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The highest peak in Sudety Mountains

There must be very few mountain peaks in Poland, which had future American Presidents writing poems about them. The stark beauty of Śnieżka must have made quite an impression on John Qunicy Adams, when he climbed it in 1800, as it does on the thousands of tourists, who reach the summit of the queen of Karkonosze Mountains after him.

The highest peak in Sudety Mountainsvia Flickr // Śnieżka

via Flickr / Remigiusz Agatowski

When in Karkonosze, it is hard to miss Śnieżka. Its pyramid-shaped massif towers 200 m over the surrounding area. Śnieżka is the highest peak in Sudety Mountains (1602 m above sea level), and a very popular destination in the summer thanks to its well-developed trails and relatively small difficulty of the climb. In winter, however, it often becomes completely deserted due to the difficult weather conditions: low temperatures, profuse rain and snowfall, and in particular, the famous spirited winds, which make the ascent more challenging.

However, even with the strongest wind, Śnieżka repays generously for the effort put into the climb. The summit offers spectacular views over the surrounding mountains and Kotlina Jeleniogórska. With good weather the panorama spreads over 200 km. On Śnieżka you can also encounter uncommon meteorological phenomena, such as St. Elmo’s Fire, Brocken spectre or Gloria.

A particularly impressive view of Karkonosze Mountains can be enjoyed from the terrace of the “flying saucers”, i.e. the peculiarly-shaped meteo observatory built there in 1970s, which became something of a symbol of Śnieżka. It also where you can stop for refreshments, as it houses a restaurant. The summit also has a chapel, which was erected in 1681 in honour of St Lawrence, the patron saint of mountain guides. A mass is celebrated there every year on the 10 August. As Śnieżka lies on the border, you can use this opportunity to visits Poland’s Southern neighbours. The Czech side of the summit has a chairlift which goes down to a town called Pec pod Sněžkou and, as a curiosity, the highest located post office in the Czech Republic.

As a symbol of Karkonosze Mountains and one of the most characteristic peaks in Poland, Śnieżka will be the highlight and a must-see for any trip around Silesia

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