Dolina Kościeliska is the second, alongside the road to Morskie Oko, most popular walking route in the Polish Tatras. It is considered by many to be the most beautiful valley of these mountains. A trip there means a six-kilometer walk along a winding and roaring creek. At the end of it, there’s tea and food awaiting the tourists in one of the most famous Polish shelters.
Kościeliska is not only the most beautiful, but also the largest Tatra valley in Poland. Lots of interesting environmental facts – beautiful views of the Western Tatras, mysterious caves, narrow rocky gates over the road, picturesque halls, an atmospheric shelter at Hala Ornak.
Today, the valley is fully protected – it is located in the Tatra National Park. However, it was once inhabited. In the mid-nineteenth century, the steel industry flourished here. Traces of forges, a church, sawmill and cottages, although hardly visible, can be found in the glades. The robbers’ shrine, which tourists pass on their way up, was funded by the former inhabitants of the valley. Wooden shepherds’ huts and shepherds, speeding flocks of their sheep remind of the traditional occupation of local highlanders – pastoralism.