Someone once told me that it is not worth returning to places that you remember from your childhood because the only thing you can find there is a disappointment. However, I did not follow this advice and decided to visit the Opawskie Mountains in Poland. When I was a kid, I used to spend my holidays here with my parents, grandparents, cousins, friends. After years I decided to come here again and see how this place has changed.
The Opawskie Mountains, the mysterious mountain range on the Polish-Czech border
The Opawskie Mountains (Góry Opawskie) are located partly in the territory of Poland (Opole Voivodeship) and partly in the Czech Republic (Olomouc Region). It is not a very popular tourist destination, but whoever visits these mountains usually returns here.
The Opawskie Mountains are neither high nor too large. None of the peaks is even 1000 meters above sea level. So what attracts people there? Magic? Possibly, legends say that witches lived here once. Besides, the Opawskie Mountains hide many secrets. The lost city of Rosenau, old tunnels where gold was mined, mysterious stone structures in the forests, and much more.
The highest mountain on the Polish side is considered Biskupia Kopa (890 m). However, it is a border mountain and its top, where the lookout tower is located, is actually the territory of the Czech Republic. Biskupia Kopa (Czech: Biskupská Kupa) is the most popular hiking place in the Opawskie Mountains.
Hiking to the top of Kopa Biskupia in the Opawskie Mountains
Wandering along the trail to the top of Kopa Biskupia was not only hiking in the mountains but also a time travel for me. As I mentioned, the Opawskie Mountains is the place that I knew as a child. I can say that I got to know all the trails here by heart.
Has this place changed a lot after all these years? Unfortunately yes. What shocked me were the cut trees. Once, the Opawskie Mountains were almost completely forested. Thanks to this, there was a specific microclimate here and there were rare endemic plants. When you walked the trail you could feel the coolness of the stream, you could hear the singing birds, everything was completely different than now.
Nowadays the Opawskie Mountains are not the same place that I have in my memories. Without trees, their slopes look like naked. The only positive change is the renovated Kaiser Franz Josef Warte lookout tower. The view from here was just as wonderful as it used to be.
At the top of the tower, there was a strong wind, but we spent some time watching the beautiful views of the Bohemian Jeseníky mountains and the town of Zlate Hory located at the foot of Kopa Biskupia. When there is better visibility, the Nysa Lake and Otmuchów Lake in Poland can be clearly seen from the observation tower. However, this time I saw only a vague outline on the horizon.
When the day was slowly coming to an end, and the sun was going down, no one else but us was on the mountain trail. There is nothing more beautiful than a walk in the mountains when you are surrounded by the silence and the beauty of nature. That’s why I like hiking so much. I am not interested in gaining peaks. The whole point is to admire, relax, and immerse yourself in this peace and quiet. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Opawskie Mountains are great for this.
Was it worth to see the Opawskie Mountains again? I think so. It was a sentimental trip, a bit nostalgic, especially in this autumn aura, but I’m glad that I could once again wander the routes that I know so well. Some places have changed a lot after all these years, but sometimes a small detail was enough to bring back all the good memories. What’s more, the beautiful views that we enjoyed so much, peace, quiet, nature … Yes, it was definitely worth it and it was a really nice one-day trip.