If you want to find a castle, come to Europe, dotted all around the European countryside visitors can find real life fairytale scenes. Poland is no different, and a country with such a rich history has of course some beautiful castles.
We took a train from Wroclaw Glowny Station and 1 hour later we arrived in the city of Wałbrzych, just 6 miles from the Czech border. Like the rest of Poland, the city has swapped hands many times and oozes history, what keeps the visitors coming is the world-renowned Ksiaz Castle.
Ksiaz Castle is within easy reach from the train station, less than 10 minutes! The castle complez hosts a number of hotels, my friend and I stayed at the only accommodation actually owned by the castle, Ksiaz Hotel.
The hotel is excellent for those looking for a one or two day stay to explore, and at just 280.00 zł per night (£58/€65), it’s a bit of a bargain really. It is simple accommodation with good service, spacious rooms and a comfy bed! You have the convenience of being able to walk straight into the castle pretty much from the building.
The castle has become famous in recent years due to the network of underground tunnels that have been found and also its connections to World War II. In the last decade tourists have flocked to Wakbryzch due to the legend of a Nazi gold train hiding somewhere beneath the castle, no train has ever been found but people still visit in the hope they may stumble upon some riches!
Ksiaz Castle has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, with its life dating back to 1288. The current structure has been handed between different hands through the years and in 1944 fell into the hands of the Nazis, historians believe it was planned that the castle would be the future abode of Adolf Hitler himself had he not lost the war.
Visitors are free to explore the public rooms of the castle, and there are lots of them! There are guides in numerous languages and even an app being rolled out to make it even easier for guests as tourist numbers rise. You could spend hours upon hours making your way round the different rooms and learning about what once went on within the castle walls. For me I was most fascinated by the photographs that are now on display showing the life of the von Hochberg family who once owned the castle. On display are around 200 photographs taken between 1909 and 1926, giving visitors a real taste of family life here.
After exploring the interior of the castle we headed out into the gardens which were just as beautiful. the whole property is surrounded by thick woodland, and if you have the energy, you can climb 300 steps up the tower of the castle where you can witness incredible views. I can imagine this would be especially stunning during autumn.
In the evening we popped into Wałbrzych itself for dinner and a quick walk around the town square. The centre of the town seems fairly small but it is a large city with a population of over 120,000 inhabitants. There was a great sense of community in the town square and the city has done a lot in recent years to decrease crime (which has worked very well thanks to new CCTV). There was a music concert on which had pulled in a great crowd.
For dinner we ate at ‘Zielona Sofa‘ cafe, which in English means ‘green sofa’. I was almost sad it wasn’t freezing and snowing outside as the cafe had the cosiest interior and is well known for its hot chocolate and other tasty treats. You could tell straight away this was a popular place to eat and it gave off the same sort of vibes as Central Perk in Friends.
I devoured an entire pasta bake (with cheese) and also tried some of the cafe’s home made lemonade, which was delicious by the way and tasted like liquid sherbet. All food and drink is homemade, meaning no brands such as Coca Cola or Pepsi, this works very well.
So in conclusion, Ksiaz Castle and Wałbrzych were a great addition to our trip to Poland. I would highly recommend visiting for the day, or even spending a night here if you have time, when you are visiting Wroclaw!