The Dunajec is a river which flows from the Tatras Mountains, and tributary of the Vistula (Wisła).
The most famous part of this river is known as the "Dunajec gorges", where during some 20km, it skirts through the small Pieniny limestone range, digging an impressinve canyon full of bends, and whose cliffs reach in many places more than 300m height.
During all this section, the Dunajec forms the border with Slovakia and Poland. Before and after, Dunajec is entierely in Poland.
The Pieniny range is a wonder of nature. Probably the Dunajec made its way though long time ago, and then surrounding rock was eroded, which left the Pieniny and its labyrinth left apart.
Since 2006 there is a pedestrian bridge between Červený Kláštor and Sromowce Nizne, and since 2008 (Schengen space) pedestrian and cyclers can take it freely.
It is also possible to cross the river at Krościenko where a man ensures the crossing with a small boat for few zlotys
Let's also mention that the Dunajec suroundings make a fine area for cycling, including mountain biking, mostly on the Slovak side. Cycling in the Pieniny is introduced in my page on MBPost.com.
Rafting down the Dunajec
These gorges are famous for the touristic raft descents, which start in Sromowce Kąty and end in Krościenko (or Szczawnica). These rafts are not modern rafts as we imagine them, but large wooden stable rafts, which can welcome up to 20 people. In the past, highlanders used to flow downstream trees trunks for selling them as construction material. For 200 years they have been organising it increasingly also for tourists, since for many years the hiking trail located on the slovak shore didn't exist, and the water was the only way to visit the gorges.
Both slovak and polish highlanders organize this activity. Since 2008 both countries are in the Schengen space, and all law and paper stuff has become odd.
It is also possible to rent, or take your own kayak or canoe to descend the Dunajec.
For more information, see the beautiful album of Romuald Rafting in the Pieniny Mountains
The slovak shore has also a trail, wide enough to be cycled. There is also a bike rental in Červený Kláštor.
Getting ThereFrom abroad, fly to Krakow. There are many busses going to Szczawnica. From Slovakia you can fly to Poprad or Kosice.
By car, it all depends no the place of the Pieniny you plan to stay in...
Red TapeIf you hike around the Dunajec, in both Polih and Slovak national parks of the Pieniny, hiking off the trails is strictly forbidden.
CampingThere are several campsites.
The 2 most convenient are the one located in Červený Kláštor (Slovak side, upstream), and in Krościenko (Polish side, downstream).
There is also a handfull of accomodation in the inhabitant, in many of the locations bordering the Pieniny range. Type in google the name of one place, together with "noclegi" (in polish), or "ubytovanie" (in slovak), you'll get hundreds of results.
Maps, and the ideal walking trip...Start from Krościenko, cross the river to reach the path that goes up Sokolica (blue trail). From Sokolica, follow all the ridge that overlooks the river. Go through Zamkowa Gora, and to the top of Trzy Korony, that you will avoid because it is too crowded and you must pay a fee.
From Trzy Korony descend to Sromowce Nizne via the yellow trail.
Cross the bridge to Slovakia, visit the monastery of Červený Kláštor (14th century), and come back to the starting point taking a slovak raft (the polish ones start much earlier upstream). This trip can be done in 2 days, sleeping in one of the numerous accomodations in the picturesque village of Sromowce Nizne.
External LinksDunajec Gorge on Wikipedia
My pages about Dunajec, Trzy Korony, and Sromowce.
Pieniński Park Narodowy :
Cycling in the Pieniny in my page on MBPost.com.