Lesser Poland, also known as Małopolska, is one of Poland’s 16 voivodeships. Covering an area of 15,183 sq km, it is one of the smallest provinces in the country, but undoubtedly one of the most attractive in terms of tourist and historical attractions!
There is certainly no shortage of breathtaking mountain landscapes in the Małopolskie Voivodeship, ranging from the majestic Tatra Mountains and the almost white, limestone rocks of the Pieniny Mountains to the endless trails leading through the meadows of the Beskids.
Małopolska is steeped in centuries of history, especially its jewel in the crown – Krakow – which was the capital of Poland for centuries and one of the most important cities of medieval Europe. Today, the city is a fascinating combination of modernity mixed with the past, proof of which is the large number of fascinating historical monuments for visitors to enjoy, with the Wawel Royal Castle at the head of the list.
Although it may be the most famous, Wawel Castle is not the only castle in the voivodeship! There are also other well-preserved castles in Pieskowa Skała, Nowy Wiśnicz and Niepołomice, all of which are well worth a visit. History students and lovers of medieval times will be fascinated by the vast array of medieval fortresses, defensive castles and towers in the region, many of which can be viewed along the Trail of the Eagles’ Nests leading from Wawel to the Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa (in the Silesian Voivodeship). The ancient walls, sometimes even combined with the white rocks of the Krakow-Częstochowa Upland, continue to make an extraordinary impression on visitors, who can immediately sense the aura of their former glory.
Other remarkable buildings that Lesser Poland can be proud of are the salt mines – the famous Wieliczka and its less well-known but equally beautiful sister Bochnia. The Wooden Architecture Trail in Lesser Poland is a collection of beautiful Lemko churches, historic churches, villas and open-air museums – a total of 255 wooden structures, eight of which have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
There is more to Lesser Poland than just Krakow, as the region also boasts wonderful, atmospheric old towns like Tarnów, Stary Sącz, Niepołomice, Wadowice and Olkusz. In addition, there are still elements of folk traditions alive and well here, as can be seen during a visit to the picturesque village of Zalipie or the quiet and peaceful Lanckorona. And there’s also plenty of folklore to enjoy in Podhale and its heart, the winter capital of Poland – Zakopane.
As for food and drink, Lesser Poland has its own particular delicacies – it’s famous for highlander cheese, Cracovian pastries, and even wine! This delicious drink has been produced in the region for centuries, and the wine-making tradition is currently experiencing something of a renaissance, with the vineyards located in the vicinity of Krakow and Tarnów forming the Małopolska Wine Route.
No matter whether your preference is for active vacations, calm relaxation, spending time looking at art or nature, or just partying – you can find all these things here! A visit to this region is like hitting the bull’s-eye in the search for an enjoyable holiday.
Urząd Marszałkowski Województwa Małopolskiego
ul. Basztowa 22
12 630 33 33