Poland: picturesque Rabka-Zdrój


Rabka Zdrój

Rabka-Zdrój is a small town in Poland, situated in a picturesque valley on the Gorce. It is famous for its beautiful nature and rich deposits of mineral water. That is why Rabka-Zdrój has long been recognized the best children’s health resort in the country.

Geographical situation and climate of Rabka-Zdrój

The town of 36.59 square km, which is a rural-urban municipality of Małopolska province, is founded in the basin of the Rabczanska river. Rabka Zdrój is situated at an altitude of 500-600 m above sea level. It is where the small rivers Slonka, Ponichanka and Skomelniak merge.

In Rabka-Zdrój, as in other regions of southern Poland, the weather is almost always moderately cool. According to the Keppen classification, it has a climate of Dfb – mildly cool with moderate humidity and an average air temperature of +7°C. The annual rainfall here is about 826 mm. Given that Rabka-Zdrój is a spa resort, this weather is perfect for rest and treatment.

Rabka-Zdrój spa area

Wellness centers of Rabka-Zdrój

For over 100 years the town has been known as one of the largest spas in the country. In its vicinity there are natural mineral springs. A total of 9 water springs in Rabka-Zdrój, whose water is rich in sodium, bromides, iodides and chlorides. Its temperature reaches up to +30 ° C.

In Rabka Zdrój there are:

  • natural medicine center;
  • four health centers;
  • the spa hospitals;
  • a field department of the Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases;
  • A. Sebesti Rehabilitation Center;
  • rest homes.

The local health centers offer courses of treatment for tuberculosis, respiratory diseases, allergies, obesity, diabetes, diseases of cardiovascular system and musculoskeletal system. In Rabka-Zdrój there are also rehabilitation centers for people who have had a stroke or surgery.

Górnośląski Rehabilitation Center of A. Sebesti, Rabka-Zdrój

Ski resorts in Rabka-Zdrój

In winter the guests of the resort can use the sports facilities equipped with skating rinks, swimming pools and tennis courts. In the vicinity of Rabki Zdrój on the slope of Maciejowa Mountain there is a ski resort with five trails with a total length of 2,700 m. It is equipped with:

  • spacious and well-lit slopes;
  • snow park;
  • snow guns;
  • ratracks;
  • equipment rentals.

North of Rabki Zdrój is the Polczakówka slope with slopes with a total length of 1900 meters. There is a ski elevator, a halfpipe, a snowboard school. To the south-west of Rabki Zdrój there is Habówka village with the ski center with 500 m slopes and modern rope tow elevators.

Polczakowka ski resort, Rabka-Zdrój

Attractions in Rabka-Zdrój

The wooden church, which houses the Władysław Orkan Museum

  • A wooden church of 1606, which now houses the museum of Władysław Orkan;
  • The chapel of St. Florian of the nineteenth century;
  • the spa chapel of St. Teresa of 1928;
  • the interactive museum of Highlanders and Robbers;
  • Rabcio State Puppet Theater;
  • Museum of Records and Rarities;
  • Museum of the Order of the Smile;
  • St. Mary Magdalene Church of the 20th century;
  • the ruins of the eighteenth-century court complex;
  • Rabkoland amusement park.
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Another historical monument in Rabka-Zdrój is a war memorial and cemetery with burials of 302 Soviet soldiers who died during World War II. During a vacation at the resort you can visit the Carpathian Festival of children’s ensembles, the winter carnival, the international festival “Festival of mountain children”, variety and folklore concerts.

Hotels in Rabka-Zdrój

The resort is popular with tourists all year round. On arrival in Rabka-Zdrój you can stay in the hotels:

  • Wiosna;
  • Parkowy Dworek;
  • Royal Kompleks;
  • Górski Raj;
  • Pod Debami.

They correspond to European standards and offer visitors a standard set of services (comfortable rooms, free parking). Prices for hotels in Rabka-Zdrój range from $30.

Hotel Royal Kompleks, Rabka-Zdrój

Restaurants in Rabka-Zdrój

Like other cities in Poland, the resort is suitable for lovers of gastronomic delights. Most of the local restaurants specialize in European and Polish cuisine. Among them:

  • Siwy Dym;
  • Zajazd Pod Chmurka;
  • Cascada Rabka Zdroj;
  • Karczma Hulaj Dusza;
  • Absinth.

Also in Rabka Zdrój there are Italian pizzerias (Calabria, Maleńka) and American fast food (Hot Chicken, Green Lemon).

Siwy Dym Restaurant, Rabka-Zdrój

Rabka-Zdrój transport

Despite the mountainous location, the resort has a well-developed transport infrastructure. Through the western part of Rabka-Zdrój goes national road № 7, which is part of the international route E77, through the northern regions of Rabka-Zdrój is the national road № 28 and 47. Regio trains linking Kraków, Zakopane and Katowice change direction at the urban railway station. Fast trains between Zakopane and Gdynia also stop here.

Rabka Zdrój city is compact, so you can move within the city in small cars, bikes or on foot.

