The Śnieżnik Massif - Masyw Śnieżnika
The Śnieżnik Massif is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Lower Silesia. Densely forested with domed summits, this octopus-shaped mountain chain draws hundreds of hikers and skiers every year. It has a raw climate, with refreshing air and unspoilt nature, all protected by its recognition as Śnieżnik Landscape Park and by several strict nature reserves, such as Wilczka Waterfall. This part of the eastern Sudety is recommended only for tougher walkers and cross-country skiers, due to the size of the territory and a small number of refuges and mountain huts. All visitors should be self-supporting when setting out to hike or cross-country ski, and be well-equipped and dressed. For inexperienced visitors, a guide is recommended. Other popular sports here are horse-riding, mountain biking and running.
The largest towns in the area are Bystrzyca Kłodzka, with its terraced structure, Długopole-Zdrój, Międzylesie, Stronie Śląskie, Stara Morawa, Nowa Morawa, Bolesławów, Kamienica, Kletno, which is rich with uranium mining history, and the small but attractive village of Międzygórze. The uranium mine of Kletno, with beautiful and colourful fluorites and amethysts, has to be the biggest attraction of the region along with the stunning Bear’s Cave (in Polish: Jaskinia Niedźwiedzia) nearby. In Długopole Zdrój, a well-known micro health resort, treatment is provided for liver disorders and hepatitis.
Of particular fascination for Dutch visitors is the story of Princess Marianne van Nassau-Oranje (1810-1883), who owing to tragic circumstances was forced to leave her homeland and make a new home for herself here in Lower Silesia. This unhappy, but beautiful, intelligent and educated woman owned luxurious estates and extensive properties in the area and for many years was a founder, sponsor and manager of local villages, a key figure in the foundation of tourism in the Śnieżnik Massif.
On 18th July 2000 Polish guides and other parties active in tourism in the region set a stone commemorating Princess Marianne van Nassau-Oranje and her merits in the centre of Miedzygórze, as well as a plaque on a wall of the Śnieżnik Refuge. A guide can tell you the whole story and take you on a tour to the places where 200 years ago Princess Marianne van Nassau-Oranje lived.
Międzygórze is a tiny village of wooden Tyrolean and Norwegian houses nestling among mountains, woods and streams and near a picturesque waterfall. It is protected within the boundaries of the Śnieżnik Landscape Park (in Polish: Śnieżnicki ark Krajobrazowy) and from December until April or May is the best starting point for both hikers and downhill and cross-country skiers.
In 1840, the village was sold to the afore-mentioned Princess Marianne van Nassau-Oranje, who began the construction of new houses and roads. The main road leads to the unforgettable Śnieżnik Refuge, where in the 80s Polish students sang forbidden songs, and this refuge has a unique atmosphere and hordes of faithful friends. Downhill skiers can make use of the ski lift located in the village and ascend to Śnieżnik.
In the 19th century, Międzygórze was regarded as a health resort, but now it is a thriving village with restaurants, bars and a variety of accommodations. In this tiny winter sports centre, you can visit the Fairy Tale Garden (in Polish: Ogród Bajek), the Maria Śnieżna church and the newly refurnished Maria Śnieżna Refuge.
Czarna Góra (1,205m a.s.l.)
Czarna Góra, or the Black Mountain, is one of the largest ski-centres in the Śnieżnik Massif. There is a chair lift to the summit as well as eight ski-lifts, a ski carousel for children, six ski-runs, a snowboard half-pipe and a snow-making system. In summer, it is a good starting point for biking tours, you can take your bike with you on the chair lift.
It is also a good area for cross-country skiing, and for walks in the Śnieżnik Massif. Besides Karpacz, Szklarska Poręba and Zieleniec, Czarna Góra is the most popular and best-located ski-centre.Czarna Góra offers good approach to Międzygórze and Mt. Igliczna.
It is worth noting that Czarna Góra is more easily accessible from Stronie Śląskie, as the sinuous drive from Bystrzyca Kłodzka and the villages of Pławnica and Idzików leads through Puchaczówka Pass (864m) which is often icy and not recommended for inexperienced drivers, nor for cars lacking snow-chains on their wheels.
