Have you ever heard of the magic of the Dunajec River rafting, in Pieniny Mountains? This is one of the most beautiful places in Poland, and it attracts tourists from all over the country and abroad. Dunajec on River rafting is a real treat for nature lovers, offering beautiful views and unforgettable experiences in the heart of the Mountains.
We took the trip with our two young children and it was a wonderful time, for all of us. In this article, I will tell you how to prepare and what to expect from this amazing adventure.
Here’s a video from our Dunajec River Rafting:
How to Get to Pienniny Mountain and Dunajec River Rafting Site
To get to Pieniny National Park and start your Dunajec River rafting adventure, there are several options:
- By car: If you have your own car, you can easily reach Pieniny National Park. The nearest major city frequently used by tourists is Nowy Targ. From Nowy Targ, you can head north towards Szczawnica or Sromowce Ni?ne, where you’ll find the starting points for the Dunajec River rafting.
- By train: If you prefer to travel by train, Nowy Targ has railway connections with many cities in Poland., Закапанэ і Кракаў. Once you arrive in Nowy Targ, you can use local transportation to reach the starting points for the rafting trips.
- By bus: Buses run to Nowy Targ from various parts of the country. If you decide to go Dunajec river rafting from Zakopane, you will easily find many offers that include transfer to and from rafting sites. This is a common choice for tourists heading to Dunajec River rafting. After arriving in Nowy Targ, or Zakopane, you can find local transportation to take you to the trip starting points.
- Guides and travel agencies: If you prefer, you can book your Dunajec River rafting experience through a travel agency. Such agencies often offer comprehensive services, including transportation to the rafting location, tickets, and transport of your belongings. This is a convenient option, especially for tourists who don’t want to worry about logistics. The Dunajec river rafting tours usually include sightseeing of Czorsztyn Lake, the castle, and Szczawnica Spa as well.
- Dunajec river rafting from Zakopane: this attraction is very popular, and widely advertised in Zakopane. It is easy to find an agency that offers a full tour, and transport to the start of the rafting site, and back.
- Dunajec river rafitng from Krakow: there are dedicated buses that can take you directly from Krakow to Szczawnica, the rafting start point. Check the website Szczawnica-Kraków, to check the details.
When do Dunajec River Rafting Tours are on?
Keep in mind that the tourist season in Pieniny National Park is most active from May to October, so it’s a good idea to plan your trip in advance, especially if you have a specific rafting date in mind. But if you are already in Zakopane or any nearby place, and when you just learn about this attraction, don’t worry.
You will actually be seeing adverts of companies arranging trips to Dunajce rafting everywhere. The only thing is you need to be flexible with the dates, according to the availability. However, if you want to check the info online, type in the search engine: Dunajec Riveр rafting Poland, and you will get all the information.
- Off-peak season: After the end of October the rafting is closed.
- Tourist season: Rafting trips typically occur every day, apart from the main bank holiday, click here to check the full list of public holidays in Poland. Summer is the period when tourism in the Pieniny region is most intense due to favorable weather conditions, longer days, and lush vegetation.
- Weekend traffic: In the summer season, especially during warm weekends, the popularity of Dunajec River rafting is at its peak. Therefore, it’s advisable to book tickets in advance, especially if you plan to raft during the holiday season.
- Starting times: Dunajec River rafting typically begins at specific times in the morning, depending on the embarkation point. The first tour starts at 8 am, and the last at 9 pm. It’s a good idea to check the starting times and adjust your travel plans accordingly.
- Weather conditions: Remember that rafting trips may be canceled in case of adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rains, storms, or when the river water level is too high. So, it’s a good practice to check weather forecasts before your planned trip.
Where is Dunajec river rafting located?
Dunajec River rafting takes place in Pieniny National Park, located in southern Poland on the border with Slovakia. This park is in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship, approximately 100 kilometers southeast of Krakow. Pieniny National Park is an area of exceptional natural and landscape value, and Dunajec River rafting is one of the main attractions of this region.
Pieniny National Park is one of the oldest national parks in Poland, established in 1932. The park covers an area of about 23,000 hectares and includes picturesque lands along the Dunajec River and part of the Pieniny Mountains range. The famous Dunajec river gorge is rich in picture-perfect views and is the main location for kayaking and rafting adventures. The river is considered one of the most beautiful rivers in Poland.
What to Expect During the Rafting Trip?
