by: Jennifer Dawson

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