Gorce is a region of the Carpathian mountains located in Poland, some 50km north from the famous Tatras. It is also common to mention Gorce as one region of the Beskides (Beskidy), which form the curve of the Northern Carpathians, from West (juction of the 3 borders CZ/SK/PL) to East (the Bieszczady), despite Gorce is not named after the word "Beskidy" (Beskidy Śląskie, Beskid Niski, etc...).
With this page, I hope to encourage all Polish and Slovak english-writers to introduce more of these splendid regions which are surrounding the Tatras, which are over-described compared to them. I hope this work will inspire more pages about this kind of mountains and have one day a complete overview of the Carpathians.
Unlike the Tatras, and as well as most of the rest of the Beskides, Gorce is formed of soft round-shaped mountains, with open and generous relief. Most of it is made of a complex network of valleys in which lie pittoresque villages, a huge amount of forests, most of it of conifers on the upper level, pastures and meadows on the flat parts of many wide ridges, with intense pastoral activity. Herds of sheep and cheese making is a common sight.
Gorce is perhaps the region of the Beskides which corresponds the most to this description. This range, and especially its east side, is hosting a huge amount of wild fauna such as lynxs, bears, eagles, deers, etc.
For its relief, it should also be mentionned that Gorce is probably the finest area of the Polish Carpathians to cycle off the roads with a mountain bike, and often reach summits for the fittests. For this reason I decided to introduce Gorce (and Poland...) in MBPost, duplicating some most the contents of this overview.
For the hiker, Gorce is a perfect place to relax, to do half-day walks, enjoy picturesque polish countryside, or possibly hike in familly with young children.
In winter, Gorce is also a very attractive region. On the North of the Carpathians, it gets lots of snow. With moderate relief, it is a perfect area for ski-touring and cross-country skiing. Avalanches are not to be feared, since the slopes are too generous for them to occur.
Rabka is the main resort of Gorce. This is a thermal city, sanatorium, a bit old fashioned, mixing some beautiful old wooden villas with less atractive PRL-style building from the 70's. Rabka, because of its sane microclimat, was elected several times "city of Children in Poland", which explains the huge amount of children. For this reason also, it can be a good place to go, if you want your kids to spend not too boring "mountain-holidays".
Rabka itself is maybe to the ideal place to stay, but the whole area has a network of more peaceful villages whith loads of accomodations of the "agroturystyka" type (cheap bed & breakfast at the inhabitant, in the countryside style), which we can only strongly recommend.
Getting ThereIf you travel from abroad, the best way if to fly to Krakow, or possibly (but less convenient) Katowice. From Krakow you can travel either by bus or by train, quickly and easily to Rabka.
By car, it looks the same, take the Zakopianka road (road in the direction of Zakopane), unless if you plan to set yourself in more remote parts of Gorce, which is the advantage of the car. Turn to Mszana Dolna if you plan to go to rather in East side of Gorce.
Main summits & places of interest
The main summits of Gorce are :
* Turbacz – 1311 m n.p.m. Highest point of Gorce, but entierely covered with forests.
* Jaworzyna Kamienicka – 1288 m n.p.m. Not very far further east, opens wide views to the North-East side of the range. A small white chapel stands here.
* Kiczora – 1282 m n.p.m. Very close to Jaworzyna Kamienicka, opens the view to the South. By nice weather you get splendid views to the Tatras.
* Kudłoń – 1276 m n.p.m. A wild summit on the East part of Gorce, which you can do only on foot.
* Gorc – 1228 m n.p.m. Another wild summin in the East of Gorce
* Mostownica – 1251 m n.p.m., in the same area
* Lubań – 1211 m n.p.m., excentred on the South-Est end, and easily accessible from the road pass Knorowska.
Gorce is one of the National Parks in Poland, and a certain number of rules must be respected: no wild camping, no fire, no engine motors...
These ones are actually the newest scourge of the area. Incerasing purchasing power of polish people and explosion of the leisure marked, result sometimes in such abuses. Gorce is not the most frequented, hence not either the best controlled park, so you might find often yourself surrounded with sudden killing-eardrums noises of motorbikes or quads, while you were enjoying the quietness...
As I wrote, Gorce is not the mountainous Park in Poland with the most restrictuve rules, so offtrails is not forbidden like in the Tatras for example, or Babia Góra in the Beskides.
Cycling, or horse-riding, into the park are also possibilities which can be underlined, as the range is a full networks of forestry trails, often not very steep, as well as the official hiking trails, often wide and proper to biking.
You can also pick up full buckets of bilberries without any fear to be fined for flora destruction...
In the East part of Gorce it was sometimes mentionned about dangerous dogs who behave agressive with hikers. East of Gorce is the side where live the most predators (including bear), so sherperds use such dogs to keep them far. If a dog starts barking ferously at you, ignore him, and continue slowly. In the worse case, shout and lift the arms, move your hiking sticks if you have some.
AccomodationI renamed this section from "Camping" to "Accomodation", since according to the "Gorczański Park Narodowy" rules, wild camping is forbidden.
As for official campsites, there are 3 places you can stay. 2 Campsites are on the North of the range in the villages of Rzeki and Koninki. Another one can be found in Krościenko.
But there is a fair amount of possibilities of accomodation outside and amongst the massif.
First, all surrounding villages are packed with accomodations, often room at the inhabitant. Pleinty of these places can be found on the web. Type in Google a place name together with "noclegi" (accomodation), you'll get a handfull of results.
Gorce has also several mountain huts located right in the heart of the range. The dispersion is not very equal since most of them are concentrated on the West. But, here you are :
* Bacówka PTTK "Maciejowa", tel. +48 18 4475729, probably one of the most beautiful mountain-huts in Polish mountains :
* Schronisko PTTK "Stare Wierchy", tel. +48 18 2675297, further on the main ridge of Gorce, another nice place :
* Schronisko PTTK na Turbaczu, tel. +48 18 2667780, near Gorce's highest top. A bit crowded :
* Stacja Turystika "Studzionki", tel. +48 18 2624154, on the way to Lubań. It is not a PTTK hut, but an "agroturystyka" B&B place, in fairy-like location :
* Baza namiotowa na Lubaniu, tel. +48 501 975 330, an original place to stay on Lubań. It is a settlement of tents (no need to bring your own), open during holidays. Nice place, but I would be scared of thunderlights :
* Schroniska PTTK na Luboniu Wielkim, tel. +48 12 2748995, on Luboń Wielki (unfortunately near the ugly antenna) :
* Agroturystyka "Czupta", tel. +48 18 2685448, An "agroturystyka" B&B which I recommend very much in the peaceful village of Ponice, ideal base for biking :
* Kudłacze (+48 12 2748995) is not exactly located in Gorce but not far (in small mountains), but is also often mentioned in Poland most friendly mountain-huts :
MapsHere is a shematic map of Gorce trails in the website of the map editor mapytatr.net :
Soon in MBPost I will publish some maps of biking trips you can do in Gorce.
External LinksThe official web-site of the "Gorczański Park Narodowy"
The page of Wikipedia Poland about Gorce :
My Page about Turbacz, the highest top in Gorce. Soon in my site will be other pages of places in Gorce.