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Ojców National Park: All you need to know (2023)

    The Ojców National Park is one of the smallest and most beautiful parks in Poland, particularly famous due to its proximity to Krakow and the fact that it is part of the historic tourist route called Trail of the Eagle’s Nests, an ancient defensive line dotted with wonderful fortresses and castles .

    Today, the Ojców National Park is a particularly popular destination for families, for nature walks and to spend a quiet day exploring the park’s more than 50 kilometers of trails.

    What you can find in this guide to Ojców National Park:

    Ojców National Park: What you Need to Know before you Go

    Ojców National Park is situated in the southern part of the Krakow-Częstochowa Plateau, approximately 30 km from Krakow. Despite being the smallest national park in Poland, it is surprisingly one of the best destinations to visit. Open all year round, Ojców National Park welcomes visitors with free admission. The park boasts numerous attractions, including caves, castles, and more, all worth exploring and each requiring a ticket for entry.

    Throughout the year, the park’s natural scenery transforms, offering breathtaking panoramas with vibrant colors, making it especially popular among photography enthusiasts. It serves as an idyllic getaway from city life, providing a serene and nature-filled environment to unwind.

    Established in 1956, Ojców National Park derives its name from the nearby village of Ojców, located just a few kilometers away. Its formation dates back over 150 million years, shaped by the forces of water, climate, and land morphology, resulting in a truly unique landscape. The park’s features include steep canyons, some plunging as deep as 120 meters, picturesque valleys such as those carved by the Prądnik and Sąspówka rivers, and an impressive array of more than 400 caves, the largest of which is the Lokietek Cave.

    Moreover, Ojców National Park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, boasting over 1000 plant species and approximately 7000 animal species. Spring offers the best opportunity to witness the park in full bloom, adorned with a vibrant array of flowers and colors. In the autumn months, the park transforms into a mesmerizing display of red and gold, attracting numerous foliage enthusiasts.

    Things to See and Do in Ojców National Park

    King Łokietek’s Cave

    Lokietek Cave holds the distinction of being the largest cave in Ojców National Park, stretching approximately 300 meters in length and featuring a vertical drop of 7 meters. Its interior boasts a network of diverse corridors and two grand halls, known as the Hall of the Knights and the Bedroom, alongside two smaller chambers.

    Sitting at an elevation of approximately 125 meters above the Prądnik valley, the cave’s formation can be traced back to a time when the stream water maintained that level. Discovered during the late 19th century, the cave revealed an abundance of bear bones and evidence of human presence. During the tumultuous period of the First World War, it served as a refuge for the local population. Today, King Łokietek’s Cave offers visitors a chance to marvel at the magnificent work water has sculpted over the centuries, such as the spectacular stalactites and stalagmites.

    The cave’s name is linked to a captivating legend involving the Polish King Władysław Łokietek, who is believed to have sought refuge here when the Czech King Wenceslaus II invaded Poland between the 13th and 14th centuries. The entrance to the cave was obstructed by an enormous cobweb, compelling the Polish king to descend using a rope. As a result, the Czech troops were misled into thinking the cave was uninhabited, as they noticed the cobweb remained undisturbed.

    For a period of six weeks, the King concealed himself within the cave, aided by the support of the local population, who provided him with food, water, and crucial updates on the unfolding events. This history has also bestowed the cave with the alternate name The Royal Grotto.

    Throughout the year, the internal temperature of the cave remains relatively stable at 7-8 °C, making it advisable to bring a jacket when visiting during the summer months. The cave is open daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, with an entrance ticket priced at 26 PLN (reduced rate: 13 PLN).

    Hercules Club and Kraków Gate

    Ojców National Park is famous for its rock formations, some of which are quite famous for the locals. Among these, the most important are certainly the Hercules Club and the Kraków Gate.

    The Hercules Club, about 25 meters high, represents the highest formation in the National Park and takes its name from the shape of the rock that resembles a stick. It is located in the Prądnik Valley and there is a rocky terrace of about 10 meters.

    The Kraków Gate consists of two pillars of 15 meters in height and represents a real gateway to the Ciasne Skałki Gorge, a narrow canyon between high rocks and surrounded by thick vegetation that creates a very cool microclimate, and which leads to the Prądnik Valley with an altitude difference of about 90 meters.

