Pradnik Valley

The Pradnik Valley (Dolina Pradnika) is one of the most famous and picturesque valleys in Poland. It is situated around 25 km north from Cracow and is the part of Ojcow’s National Park established in the 1956.

Castle in Pieskowa Skala in Polish Jurassic Upland
Pradnik Valley with Pieskowa Skala Castle

The factors which determine its attractiveness are high limestone cliffs forming the valley, Pradnik stream running along its bottom, shady woods on its slopes and interesting caves hidden among the rocks. One of the most famous Polish caves Lokietek’s cave (Grota Lokietka) is situated here. There is a legend about Polish King – Wladyslaw Lokietek hiding in this cave for many months…

But actually there are over hundred different caves in the area with the interiors of diverse shape and size. Some of them are open to explore (like for example Lokietek’s cave or Dark Cave), some are only available to researchers. In some of the caves archeologists and paleontologists found remains of mammoth, hairy rhinoceros, cave bears and lions as well as traces of fires, food , clay dishes, flint and bone implements used by our Paleolithic ancestors.

Krakowska Gate
Krakowska Gate

Pradnik Valley is also known of its nature; it is a home to the Ojcow birch – an endemic plant not to be found anywhere else. The woods are home to deers, foxes and badgers and the caves to different kinds of bats.

There are also two famous castles situated within the valley: Pieskowa Skala and Ojcow castle. Both very important for Polish history, definitely worth visiting. Not far from Pieskowa Skala you can see around 30 meters high rock called Maczuga Herkulesa (“Hercules cudgel”) . This impressive limestone stack was given this name due to its distinctive shape. I believe it is one of the most known rocks in Poland…