Szczawnica – the name of the locality is derived from acid waters called “Szczawy” by local mountain men. It is located in a beautiful Gajcarka valley of the right-bank Dunajec river, between Radziejowa Range (Pasmo Radziejowej) and Małe Pieniny on the level of 430-560 above sea level, near the Polish-Slovak border. For 200 years, it has been known as a resort.
A dynamic development of the resort took place in the middle 19th century, when Jóżef Szalary became the owner of the resort and built first balneal, built new spa buildings and guesthouses and gave the streams such as Magdalena, Waleria, Jan, Szymon, Helena and Aniela an architectonic setting. He spread and modernized the Spa Park and also built a resort chapel. He invited some outstanding people of the time to Szczawnica, including a remarkable practitioner of balaneutics – Józef Dietel. In 1876, Szalay bequeathed the resort to the Polish Academy of Learning. In 1909, earl Adam Stadnicki bought the resort from the Academy, and after World War II, it became a property of the government. In 1962 Szczawnica was granted a town charter through inclusion of adjacent villages – Szlachtowa and Jaworki.
Szczawnica is an excellent starting point for hiking trips in the Pieniny mountains. The resort has 12 mineral water streams. These waters are bicarbonate, sodium, iodide, bromide “szczaw” mineral-rich waters with a wide range of micronutrients. They are especially recommended in for people who suffer from respiratory tract disorders, gastritis, constipations, gouts, arteriosclerosis, high cholesterol level, and osteoporosis.
Szczawnica is located near Bryjarka mountain, in immediate vicinity of Pieniny National Park, in a picturesque Dunajec valley. There are mountain slopes rising from each side, covered with coniferous and larch forests. Szczawnica is an excellent starting point for hiking trips in Pieniny. One of the biggest tourist and nature attractions of Szczawnica is Przełom Dunacja (Dunajec River gorge). Pieniny gorge, pushed deeply between limestones of Dunajec along the section between Sromowce Niżne and Szczawnica. The biggest tourist and nature peculiarity of Pieniny, a Europe-wide landscape and natural phenomenon, numerous loops and rapid turns among rock some of which are as high as five hundred meters. A unique attraction is gorge rafting, which has been famous since the beginning of the 20th century. The attraction is approximately 20 km long, and its duration, depending on a level of water, varies from 2 to 2,5 hours and ends in Szczawnica on a rafting marina. The trip may also be extended to Krościenko.