Urban infrastructure of Rabka-Zdrój

How to get to Rabka-Zdrój?

The popular resort is situated in the south of the country some 400 km from Warsaw, 55 km from Krakow and 35 km from Zakopane. You can get there by almost any available transport. LOT, KLM and British Airways land at Krakow Airport up to seven times a day, flying from Warsaw. From here you can travel to Rabki Zdrój by car in 1 hour. The total travel time is about 2 hours.

From the capital of Poland you can get to Rabka-Zdrój by buses Kraków-Rabka. They leave every 60 minutes from the station Warszawa Centralna and spend 4.5 hours. If you travel by car, the route also takes 4.5 hours on the S7, S8 or DK1.

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Health resorts and hotels in Rabka:

  • Sanatorium Cegielski
  • Dr. Adam Szebesta Silesian Rehabilitation Center


Rabka – City of the Children of the World.

Today Rabka is called “City of the Children of the World” and has had the title since 1996. At the request of the international head of the “Order of the Smile”, the governor of the Małopolska province gave Rabka the title “City of the Children of Peace”. In the same year, he created the Order of the Smile Museum in Rabka, which is now located in the park “Rabkoland”. The city of Rabka held 3 international awards of the golden Order of Smiles, the only award in the world given by children for services to adults.

The “Order of the Smile” was invented by Polish children. It became an international children’s award. It is awarded to people who are famous for their talent, kindness and love for children. So, at different times “The Order of Smile” was awarded to Mother Teresa, Astrid Lindgren, Tuve Jansson – “mother” of Moomi-Trolls, puppeteer Sergey Obraztsov, writer Sergei Mikhalkov, poetess Agniya Barto. The famous and talented Kurgan orthopedic surgeon Gavriil Ilizarov also received this order in due time. This award has one condition: before accepting the Order of Smile, the recipient must drink a full glass of lemon juice in front of everyone and at the same time keep a smile. “The Order of the Smile, the only order in the world awarded by children to their adult friends, was established in 1967.

Rabka has its own theater scene, that is, the puppet theater “Rabcio” and the statue of Santa Claus, which stands in front of the historic building of the current railway station, called the House of Santa Claus. There is also the Wierchy stadium and skate park in Rabcio resort.

In 1864 the small Polish town of Rabka Zdrój became a spa due to its medicinal mineral springs. Rabka Zdrój gradually became a specialized children’s Polish spa, and a few years later the first hospital for children was built here.

Rabka Zdrój is a resort located in a beautiful basin at the foot of the Gorce at an altitude of 500-600 m above sea level. From here you can admire the beautiful panorama on Mount Luboń-Wielki, located in the west Babia Góra range. These mountains are not high, they do not impress people who have visited the Caucasus, the Urals or the Tatra Mountains, but Rabka resort is valuable because of the unique air. And thanks to the mineral waters the place became famous all over Poland. Rabka Zdrój – the capital of children’s treatment in Poland – has gained international fame thanks to its specific, splendid climate and rich deposits of medicinal waters from boric and bromine-iodine mineral springs. Rabka-Zdrój Spa specializes in treating children with respiratory diseases, allergies, diabetes, obesity, metabolic disorders, diseases of cardiovascular system, musculoskeletal system and in treating adults with respiratory diseases and circulatory system. The Rabka Zdrój Spa also provides rehabilitation after heart attacks and heart surgeries.

Swiss ski resorts

However, it is not just a children’s health resort, it is also a children’s ski resort, which offers all the conditions for comfortable skiing. The main thrust of the ski resort is made towards families and children’s recreation.

There is a winter sports complex, where in addition to the skating rink and tennis courts, there is also a swimming pool.

In addition to the bioclimatic conditions the natural curative factors are chloride-sodium brine, bromine, iodine, boride mineral waters with a considerable content of metaboric acid, which already in 1858 gained the fame of the strongest in Europe. They are used mainly for the treatment of respiratory diseases: Helena, Krakus, Varnitsa, Rabka 18, Rabka 19 and also in Rabka are used the stocks of curative mud.

At the edge of the spa park, near the iodobromine salt spring “Helena” is a cooling tower and mineral water pavilion, shaped like a rotunda. It is the first cooling tower in Lesser Poland.

The local microclimate contributes to the prevention and treatment of upper respiratory tract, sinus inflammation, pulmonary emphysema, arterial hypertension, allergies, neurosis. Thanks to the unique properties of salt water, the air formed around the cooling tower is unparalleled in the country and the world. The main therapeutic profiles of Rabka Zdrój Spa are: locomotive system diseases, respiratory system diseases (including asthma), cardiovascular system diseases, metabolic disorders, internal secretion system and circulatory system diseases, children diseases: asthma, skin diseases, diabetes.

Balneotherapy, swimming in brine (swimming pool or bath) for children and adults, hydrotherapy, underwater and dry massage, individual and group gymnastics, kinesitherapy, physiotherapy, inhalations, rehabilitation pools, climatic therapy. Health resorts in Rabka Zdrój : Rabka spa resort has a rich hotel infrastructure, besides sanatoriums there are numerous rest homes, pensions, hotels in Rabka, spa hospitals and preventive sanatoriums for patients with tuberculosis with 2,000 beds.

