Tourists in Poland – those, at least, who are interested in such things – are fortunate in the enormous range of open-air activities available to them. The possibilities – which range from strenuous rock climbing and exhilarating skiing at one end of the scale to serene sailing or peaceful mountain trekking at the other – are almost endless. Horse riding is very popular as Poland has a centuries-old reputation for its excellent stud farms. There are also lakesides fishing and canoeing trips. Amongst winter attractions, most popular ones are ice sailing on the frozen Mazurian Lakes (only during frosty winters) and skiing and snowboarding in the mountains of southern Poland. The best place for ice sailing is Lake Mamry, one of the Great Mazurian Lakes. When it is frozen over, it is perfect for ice sailing and international competitions of this sport have been held here since the inter-war years. The biggest ski resort is Zakopane – situated at the foot of the Tatra Mountains and called winter capital of Poland. There are pistes both for beginners and experienced skiers. The longest and most difficult descents are on Mount Kasprowy and include the Gasienicowa run (6 miles long). The season for skiing in Poland runs from December to March. Pistes on Mount Nosal, 590 m high are the most popular. Those on Mount Gubalowka, 1600 m high, less demanding. Beginners will find many easy pistes in the vincinity of Bialka and Bukowina Tatrzanska. There are also many long, perfectly prepared ski runs in Szczyrk Brenna, Wisla and Ustron in the Beskid Mountains of Silesia, and also in Szklarska Poreba in the Karkonosze Mountains and on the slopes of Mount Snieznik. The ski routes down Mount Jaworzyna near Krynica Gorska are among the longest in Poland. Big advantage of coming to Poland for skiing would be the prices – much lower than in the Alps.
During the summer season, hiking is very popular in Poland. The most attractive areas with beautiful landscapes usually have specially marked hiking routes. Hiking maps are available both in specialist bookshops and in local stores and newsagents. Hikers can rest or stay overnight in tourist hostels, which are numerous in the mountains. When hiking in the mountains, it is forbidden to stray off the marked track. Hiking can be done independently. Alternatively, it is possible to join a hiking camp. Such camps are organized by travel agencies, usually student ones.
For those who do not like mountains at all we recommend cycling as it is possible to travel the length and breadth of Poland on a bicycle. However, tourist cycling tracks are not marked, so it is definitely advisable to buy one of a guidebooks for cyclists in Poland before setting out. Narrow, busy roads should be avoided. It is also difficult to cycle safely in big cities, as there are few cycle lanes. Very popular route, also amongst Polish people leads from Swinoujscie do Hel – along the Baltic coast. During the summer, such trip offers unforgettable views and atmosphere of cycling through the pine forest with having picturesque views from time to time on the sea.