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Even though the mountains are characterized by typical strata (lower and upper woods, mountain pines, and pastures), they resemble the Tatras or Alps only superficially. The Sudetes are lower and different in shape. They were formed much earlier than the Tatras or Alps in the course of highly varied geological processes. For 200 millions of years they have been smoothed by erosion, but the orogenic movements that shaped the Tatras crumbled and elevated the old rocks of the Sudetes. This is how the horst mountains were formed, with steep sides and extensive flat peak areas. The earliest form of the Sudetes can still be seen in the slightly undulating Sudetes Foothills in Lower Silesia.

The most characteristic mountain areas of the Sudetes are the Table Mountains - gigantic sandstone slabs rising some 200 meters over the surrounding valleys. Their peaks can be reached by a winding trail consisting of steps laid in 1814 by Franz Pabel, the world’s first licensed mountain guide.

As the highest mountain range of Prussia, the Table Mountains were the first range in the world developed for tourism, thus forming the cradle of modern alpine tourism. It was here that the first mountain lodges were built, and even the highest levels of the Sudetes can now be effortlessly reached by anyone using one of several funicular railways or chair lifts. Once there, you can expect many kilometers of hiking on comfortable... roads. 

While ideal for hikers, the Sudetes are also well prepared for receiving ski lovers. More than a dozen ski centers are operating there, accompanied by skating rinks and swimming pools. In Karkonosze, the ancient tradition of „horned sleigh” downhill runs was recently reinstated. Ważne miejscowości polskich Sudetów to także Karpacz, Szklarska Poręba, Lądek Zdrój. Principal towns of the Polish Sudetes include Karpacz, Szklarska Poręba, and Lądek Zdrój.
Thanks to its very complicated structure, the mountains are a treasure trove of precious minerals. Splendid specimens of rock crystals, as well as garnets, agates, jaspers, and opals can be found in the streams and numerous quarries of quartz and granite. In many places gold nuggets can be sieved out. The mountains also contain old coal and metal ore mines, including uranium, which can be visited.

Another interesting trip destination in the Sudetes is the Trójmorski Wierch (lit. Three-Sea Peak), a hill on which the watersheds of the North, Baltic, and Black Seas meet. The springs of the Elbe and Odra rivers are also located in the Sudetes.

Mineral water springs with curative properties can often be encountered in the valleys of the Sudetes. The oldest Polish spas – Cieplice Zdrój, Lądek Zdrój or Polanica Zdrój – are located here. More information about the varied offer of Polish spas can be found in related articles published on our website.

As regards cultural heritage, two sub-Sudetes valleys are notable: the Jelenia Góra Valley, called the Palace Valley, and the Kłodzko Valley, known under its former name of Kłodzko County. The Sudetes form the southern border of Lower Silesia, a region which can boast a diverse cultural heritage described in detail in other sections of our website.

So, you’re welcome to go on a hike and meet Rubezahl, the Sudetes’ mountain spirit!

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Hiking in Poland

Tatry - Kasprowy-SwinicaPieniny MountainsBieszczadySudetyPieniny - Trzy KoronyTatryPieninyKarkonosze

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