    Trail of the Eagle's Nests Poland Ojców Krakow Szlak Orlich Gniazd

    Castles of Pieskowa Skała and Ojców

    Pieskowa Skala Castle is one of the most beautiful castles located in the heart of the Ojców National Park, and one of the most important in Poland. Its architecture is typically Renaissance, and thanks to the maintenance works carried out over time, it is preserved almost intact and today it can be completely visited.

    It houses an important section of the Royal Museum of Wawel Castle, with the display of wonderful collections of Polish art and traditional Polish crafts.

    In the park you can also see Ojców Castle, which was once an important bulwark in defense of the southern border of the Kingdom of Poland.

    Today the fortress is completely in ruins, but in its still intact Gothic tower there is a small exhibition that tells its history. The castle is open from Monday to Friday from 9.00 to 16.00 and on Saturday and Sunday from 9.00 to 17.00. The entrance ticket costs 18 PLN (Reduced 9 PLN).

    Both castles are part of the Trail of the Eagle’s Nests fortresses and castles, built during the 16th century by King Casimir the Great to be one of the most important defensive lines. The Trail of the Eagle’s Nests is now one of the most beautiful tourist routes to visit in southern Poland.


    The village of Ojców, from which the national park takes its name, is absolutely worth a visit. Despite its small size, it exudes a charming and picturesque atmosphere. One of the must-see attractions is the spectacular wooden chapel known as the Chapel On the Water or Chapel of St. Joseph the Worker, located at the foot of a rock formation suspended over a small river. This unique positioning on the water is linked to the historical decree of Tsar Nicholas II, which prohibited the construction of sacred buildings on land.

    The chapel itself takes the form of a cross and measures 11 meters in length and 5 meters in width, featuring a small turret. Its exteriors showcase Swiss-style Alpine architecture, while the interiors boast the fashionable Zakopane style from the twentieth century. In addition to the Chapel on the Water, the village is dominated by the impressive Gora Zamkowa Castle, offering visitors a breathtaking view of the surrounding park.

    Over the years, Ojców has become a popular tourist destination, leading to the development of numerous restaurants and cafes where visitors can savor the delightful regional cuisine. It’s the perfect opportunity to take a break, immerse oneself in nature, and enjoy the pleasant rural atmosphere of the village.

    Natural History Exhibition

    At the entrance to the park you will find the visitor center, where the interesting Natural History Exhibition is located. This small museum tells the history of the park in an interactive and multimedia way, also suitable for children.

    Thanks to 3D films and models, it is told how the valley, the caves and the incredible rock formations that characterize the park were formed. There is also an exhibition of some archaeological finds that were found in the park.

    Hikes and Walks around Ojcowski National Park

    The Ojców National Park offers a wide range of hiking trails, totaling almost 50 km, from the easiest to those for more experienced and adventurous people.

    The routes are well marked and allow you to visit the main attractions of the park. There are 5 recommended itineraries, identified by colors, which allow you to safely explore the different areas of the park and discover its natural wonders. The details of the routes can be consulted on the park’s official website.

    How to get to Ojców National Park from Krakow

    Ojców National Park is just 30 km from Krakow and is easily accessible by car. There are two paid parking lots near the park. It is advisable to park at the one called “Pod Zamkiem”, because the other one, called “Złota Góra” is located in the village of Ojców and is almost always full.

    There are also convenient guided day tours from Krakow, which include round-trip transport, entrance fees (including a visit to Pieskowa Skala Castle and Lokietek Cave), and licensed English-speaking guide.

    The park can also be reached by UNIBUS buses from the ‘Nowy Kleparz’ stop (ul. Kamienna 8), located on the outskirts of Krakow. However, the rides are infrequent and you risk wasting a lot of time: it runs every 2 or 3 hours and the journey takes about 40 minutes.

    Useful Tips for Your Trip

    Many people choose to visit the Ojców National Park on a day trip from Krakow, so here you can find the best useful tips to better plan your trip to Krakow and the wonderful region of Southern Poland: