The local area

The house is one of a row of houses in a quiet area in a village called Falsztyn, which is at the edge of the Pieniny National Park. The village has a small store, which is open from 7am to 9pm most days (except Sundays, when it opens nearer 11am). It sells all the basics, such as cheese, eggs, beer, bread and milk etc - although fresh bread is only delivered on week days. 

From the house it is possible to take a pleasant walk (about 20 minutes) down to the lake, where you can sun-bathe or picnic. Alternatively, you can walk up into the hills and, after about 1.5 hours walking, reach the 1000m-high peak at Zar, which is surrouned by beautiful mountain pastures where you can take in the views of the much more precipitous Tatra National Park.

Alternatively, about 10 minutes drive away is the small town of Niedzica Zamek. Here there is a sailing port (you can hire canoes, pedaloes and sailing boats here - although you need a sailing captains certificate/card to be able to hire a sailing boat). There are also bars and restuarants as well as a stunning castle, which is well worth visit. There's bank and cash point in the village of Niedzica, which is next door (1.5km away) to Niedzica Zamek.

Just past Niedzica you can access the Pieniny National Park proper, and take the beautiful 3 hour walk up to the Three Crowns (Trzy Korony) peak - where, on a clear day, the 360 degree view is beyond belief. There is also pleasant and relaxing mountain-rafting trips through the Pieniny, which is suitable for young children - and is guided by mountain men in traditional costume.

About 15 minutes drive from the house is the Slovakian border crossing - well worth a visit for cheap beer (even cheaper than Poland!) to access the Slovakian side of the Tatra range.

About 15 minutes drive away are the beginnings of the footpaths into the Gorce National Park - a low, but beautifully undulating and very quiet national park that has a number of refuges spaced along the ridge - great as reststops for hot food or even places to stay the night for long treks.

About 45 minutes drive away is the famous Polish mountain resort of Zakopane and the start of multiple hiking and mountaineering routes into the 3000m high Tatra mountain range.

The nearest town is Nowy Targ, which is about 25 minutes drive away. It has two large super markets which take cash and credit cards (with a PIN) and a town square with bakeries, pizza places, cash machines, places to change money, bars and most shops you could need.

There are excellent, and very well equipped, doctors and hospitals in Nowy Targ. There is also a specialist doctor for children and a number of pharmacists in nearby Niedzica (10 mins drive). Some Polish doctors speak English (even the one's not already working for the NHS in the UK).

In winter, there are local ski slopes as well as skiiing in the High Tatras if there isn't enough snow locally.

Maps and guides:

Google map showing Falsztyn and the local area

A map showing the local area, the National Parks and the location on the map of Poland (Falsztyn is the dot between Niedzica and Frydman)

Printed map for sale on Amazon.co.uk

Guide to walking in the Tatras available on Amazon.co.uk

Interesting links:

Pieniny National Park
Gorce National Park
Tatra National Park
Babia Gora National Park
Hiking in the Tatras
Walking in tha Tatras and Pieniny
A birdwatcher's holiday diary in southern Poland
Birdwatching in Poland 1
Birdwatching in Poland 2


Believe it or not: the photo above is taken from the small piece of land diretly in front of the house...