Dec '14/Jan '15

Polkowice, Poland

By Chris Balcom

Welcome to the heart of Poland’s copper country. Polkowice is a small but charming industrial town with a population of just over 22,000. The surrounding county, which shares the same name as its capital, is host to several copper mines operated by Polish mining giant KGHM, headquartered in nearby Lubin. Formally recognized as a town in 1265, Polkowice’s medieval roots date back further still. The towns lies in the Silesian Region, which has traded hands between Czech, German and Polish rulers countless times over the centuries, and all have left a visible influence on the area.


Where to stay

Wrocław
Jan Jerszy´nski

Rooms at the Aqua Hotel are available from $90 to $170 (275 to 510 złotys). The hotel has conference rooms, a restaurant and a bar. As one might guess from the name, guests also have access to the hotel’s extensive aqua park. This popular complex includes saunas, pools and several outdoor slides, among other attractions. It is very adequate if you are travelling alone and ideal if you happen to have family in tow.

Located in the heart of town, the Hotel Polkowice is another reliable bet. All rooms include WiFi access, television and a balcony overlooking the town. Meals can be purchased on request. Rooms are priced between $35 and $125 (100 to 375 złotys).

Tip 1One could also stay in Wrocław, the largest city in the Lower Silesian voivodeship (province), where there are many more hotel options, including well-known chains such as Ibis, Best Western and Radisson.


pierogies
Alicia
liqeur

Where to dine

Polish food is rich, hearty and satisfying, with meat, root vegetables and cabbage typically making up the majority of each meal. Polish kielbasa sausage and soups like borscht are known the world over, as are delicious pierogies, but they always taste better in Poland. Eating out is usually very inexpensive, especially given the quality.

If you’d like to sample some traditional cuisine while you’re in Polkowice, CIM Magazine recommends the Restauracja Polkowicka, which offers a menu full of traditional Polish and Silesian dishes. A substantial meal will run you about $10 (30 złotys).

Pizzeria Verona is a local favourite. This Italian restaurant serves excellent pizza and offers a good selection of pastas and salads. Dishes range from $3-7 (10-20 złotys). There are a number of other Italian options in town to choose from including the Pizzeria Valentino and the Pizzeria Magnolia.

There are also a couple of restaurants specializing in different Asian cuisines, as well as several pubs offering simple Polish and North American fare.

To put some local colour in your cheeks, try nalewka, a traditional polish liquor made by aging ingredients such as herbs, fruits or molasses in a vodka or spirit.



Where to explore

Ksia˛z · Castle
Spoko
Wrocław’s Christmas market
Klearchos Kapoutsis

While Polkowice is a lovely town, it is not home to any major attractions. Luckily, the surrounding re - gion abounds with castles and palaces from the Middle Ages, including the mustsee Ksia˛z · Castle in Wałbryzych, about 100 kilometres away.

Tip 2

Visitors are well advised to explore Wrocław. A major city of more than 600,000 people, it has some lovely historic sites, including markets and dozens of majestic cathedrals. Much of the city’s baroque architecture has been beautifully restored after the destruction of the Second World War. Tour “Poland’s Venice” by foot or take a cruise down the Odra River. If you’re visiting during the holiday season, be sure to experience the magic of Wrocław’s Christmas market, with its array of seasonal treats, drinks and local handicrafts.

A little closer to Polkowice, Złotoryja is a remarkably well-preserved medieval town and tourist centre, complete with city walls from the 1300s. The town has a rich mining history stretching back to the 12th century, which continues today.

Geologists might particularly enjoy Stołowe Mountains National Park, located in the southern part of the voivodeship. The park is well known for its unique rock formations and labyrinths, shaped by years of erosion. 

The Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp memorial is another noteworthy site and a sober reminder of the region’s troubled history.

Tip 3


How to get there
Airplane-icon

Wrocław’s Copernicus airport has incoming flights from several major European airlines including Lufthansa and RyanAir, so connecting from Canada is no problem. Several inexpensive buses run daily from Wrocław to Polkowice, or you could hire a taxi for about $100.

Getting around
Taxi-icon

All officially registered taxis should be marked and use mandatory operating meters. Avoid unmarked taxis. This shouldn’t be an issue in Polkowice, but keep it in mind in larger cities and at the airport.

Polish highways can be a bit unpredictable (both in terms of the road itself and your fellow drivers), so be cautious if you decide to drive yourself. Travelling through Poland by bus or train is quite cheap and reliable.

Money

Poland is a member state of the European Union but has not yet joined the shared currency. While it has committed to eventually doing so, it is very unlikely to happen in the near future. Poland currently uses the złoty, made up of 100 groszy. One Canadian dollar is worth about three złotys.

Credit cards and debit cards are widely accepted. ATMs can be found in towns and cities alike.


Further travel:

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