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Ojcowski National Park

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The Ojcowski National Park is the smallest national park in Poland, covering a total area of only 2145ha. Despite this relatively small area, the park is a very attractive holiday destination, especially for the residents of Krakow, as it is located barely 20km north of the city. Ojcowski National Park is full of charming valleys, mysterious caves, scenic gorges and spectacular limestone rocks, which catch the eye of the visitors with their interesting shapes and colors. The largest valleys in the park are: Prądnik Valley and the Valley Sąspowska. Along these valleys, you can see steep rock faces rising up, making a lasting impression on its visitors. In the bottom of the valleys flow streams and rivers where you can observe trout. On the slopes of the valleys, natural terraces have been formed, which were used in the past as a place of strategic defense against invading forces.

The Ojcowski National Park was established as the sixth National Park in Poland, and was created in 1956. The history of its creation involves difficult negotiations with the landowners and people who wanted to invest in what is now the park. Despite efforts to protect the Valley Prądnik that started in earnest at the beginning of 20th century, it was only after World War II, the expected results were archived. One person who played a very significant role in the establishment of the Ojcowski National Park was prof. Własysław Szafer, which prepared the draft of the first nature reserve in the area.

The Ojcowski National Park is very famous for its numerous caves. It is believed that only in the park, there are about 700 caves, but so far only about 400 of them have been cataloged. The longest caves are the Jaskinia Łokietka, Ciemna, Zbójecka, Sąspowska and Krakowska. The Jaskinia Łokietka and Jaskinia Ciemna are open to the public. It is known that some of the caves were inhabited by Ojcowski National Park prehistoric man. The traces of their existence were found, for example, in Jaskinia Ciemna.

Location and Other Attractions in the Area

 

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The Ojcowski National Park is located to the north of Krakow, only about 25 km from the city. This makes it a popular day out for holiday makers from Krakow as well as for a weekend break away from the city.

Distances to the Ojcowski National Park from:

Krakow:25km
Zakopane:137km
Oświęcim:76km

Other Attractions in the area:

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Krakow City Center is only 25 km from the Ojcowski National Park. This opens the doors to many of the famous attractions in and around Krakow city. There is a frequent bus service running to and from Krakow for those of you that do not have a car. 

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Wieliczka Salt Mines are one of the best-known tourist attractions in the area. The Wieliczka Salt Mine is the only plant of its kind in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Krakow Zoo offers visitors a great afternoon out. The Municipal Zoological Garden in Krakow covers an area of ​​more than 17 ha, where you can see about 260 species of animals.

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Kazimierz is the former Jewish District of Krakow, before the second world war, this was for many the Jewish capital of Europe. Still, it offers visitors a charming and welcoming experience along with an insight into the fate of the Jewish people of Krakow and the world. 

Such a great number of caves favors the presence of a large number of bats, in the park alone there have been observed as many as 17 species out of the 21 species of bats occurring in Poland. The most common are the big brown bat and lesser horseshoe bat.

Overall, the Ojcowski National Park is estimated to be the home to about 11 000 species of animals, so far. However, out of the 6000 describes; there is more than 5,000 insects included in this count. In the many caves of the Ojcowski National Park, you can find the most venomous spider living in Poland today - Sieciarz Jaskiniowy, whose bite can be comparable to that of a Hornet sting! There are to this date 218 species that are legally protected. The vast majority of insects and vertebrates present in the park are of such as the great crested newt and the common toad and Minnow streams.

One of the first explorers of vegetation in the Valley Prądnik - Besser, called it a unique and beautiful valley, home to very rare plants. This statement still has not lost its topicality. In the area of Ojcowski National Park, there are over 1000 species of plants, it is one of three regions in Poland, the Tatra Mountains and Pieniny are the other two, which abounds in such diversity. Among these species, there appear to be relict species that have survived unchanged from the past. These include: “ułudka forest," pictures mottled or algae called “wodolubek”. As many as 84 species of plants have been placed under legal protection. Furthermore, in the area of the Ojcowski National Park there is counted at present over 1,200 varieties of fungi, among them such rarities as “purchawica giant," or “shameless stinkhorn."

In the area, included in the Ojcowski National Park, there are five major tourist routes, with a total length of 35km, 3 bike trails with a length of 16km and 3 shared trails of a total length of about 7km. There is no entry fee for entering the Ojcowski National Park, also visiting the Chapel on the Water and the Hermitage, Bl. Salome is free.

The Chapel on the Water is still utilized and can be viewed on Sundays and holidays between the divine services held there.

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Below is a list of places you need to purchase a ticket to visit:

The Łokietka Cave is open daily from the 24th of April to the 31st of October, from 9.00 to 15.30 (April, last admission) to 18.30 (May - August) to 17.30 (September) to 16.30 (October).

  • Normal fee 7,00 zł
  • Reduced fee 5.00 zł

Dark Cave is open from the 24th of April to the 3rd of October from 10.00 to 17.00 (last admission).

  • Normal fee: 6.00 zł
  • Reduced fee: 4,00 zł

The exposure of Nature Education Center in the Ojcowski National Park museum is open from the 10th of April to the 30th of October daily (except Mondays and the 4th of May), from November 2 is open from Monday to Friday - in the hours from 9.00 to 15.00 (last admission).

  • Normal fee: 10,00 zł
  • normal fee just for 3D movie projection: 3,00 zł
  • reduced fee: 7,00 zł
  • reduced fee just for 3D movie projection: 2.00 zł

The above-mentioned attractions have reduced fees for children and teenagers, students to age 26, career groups (1 tutor for 10 participants) and pensioners (upon presentation of appropriate ID card entitling to discounts).

The Castle in Pieskowa is open all year round except Mondays. From 9.00 to 15.00 (last admission) except on Fridays where it is open 9.00 to 12.00 and on Sundays and holidays from 10.00 to 17.00. The outer courtyard is open daily from 8.00 to 20.00.

  • Normal fee: 10,00 zł
  • reduced fee: 7,00 zł
  • Family fee (max. 2 pers. adults and 4 children): 32,00 zł

PTTK Regional Museum open from 10 April to 30 September from 9.00 am to 15.00 (last admission).

  • Normal fee: 2.00 zł
  • Reduced fee: 1,50 zł

 

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