The paper presents the development of conceptual, theoretical, and methodological foundations of a complex and novel method for evaluating visual–aesthetic values of landscape. The novelty lies in the combination of methods for assessing the overall attractiveness of the landscape (geocomplex) and the view field (as seen from an observation point). The analysis was carried out for a highly environmentally diverse fragment of the Małopolska Upland (central Poland). The proposed method of evaluation is in two-stage procedure. At the first stage, the visual attractiveness of landscape units (geocomplexes distinguished on the basis of relief and land cover types) was calculated. The assessment took into account the diversity of landscape form and content (shape of the unit, contrast of landscape boundaries, vertical differentiation of relief and land cover, typological richness of vegetation). In the second stage, first, the view extent was determined using a specially written computer program from multiple points on a map in an assumed grid every 50 m. More than 3200 measurements were taken in a transect from an area of 8 sq. km for an area enclosing 77 sq. km. Then, in each of these 3.2 thousand delineated view reaches, the unit values of the physiognomic–aesthetic evaluation of the landscapes seen by the observer (first-stage evaluation) were counted. The developed method tries to make a conceptual–theoretical and methodological contribution to the study of physiognomy and aesthetics of landscapes, as the evaluation combines the aspects of surface and point attractiveness. Hence, the proposed method has a comprehensive character and can be a universal platform for physiognomic and landscape evaluation, also for practical purposes, e.g., nature protection, tourism development and spatial planning.
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