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Hiring a Guide to visit Village outside of Lublin

We will be traveling to Warsaw and Krakow in June - we are two families, total of 6 people including 2 young adults. Trying to determine if we can make a stop in my grandfather's birthplace, Goscieradow a village west of Lublin. While we won't have the time to locate family and don't have too much information about this town, my sister and I are trying to make a stop in his village because we will be so close. A few options that we are considering - train to Lubin; rent a car to drive to Goscierodow (not really comfortable with that as we don't speak Polish) Any experience with hiring guides? Another though would be to do the day trip from Warsaw but that would be about 7 hours of driving for one day.

Any help is appreciated. We have a total of 8 days between the 2 cities, with majority of time in Krakow.

Posted by
118 posts

Do your eight days include travel days? That is, do you land on Day One and leave on Day Eight? If that's the case, then you really only have six full days - you'll land likely mid-morning on Day One and be jetlagged (although I've found the farther east I travel, the easier the jetlag is), can explore Days Two-Seven, and then leave Day Eight. Not a ton of time. Are you flying in and out of Warsaw?

So, the challenge here is that, while Warsaw-Krakow is an easy, 2h15m (give or take a few) ride with no transfers, and Warsaw-Lublin is an easy 2.5-3.5 hour ride, Krakow-Lublin is an interminable slog. It was the worst train ride I've ever had to take, made worse because there is NO reason why it needs to be as long as it is. It is 5.5-6.5 HOURS. HOWEVER - Upon further examination, some trains on this route also stop at Krasnik and/or Zaklikow, towns you'll need to get to to get to Goscieradow. So that might make it worth it.

The challenge here is going to be fitting everything in. Only you can answer this: What do you most want to see? What are your priorities on this trip? Are you willing to sacrifice a day in Krakow or Warsaw to get to Goscieradow? If yes, then here's my suggestion:

Day One: Land Warsaw, get to the train station (Centralna), catch the next train to Krakow. There's one every hour except the noon hour. Let's say you get unlucky and have to catch the 1330; you are still in Krakow by 1546. Check in to your hotel, walk around the Main Square, have an early dinner, go to bed.

Days Two-Four: Three full days in Krakow, since you noted this will be where you spend the majority of your time.

Day Five: DOUBLE CHECK THESE TIMES. I don't know your exact dates, but plugged in 10 June. Leave Krakow at 800, arrive Zaklikow 1229. Yes, the Krakow-Lublin train. Yes, you will stop every 20 minutes. From Zaklikow, you can taxi twenty minutes to Goscieradow. Arrive by 1300. Have lunch, walk around. Taxi back to Zaklikow to catch the 1711 train to Lublin, arriving 1826. Check into hotel, have dinner. Sunset won't be until 2045 or so. I spent three wonderful summers in Lublin, so I am biased, but I think it's a wonderful town. If you had more time, I'd suggest you stay two nights. Alas, you don't, so -

Day Six: Train to Warsaw. Explore Warsaw.

Day Seven: Warsaw.

Day Eight: Fly Home.

Hope this helps!

Posted by
16824 posts

Allison lays out a practical solution, but you'd need to poke around on the Internet to figure out what you could do with your luggage in Zaklikow or Goscieradow if you're unwilling to roll it around with you in Goscieradow. There's a reasonable chance that a café, bar or hotel could be found to store bags for the equivalent of US $5 or less, but it's a bit concerning (to me) not to have a specific plan. However, I've twice found a local solution when I needed one (in Italy and in Spain), and one imagines an easy way to make some money would be appreciated in small-town Poland.

Posted by
118 posts

I am embarrassed to admit I didn't even think about luggage! This could be especially problematic, given you'll be six people needing to take a taxi. I looked on google earth to see if there were hotels near the train stations, where you could possibly store your luggage, and found that, in the case of Zaklikow, the "station" is actually a platform a bit outside of town. Krasnik has an actual station building, but who knows if it will be staffed; surely it doesn't have lockers. You could still try this plan and have an adventure in small-town/rural Poland. Maybe one person could volunteer to hang back and sit with the luggage while the rest go to Goscieradow? Otherwise, you could still go to Krakow on Day One, but only only have two full days there. Get to Lublin on Day Four (it will take most of the day), enjoy the evening there. Day Five, go to Goscieradow. Day Six to Warsaw, Day Seven Warsaw, Day Eight fly home.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you for your replies. We will have 10 days total (2 travel days)
You provided great information and ideas....

Posted by
14 posts

I visited a family village outside of one of the larger towns and was able to take a train to the town and then a local bus to the village. I found the bus schedule online to make sure the times were agreeable. Almost all of the small villages in Poland have local bus services because many people don't own cars.

I did hire a guide to make a 2-1/2 hour journey to another village to look at some old records. I found him by contacting the tourism office. You could contact the tourism office in Lublin to ask about such a local guide. The man was perfect; he picked me up at the train station and took me around, and took me back to the train when we were finished.

I wouldn't hire a guide for a short local visit such as yours. I would just get a bus or Uber. But I would definitely hire one for a long day trip to multiple villages.

I will also comment that I didn't have any trouble with the language during my 3 weeks in Eastern Europe. Although a lot of people didn't speak English, I got by with a few practiced phrases such as "Good Day", "Thank you" and "I don't speak Polish". I also used my Google Translate app and typed in the information and showed it to the person. I saw a small hand-held translator device on Amazon (looks like a cell phone) that I'm planning to buy for my next trip. You speak into it and it speaks in the language back to the person. I don't think it's necessary for small transactions but more for extended conversation with someone.