The main profile of the town is the spa treatment, but now there is also a dynamic development of tourism, which takes advantage of the attractive location of this area. Several trails pass through Rabka, several originating in the nearby National Park. Some hiking trails are intended for experienced hikers, but there are also easier walking trails. You can use one of the educational trails to get to know the natural wealth of the Gorce National Park. In the Rabka Spa Park there is a monument to John Paul II, which is the starting point of the Pope Trail in the Gorce and the Beskid Wyspowy. The route runs through the favorite places of Karol Wojtyła.

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Vacationers in Rabka Zdrój will find many interesting things in the town and its surroundings, such as puppet theater “Rabcio”, a movie theater “Sniezka”. V. Orkan museum in the old church of the seventeenth century with a large collection of folk carvings and paintings on glass. Museum of railway rolling stock in Habówka.

Rabka is a great base for excursions in the Gorce and the Beskid Ostrovny. There are several ski stations in Rabka neighborhood, for example: Maciejowa (Poniatowski Street in Rabka, 2 rope tow elevators), Polczakówka (Polczakowka, Rabka Zaryte, rope tow and rope elevator), U Zura (U Zura, Chabówka, rope tow and rope elevator).

What to see and what excursions to visit when vacationing in Rabka?

Rabkoland is a family recreation park in Rabka (more than 2 hectares) offers attractions such as devil’s wheel, scare room, driving range, go-karts, laughing room with crooked mirrors, swimming pool, skating rink, pony rides, etc. In Rabkoland Park is the museum of the Order of the Smile – the only museum in the world dedicated to the international award that children have given to adults since 1968.

The Regional Museum named after Vladislav Orkan. The Władysław Orkan Regional Museum, with the largest collection of Góral saints’ figures in Poland, is located in the old St. Mary Magdalene Church in Rabka – a church of a log structure (1606) with a round dome on a tower and a puppet tower covered in shingles.

Gorčany Museum of Jan Fudali in Rabč – collection of paintings on glass.

The churches on the Route of Wooden Architecture – in Sieniawa, 8 km from Rabka (ca. 1740), in Spytkowice, 8 km from Rabka (ca. 1758), “on Obidowa” in Rdzawka, 5 km from Rabka (1575), in Krzeszowa, 10 km from Rabka (XVII-XVII cent.).

Open-air Railway Museum in Habówka 2 km from Rabka is a pleasant surprise for technology lovers: here you can see an interesting collection of steam locomotives, diesel locomotives, electric locomotives and railroad cars, and in the summer season we organize trips on the “retro” train, which leaves from the station Habówka-Skansen.

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The Orava Ethnographic Park in Zubrzyca Górna, 35 km from Rabka – in this museum which presents the culture of Polish Orava there are regional houses (18th – 20th century) with the so-called “towers” (the halls of regional structure), inns, schools, smithy and farm buildings, the jewel of this museum is the Moniakoff Manor.

Babie Góra National Park (west of Rabka) – covers the highest in the Western Beskids massif of Babia Góra (1725 m above sea level). The park was designated as a biosphere reserve and is included in the UNESCO World Network of Man and Nature. Here is the only region in Poland, where grows the stag beetle (the symbol of the park) and alpine cerastium. The forest in the park has the character of a forest. Animal life is represented by rare birds such as grouse and black grouse, and numerous mammals, including: lynx, deer, brown bear.

The Gorce National Park (east of Rabka) – was established in 1981 and occupies an area of over 7000 hectares in the central part of the Gorce range. There grow here under protection the Carpathian beech and sour beech, fir forest of the lower highlands, and spruce forest of the upper highlands. These forests are a fragment of the ancient Carpathian Forest. In this park there are concentrations of plants of highland species, such as alpine veronicas and mountain ferns. The park symbol is the spotted salamander. In addition, it is home to birds: black stork, owl, woodpecker and wood grouse, – as well as a variety of mammals: deer, wolf, lynx, wildcats, ermines, otters and bears. The park offers hiking, biking, horseback riding and skiing.

Cafes and restaurants in Rabka spa: Bistro Grill Restaurant, Pod Chmurka Restaurant, Pod Wierchami Restaurant, Siwy Dym Restaurant, Siawa Restaurant, Sponti Restaurant, Scheherazade Restaurant, Zajazd U Guta (Traktir U Guta).

In Rabka-Zdrój there are many festivals for children and adults: Winter Carnival, Carpathian Festival of children’s regional ensembles, the International Festival “Festival of mountain children”. In summer there are a lot of variety and folklore performances.

How to get to Rabka: Rabka is 45 km from Zakopane and 74 km from Krakow. You can get there by train or by bus.

Phone number from Poland: 018 Phone number from Europe: +48-18 Phone number from Russia: 8 (beep) 10-48-18

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