If you want a change of pace from crowded tourist attractions in bustling central Krakow, consider trying Tyniec.
The borough in west Krakow, which used to be a separate village, is 12 kilometers from the center on the right bank of the Vistula River squeezed between limestone hills.
In addition to lovely scenery, and silence, its attractions include a Benedictine Abbey and a prehistoric settlement.
In the past Tyniec was on the trade route from Krakow to the Czech Republic. Now it is off the beaten path, far from the main tourist attractions.
The variety of the landscape — the Vistula, hills, forests, and monuments — makes Tyniec a soothing destination for tourists and Krakow residents alike.
It?s not difficult to get there. You can take Bus 112 from the roundabout near Wawel Castle. You can go by bike, using special cycling lanes.
And on Sundays, during warm weather, you can even go by boat ? the so- called water tram. The two-hour boat trip lets you soak up breathtaking scenery.
The Benedictine Abbey, which dates to the 11th Century, is a must if you?re seeing Tyniec.
The Gregorian chants that you can hear the monks sing in Latin make you realize that life at the abbey is much the same as it was centuries ago.
During summer you can listen to the abbey?s organ recitals every second Sunday.
Benedictines are famous for their culinary products, especially jams, wines and other alcoholic beverages. You can buy these products in the abbey.
The abbey has a beautiful courtyard, and the spectacular Benedictine gardens haven?t changed since the 16th Century.
In addition to the lush plant life, the gardens offer picturesque views of the Vistula and the village of Piekary.
It?s worth taking your camera just to record those views.
The abbey still has part of a centuries-old wall. And in a corner of the courtyard you can see a 17th Century well with a roof built without nails.
Although visitors are welcome, the monks expect them to refrain from being too loud, especially when they are engaged in sacred rituals.
After you?ve visited the abbey, consider a picnic. There are plenty of places to spread a blanket in a forest or along the Vistula.
Once you?ve eaten, you can go for a walk, ride a bike or sunbathe on the riverbank. Just a kilometer from the abbey you?ll find the remains of a mysterious settlement dating to 2300 BC. The location is on Grodzisko Mountain at a height of about 280 meters. One reason why Tyniec is so green is that it?s on the edge of the 6,415-hectare Bielansko-Tyniecki Park, which is off-limits to development.
The park?s name comes from the names of the Monastery in Bielany and the Benedictine Abbey.
It includes some of the most picturesque portions of the Vistula Valley in the Krakow area. It contains three forests, one of which is near Tyniec.
The Skolczanka nature preserve, situated in the Tyniec Hills, is part of the park. It was designated a preserve to protects its plants and animals, including its pine, fir and beech forests and about 500 types of butterflies. Just beneath the abbey there is a special rock formation called the Tyniec Gate. There the limestone rises about 50 meters from the river and crowds into it.
In the narrowest place, the width of the river is only 400 meters, offering a spectacular view.
East of the abbey where the Vistula crosses Highway A4 you can see an old river bed of the Vistula.From the calming chants of monks to the green forests and the incredible views of the Vistula, Tuniec offers you a place to let your cares melt away.