Castle Gardens in Kazimierz Dolny, Poland

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Castle Gardens in Kazimierz Dolny Dolny, Poland

Autumn colours light up the palate of Kazimierz Dolny’s castle gardens. Kazimierz Dolny is a small, quirky village in eastern Poland within easy day trip striking distance of Warsaw, Poland’s capital. Though a short-lived season, Poland is vivid in autumn – September being a spectacular month for a visit, as the entire month seems to follow the rules of the Golden Hour usually attributed only to brief moments at sunrise or sunset. After weaving Kazimierz’s bustling medieval streets, head up the hill where you will pass the zamek – the lower castle – before climbing the path to the 19-meter tower, or the upper zamek. The view from here over the castle gardens, town and Wisla River (Vistula River in English) is simply splendid. Before the castle was built, the hilltop housed a beacon to warn surrounding settlements of impending attacks. Once upon a time, there was even a drawbridge, a moat, and five floors. Though you can’t climb more than one storey up now, the castle, gardens and tower are all a mystical and magical place made even better when doused in the golden autumn sunlight.


More Off-the-Beaten-Path Destinations in Eastern Europe
  1. Lublin, Poland
  2. Zagreb, Croatia
  3. Kiev, Ukraine
  4. Trakai Castle, Lithuania
  5. Gauja River Valley, Latvia

 

Kazimierez Dolny, Poland

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Kazimierez Dolny, Poland

Sweeping views of the Vistula River, piqued steeples of orange tiles on a church’s roof and slightly browning leaves as fall descends on the little medieval town of Kazimierez Dolny. Located in eastern Poland, Kaz. is well-known for being one of the few Polish towns to survive demolition during the war and the years that followed. Small, quaint, picturesque, it as historic as it is beautiful. Once an important merchant town in the 16th and 17th centuries,  the die-down of the grain trade along its river coupled with invasions from the formidable Swedish army caused the town to be preserved in a Renaissance-shaped bubble. While this wasn’t particularly good for the Renaissance-era and post-Renaissance-era residents, this is great news for the modern tourist looking to catch a glimpse of the culture and history of Poland. As most of small-town Poland was destroyed and rebuilt in the styles of the 20th century, and most historic city centres of Poland were also destroyed and rebuilt following the guidelines of memories and paintings, the pockets of historically-authentic (and mightily beautiful!) towns such as Kaz. Dolny are a rarity. Kazimierez Dolny is a rare opportunity to glimpse the life of medieval and Renaissance Poland as they once existed in their golden heyday.

 

Wisła River, Warsaw, Poland

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Banks of the Wisła River, Warsaw, Poland

Leaves turn vibrant shades of red, gold, and orange as the air becomes crisp and cool. And slowly, like leaves do all over the world, they begin their annul downward spiral towards earth. As summer disappears, so do the party boats that line the Wisła (or Vistula in English) River in Warsaw. During summer nights, the left bank of Warsaw’s river is the place to be to find a great party. Students, tourists, locals of all ages and walks of life–it feels like the whole of Warsaw congregates on the banks of the river. Boats moored to the shore provide music, cheap drinks, and dancing. But as the leaves fall and the air grows cooler, the Poles return to indoor bars in the centre of town. The Vistula suddenly becomes quiet once more, entertaining only the occasional jogger, fisherman or happy couple as the breeze works to create a red-gold carpet of leaves on the now-abandoned pathways. It is hard to imagine a more peaceful or quiet place in centre of Poland’s bustling capital city than the banks of the beautiful Vistula River.