Biking, hiking, and skiing are the three most popular sporting activities here, but there are lots of other more adventurous pursuits, such as bouldering, mountain climbing, and gliding, that have become more popular in recent years. As operators change by the year, the best advice is to ask at the tourist information office to see what's available during the time of your visit.
Biking -- In the last decade or so, Szklarska Poreba has evolved into the mountain biking capital of southern Poland. Around 20 numbered trails of more than 400km (249 miles) in total length, catering to all skill levels, fan out from the town in all directions. Some of the trails are all-day affairs running 40 to 60km (25-37 miles) in length, while others are shorter and oriented toward recreational cyclists or families with children. Pick up the free cycling map Rowerowa Kraina from the tourist information office. They can also advise you on the best routes and bike rentals. In Szklarska Poreba, bike rental outfits are located at Wzg. Paderewskiego 5 (tel. 75/717-20-74) and at Jednosci Narodowej 15 (tel. 888/721-883). Rentals start at around 10 z per hour and around 40 z for all day.
Hiking -- Most visitors come here for the opportunity to walk in the mountains. Karkonosze National Park is crisscrossed by hundreds of miles of marked trails, and that number is effectively doubled if you count the trails on the Czech side. Note that you can freely walk across the border without having to show a passport, but it's always a good idea to carry it with you in the rare event you are stopped. Trails on both sides of the border follow an informal color guide, with the most popular and rewarding walks marked in red, and the hierarchy moving down to blue, green, and yellow. Both Karpacz and Szklarska Poreba are excellent hiking bases. The first port of call should be the tourist information office for advice on routes and maps. A popular day-long slog in summer is to the peak at Sniezka, the highest point in the range at 1,602m (5,256 ft.) above sea level.
Skiing -- Both Szklarska Poreba and Karpacz have excellent facilities for downhill and cross-country skiing. In downhill skiing, Szklarska Poreba gets the nod both for the number and quality of its slopes, as well as having the country's longest continuous run at around 4.5km (2.8 miles). The Masyw Szrenicy and the Labski Szczyt region form the largest ski center, with five separate slopes and a joint length of about 20km (12 miles). Contact Ski Arena Szrenica (Turystyczna 25a; tel. 75/717-21-18; www.sudetylift.com.pl) for details. In Karpacz, the center of the action is the Sniezka Ski Complex (Turystyczna 4; tel. 75/761-86-19; www.kopa.com.pl). One of Karpacz's main lifts is located right in the middle of town.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.