SPA and Architectur
Szczawnica is a picturesque village between the Pieniny mountain range and Beskid Sądecki. It is the best place to set off for hiking in both mountain ranges. The city is adjacent to the Pieniny National Park, and here in our town the famous rafting trail ends.
Szczawnica owes its name to 12 sources of mineral water with an acid-like taste, called “szczawa” by the Highlanders. The most famous waters include:
- Stefan – recommended for diseases of the respiratory tract, not recommended for gastric hyperacidity
- Magdalena – recommended in diseases of the biliary tract and constipation
- Jan – recommended for treatment of respiratory tract and gastric hyperacidity
- Szymon – recommended for anaemia for convalescents
- Wanda – recommended for treatment of gout and allergies
- Helena – recommended in gastric and duodenal ulcers.
The spa facilities in Szczawnica are a whole complex of ancient buildings that have been serving the patients and residents of the city continuously since the interwar period. Most of the buildings were built in the days, when they were owned by Szalay’s Family which contributed to the development of the spa part of the city. The sanatorium complex is used today, and is considered to be one of the nicest parts of Szczawnica.
Buildings of similar Swiss-Tyrolean construction, similar in appearance, are located along the entire street. Walking this avenue you can reach the Dietl’s square, around which the most important buildings throughout the whole spa facilities are located. There are, among others, the Spa House and the new water pump rooms.
This is the most important point of the spa resort of Szczawnica. In its area you can find a modest obelisk dedicated for Joseph Szalay, who was a proponent of the creation of Polish spas. From the Dietl's square and admiring old spa buildings of Szczawnica you can go to extraordinary Resort Parks - the Lower and the Upper one, where one can also find sanatoriums, villas and buildings belonging to the unusual ancient complex.
Entirely on flat terrain, the promenade in Szczawnica has a length of 1,800 meters, which gives it a reputation of one of the longest in Poland. It starts at the bottom station of Palenica and extends along the Grajcarek creek. On the other side, it connects to the foot-cycle path, which is a route leading to Slovakia along the Dunajec river. In addition, the promenade runs mutually of both sides of the creek, and its continuity is provided by charming bridges. Along the promenade there are plenty of benches, gazebos and flower beds which make it even more attractive. Lighting makes this attraction useful after dark. It is ideal for walking, cycling, Nordic walking or inline skating.
Rafting on the Dunajec River
Rafting on the Dunajec river is one of the main and biggest attractions of Szczawnica and the surrounding area - every year it is used by hundreds of thousands of tourists from Poland and foreigners. The Dunajec river gorge is deep down between its limestone cliffs, on the stretch between Sromowce Niżne and Szczawnica. The biggest touristic singularity in Pieniny, a landscape and natural phenomenon on a European scale, numerous sharp turns and loops among the rocks, which in places reach the height of five meters.
Rafting on ancient rafts is a unique entertainment in the world, which you cannot experience anywhere else. Therefore, being in the area of Pieniny Małe and Beskid Sądecki, you need to experience three hours of communing with stunning views of the river and surrounding mountains. The Dunajec River Gorge is the gorge carved in the limestone rocks of Pieniny. While rafting, you encircle Three Crowns and associate with wildlife - views, steady movement of the raft and extremely interesting stories told by the rafters give you an attraction of an exceptional nature.
The beginning of rafting starts from the hamlet Kąty in Sromowce Wyżynne – you can get there from Szczawnica by numerous buses, by car or on foot along the comfortable Droga Pienińska. From the set off, the journey takes more than 2 and less than 4 hours, depending on the water level in the river. It ends in Szczawnica or on special request; you can extend it to Krościenko, which takes an extra half hour.
But rafting means not only rafts – on the above route you can also use pontoons and kayaks. Rafting under the supervision of instructors does not require high technical skills, while it gives a great satisfaction with “overcoming” the river. Attractions are designed for both beginners and advanced participants. Children also can participate in it. The chill of the water, mountain air, and the beauty of the Pieniny landscapes make everyone forget about everyday life and relax amongst the surrounding nature.
Dworzec Gościnny [Guest Manor] is the former name of the building, which used to be the cultural centre of Szczawnica and the surrounding area in the 19th century. It was - and still is - the centre of the spa town, which provides all kinds of attractions for tourists, residents and patients. Now its name means Guest Manor in Szczawnica, but it still serves all its functions. In the ‘60s of the twentieth century it burned down for unknown reasons and thus Szczawnica lost its cultural centre. The hotel was rebuilt in 2008 and now the building called Dworek Gościnny is an accurate representation of the original. Dworek Gościnny is now a cultural centre of Szczawnica and the surrounding area, hosting numerous concerts, theatrical performances, fairs, exhibitions and business meetings - conferences, and more.
Dworek Gościnny is located in the Upper Spa Park, in a short distance from important sanatorium objects. Everyone can benefit with the offer prepared by the manor – spa guests, tourists and residents of the surrounding area.
National Museum of Pieniny
Presently the museum is located in a former guardhouse in Szlachtowa, near Szczawnica. A big attraction are exhibits such as traditional costumes of highlanders of Pieniny, parts of their farms or examples of the regional folk art. Particularly noteworthy are emblems of houses that formerly served as the numbering of buildings. National Museum of Pieniny is also a place where you can find biographical collections of the two most important people for Szczawnica – Joseph Szalay and writer Joseph Victor. A visit to the Museum of Pieniny will be ideal for a tour and entertainment during bad weather, as well as an interesting point of rest for those who are interested in the history of the region. It is recommended for organized groups, families with children and individual tourists.