Podhale is one of the most beautiful parts of Poland. This region is situated in the southern part of our country near the Tatra Mountains. It consists of: Pogorze Gubalowskie, Kotlina Orawsko-Nowotarska and Pieninski Pas Skalkowy.
The capital of Podhale is Nowy Targ, which is lying between two important rivers the Bialy Dunajec and the Czarny Dunajec.
Podhale is a land of beautiful mountains, deep valleys, ancient castles, mysterious caves and legends. The land is not very well-industrialised and developed, but in this part of the country the major interest is tourism because of incredible views, clean air, clear rivers and amazing relics.
Nowy Targ has become the cultural centre of this region. The city covers 50.42 square kilometres and its current population is 34 thousand. It is a place worth seeing because of beautiful relics such as old wooden churches with mysterious histories. The area is also notable for traditional markets, which take place every Thursday and Saturday and where you can buy everything. There is also a very nice small airport where you can see numerous air shows and competitions, for example "Szybowcowe Mistrzostwa Podhala" (Gliding Championships of the Podhale region). During sightseeing you should visit the famous museum and the art gallery as well.
Podhale is also an important religious area with a huge sanctuary in Ludzmierz, where millions of pilgrims come to pray every year. It used to be one of the favourite places for the Pope John Paul II as well.
Another worth seeing place is a very small but interesting village - Lopuszna, with its beautiful relics built in a unique style called Gotyk Podhalanski. This is the village where the famous Polish philosopher Jozef Tischner was born. His best-known book is entitled "Filozofia po Goralsku" (Philosophy According to Highlanders) which is a really great book.
I would like to recommend seeing Niedzica, a village at the shore of a huge clean lake where you can sail or sunbathe or just rest. Above the lake there is also an old, fascinating castle connected with an Inca legend.
After seeing all these interesting places in Podhale tourist should take a trip to Zakopane - a famous town close to Nowy Targ. It is called the winter capital of Poland and it is well-known all over the world for the beautiful mountains - the Tatras and for winter sports. It has hosted the Winter Universiade and FIS Ski Jumping World Cup a few times and it would also like to host the Winter Olympic Games some day.