Back when I was living in Mexico, sometimes during the year my parents took my brother and me for the weekend to some small towns close to Mexico City.
As a child I didn’t really enjoy those kinds of trips because it was boring for me, I preferred to stay at home and went out to the street to play football with my neighbors and cousins. But anyway, my parents knew that going out for a couple of days from the chaos of the capital was good for our physical and mental health.
These small towns are now called in Spanish ‘Pueblos Mágicos‘, which means ‘Magic Towns’, and they are not wrong, when you go there it seems that you are traveling back in time.
When we visited those towns, we had to walk a lot, I have to say that I was a little bit lazier than I’m now, so I was always complaining. But, my parents always bought for my brother and me an ice-cream at the square market and we suddenly forgot that we were exhausted for walking 20 minutes.
Anyway, those ‘Magic Towns’ were really colorful and quite unique. The food we had there was just amazing. Also, it seemed that all the people in the town knew each other so it was kind of cool.
When I was getting older, I enjoyed more and more those weekend trips with my parents. I started to appreciate the unique architecture and colors of the downtowns, I enjoyed walking around the town discovering new places. I believe, thanks to my parents I enjoy traveling right now in my life.
The Beginning of my Journey in Poland
When I moved to Poland back in 2013, my plan was always to live in the capital of the country, I had a few reasons to consider Warsaw rather than other cities:
- First, I was born in Mexico City, which is a concrete monster full of chaos and noise (I just simply love it), so I was looking for something similar in Poland.
- Second, I was a foreigner that came to Poland with zero knowledge of the Polish language, so Warsaw was my best choice to find a job with English and Spanish.
- Third, my Polish girlfriend at that time (now my wife) lived in Warsaw, so this city was my favorite one since the beginning.
Due to those reasons, I started my life in Warsaw, I enrolled in a Polish University, I got a job, and I started learning Polish. Some days during the week I just wanted to stay in bed and rest… some days it was just too much.
My Travels Around Poland
Same as in Mexico City, I needed a break of my daily life in the Polish capital, I started to look for towns or cities close to Warsaw, in order to explore them and forget about Warsaw at least for a few days.
Those places I visited in Poland were absolutely amazing, and I visit them again when I have time. But so far, I hadn’t had the chance to travel to really small and colorful Polish towns just like those ‘Magic Towns’ in Mexico.
Many times in my social channels, I saw pictures of different places in Poland, and there was always a small town that appeared on my newsfeed: Kazimierz Dolny. So I said to myself: “David, you have to go there”.
I was talking with my friends recently, and I shared with them my idea to travel there, but my friends were quite surprised that I hadn’t visited yet that town, mainly because it’s really popular among Polish people, because it’s quite close to Warsaw, and well because I have a blog about Poland!
I didn’t think it twice, and I told to my Polish wife: “Karolina, this weekend we are going to Kazimierz Dolny”. She agreed and our new adventure began.
Kazimierz Dolny – Beautiful Small Town in Central Poland
Kazimierz Dolny is a town in central-eastern Poland. It is a really small town with a total area of just 30.4 km2, and a population of just 2,600 people. I believe the neighborhood where I live in Warsaw is bigger.
The name of the city might be quite difficult to pronounce for foreigners as there are many zzz sounds on it. So don’t get mad if you can’t pronounce it on your first try. Instead of saying Kazimierz Dolny many people just call it Kazimierz, so you can say it like this.
Kazimierz is just 60km from Lublin (a really popular city in Poland), and just 140km from Warsaw. Many people consider Kazimierz Dolny as probably the most beautiful small town in Poland.
Such as Warsaw, Kazimierz Dolny also connects to the Vistula (Wisła in Polish) river, which makes it perfect for photographers.
History of Kazimierz Dolny in a Nutshell
Kazimierz Dolny is one of the oldest towns in Poland. The first people that lived in this town goes back to the 11th century! So this means that Kazimierz has more or less 800 years of history.
In the beginning, this town was called Wietrzna Góra, but in 1181 the name was changed to Kazimierz. The reason was that the Prince Kazimierz gave the place as a present to a monastery, so the nuns who lived there decided to rename the city as a sing of gratitude to the Prince.
Then the word Dolny (lower in English) was added to the name in order to differentiate it with the district in Kraków which is called Kazimierz. This is why the city is called Kazimierz Dolny.
In the past, Kazimierz was an important trade center of grain, and the King Władysław II Jagiełło was responsible for modernizing the city. He ordered the construction of the square market and the streets around it.
During the II World War, Kazimierz Dolny survived, and it was just partly destroyed, but they rebuilt it like it was before. This town is also a Historic Monument in Poland since 1994, so you can be sure the town is really well preserved.
Nowadays, Kazimierz is visited for more than one million tourists every year!
One of the things I loved the most about this city is that it is really pet-friendly, meaning that you can enter almost all places with your dog, so in case you were wondering if you should take your dog to this town, you should do it.
Best Places to Visit in Kazimierz Dolny
As I mentioned Kazimierz is a really small town, so don’t expect as many touristic attractions as in Warsaw or Kraków.
