The Karkonosze Mountains are the tallest mountains in the Sudetes, with a stimulating, humid, alpine climate.
Karkonosze offers three downhill skiing centers: Szklarska Poreba, Swieradów Zdrój and Karpacz.
In the past they were known as Giant Mountains or Snowy Mountains. The first “tourists” were the Walloons who arrived here in the 11th century, legendary prospectors searching for precious stones and minerals. They left behind mysterious castles on rocks and legends fascinating to modern enthusiasts of these mountains.
The mountains play host to some very unique vegetation and wildlife and since 1959 the area has been designated the Karkonoski National Park with an area of 5575 ha; a further area in the Czech Republice was given the status of a National Park in 1963). In 1993 the whole of both was enrolled on the list of Biosphere Reserves. Inexperienced hikers are advised to hire a guide in winter due to hazards such as avalanches. Some of the more dangerous trails will be closed. Skiers are safe under the protection of the Karkonoska Mountain Rescue Service Group (Polish abbreviation: GOPR), the organization dealing with rescue services and first aid in the mountains. Hikers will enjoy spending the night in one of the two fabulous mountain shelters near Karpacz: at Samotnia and Strzecha Akademicka.