A visit to Kraków and Małopolska is incomplete without trips to at least two nearby destinations: the Wieliczka Salt Mine, where salt has been mined for a thousand years, and Auschwitz and Birkenau, sites of the Nazis' most gruesome and brutal concentration camps. Both Ojców National Park and Zakopane offer first-rate hiking in unadulterated natural surroundings. This is also Poland's main winter sports area. Zakopane is the self-styled winter capital of Poland, and the spa towns of Szczawnica, Krościenko, and Krynica are good bases for cross-country skiing.
Małopolska remains intensely Catholic and conservative, and the traditional way of life in the countryside is relatively intact. Folk crafts and customs are still very much alive in the mountains and foothills of Podhale. Carved-wood beehives stand in mountain gardens, and worshipers set out for Sunday church in embroidered white-felt trousers.