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Hiking is the most popular of outdoor activities, and not without reason. The most popular hiking routes are those in the Tatra Mountains but the Pieniny, the Bieszczady or the Karkonosze are all options. Canoeing is possible on most waterways, though the main rivers are pretty polluted. The Krutynia and Czarna Hancza rivers, both in Masuria, are almost untouched and have some of the best kayaking in the country. The Masurian lakes are ideal for sailing and, not surprisingly, they are crowded with hundreds of boats in summer. It's possible to hire a sailing boat in Gizycko, Mikolajki or several other Masurian resorts. Poland has about a thousand caves, mostly in the uplands near Kraków and in the Tatra Mountains. For those unwilling to plunge into uncharted blackness, a handful of caves are adapted for the spatially-sane. The most spectacular of these are the Bear's Cave near Klodzko and the Paradise Cave near Kielce. Skiing is mostly concentrated in the Carpathians. Zakopane at the foot of the Tatra Mountains is without a doubt ski bunny warren numero uno, with Szczyrk in the Beskid Slaski also popular.


With a strongly Roman Catholic population, Christian celebrations are of huge importance. This is particularly evident at Christmas and Easter, but any Sunday is a good Sunday for getting a taste of Polish devoutness and religious fervour. All the churches (and they are truly in good supply) fill up beyond their capacity during the Sunday masses.

Among the musical highlights, Kraków hosts the Music in Old Kraków Festival every August, and Wroclaw follows in September with the Wratislavia Cantans, replete with oratorios and cantatas. Warsaw is a thriving cultural centre, with contemporary music showcases in autumn, including jazz in late October. The Warsaw Theatre Meetings in January review the achievements of the best Polish theatres over the past year. The Polish Film Festival in Gdynia in November is the foremost presentation of Poland on celluloid.

Small local feasts, fairs and contests, often dependent upon local folklore, occur throughout Poland, with a pleasing glut in early summer and early autumn.

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