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Silesian - Zabrze, Rybnik, Tarnowskie Góry, Pszczyna Castle

General information

The Silesian region of Poland is one that might not be super interesting for tourists on the first look, but even though it is one of the smallest regions in Poland, and mainly stands out for its urban landscapes, it does have quite a bit to offer. The only real desert in Europe can be found here, and one of the most interesting things to do in Silesia is to visit some of the old mines that have been opened to the public. Some of the mine shafts were transformed into art galleries, and the mines themselves have been transformed into walking trails. This is quite a different kind of walk than the forest hikes people are used to.

Traveling to and within the area

The area is not super popular with tourists, which means that the public transport is aimed at the local population. You still should not have many problems with getting around. However, this region of Poland is one of the region in which it would be an advantage to have your own car.

Local specialties

When it comes to something special from this region, then you need to mention the Silesian sausage. The Silesian sausages is made of pork and beef that is surrounded by a casing made of natural materials (animal materials, of course). It is smoked and a variety of herbs and seasonings are used to create a very unique taste. If you have the chance (and are not a vegetarian), then you should definitely try one of the Silesian sausages. And you might even order one of the quite good local beers to accompany the sausage!

Sights, places, and activities you should not miss

  • Trail of the Eagles' Nests: This trail exists since the 14th century, and connects 25 castles and watchtowers. It is one of the most popular tourist trails and part of it is in Silesia. The total length of the trail is over 160 kilometers.

  • Zabrze is a town in the Silesian Highlands, and the ideal base for exploring that area. There are some interesting buildings from an architectural point of view, even the fire brigade building is interesting to look at. The town has a few good breweries, so this is also a good place to sample some of the better Polish beers (and also some of the not so good ones!).

  • The Promnice Hunting Lodge is not often mentioned when it comes to must do's for tourists. If you do have access to a car though, you should go and find this place. It is a “typical” hunting lodge built in the English Neo-Gothic style, apart from the fact that it could almost be called a small castle. It was built in 1868, and rulers from all over the world came to this lodge to hunt in the surrounding forests. The hunting lodge is no longer used as a hunting lodge – which is good news for you because you can actually book an apartment in it, or simply go there to have a meal in the excellent restaurant (call in advance though because sometimes there are special events and the restaurant will then be closed to the general public).

  • Rybnik was a fishing town during the medieval ages, and even today, you will find that fishing still plays an important role. Later on, the coaling industry started to have an important economic role for the city and the surrounding area. While Rybnik does not get a lot of income from tourism, it is definitely worth a visit if you would like to experience an authentic Polish city. It also is one of the cleaner cities in the Silesian region. There are quite a few Neo-Classical and Neo-Gothic buildings, and if you feel like a swim, there are plenty of opportunities for that, too.

  • Tarnowskie Góry is one of the places you should go to if you would like to visit one of the old mines. Take a ride on the Upper Silesia Narrow Gauge Railway, stroll around the Town Square, visit the biggest marshaling yard in Poland, have fun in the local water park (great activity for families), explore the churches, castles, and fortresses in the area, and use this city as a base to explore the surrounding area.

  • Check out the Pszczyna Castle if you happen to stay in the city of Pszczyna. The Gothic castle was originally built during the 13th century, but then it was rebuilt in a different style about four centuries later (Renaissance style). Later on, Baroque was “in”, so the exterior received a bit of a change during later centuries, too. The many changes (a modernization followed, too) make this a quite interesting place to visit. And Pszczyna itself has a few more attractions to offer, too.

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