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Szczawnica is a small town with only about 7500 people living there and is situated on the border to Slovakia. Szczawnica owes its reputation as a tourist town to the specific microclimate surrounding it and to the presence of mineral water that has long been produced there. Szcazwnica also has the advantage of its location at the foot of the Pieniny, and Beskid Sadecki mountain ranges with the Grajcarek River running beside the town in the base of the valley, where it joins up with the Dunacja River just on the outskirts of Szczawnica. From the many nearby mountains, that tower above this little mountaineer town you can see many stunning panoramas of the close, as well as more distant mountain ranges.

The way thousands of tourists every year find their way to Szczawnica is via the famous river rafting that has it first and most often used ending point precisely where the river Grajcarek joins the Dunajec. It is only a short walk from there to the center of Szczavnica, and many tourists use the opportunity to see this beautiful little town.

There are also many hiking and biking trails leading to and from Szczawnica, one of the most pictures is called the “The Way of Pieniny." The starting point is in the same place as the river rafting finishes. Following this trail you will be lead back up the Dunajac into Slovakia and have different options to where you will finish depending on the distance you would like to walk. This trail runs the full length of the river rafting and is a very pleasant alternative for those of you that do not wish to try the traditional river rafting.

The first mention of a settlement in Szczawnica is from 1413, but it is believed that a small settlement existed here much earlier. Szczawnica is a holiday resort, but the town itself did not begin fully to develop before the early nineteenth century. When the first analysis of a local spring, "Josephine" was done and the bottling of spring water started on a small scale. An important turning point in the history of Szczawnica was the achievements done by the Hungarian Szalay family, which expanded the existing resort's buildings, houses as well expanding the spa park. However, the main fonder of the spa was the son of the original owners, Joseph Szalay, who became the owner of the city in 1839. The Szalay family took care of advertising the town and initiated the tradition of rafting on the River Dunajec. Szczawnica became increasingly popular, hosting celebrities such as: Norwid, Asnyk, Sienkiewicz, Prus, Konopnicka, Matejko and Fredro. After the death of Szalay, Szczawnica was passed on and became a possession of the Academy of Sciences in Krakow. The institution then built a manor house hospitality, which became the cultural center of Szczawnica, and finished the construction of the road “Pienińskiej.” Afterwards the city passed into the hands of Adam Stadnicki, which further extends and enhances the already developing health resort in Szczawnica. During his administration, the creation of a modern inhalation chamber was completed, being the first pneumatic chamber in Poland.

Szczawnica received town rights in 1962.


Location and Other Attractions in the Area

Map of Szczawnica - Lesser Poland

Szczawnica is a little spa town located on the border to Slovakia. Thousands of tourists find this beautiful little town every year as it is the main end station for the river rafting.

Distances to Szczawnica from:


Other Attractions in the area:


The Dunajec River rafting, this is one of the most famous attractions in Poland. The Dunajec river rafting runs from Sromowce to Szczawnica.


The Pieniny National Park covers the mountain area ranging from Czorsztyn to Szczawnica. Including areas on both sides of the border to Slovakia. 


The Czosztynski Lake, this man-made lake is the largest of its kind in Poland and offers a wide range of activities, both on and around the lake.


The Gorce mountain range is just a sort drive away from the Pieniny. Even if these two ranges are very close, they differ greatly from each other. 


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Some of the main attractions in Szczawnica are:

  • Traditional River Rafting on the Dunajec.
  • The chair lift for the main ski resort in Szczawnica, takes tourists to the top of Palenica Mountain(722m asl), where you can admire the beautiful panorama of the Pieniny and Tatra Mountains. In the summer, you can go for a walk along one of the many tourist trails and in the winter, there is a well-developed ski center along with a local ski school. Prices for the chair lift are as follows:

  • In Season (24.12 to 30.09) One-way ticket - 8.00zł, Return ticket - 12.00zł

  • Off season (01.10 to 23.12) One-way ticket - 6.00zł, Return ticket - 10.00 zł

  • The Pieniny Way is a very well maintained trail, leading from Szczawnica Lower, along the scenic Dunajec gorge and ending in the fourteenth century carthusian monastery that is called the “Red Monastery” in Slovakia. Walking time is about 2h20 '(10km)
  • Ski lifts and slopes.
  • Tourist routes on foot, bicycle and horses.



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