The commune of Wilkowice with its main villages Wilkowice, Bystra and Meszna is picturesquely surrounded by the mountain tops of the Silesian Beskids and the Little Beskids, located in the southern part of Silesian Voivodeship in the vicinity of the city of Bielsko-Biała. Wilkowice is one of the oldest villages in the Żywiecka Valley (the so called Wilkowiecka Gate), established in the early 14th century by the Cistercian monastery in Rudy.
Starting point for active holidays
Wilkowice, Bystra and Meszna are surrounded by several high peaks of the Silesian Beskids (Równia: 607 m, Kozia Góra: 686 m, Kołowrót: 798 m, Szyndzielnia: 1031 m, Klimczok: 1117 m, Magura: 1093 m) and the Little Beskids (Czupel: 933 m, Magurka Wilkowicka: 909 m, Chrobacza Łąka: 826 m).
The commune of Wilkowice has a specific microclimate. At the end of the 19th century the village of Bystra was known for its perfect conditions for the treatment of lung-related illnesses.
The best conditions for alpine skiing are in the high-lying areas of Magurka Wilkowicka (909 m), the fourth highest peak of the Little Beskids. The gently slopes, are perfect for beginners as well as experienced skiers. Magurka Mountain became famous because of the archduchess Maria Theresa Habsburg, who used to ski in Magurka at the beginning of the 20th century. For many years, it was also a favorite holiday destination for the inhabitants of nearby city of Bielsko-Biała.
Marked hiking and biking trails, professionally marked cross-country trails, equipment stores and rental stores in Wilkowice and Bystra offer the best conditions for active holidays.
History and Tradition
Wilkowice is one of the oldest villages in the Żywiecka Valley, established in the early 14th century by the Cistercian monastery in Rudy. The villages in the valley politically belonged to the Habsburg Monarchy, known as Austrian Silesia. The small village of Bystra was divided by the river Biała in two parts: Silesian Bystra and Cracovian Bystra. The first one belonged to Duchy of Bielsko which politically was a part of the Habsburg Monarchy. Cracovian Bystra belonged to the Crown of Poland and upon the First Partition of Poland in 1772 it became part of the Austrian Kingdom of Galicia. After the First World War, Cracovian Bystra became a part of Poland as well as Silesian Bystra after the Polish–Czechoslovak War and the division of Cieszyn Silesia in 1920.
Thanks to its specific microclimate the village of Bystra became in the second half of the 19th century a well-known spa resort. It developed dynamically especially after the opening of a railway line Bielsko Biała - Żywiec in 1878.
Magurka Mountain became famous because of the archduchess Maria Theresa Habsburg, who used to ski at Magurka at the beginning of the 20th century. In the Lodge on top of the mountain she had her own room. It’s therefore that the lodge is named after Archduchess Maria Theresa. For many years, it was also a favorite holiday destination for the inhabitants of nearby city of Bielsko-Biała.