Places to stay in Poland
But if you’re not lucky enough to know them, you could try one of these other places which we would highly recommend. (Places we would not recommend not included.) Most fun is to stay in an agrotourism, along with the goats, rabbits, cows and sheep…
Oberża Sąsiadow, Kraków: This ‘auberge’ is a collection of rooms and en suites, each very nicely done. For a reasonably reasonable price you can stay in this attractive old house, perfectly located on the city-centre side of Kazimierz, and therefore away from the over-touristy zones yet within easy walking distance of everything you might want to see. I would recommend opting out of breakfast. (There are lots of little bohemian-style cafes in Kazimierz offering real coffee with real bread and real cheese etc, although you will need to put up with clouds of cigarette smoke.)
Lipowa Dolina, Wylągi: Wylągi is a little village of scattered farmhouses right next to the old, pretty town of Kazimierz Dolny. Our farmhouse was nestled among silver birch trees up on the hills over the main road. To get there, drive up and down the main street several times trying to follow the erratic house numbering system, give up and call Marcin, the Lipowas’ son, who will come and find you, even on a dark, wet and windy night, and then lead you along steep, winding and muddy forest tracks until you reach his parents’ impressive wooden gate. We stayed in their little log cabin, heated by an old-fashioned wood-fired oven and just steps away from the main house where we enjoyed fantastic meals prepared by Mrs Lipowa, a renowned local cook and hostess.
It’s not really a farm, but they keep chickens, goats, rabbits and an assortment of nut trees, fruit bushes and vegetables, any of which may appear on the dinner table with the exception of the goats, which seem to be treated more as pets and are named after the characters of a well-known Polish play according to their individual characteristics. Locally foraged mushrooms are also one of Mrs Lipowa’s specialities – our pate was full of reconstituted dried black trumpet mushrooms collected nearby last autumn. This would be an amazing place to stay in the summer, when meals are served outside round the fire-pit.
Łatka Family, Barcice Dolne: Barcice Dolne is a sizable village close to Nowy Sącz and Stary Sącz, in southern Poland. To find the Łatka guesthouse drive up and down the main street several times trying to figure out the erratic house numbering system and refusing to believe GPS + Google Maps won’t sort you out, then stop to ask some locals (the few brave enough to be out in the snow at night) in your best Polish, until you find one who insists on running in front of your car to lead you to the guesthouse and introducing you to the Łatkas personally.
Once there you will receive a warm welcome from Mrs Łatka, who will demonstrate to you how she makes butter, buttermilk, cheese, sour cream, soup and even bread using milk from their cow out back. Mrs Łatka is a fabulous cook and has the patience of a saint when interrogated by curious tourists, mainly through hand gestures and animal noises, as to how she concocted her dishes. If you’re lucky like us you’ll get her delicious żurek soup for breakfast (pictured).