The Bialskie Mountains - Góry Bialskie Złote Mountains - Góry Złote
The Bialskie and Złote Mts. are almost completely wild, being only lightly touched by modern civilization and far away from towns, crowds and stress. They are an ideal place for tired people needing peace and seclusion and looking for an unspoilt wilderness in which to find it. Surprisingly cosy accommodation can be found, perhaps in a small house with a fireplace where a visitor disliking the bustle of restaurants is able to cook their favourite dishes in a private kitchen.
Winter vacations here are an inexpensive option. A dense and well-preserved original virgin woodland of beech, great maple and fir, protected by two nature reserves, Puszcza Śnieżnej Białki and Nowa Morawa, and countless roads winding through the mountains makes this a wonderful location for skiing, touring, cross-country skiing, walking, jogging and biking. The ski-runs are comparatively straightforward, so the Bialskie Mts. are a perfect place for beginners and children alike. Several ski-lifts are available, for example in the village of Kamienica with its soft music and illuminated slope. However, hikers here too must be very well-equipped and self-supporting, and prepared for wide expanses and isolation.
The Bialskie and Złote Mts. offer a range of trails leading to several destinations, for instance the Śnieżnik Massif, although inexperienced hikers are advised to hire a guide. The largest villages are Stronie Śląskie, Bielice, Nowy Gierałtów and Stary Gierałtów, Lądek Zdrój, Złoty Stok with rich history of gold mining and the Museum of Gold.
Lądek Zdrój is the oldest health resort in Lower Silesia with six springs rich in sulphur and radium, one of which was named after the Dutch Princess Marianne van Nassau-Oranje, although it is now called “Dąbrówka”. The town’s most prominent patients were the Prussian kings Friedrich II and Wilhelm III, the American ambassador John Quincy Adams, later a U.S. president, the German poet J.W. Goethe and the Russian tsar Alexander I. Lądek Zdrój is also a paradise for rock-climbers who can refine their existing climbing techniques and learn new ones on boulders standing on hills not far from the town.
Stronie Śląskie and Bielice
Stronie Śląskie is a small town by the rivers Biała Lądecka, Porębnik and Morawka which lies amid four different mountain chains, the Złote Mts., the Śnieżnik Massif, the Bialskie Mts. and the small almost forgotten and therefore rarely-visited range Krowiarki. The town was a centre of crystal and glass production, a traditional industry, and the Violetta glassworks was accessible to visitors. Stronie Śląskie is particularly famous for the marble Marianne, named in honour of the same Dutch Princess, who between 1836 and 1883 ruled Stronie. The neighbouring village of Kletno is a starting point for trips to the Bear Cave (in Polish: Jaskinia Niedźwiedzia – guided visits only), the new attraction of the uranium drift (in Polish: Sztolnia Uranowa), and for the Śnieżnik Massif.
Stronie Śląskie also offers new scenic biking trails and few bike rental shops.
Bielice and the two neighbouring villages of Nowy Gierałtów and Stary Gierałtów have very good snow conditions and a few ski lifts located in Bielice. Bielice is also the birthplace of the most brilliant sculpter of the Kłodzko region, Michael Klar, and a workplace of the controversial Polish writer Marek Hłasko, who was once employed in the surrounding forests as a truck driver. The second of these three villages, although presently known as Nowy, or New, Gierałtów, was founded in the 16th century. During the Second World War, defectors from the German army hid in a local church and after the war the village was deserted, with only a few active farmhouses remaining.
In the 1970s, it became popular once more among visitors seeking tranquillity, solitude and a closer contact with nature. The third village, Stary Gierałtów, was founded in the 14th century and by the 19th, with several small factories, was acknowledged as being well-developed. After the Second World War it too shrank in size and now possesses a similar character to Bielice and Nowy Gierałtów.
The Uranium Mine in Kletno
Show mine. The history of uranium mining. Fluorites. Local minerals
The Radochów Cave
Show Cave. Local wine.