White Water Rafting has proven to be an immensely popular activity for visitors, Stag groups and corporate groups. The challenge of navigating the rapids together provides an exhilarating experience for all who participate. Krakow has a man made Olympic standard circuit to test your mettle. You can book a 1 hour or 2hour stint through local tourist agencies or specialist Krakow Stag Do companies such as Party Krakow (https://partykrakow.co.uk/krakow-stag-do-activities/wwr-white-water-rafting-krakow ). Most companies offer a full service which includes transfers to the Krakow WWR venue. The venue is a short trip to the outskirts of Krakow and once there the experienced instructors will provide all the necessary safety equipment, helmets, life-jackets and take you through the procedures to rise to the challenge confidently. The raft has from 6 to 10 people aboard depending on the size of your group. The course itself alternates between calm and white water which is a welcome relief to some participants at times. Remember to take a dry change of clothes as you might need it!
However, if you have the time then you must try the rafting expedition further up in the Pieniny Mountain National Park on the Dunajec River. A most beautiful and scenic region to spend the day with the bonus of visiting Poland’s most well-known mountain city of Zakopane and revered highlander culture.The Pieniny region has the benefit of a mild climate and full of flora, fauna and forests. The highest point reaches 1052m and you are likely to catch a glimpse of wolves or bears which roam both sides of the Polish and Slovakian confines. The most striking feature is the Dunajec Gorge which was shaped and formed by the fast flowing Dunajec River, so much so that the river has created three main areas called Central, Male and Spis.
The most enjoyable way to discover the Pieniny is by rafting, you can travel through the gorge on the river paddling and rowing for nearly 20km with the occasional white water experiences too. Accompanying you on the raft are two experienced rafting instructors who will steer you clear of the more difficult obstacles as you glide downstream with the gorge cliff walls towering above on either side. Once again you can book in advance via the tourist agencies in Krakow and online. This splendid adventure will require most of the day so plan ahead especially if you are residing in Krakow. My advice is to spend a night in Zakopane then return to Krakow.
You could also take advantage of the organised hiking to a pair of castles and their folklore history, Niedzica Castle and Czorsztyn Castle are well worth a visit. The Dunajec River rafting includes a short break beneath the Niedzica Castle before continuing down the river and the bus meets you 3 hours later at the finish point. This is a fantastic day out on the Dunajec River dividing Poland from Slovakia with some incredible sights to be had. The trips booked in Krakow obviously return to Krakow but if you can stay overnight to get the best from this region and Zakopane,Poland’s highest city of 11,000m has its origins as far back as the 15th century with mining for copper, silver and gold and, of course, farming. After The Great War Zakopane became popular with artists, writers and poets who wished to find inspiration in the peace and quiet this mountain location provided. One of the most famous residences is the listed monument Dom pod Jedlami built in 1897 displaying the typical Zakopane architecture using wood and local stone. Naturally, the artistic culture and folklore concerning Zakopane is abundant with museums and galleries populating the area, the Tatra Mountain Museum exhibiting the history and lives of the highland families, the Koliba Villa museum situated in Kościeliska St. which was the first street to be built there. Every Summer in August there is the Highland Folklore Festival which has the gold ribbon event of traditional folk dancing, the event is so popular that it attracts all kinds of international folk dancing groups to the area to compete. Spring and Summer initiates the hiker and rock climber season, there many trails to explore or rock faces to climb in the surrounding area which also has 5 lakes and in particular the Morskie Oko region. Zakopane has its own thermalspas and well being centres to relax you after a full day’s hiking. Horse and olde worlde wooden carriages with a driver in highlander dress will be happy to take you on a tour should your feet tell you so or you could settle for a walk in the two oldest streets, Kościeliska which could be described as an open air museum and Krupówki.Zakopane is the country’s Winter capital and the activities available go from downhill skiing or skiing tours, snowboarding, cross country ski trekking, snowmobiling, horse and husky sleigh tours, quad biking, snow shoe walking tours and the nation’s cherished sport of ski jumping. All of these activities except ski jumping can be taken for short or longer periods according to your length of stay with all the equipment necessary if you don’t have your own. Let’s say that you could go skiing for the day even if your accommodation is in Krakow with the many companies offering package deals to suit.
Unfortunately, both activities in Krakow and on the Dunajec are not wheelchair friendly. The Krakow Olympic WWR is more suited to short term stays such as a weekend break and Krakow Stag do groups but more than a 3 day visit then the Dunajec River Rafting and visit to Zakopane is definitely to put on your must do list. One final point if you do visit Zakopane make sure you try the highlander smoked cheese called Oscypek. Take the challenge, White Water Rafting in Southern Poland !