Kielce city the capital of Świętokrzyskie region is a very good starting point of all St. Cross Mountains region trips. It has nice old town with Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Kielce and also Palace of Cracow’s Bishops. The Palace is a museum and it also has a pretty picturesque garden. Another must see in Kielce is Kadzielnia. It is a natural rock reserve with amphitheater and underground cave tourist rout. Finally, Kielce has interesting Toy Museum and energetic Science Centre for youngsters.
Close to Kielce there is Chęciny village. It has three unusual attractions. First of all, there is a Paradise Cave (Polish: Jaskinia Raj). It is one of two prettiest caves in Poland with very rich cave geological forms such as stalactites, stalagmites, pillars and even cave pearls. Close to the cave there are Chęciny Castle Ruins that fascinate with their size and excellent viewing point to the St.Cross Muntains range. Finally, there is one more interesting, fairly new attraction which is Leonardo Da Vinci Science Centre.
Kielce is an excellent starting point for walking trips and admiring natural landscape. First of all, tourists will find here St. Cross Mountains National Park (Polish: Świętokrzyski Park Narodowy) with many walking trails. The most interesting summits include: Łysica 614 m above sea level (the highest), Kakonin, St. Nicholaus Pass (Polish: Przełęcz Św. Mikołaja). Close to Kielce, tourists can also find the second largest tree in Poland Bartholemew Oak (Polish: Dąb Bartek). Another interesting spot for nature and geology lovers is small private Minerals Museum in Święta Katarzyna village. Finally, we have to mention here a unique attraction connected with striped flint lode in Krzemionki Opatowskie. Here in recent years tourists gained amazing attraction which is the stone age striped flint mine, that has already been enlisted at UNESCO World Heritage List .
Other interesting attractions of the area are palaces. We have already mentioned Bishops’ Palace in Kielce and Chęciny Castle Ruins still there are more interesting attractions of this type: Krzyżtopór Palace Ruins, Kurozwęki Palace with minizoo and buffalos, Baranów Sandomierski Palace and Sandomierz Castle. Moreover, next to Kurozwęki there is Szydłów town which is called Polish Carcassonne due to its well preserved town walls and picturesque location. Świętokrzyskie area is also rich in underground routs. Apart from Krzemionki Opatowskie Flint Mines there are also underground tourist routs in Opatów and Sandomierz. Both towns are tourist gems truly worth visiting.
St. Cross Mountain is also a must see point in the region. At the top of the mountain there is a sanctuary with relics of Holy Cross. It is a regional place of pilgrimages. At the summit itself, tourists can also find very interesting and modern natural history museum of St. Cross Mountains National Park and a viewing point to “Gołoborza” which are interesting rock formations created by frost erosion.
Finally, there are two more places that we would like to recommend. One is Ćmielów Live Museum of Porcelain. It is an outstanding museum that shows visitors the whole process of porcelain making, it offers porcelain making workshops and holds porcelain exhibition. It is a place that tourists truly shouldn’t omit. Another exceptional place is Jurassic Park in Bałtów with many attractions for children.
Summing up, Kielce area is amazing tourist destination. It is impossible to get bored here and the diversity of attractions ensures that everyone will find something interesting for themselves not only in summer but all year long. If you would like to visit this area we invite you to check our tours webpage and also contact ITS Poland DMC group coordinators.
Author: Agnieszka Szwedzińska