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Sunday, 24 June 2007
The Polish offer for the enthusiasts of hiking includes more than nine thousand marked trails of a total length equal to that of the equator, all leading through a diversity of lowland, upland and mountainous landscapes. All trails are well marked, their difficult sections are provided with improvements to help the trackers, and they lead through the most scenic parts of the country, close to historical monuments and other tourist attractions.

The majority of walking routes are located in the Sudety, Tatra, Beskidy, Bieszczady and Swietokrzyskie Mountains. The longest are two major trails, leading through the Sudety and Bieszczady Mountains and being sections of the European routes E-3 and E-8. They are interconnected with a system of shorter hiking paths, joining highest peaks, running through mountain ranges, passes and national parks, leading to tourist facilities and health resorts.

Mountain hostels are open year round and located close to the major hiking routes and their intersections. The Polish Tourists Association (PTTK) runs them. Bivouac grounds managed by student organisations are open in the summer.

Major tourist centres in the mountains offer well-developed accommodation and eating facilities. The most popular of them are located in Szklarska Poreba and Karpacz (Sudety Mountains), Szczyrk, Wisla, Krynica (Beskidy Mountains), Zakopane (Tatra Mountains), Solina and Ustrzyki Dolne (Bieszczady Mountains). They all serve as starting points for hikers setting out towards higher parts of the mountain ranges.

In addition to the routes in the mountains there are beautiful hiking paths crossing Poland's uplands, for example the Trail of the Eagles' Nests. Two long-distance European hiking routes run across northern Poland. These are E-11, leading from Slubice to Lithuania via Poznan, Gniezno, Torun and Olsztyn, and the coastal E-9, guiding tourists from Swinoujscie to St. Petersburg via Kolobrzeg, Gdansk and Elblag.

Hiking along walking routes with a rucksack on your shoulders, with overnights in tourist hotels, in close contact to nature, visiting historical sites, monuments and museums, is certainly a wonderful experience.

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