Szczawnica is a small town with only about 7,500 people living there and is situated on the border with Slovakia. The town owes its reputation as a tourist town to the specific microclimate surrounding it and to the presence of mineral water that has long been produced there. Szcazwnica also has the advantage of its location at the foot of the Pieniny, and Beskid Sadecki mountain ranges with the Grajcarek River running beside the town in the base of the valley, where it joins up with the Dunacja River just on the outskirts of Szczawnica. From the many nearby mountains, that tower above this little mountaineer town you can see many stunning panoramas of the close, as well as more distant mountain ranges.
The way thousands of tourists every year find their way to Szczawnica is via the famous river rafting that has it first and most often used ending point precisely where the river Grajcarek joins the Dunajec. It is only a short walk from there to the center of Szczavnica, and many tourists use the opportunity to see this beautiful little town.
There are also many hiking and biking trails leading to and from Szczawnica, one of the most picturesque is called the “The Way of Pieniny." The starting point is in the same place as where the river rafting finishes. Following this trail you will be lead back up the River Dunajac into Slovakia and have different options to where you will finish depending on the distance you would like to walk. This trail runs the full length of the river rafting and is a very pleasant alternative for those of you that do not wish to try the traditional river rafting.
History of Szczawnica
The first mention of a settlement in Szczawnica is from 1413, but there are indications that a small settlement existed here earlier. Szczawnica is a holiday resort, but the town itself did not begin fully to develop before the early nineteenth century. When the first analysis of a local spring, "Josephine", finished, the bottling of spring water started on a small-scale. An important turning point in the history of Szczawnica were the achievements of the Hungarian Szalay family, which expanded the existing resort's buildings, houses as well expanding the spa park. However, the main founder of the spa was the son of the original owners, Joseph Szalay, who became the owner of the town in 1839.
The Szalay family took care of advertising the town and initiated the rafting tradition on the River Dunajec. Szczawnica became increasingly popular, hosting celebrities such as: Norwid, Asnyk, Sienkiewicz, Prus, Konopnicka, Matejko and Fredro. After the death of Szalay, Szczawnica was passed on and became a possession of the Academy of Sciences in Krakow.
The institution then built a manor house hospitality, which became the cultural center of Szczawnica, and finished the “Pienińskiej” road construction. Afterwards, the town passed into the hands of Adam Stadnicki, who further extended and enhanced the already developing health resort in this town. During his administration, the creation of a modern inhalation chamber was completed, being the first pneumatic chamber in Poland.
Szczawnica received town rights in 1962.