Top Ten Alternative Tourism Options in Lower Silesia
Lower Silesia

So you’re bored of Wrocław and Lower Silesia. You drank all night at a beach bar, you passed out in Pasaz Niepolda, and you even walked up Sniezka with a terrible hangover. Bravo you. But now you are looking for some truly alternative tourism options for your Instagram so you can boast to everyone O M G and L O L. But you need help, don’t you? Don’t worry, I’m here to help with my top ten alternative tourism destinations in Lower Silesia. Rest assured, most expats would never dream of visiting these places, probably because they think that they will get eaten by locals or thrown off a cliff.

1 Zawidów

The undisputed King of Tourism in Lower Silesia. Nothing quite says cultural highlight like this place, with the special smashed up hotel on the main square and streets that haven’t been renovated since 1945. The Town Hall is nice, I suppose, but the rest of the town occupies a very special place at #1 on my list. The local football team isn’t much better, with the highlight in their history being their promotion to the Lower Silesian IV League in 2010. The local train station is also hilariously overengineered for the fact that nothing stops there.

What to see?

  • Victory Square
  • A home game of KS Piast Zawidów
  • The train station, where you can wait years for your train home.

Welcome to Zawidów! A big fence stood here for decades, for reasons only known to the Powers That Be. Photo by Hoover5555 / Wikimedia, licence CC BY 4.0

2 Szczytnica

The runner up place goes to the strange village of Szczytnica, located next to the A4 highway that connects Wroclaw to the wider world. Notable for being home to more petrol stations than people, this village is also home to an inaccessible restaurant and all sorts of other tourist services. Rumour had it that apartments were available for 10000PLN a few years ago, but it seems that few foreigners were tempted by such a pleasant proposition.

What to see?

  • The racetrack / former Soviet runway
  • The strange scams taking place in the petrol stations
  • The huge amount of tasteless and hideous advertising next to the motorway.

3 Nowa Ruda

A lovely place if you like the smell of coal, the town of Nowa Ruda comes as an unpleasant surprise to those driving around the Lower Silesian countryside. Not only does the town feature an abnormal amount of drunks, but the town itself appears to burn more coal than the average power plant in the middle of winter. The lingering smell persists throughout summer, and even if you don’t die immediately from lung failure, the locals will certainly help to hasten your demise.

What to see?

  • The river that flows gently through the town
  • Several pubs with an interesting and diverse clientele
  • The interesting and varied selection of local shops for local shopping enthusiasts.

The “Church House”, symbol of the town. Photo by Jar.ciurus / Wikimedia, licence CC BY-SA 3.0

4 Olszyna border crossing

Be quick, because the unique charms of the Olszyna border crossing will only exist for another year at the most. This place, mostly abandoned in 2007, now flourishes as a home for seedy supermarkets and the high chance of having your car stolen while you shop inside. Lovers of border crossings can admire the huge amount of infrastructure left in-situ, while sensible people attempting to escape will soon run into problems as they realise that the site is still fenced off for reasons unknown. Connoisseurs of misery can also stay at the on-site hotel, which acts as a useful overnight stopping point when trying to reach the relative sanity of Berlin.

What to see?

  • The rude person working at the currency exchange office inside the former Customs administration building
  • Trucks from all over Europe
  • What happens when you don’t actually do anything with a large amount of buildings (think Pripyat).

5 Przełęcz Okraj (Okraj Pass)

Blink and you’ll miss it. People rushing to the Czech ski resorts often miss this border settlement, which is home to nearly nothing of note whatsoever. A PTTK shelter lies here with a curious system of paid parking, as do a couple of new shelters built just behind. Expect to get cheated in those new shelters by outsiders intent on providing poor service at an extortionate price, while a gold medal is awarded for anyone that can figure out the absurdity of the parking situation at the PTTK hut. Don’t forget to take your passport, as the Polish border guards often prowl the area looking for naive tourists who accidentally strayed into the Czech Republic looking for something to eat that hasn’t been boiled to death first.

What to see?

  • The sign saying “Ceska Republika”
  • The dangerous potholed road leading to the pass
  • The grumpy man working in one of the shelters who wants money in Czech Koruna despite being in Poland.

The former border guard watchtower buildings. Designed to protect against Czech skiers hoping to take advantage of the absence of facilities on the Polish side of the pass. Photo by Timaska / Wikimedia, licence CC0 1.0 (Public Domain).

