Visit This Underrated European National Park For Stunning Landscape Views

Ojców National Park near Kraków, Poland, looks like something from a fairy tale. Boulders covered with moss and trees, steep canyons, forests blanketing hills, hundreds of hidden caves, and even two castles make this place feel like a fantasy world. Surprisingly, it's not very large. It holds all these land features in just barely over 8 square miles, making it the country's tiniest national park. It does have a buffer zone of 26 miles surrounding it, making it feel a bit larger. With that being said, what it doesn't have in size, it certainly has in beauty.

It opened in 1956 and has been accessible to the public ever since. Within the park, you'll find 31 miles of trails, meaning you'll be able to hike and explore for hours on end. It's a beautiful destination for those hoping to spend time outside and in nature. Next time you're itching to hike or take in sweeping landscape views, consider this Eastern European destination.

Nature and history all in one place

Ojców National Park is a wonderful place for birdwatchers and animal lovers. You'll find 100 species of birds living in the park, including the Eurasian collared-dove and the Eurasian green woodpecker. If you're fascinated by bats as well as birds, you'll likely be able to catch a glimpse of some. The park harbors 19 different species of bats.

If you prefer animals that move on the ground rather than through the air, you can watch for some of the other 1,200 animal species. Finally, for those who prefer organisms that live in water, you'll likely catch glimpses of fish darting around the streams. Keep an eye out for the Ojców trout. They're considered a delicacy in the region, so after you see them in the wild, you can head to a restaurant and see them on a plate.

The next thing you can look out for are castles. There's the 14th century Kazimierz Castle, which you can enter and find more information on its history as well as photos of what it used to look like. Then, there's the Pieskowa Skała Castle, which was also built in the 14th century but later renovated in the 16th century. Now, it's home to art exhibits you are welcome to see.

Visiting the park

The park is accessible by multiple modes of transportation. You can hop on a bike from Kraków, which is only about 15 miles away, and cycle your way to the park. You can take an electric bike or scooter as well. Alternatively, you can take public transportation, a couple of different buses take you from the city to or near the park. Finally, you can simply drive there in your own vehicle or use a ride sharing app. Essentially, you have options that'll make getting to the park an easy venture.

Ojców National Park is open all year long. Peak season is in the summer, so be prepared for busy trails if you visit then. Fall makes for a gorgeous time to visit since the leaves start turning from green to vibrant fall hues. The best time of year to visit depends on which season you prefer.

If you decide to visit Ojców National Park, you'll find great beauty and fascinating history within its boundaries. It's perfect for a family trip or for solo hikers. To spend some time in the great outdoors, head to Poland for the Ojców National Park.