Excursion to Kazimierz Dolny
Kazimierz Dolny Travel Blog› entry 15 of 88 › view all entries
I've been in Warsaw since February and have been hearing about Kazimierz since I arrived. I've read that this city is called "the Jewel of the Renaissance," that it's something of an artist colony with lots of galleries and exhibition and that the surroundings are beautiful, so it's time to go and check it out!
I decided to go by car with my friends Juan Carlos, Michal and Alicja. Kazimierz is 145 kms east of Warsaw in and I expected it would take me about an hour and a half to drive there. I checked my itinerary, got some maps and we headed to Kazimierz on Saturday morning.
This is my first real driving experience in Poland. It wasn't too easy finding my way out of the city, but once on my way, save a couple of slight detours that my copilots helped me out with, things went smoothly.
So, as far as driving goes, the main thing to keep in mind while driving here is that you need to make it easy for people to pass you - slower traffic often drives on the shoulder to let others pass easily. Aside from that, you need to be aware that the speed limit can vary from 50 to 90 depending upon where you are and there are radar stations here and there that will ticket you if you're speeding. Another thing is that if you notice that someone flashes their emergency lights at you after passing, that's their way of saying "thank you" for letting them pass easily.
The drive to Kazimierz was pleasant, but it took a lot longer than I expected - over two hours to get there. Once we arrived, finding a place to leave the car was no problem at all. There are a number of parking areas - both guarded and non-guarded. Parking for the day cost 10 PLN.
- The fabulous landscape surrounding the town. This is definitely a place where you can take a lot of great pictures. The view of the Zamek castle ruins and Wieza tower on the windy hill above the city is impressive.
- Granaries before reaching the town. Kazimierz at one time was a very rich area and the revenues came from transportation of grain down the Vistula River. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take any pictures of these, but you can't miss them.
- The urban area with unique monuments including some old Mannerist houses from the late years of the Renaissance and some quaint wooden houses with balconies and gardens full of flowers.
- Rynek (Market Square). This square is pretty. We met a lot of gypsy ladies trying to sell us things or tell our fortune! It reminded me of a trip to the Alhambra!! I'd never encountered them in Poland before!
- Castle Ruins (Zamek) and defensive tower (Wieza). It's an uphill walk, with a lot of stairs, but the views, the ruins and the tower are well worth the effort!
- FARA church dedicated to St.
- Church of the Annunciation. The steps to this church are enclosed in a wooden structure. The church wasn't as pretty as the Fara, but was nice to visit as well. There were weddings going on all over the place. We must have seen at least six brides in Kazimierz Dolny last Saturday!
- Many art galleries and gift shops.
I had heard that there were many cool restaurants and cafés, but we didn't have an easy time finding a nice place for lunch. Eventually, our search really paid off. We had lunch at a place called Pod Wietrzną Górą which I recommend.
After lunch we walked up to the castle and tower - I really enjoyed this and took a lot of pictures. This was a great way to work off some of the big lunch! I really recommend climbing the stairs up to the top of the defense tower above the town. The view is spectacular.
Four or five hours is plenty of time to see the major attractions in Kazimierz. I could have spent more time checking out the galleries and shops, but some of our travelmates were "speed walking" and we headed back to Warsaw at about 5 p.m. This was a nice day trip and I recommend it to anyone who comes to Warsaw. I haven't investigated Lublin yet, but maybe a trip there could be combined with the visit to Kazimierz and a weekend can be made of it!