Dunajec River rafting is a unique and scenic adventure in the Pieniny National Park. Here’s what you can expect during the rafting trip.
Beautiful landscape. The Dunajec River winds through a deep, limestone gorge surrounded by rich nature, vegetation, and rocky cliffs. The scenery is stunning, and you’ll be amazed by the natural beauty of the Pieniny Mountains.
Traditional wooden rafts: The rafting is done on traditional wooden boats, which are typically piloted by skilled local rafers called in Polish flisacy. This is an elite job, only for some, that have the experience, knowledge about the profession, region, and who truly love what they do.
Duration of the trip. A typical rafting trip takes around 2-3 hours, depending on the specific route and conditions. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and take photos.
Peaceful experience. Dunajec River rafting is a calm and peaceful journey. The river’s currents are gentle, making it suitable for people of all ages, including families with children. Our son fell asleep during the tour, this peaceful it was. However, if you don’t feel secure, there is always a life vest that you can wear during the tour.
History and culture. During the trip, your guide will share interesting stories and folklore tales about the region. You can learn about the history, traditions, and legends associated with this region. Rafters are also known for their sharp tongues and strong sense of humor
Wildlife. Keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that inhabits the area. You might see various bird species and wild animals during your journey. Remember that you are a guest in the wild animals’ house, this is their territory.
What to Bring to the Dunajec Rafting Tour?
To ensure a comfortable and enjoyable Dunajec River rafting experience, here’s a list of items you should consider bringing with you:
- Sunscreen and sun protection: Be prepared for sun exposure. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.
- Water and snacks: Take drinking water and some snacks with you, you will need it.
- Comfortable clothing: Wear comfortable clothing suitable for outdoor activities. Make sure your attire is appropriate for the weather and can be layered if needed.
- Footwear: Keep in mind that your feet may get wet during the rafting, so consider waterproof or quick-drying options.
- Weather-appropriate clothing: Even if it is summertime, you might need additional layers, a light jacket, or rain gear. Check the weather forecast before your trip.
- Camera and protective gear: If you want to capture the stunning scenery, bring your camera or smartphone. Consider protecting it with a waterproof case or bag to prevent water damage.
- Personal ID and essentials: Carry your identification, any necessary travel documents, and essential personal items like your wallet, phone. You never know, when you might need it.
- Trash bags: It’s important to follow Leave No Trace principles. Bring trash bags to pack out any waste you generate during your trip.
- Cash or card: Bring some cash or a credit/debit card to pay for your rafting ticket or any additional services you might need.
- Ziplock bags or dry bags: These can help keep your belongings dry and safe during the rafting trip.
- Backpack or tote bag: A small backpack or tote bag can be handy for carrying your essentials.
Remember to pack only what you can comfortably carry during the rafting trip. It’s best to travel light, as space on the wooden rafts is limited.
Is rafting Suitable for Children and Families?
Yes, Dunajec River rafting is suitable for children and families. The gentle currents of the Dunajec River make this activity accessible to people of all ages.
Here are a few key points to consider if you’re planning a family rafting trip:
- Safety first: Safety is a top priority for the local guides. They are experienced and well-trained to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all passengers, including children.
- Life jackets: Life jackets are provided, and children and non-swimmers should wear them during the journey. You can request appropriately sized life jackets for your children.
- Age restrictions: There are usually no strict age restrictions for children, but it’s generally recommended that children be old enough to sit still during the trip and follow safety instructions.
- Trip duration: The duration of the rafting trip can vary depending on the route, but even longer trips are generally manageable for most children.
- Group sizes: Depending on the provider, there may be group size limits for safety and comfort. Book your trip in advance to be sure that there is space available for your family.
- Snack and restroom breaks: Some rafting trips include breaks for snacks and restroom visits, which can be particularly helpful for families with young children, and eldery people.
- Educational value: The trip can also be educational for children, as rafters often share information about the river’s history, local traditions, and the natural environment.
It’s a good idea to check with the specific rafting provider about their policies and any age recommendations for children.
How to Book your Rafting Trip?
Booking a Dunajec River rafting trip is relatively easy, and you have several options for doing so:
- Online booking: Many tour operators and companies offer online booking services through their websites. You can choose the date, route, and number of tickets you need and make a reservation or purchase directly. Google “Zakopane Dunajec river Rafting“, and you will get the list of most of the providers
- Contact the local providers: You can also contact local rafting providers directly, either by phone or email, to inquire about available dates, routes, and prices. They can provide you with information and assist you in booking your trip.
