Świętokrzyski National Park


This national park covers around 60 sq km and protects the Świętokrzyski (Holy Cross) Mountains, Poland’s oldest mountainous geological formation (and lowest, due to erosion over more than 300 million years). Unusual piles of broken gołoborza (quartzite rock) on the northern slopes hint at how ancient this mountain range is. It offers the perfect full-day, back-to-nature escape from urban Kielce.

The most popular activity is hiking, and ambitious visitors usually opt to follow the ancient pilgrimage route from the town of Nowa Słupia to a Benedictine monastery high in the hills at Święty Krzyż (Holy Cross) and then continue onward to the hamlet of Święta Katarzyna. The trail, of moderate difficulty, runs about 18km and takes from six to seven hours to complete. Alternatively, you can just hike up the segment from the Nowa Słupia park entrance to the monastery, which covers 2km. From Holy Cross, you can get a bus and connect back to Nowa Słupia.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Małopolska attractions

1. Holy Cross Church

0.52 MILES

The Holy Cross Church in the Benedictine Monastery of Holy Cross was rebuilt several times over the years. The present-day church and its bright white…

2. Benedictine Monastery of Holy Cross

0.54 MILES

This hilltop monastery got its name from the segment of Jesus’ cross that was supposedly kept here. The abbey is at the top of Łysa Góra (595m). It has a…

3. Krzyżtopór Castle

14.67 MILES

The minute village of Ujazd (oo-yahst), some 35km west of Sandomierz, is home to arguably Poland’s most bizarre ruin. Krzyżtopór Castle was commissioned…

4. Henryk Sienkiewicz Monument

18.42 MILES

This monument to the Polish writer and Nobel Prize winner Henryk Sienkiewicz marks the eastern end of pedestrianised ul Sienkiewicza.

5. Museum of Toys & Play

18.47 MILES

This fun-filled museum offers the chance to reminisce about toys you forgot you wanted. The room full of frogs somehow makes sense when you’re there…

6. Museum for Intercultural Dialogue

18.63 MILES

This small, uplifting museum is dedicated to global efforts to promote peace and dialogue across cultural and ethnic groups. The museum also holds…

7. Laszczyk Manor House

18.73 MILES

The only 18th-century wooden mansion still standing in Kielce and considered one of the city's architectural treasures. Today it serves as the…

8. Kielce Cathedral

18.74 MILES

Kielce's cathedral looks nothing like the Romanesque church first erected here in 1171; it was rebuilt in the 17th century and dressed in baroque…