In my opinion, Kazimierz is a town that you could explore in 1 or 2 days maximum, it’s an ideal place to spend a weekend. If you want to spend more days, you might not find many things to do in the town, and you might get bored, but that’s just my opinion.
After exploring this town, I would say that these are the best places in Kazimierz Dolny:
1. The Square Market
As in some other cities in Poland, the square market is normally the first place chosen by tourists. In Kazimierz, this is not different, the main square of the town is the most popular attraction.
The square market is not big, you can walk around it in less than 10 minutes, so don’t worry, you will have enough time to explore it.
The square market is really colourful and full of life, if you visit this place during summer season you will find many artists performing on the streets.
There are many cafes and restaurants around the square so you can enjoy a coffee or a beer while appreciating the landscape.
Close to the market square, you can also visit the Church of the Annunciation, the Church of St. John the Baptist, the Old Synagogue and the Bakery Sarzyński (Piekarnia Sarzyński in Polish), which is extremely popular, here you can buy the famous roast dough of Kazimierz.
Also, if you are hungry, some Polish friends recommended me the following restaurants: Kaslik (Lebanese restaurant) and Akuku.
If you want, you can watch this video I made about Kazimierz Dolny:
2. The Ruins of the Castle of Kazimierz
One of the coolest things I love about Poland or Europe is that I can actually visit a castle. For me, visit a pyramid is quite normal as close to my hometown in Mexico there are many pyramids. But seeing a castle is really extravagant for me!
The ruins of the castle are about 10 minutes by foot from the market square. The castle was originally built in the 13th century.
The ruins are not that big, but it’s really interesting to walk inside those ruins, you can feel that you are a knight in medieval times.
You can go inside some rooms and also to a platform where you can appreciate the beauty of the Vistula river. Traveler tip: if you visit Kazimierz with your dog, ask nicely to the staff and they will let you enter the ruins with your furry friend.
Also close to the ruins is located the Castle Tower (Baszta Zamkowa in Polish), you can go to the top of the tower to have an excellent panoramic view of the city, but just be aware that you need to climb a lot of stairs! If you are visiting during a hot day you might run out of breath.
The ticket for the ruins and the tower is just 5 PLN (1 Euro) for adults, and children under 7 years old enter for free, so you have no excuse to visit these places.
By the way, if you are interested in reading which are the most amazing castles in Poland, check this post: 7 Most Amazing Polish Castles.
3. The Hill of Three Crosses
If you are a photographer or an Instagram lover this place will be your favorite in Kazimierz.
Close to the main square of the town you can go to the top of the hill of three crosses (Góra Trzech Krzyży in Polish), you will need to climb a lot of stairs, and when you are at the top you will need to pay only 4 PLN (Less than 1 Euro) to enter to the hill.
When you are at the top you will see on your left side three crosses that remember the victims of a 1708 cholera epidemic. And on your right side, you will have the best panoramic view of Kazimierz Dolny. Believe guys, you will want to go there, take a picture and save that memory for eternity.
4. Wąwóz Korzeniowy
This place was the most surprising for me during our trip to Kazimierz. This place called Wąwóz Korzeniowy (quite difficult to pronounce) is just 2km away from the main square of the town.
Wąwóz Korzeniowy is a path or road in the middle of a small forest. It’s a place where you will coexist with nature.
The coolest thing about this place is that when you are walking it seems that you are walking under the trees. To understand me better here you can see a cool picture about it:
On your left and right side, you can see how the root of trees are growing which make this place unique.
The only thing I didn’t like about it is that there were a lot of mosquitos! If you visit, make sure to have mosquito repellent otherwise you will suffer as I did.
5. The Holocaust Memorial Wall
As some other cities in Poland, there are many monuments remembering the victims of the Holocaust. In Kazimierz Dolny there is a Holocaust Memorial Wall.
This memorial wall is located inside the Cemetery Żydowski “Kirkut” Czerniawy. It’s just 1.3 km from the main square of the city.
The cemetery is really simple but the Holocaust Memorial Wall makes it a place to think and remember all of those people that lost their lives during that horrible time.
How to Get to Kazimierz Dolny?
If after reading this post you have decided that you must visit Kazimierz (Believe me, it’s worth it), I will tell you how to get there from Warsaw.
The easiest and fastest way to arrive is to go by car, it will take you more or less 2.5 hours, some roads are under construction so you might expect traffic jams.
Unfortunately, there is not a train station in Kazimierz, the nearest station is located in Puławy, which is 15km away from Kazimierz center. From there you can take a taxi and it wil not be that expensive.
Also, there are some buses that go out from Warsaw Central Station to Kazimierz Dolny. The fastest bus will take you in 3 hours, and the price per person for one way ticket will be around 20 PLN (4 Euros) to 30 (6 Euros) PLN. If you are interested in this option you can buy your ticket on this website: e-podroznik.pl.
And that was my review of this small but extraordinary city in Poland. I highly recommend it if you want to escape from your daily life for a weekend.
Have you been to Kazimierz Dolny? Are you planning to visit it? Share your comments below!