Auschwitz naar Zakopane
Published: 08/11/2019
Tatra mountains near Zakopane
In June 2018 I traveled through Eastern Europe with my partner for about 3 weeks. We bridged the distance to Auschwitz over the highway in two days, with an overnight stay just before the town of Bautzen (Pension Jiedlitz). The drive to Jiedlitz from the Netherlands is a long sit on the highway, but the next day is therefore a lot more relaxed so that you can easily reach Auschwitz.

The motorways in Poland are well paved. From Wroclaw you have to pay a toll, but it is worth doing this anyway. We left the highway just before Wroclaw, but the inner roads there were busy, mainly by trucks. This makes it not relaxed driving.

This route goes from Auschwitz in to Zakopane. Along the way you come across a number of sights that are worth stopping for a while. In Stara Wies you will come across one of the many wooden churches in Silesia and Lesser Poland. This church is a good example of this and is open for viewing. There is also a spacious parking lot across the street.
A little further on you come across a special construction in the same village: a huge steel cross. In the distance it may not stand out among the electricity pylons, but as soon as you get closer you will see the cross. At the foot of the cross you can park well to take a picture.

On about a third of the route you pass a somewhat larger city (Bielsko Biala). If you still feel well, I advise you to continue driving and only pause later. As soon as you leave the city, you enter a beautiful nature reserve. You first cross a modest mountain pass and then drive along a reservoir to Mount Gora Zar. Pay attention if you are driving with Garmin maps: the way to the top is best followed by the directions on the signs. TomTom gives the correct instructions.
The approximately 740 meter high Gora Zar mountain offers beautiful views of the surrounding area, and you can also enjoy a nice break and a bite to eat and drink. If you like speeding without a helmet on, you can also race down the mountain with the toboggan run. With a small train you can come up again.
If you do not want to drive up the mountain, you will pass Hotel Restaurant Kocierz a few kilometers past the reservoir. You can park in front of the hotel and enjoy a meal and the view on the terrace.

The rest of the afternoon you will cycle through beautiful nature reserves (such as Babiogorski National Park) and small villages. You will notice that the further South you drive, you see more and more wooden houses. These beautifully decorated houses are characteristic of this area. Zakopane is the highlight of this. In this fashionable town you will find several large wooden villas, where you can also spend the night.
Zakopane is quite touristy: in the winter it is a busy ski area and in the summer you encounter many hikers and mountain bikers. That makes it that this town is full of life. You will find many nice restaurants and shops for a short stop.
We spent the night at Villa Nosal. This hotel is approximately 1 km walking distance from the center and is therefore a bit quieter. Certainly if you want to go hiking in the Tatra Mountains (which is absolutely worth it!), This hotel is a great base.

For your information: before we started this day trip to Zakopane, we spent 2 nights in Auschwitz to visit Auschwitz concentration camp. If you are also interested in visiting it, we advise you to book tickets in advance via the internet, because it is crowded. It may also be useful to drive the day after the visit: the tour was fierce and impressive. We were happy that we could recover.

This route gets 4.5 stars from me because you cross beautiful nature areas along the way, cross small modest mountain passes and pass a number of viewpoints and interesting stops. In addition, the chosen roads are of good quality.
Wooden churches Silesia and Lesser Poland
Babiogórski National Park
Useful links:
Pension Jiedlitz
Concentration camp Auschwitz
Wooden churches in Southern Lesser Poland
Toboggan run Gora Zar
Villa Nosal

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Waypoint, used to construct the route
Sight, here you can see something
Viewpoint, a short stop for taking a picture
Stopping point, for hotel, lunch, etc
Attention, see the text in the waypoint for more information

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Leonor Orban - RouteXpert
Lesser Poland
The images and text displayed here originate from the Wikipedia article "Lesser Poland", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
About this region
Lesser Poland, often known by its Polish name Małopolska (Latin: Polonia Minor), is a historical region situated in southern and south-eastern Poland. Its capital and largest city is Kraków. Throughout centuries, Lesser Poland developed a separate culture featuring diverse architecture, folk costumes, dances, cuisine, traditions and a rare Lesser Polish dialect. The region is rich in historical landmarks, monuments, castles, natural scenery and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The region should not be confused with the modern Lesser Poland Voivodeship, which covers only the southwestern part of Lesser Poland. Historical Lesser Poland was much larger than the current voivodeship that bears its name. It reached from Bielsko-Biała in the southwest as far as to Siedlce in the northeast. It consisted of the three voivodeships of Kraków, Sandomierz and Lublin. It comprised almost 60,000 km2 in area; today's population in this area is about 9,000,000 inhabitants. Its landscape is mainly hilly, with the Carpathian Mountains and Tatra Mountain Range in the south; it is located in the basin of the upper Vistula river. It has been noted for its mighty aristocracy (magnateria) and wealthy nobility (szlachta).Between the 14th and 18th century, the Lesser Poland Province of the Polish Crown also encompassed the historical region of Red Ruthenia. In the era of partitions, the southern part of Lesser Poland became known as Galicia, which was under Austrian control until Poland regained its independence in 1918. As a result of this long-lasting division, many inhabitants of the northern part of Lesser Poland (including those in such cities as Lublin, Radom, Kielce and Częstochowa) do not recognize their Lesser Polish identity. However, while Lublin (Lubelskie) was declared an independent Voivodeship as early as 1474, it still has speakers of the Lesser Polish dialect. Across history, many ethnic and religious minorities existed in Lesser Poland as they fled persecution from other areas or countries. Poland's once tolerant policy towards these minorities allowed them to flourish and create separate self-governing communities. Some minorities still remain, but are on the verge of extinction, most notably Wymysorys-speaking Vilamovians, Halcnovians, Gorals, Lemkos, Uplanders, and once Polish Jews and Walddeutsche Germans.
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Route collections
The route collections by MyRoute-app are collections of multiple routes that belong to each other and checked by MRA RouteXperts. All routes are identical for TomTom, Garmin and MyRoute-app Navigation.
View route collection Tour Poland Slovakia and the Czech Republic
About this route collection
This collection of routes is based on a 3-week vacation that I rode with my partner in June 2018.

The journey goes through Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and a piece of Germany. In total there are 11 driving days, a combination of touristic tours and routes from A to B. All routes avoid the highway and go exclusively on the smaller roads, which makes it a beautiful and varied journey.

Along the way you regularly come across sights, where you can stop to look around. These vary from beautiful viewpoints, to museums and special buildings. You also visit various national nature parks along the way, such as the Tatra Mountains, the Giant Mountains, Eagle Mountains, Krkonoše and Bohemian Switzerland. Because the overnight places are often also located in these areas, you can alternate the driving days with days with wonderful hiking trips.

If you only want to ride a motorcycle, then this collection can also be done in 2 weeks (including a return trip from the Netherlands).

The routes themselves can be challenging from time to time, particularly because the quality of the road surface in Eastern Europe - especially on the small country roads - is not always good. In June 2018 all routes were on paved roads.