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Hotel recommendations for Zakopane, Gniezno, Torun

We are looking for hotel suggestions for Zakopane, Gniezno, Wroclaw and Torun. We like modestly priced properties (approx $50-$100), that are clean, comfortable, locally owned and in or near city center. Friendly/personable staff is a plus. If something is really special/has some unique characteristic, we will pay at the top end of our range. Torun is in the RS guide, however, the properties listed are unavailable.

Also, feel free to recommend restaurants or activities you especially enjoyed in those cities.

Thanks

Posted by
2214 posts

Pierogarnia Stary Młyn (https://www.pierogarnie.com/en/) is a great introduction to Polish cuisine and all things Pierogi. They have all kinds of pierogi including many vegetarian options plus other nice menu items like rustic Polish salads and hearty soups, very affordable for the large portions. It's also very user friendly, especially for first timers, the staff were great and explained everything very well. They have locations in Wroclaw, Torun, and Gdansk.

I stayed in Hotel Mercure Wroclaw Centrum the 3 times I have been, it's modern and stylish but very reasonably prices, around 70 Eur (300 PLN), the best part it's right in the centre of the action.

In Zakopane, my favorite place to stay is called Villa Belweder: http://www.villabelweder.pl/, it's a boutique rural villa, very typical of Polish Tatras, that's been modernized, feels like you are living in one of those Hobbit houses.

Posted by
18917 posts

In Torun I ate at Manekin. It has three branches in the city, two of them convenient to the historic area. It is a creperie. What can I say? I was in Poland for six weeks and wanted some variety in my diet! I enjoyed it enough the first time that I went back two more times. My notes say I had grilled fish on the third occasion, so I guess the menu isn't 100% crepes. I paid about 25 zloty when I drank water; it was 30 zloty when I had lemonade.

I stayed at the Hotel Filmar, which Google tells me is a 4-star hotel. I have absolutely no memory of it. Since I usually choose the least expensive, decently located hotel with no signficant issues apparent from the booking.com reviews, not remembering a place is a good thing. I assume the Filmar is a characterless sort of place. It's definitely north of the historic center; I'm sure there are places more convenient for sightseeing.

While in Torun I went to the regional museum in the old town hall. It's a history museum. Alas, I don't remember anything about it, either. However, on the rare occasions when I find something totally dull, I do tend to remember my disappointment, so no memory is good. I also don't remember anything about the Far East Museum, but that is of little importance because it appears that museum is currently closed. My memory is equally useless for the Centrum Sztuki, which is a contemporary-art museum. (Sorry.) There's also St. Mary's Church.

I think Torun is the gingerbread town. Have to try that. It didn't change my life but it was fine. As I recall, it comes in different varieties--the better to separate tourists from larger amounts of money.

In Wroclaw I stayed at the Hotel Piast, which is right near the train station. There was an issue there; unfortunately, I don't remember what it was. I took a detour over to Zgorelec/Goerlitz and returned to Wroclaw for a couple of additional nights, and I sought a different place to stay. I'd guess there was an a/c or Wi-Fi problem, because I am otherwise not a picky hotel guest. In any case, most visitors would prefer to be in the historic center.

The second time around I stayed at the B&B Hotel Wroclaw Centrum, which is closer to the Old Town but not quite inside it. No memory of if whatsoever, so it was at least OK by my minimal standards.

Wroclaw is a museum-rich city, as befits a place with a population of over 600,000. It has multiple art museums (see what In Your Pocket lists) and an architecture museum in a medieval monastery building. The Centrum Historii Zajezdnia is a history museum that has some interesting history to recount, because Wroclaw was the German Breslau until after WWII. Things are fairly spread out. My notes show I used trams a lot, and I usually walk everywhere.

There's a "free"-tour company working in Wroclaw that offers topical tours. I enjoyed all three I took but would caution that the "Dwarves and Communism" tour is much, much more about dwarves than Communism. Some on a short stay might not be willing to spend that much time looking for little dwarf statues, though the guide was good, and he did share interesting information about Wroclaw.

In Wroclaw I ate at the Gastropub Wroclawska (conveniently located near the center of the historic area); it serves Polish cuisine, including chocolate pierogi, so that's a plus. (No, I don't remember eating there.) Other places I ate appear to have closed.

Posted by
3893 posts

@CWSocial, I have been reading through Poland topics that already exist on the forum. There is a lot of good information there. The way you wrote your trip report makes it fun to read. I think your suggestion for Wroclaw fits the bill. For Torun, that's helpful, too, Torun seems busy, already. @Ann, I really value all the detail you provide. I can only hope that some day I will not be able to remember places I've stayed! And I love gingerbread! @ Carlos, the Polish government should hire you to promote Poland! Pierogi! We have yet to try them, though, I think food trucks in our area are doing them, now. Chocolate? Yes, please.

@CWSocial and Carlos, Am I understanding that there is a better way to get to Swidica besides train?

Posted by
1947 posts

Am I understanding that there is a better way to get to Swidica besides train?

Yes, I think the minibus from Wrocław to Swidnica was quite easy and very inexpensive. I tried to include all the details about the stops at each end in that same trip report because that was the only tricky part. Let me know if you still have questions because my memory of it is still pretty clear and I took great "getting there and back" pictures that I can go back to for details.

Posted by
1947 posts

The challenge of taking the train from Wroclaw to Swidnica, as I vaguely recall, was the infrequency of the trains, which made it difficult, or perhaps even impossible, to do as a day trip. In contrast, the minibus gives you multiple outbound and return options for a day trip.

Posted by
2214 posts

You could also opt to hire a local guide with transportation to facilitate out of the way day trips that might be more difficult to reach be one's self. I have used the site Viator a number of times when booking local guides and daytrips, very good experiences every time.

Here's an option for the Church of Peace in Swidnica, includes a knowledgeable guide and private minivan/coach transportation:
https://www.viator.com/tours/Wroclaw/UNESCO-World-Heritage-listed-Church-of-Peace-Day-Tour/d24500-69641P2

Posted by
18917 posts

This is the website of the company operating the tour listed by Carlos: https://viadrinatours.com/. You can find information about the tour operator under "Additional Information" in the Viator listing. Booking directly means either savings for you or more money in the hands of the tour operator.

In this case, I don't see an identical tour listed on the Viadrina website, so you'd need to contact them to ask about it.

Posted by
3893 posts

Thanks for the info for Swidnica.

I swear every picture I see of many of these towns is drop dead gorgeous. The colors! Seems like these places are amped up Prague.

Posted by
2214 posts

I swear every picture I see of many of these towns is drop dead gorgeous. The colors! Seems like these places are amped up Prague.

Funny you should say that because just a short jaunt from Wroclaw is the Gothic-Renaissance town of Kłodzko nicknamed “Little Prague”. When I visited, by far the most interesting site in the town is the old Prussian Fortress that dominates the center of the town. It was apparently one of the largest star fortifications and is in remarkably well preserved.

Another further escapade from Wroclaw is the German Baroque town of Görlitz, right on the border with Poland, as well as very colourful it was the filming location for Grand Budapest Hotel. Though I am not sure how German border crossing will be facilitated now in the time of Covid.

Posted by
3893 posts

@CWSocial, I went back to read more of your trip report. I had hoped I could comment there, but the post is closed. Your route to Swidnica seems quite doable. I wanted to double check that the company (?) that does the trip still exists, I looked on Facebook and I followed your link, but I'm not sure of how to contact the company. I tried Flixbus, as well, but I didn't get results on my search. I do see that the train goes to Swidnica, but it doesn't look like it has any consistent schedule.