6 Kamienna Góra

Another fine destination on our top ten list, Kamienna Gora is home to Hitler’s secret laboratories. The entire town is full of such secret places, though they aren’t very secret now that they’ve been found and documented. There’s also another absurdly large train station, though this one actually has the occasional train despite the entire area being overgrown and derelict. Tourists looking for a genuine Polish tourism experience can also visit the Museum of Lower Silesian Weaving, which is one of Europe’s most boring and uninteresting museums. The town also boasts several terrible kebab restaurants in basements, all of which add to the charm of the city.

What to see?

  • Mad Max pub, which isn’t mad, and no-one called Max works there
  • The bus station, which offers a wide range of departures to even more depressing nearby towns and villages
  • Zamek Krepplehof, which was ruined a long time ago and no-one has bothered to actually rebuild it.

7Karłów

It’s in the middle of the Table Mountains, so it should be nice, right? Unfortunately, no. The village is rather filled with stupidity of the highest order, including a vast amount of wealthy peasants who come to Karlow to demonstrate how rich and successful they are. The village itself features an unremarkable and unpleasant Dinoland, while the bizarrely named Carlsberg Inn doesn’t actually sell Carlsberg, or any Danish beer whatsoever. Even the local “Red Water” river isn’t actually red, adding to the disappointment felt by tourists.

What to see?

  • Drunk tourists making an idiot out of themselves
  • Local hotels, where you can only pay with cash during check-in, and don’t you dare ask for an invoice. Oh, and you need to pay for car parking too.
  • The limited car parking, which is always full by 9am.

8 Pieńsk

So, you’ve just crossed the border into Poland after a nice trip around Germany, and what’s the first thing you see? Biedronka, of course! The monument to unpleasurable shopping experiences stands guard over the town, while the town itself is dominated by a dreadfully ugly boulevard with street lights designed by a blind architect. Locals hang outside the 24h alcohol shop in the center, while the local pharmacy offers a wide range of medicines catering to local hypochrondriacs. The curiously designed church occupies a central position in the town, but finding the entrance is like finding an entire set of teeth belonging to a hen.

What to see?

  • Resto Grand, which is neither a restaurant nor grand
  • The local Spar franchise, which markets itself as a Polish shop
  • The broken pavements everywhere, which exist solely to drum up business for the local medical clinics.

The Huta Lucyna works, which are testament to the authentic character of the town. Photo by Adam Kliczek, licence CC BY-SA 3.0

9 Strzegom

Lovers of stone will love this town, which is notable for nothing other than seemingly being the centre of Polish stone production. Tourists will enjoy the large, obtrusive posters for all kinds of stone, while struggling not to drive their car into the disgusting river that pretends to flow through the town. The local train station offers departures from nowhere to nowhere, with the most notable feature being the ugly fence that divides the tracks. Should you wish to stay the night, there are several laid-back lodging options, none of which offer anything exciting beyond the possibility of burning yourself while attempting to cook sausages over a poorly built fire.

What to see?

  • The cobblestoned streets, which have remained in place since 1945 because no-one had the money to replace them
  • KEBAB restaurant, which claims to offer Turkish cuisine. The light-up neon KEBAB sign attracts masses of locals on warm nights, however
  • The local cultural house, which has a disgusting design designed to strike fear into suffers of Trypophobia.

10 Bielany Wrocławskie

While most people know the town as being one big monument to consumerism, including the temple of Aleja Bielany, there are in fact several notable charms. Lovers of Nazi gas stations will enjoy the Orlen station next to the highway, while the Orient Palace hotel offers accommodation straight out of an IKEA catalogue. Most people only sleep here, due to the large amounts of overwhelming boredom that the town offers. Some call the town “the capital of sleeping” for that reason. 

What to see?

  • The local skatepark, which is never used
  • The helipad next to a private company, which is also never used
  • Park Arkolandia, which advertises itself as a playground. Unfortunately, the designers failed to take into account that people don’t actually like getting sand everywhere, meaning that the park is also never used.

We intended to put a picture of the Nazi gas station here, but unfortunately we couldn’t find any. You’ll just have to go and look for yourself. 

Do you have any recommendations? Leave your comments below, and maybe we will compile a new top 10 list of alternative tourist attractions in Lower Silesia! Alternatively, have you been to any of these places? We appreciate all trip reports!

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