- Travel agencies: Look for travel agencies that specialize in tours in the Pieniny region or day trips from nearby cities. You can, for example, plan your trip to this beautiful Dunajec river gorge from Krakow, and your trip will also include site sightseeing of the Pieniny National Park.
- On-site booking: In some cases, especially during the peak tourist season, you can also book your rafting trip in person at the riverbanks, close to the starting point. However, it’s advisable to book in advance if you have specific date and time preferences.
When booking, make sure to confirm the following details:
- Date and time of the trip.
- Preferred route (e.g., from Sromowce Wy?ne to Szczawnica).
- Number of tickets you need.
- Any additional services or inclusions, such as picnic stops or transportation to and from the starting and ending points.
- Payment options (cash, credit/debit cards, etc.).
Remember that availability can vary depending on the season.
Routes on Dunajec River Rafting
Dunajec River rafting offers various routes that give you a chance to choose the experience that best suits your preferences and the time you have available. The most popular routes are:
- Sromowce Wy?ne to Szczawnica: This is the classic and most popular route, offering a scenic journey through the Pieniny National Park. The trip typically takes about 2-3 hours. You’ll start in Sromowce Wy?ne and end in Szczawnica.
- Sromowce Ni?ne to Szczawnica: This is a shorter version of the classic route, perfect for those looking for a more relaxed experience. It takes about 1.5-2 hours and starts in Sromowce Ni?ne, a few kilometers downstream from Sromowce Wy?ne.
- Szczawnica to Kro?cienko: This route is shorter and is ideal for those with less time to spare. It starts in Szczawnica and ends in Kro?cienko. The trip usually takes around 1-1.5 hours.
- Sromowce Ni?ne to Szczawnica with a horse-drawn carriage return: This route includes a unique experience where you return from Szczawnica to the starting point in Sromowce Ni?ne on a traditional horse-drawn carriage. It’s a great option if you want a different mode of transportation for your return journey.
- Private charters: Some operators offer private charters that can be customized to your preferences. This is an excellent choice if you have a large group or specific requirements.
It’s important to check with the specific tour operator for the availability and details of your routes before booking your trip.
Types of Boats Rafting Dunajec River
Traditional Wooden Rafts (Flisak)
These traditional Polish wooden rafts are flat-bottomed and guided by local rafters using long wooden poles. They are of a unique appearance, as well as the opportunity for a leisurely and scenic ride through the Dunajec Gorge.
The minimum number of tourists is 11 for the raft to start, and it is allowed for not more than 5 children on the raft at the same time. The boats usually fit about 13 people.
Inflatable Rafts or Kayakс
Some operators offer modern inflatable rafts or kayaks for a more adventurous and active rafting experience. These options are great if you want to navigate the river yourself. These rafts provide a more thrilling and challenging ride through the river’s rapids.
The choice between these two types of boats depends on your preferences and the level of adventure you seek. The traditional wooden rafts offer a serene and cultural experience, while inflatable rafts and kayaks provide a more active and exciting adventure.
Prices of Dunajec Rafting Tour
The rafters offer a lot of joined attractions in the price list, like returning with a horse carriage, or sightseeing in Pieniny Mountains. However, the price of the rafting itself ranges around 93 to 99 PLN for adults, and 63 to 65 PLN for children under 10 years old.
Tips for your Dunajec River Rafting Experience
- Arrive early: Arriving early at the starting point can help you avoid crowds and enjoy a more peaceful experience.
- Respect the environment: Follow Leave No Trace principles, which include packing out all your waste and not disturbing the natural surroundings.
- Be ready to disconnect: Cell phone reception can be limited in some parts of the river gorge, so be prepared for some time without connectivity.
- Listen to your guide: The local guides are knowledgeable and can provide interesting insights about the river, history, and region.
- Enjoy the journey: Dunajec River rafting is not just a means to an end; it’s an experience in itself. Take the time to soak in the beauty of the landscape and enjoy the serenity of the river.
- Book your trip back: make sure to secure your return to the start point, if you leave your car there.
Overall, Dunajec River rafting is a delightful way to immerse yourself in nature and experience the unique charm of the Pieniny Mountains. Whether you’re traveling solo, with family, or in a group, the scenic beauty and cultural significance of this activity make it a must-visit destination in Poland.