Have you traveled the Eagle’s Nest Trail yet? We didn’t, but we had the opportunity to see a few places while passing through Jura Krakowsko-Czestochowska and only became more convinced that you need to spend more time in this region than just a weekend.
Enjoy a mini-report from a few places in the region :)
Table of contents
Driving from Krakow to Lodz, we could hop on the highway and quickly be home on a Sunday afternoon, or we could catch up a bit on the road, but still see some interesting sites in the Krakow-Czestochowa Jurassic District. It is known that we chose option #2 and, leaving Krakow, drove straight towards Pieskowa Skala Castle.
On the way, in Ojcow, we passed the “On the Water” shrine in the Ojcow National Park. Why exactly was it placed on the water? Apparently, this was a clever way of circumventing the Tsar’s prohibition that no temple be built on Fatherland. So it was created on water :)
Castle in Piaskowa Skala
After a short ride through the areas of the Ojcow Park and many limestone rocks further on (led by the famous Hercules’ Mace), we arrived at the aforementioned Piaskowa Skala Castle.
There are several paid parking lots along the road, from where you have to climb up a bit to the Castle. You can also go a bit further, as if from the back of the castle, also use the paid parking, but the approach is then flatter.
The 14th century building is considered one of the best-preserved Renaissance monuments in Poland. Crossing the gate, you are in the outer courtyard, and the entrance to the touring part of the Castle and Museum is on the opposite side.
The outdoor courtyard, the garden and the southeast bastion, where the cash registers and a restaurant with an observation deck are now located, can be viewed free of charge.
With a ticket you can enter the museum, where there are permanent and temporary exhibitions – tickets can be purchased for specific exhibitions or for the whole. No artifacts or historical interiors have been preserved inside the castle, and everything you can see is part of the collection of the Wawel Royal Castle (Sand Rock Castle is now a branch of the Royal Castle).
Perhaps brutally, but in our opinion it is not worth going inside. The castle itself is more interesting from the outside than the inside. When you add the beautiful surroundings with the Mace of Hercules, in our opinion, it is better to spend your free time walking around the area :)
We then set off in the direction of Podzamcze, stopping along the way at a point overlooking the Bledowska Desert. Someone who imagines that he will see something like the Sahara here will of course be surprised :) Although if one were to go back in time, the area would more closely resemble an African desert (it is said that 100 years ago one could even experience fatamorgans here, and the area was less overgrown than it is today).
Of interest – this is the largest inland area of sand occurrence in Europe (length – 10 km, width up to 4 km).
Podzamcze – Ogrodzieniec Castle
We finally arrived in Podzamcze, parked in one of the many makeshift parking lots on a private farm and set off with the crowd towards Ogrodzieniec Castle.
Although the castle ruins are impressive, the road to the site itself is less attractive and can be discouraging. Walking in the fumes of the grills that are on both sides of the path, we move forward passing around numerous stalls selling Chinese goodness of all kinds…. It’s that constant element of Polish attractions that is really starting to annoy us, just as the peddlers of “original” LV, MK, D&G and other handbags annoy us abroad. Of course, there are exceptions, regional products, but these are less attractive to children than plastic, colorful swords or shields.
We were positively surprised by the development of the area around the castle, where there are quite a few attractions for the youngest – Ogrodzieniec Park with a miniature park, a toboggan run and something like an experimentarium.
We don’t know how much it was a matter of weather and company, but the castle (or rather its ruins) will long be remembered as one of the more impressive.
It is the largest building in the Kraków-Czestochowa Highlands, built in the 14th century. There is a fee to enter the castle, but just walking up to its walls gives you an idea of how grand it was in its heyday. As you enter the ruins, you can visit, among other things. torture chamber, towers, courtyard, kitchen, chambers (Boner’s Bedroom, Library, knights’ chambers), lookout tower, castle exhibition, Birdhouse, Convict Tower, treasury or powder magazine. There is also a Knight’s Inn on the castle grounds.
To sum up… Being in the region in transit, we saw two, completely different sites – Pieskowa Skala Castle and Ogrodzieniec Castle. We will not compare them and choose one over the other, because both are worth seeing; one – a gem of Renaissance architecture, the other – impressive castle ruins from the 14th century.
Nothing but to return to this area for a longer period of time and see all the sites within the Eagle’s Nest Trail :)
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Are you looking for other travel inspiration in Poland? We also recommend our other entries:
- 13 castles of Lodz province – do you know them all?
- Lower Silesia – not only castles and palaces
- Lower Silesia: Książ Castle – you praise others, you do not know your own
- Malbork Castle
- Moszna Palace (not Moszna Castle):)
- Wieliczka Salt Mine: Solilandia, Mining Route or Tourist Route – which to choose?
- Krakow, Wawel Castle and Wieliczka in one day? It can be done! :)