While there’s seemingly no end to the alluring architectural majesty and charm of a city like Kraków, it’s easy to forget or simply overlook the natural beauty of the region surrounding Poland’s ancient capital. The Beskid mountain range get their fair share of admirers 80 kilometres to the south of Katowice, and rightfully so. However, turn your compass north-east of the city and you’ll discover one of the most unique geological areas in the entire country. Covering about a 160 km span along the border of the Małopolska and Silesia provinces leading north west from Kraków to Częstochowa, the appropriately titled Kraków-Częstochowa Upland is a stunningly dramatic and diverse expanse of standing limestone rocks, karst formations, cliffs, castles, valleys, streams and caves. Treasured by botanists, geologists, zoologists, sportsmen and tourists alike, the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland is recognised as one of Poland’s most precious natural areas and protected as such – with eight official parks constituting an incredible 93,984 hectares, it’s the largest protected region in Poland, the highlight being the Trail of the Eagle’s Nests. Near Częstochowa, the small town of Żarki is worth visiting, with its Old Mill Museum and popular town market next to the historical barns.