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Where to Stay in Poland: Lodging Tips

SmarterTravel

Like many countries in Europe, Poland offers a wide range of lodging options. From palaces to hostels, there’s a choice for every budget. Poles are inventive, welcoming and friendly, and a healthy post-Soviet economy means that many older properties have been renovated or upgraded, while plenty of new places have opened.

Before you choose your Poland lodging, consider your budget, your experience and your travel style. Hotels are a good choice if it’s your first time in the country, since staff will likely speak English and be able to help with restaurant reservations and sightseeing options. For a more personal touch, try a bed and breakfast or guesthouse. There’s also a big network of farm lodgings, and more independent types can opt for an apartment or classic Polish vacation hut. You can even try staying in a monastery.

In most instances breakfast will be included with your stay — but be sure to confirm that there’s no extra charge. The price you’re quoted should also include all taxes and any additional fees, but again, be sure to confirm when booking. Read on to learn more about where to stay in Poland.

Poland Hotels

Whether you want to stay in a grand hotel with Old World style or a sleek boutique property, Poland’s hotel scene has something to fit every taste. You can even find something Soviet-era dreary, if you so desire!

Poland’s major cities have seen a boom in international hotel brands, but there are still plenty of family-owned, one-off properties too. Of the big names, you’ll see more Accor properties than any other — primarily its value brands Ibis, Novotel and Mercure, operated in partnership with the Polish hotel group Orbis. There are also plenty of Best Western properties, as well as Hilton, Marriott, Holiday Inn, Radisson and Sheraton hotels.

On the higher end, Warsaw’s Bristol Hotel is part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection, and the Raffles Hotels & Resorts group is renovating the historic Hotel Europejski, also in Warsaw, set to open in 2016.

If you’re looking for a local hotel group, consider Qubus for modern, mid-range, business-style properties or Gromada, with similar but slightly less expensive properties. For something less cookie-cutter, we encourage you to seek out individual hotels, which can range from quirky to gorgeous. They’re often located in older buildings, some of which have been renovated with amazing results.

Poland has a mandatory classification system for hotels, ranging from one to five stars. The criteria cover external aspects, technical elements, service, room specs and public spaces. Most notably, four- and five-star properties are the only ones required to have air conditioning, a daily change of linens and a minibar or refrigerator. Only five-star hotels are required to have in-room safes. More stars mean larger rooms and perks like laundry service, pools, spas and newspapers.

Poland Hotel Resources:
AccorHotels.com
Booking.com
Hotelarze.pl/en/regulations/hotel-1.php
QubusHotel.com/en/
Raffles.com
Starwood.com
TripAdvisor.com

Castles and Palaces

Poland’s rich history means that you’ll find castles and palaces all around the country — and many have been turned into lodging options. Often, you can stay in a splendid property (or in some cases, a formerly splendid property!) for far less than you might in other European countries.

Many have been turned into resorts, with pools, spas and even horseback riding. A few are in or near big cities, but typically they’re located in the countryside.

Settle in at the luxurious neo-Gothic Paszkowka Palace, south of Krakow, or opt for Renaissance-Baroque Palace Krobielowice, just 12 miles from Wroclaw and home to a nine-hole golf course. Or maybe you’d like Hotel Castle Ryn, where an indoor pool is located in the Gothic vaults and antique weapons hang on the walls of the three-lane bowling alley (let’s hope you’re not playing with a sore loser). The list of possibilities is impressive — so you’re sure to find a grand castle or palace that fits your fantasy.

Poland Castle and Palace Lodging Resources:
CzarnyLas.pl/en/
Krasiczyn.com.pl
PalacKrobielowice.com
Paszkowka.pl/en
Wiejce.co.uk
ZamekKrokowa.pl
ZamekNaSkale.com.pl
ZamekNowecin.pl/en
ZamekRyn.pl
ZamekSobieski.pl/?l=en

Guesthouses and Homestays

Want something less grandiose and more personal? Then you might want to opt for a guesthouse or homestay.

Under the official Polish rating system, guesthouses (or pensions) are lodgings with seven or more rooms, and their rating system is similar to that of hotels, from a low of one star (basic facilities) to a maximum of five stars (more space, more privacy, more amenities). The ambience can range from hotel-like to what Americans think of as a bed and breakfast or inn.

Polish hospitality is usually phenomenal, so if you choose a homestay, you can expect your hosts to go out of their way to make sure you have a good trip.

In addition to the resources below, tourist information offices in Polish cities can usually help you find guesthouses or homestays.

Poland Guesthouse and Homestay Resources:
Airbnb.com
Booking.com (filter search results by “Guesthouses” or “Homestays”)
Homestay.com/poland
TripAdvisor.com

Poland Farmstays

Because Poland’s feisty farmers resisted collectivization during the Soviet era, many family farms stayed intact (which wasn’t the case in some other former Soviet countries). Today, there are more than 2 million farms in Poland, and nearly 10,000 are set up to host guests. Hosts usually offer a meal option, so you might be treated to homemade bread and cheese, milk straight from the cow, just-gathered honey and trout fresh from the river.

Some farms offer the opportunity to help with chores, while others offer workshops like beekeeping, mushroom picking, pottery, painting or sculpture. They can also offer excursions ranging from river rafting and bird watching to biking or cross-country skiing.

Poland.travel classifies farm lodging in four categories, with Category 1 being very basic, while Category 4 facilities have a private bathroom, kitchen area and TV. Farmhouses are in a separate lodging category and usually have three or more bedrooms, a fireplace, a kitchen and a dining room. They may also come with a sauna or hot tub.

We’ve listed some resources below, but you can also try Googling “agroturystyka (place name).” In addition, there are opportunities to volunteer on Polish farms through the Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms organization.

Poland Farmstay Resources:
Agritourism.pl
Booking.com/farm-holidays/country/pl.html
Poland.travel/en/farm-holiday/
WWOOF.pl

Poland Apartment and Home Rentals

The boom in person-to-person rentals has definitely reached Poland, and you’ll find plenty of options to choose from. If you’re more of an independent type, or you have previously visited the country and are confident that you can go it on your own, this could be a great choice.

In addition to the person-to-person services, in large cities you’ll find buildings of serviced apartments available to rent through online resources like TripAdvisor and Booking.com.

Here are a few things to consider when booking an apartment or home:

– If you don’t like lugging your bags, inquire about whether there’s an elevator. Many older apartment buildings won’t have that luxury.

– In summertime, ask about air conditioning if that’s important to you. Also inquire about Wi-Fi and phone service if you need to be connected. If there’s no phone, consider how you will contact the agency or host if your own cell phone doesn’t work (or is expensive to use) in Poland. Carry the emergency number with you at all times, just in case you lose your keys.

– Question the rental agent or host about street noise. This can especially be an issue in Krakow’s Old Town, where bars are popular with partiers from around Europe, thanks to bargain airlines. Ask about restaurants, bakeries and other shops in the neighborhood, proximity to public transportation (in cities) and where the nearest market can be found. Check out online reviews or ask for references if you want to be really thorough — but remember, previous guests may have had different needs or expectations than you do. For more information, see Booking a Vacation Rental: What You Need to Know.

Poland Vacation Rental Resources
Airbnb.com
Booking.com
HomeAway.com
RentFlatPoland.com
TripAdvisor.com
VRBO.com

Cottage and Cabin Rentals

Poles have a fondness for rustic getaways, whether in the mountains or countryside, and you can join them by renting a cottage, hut or cabin. These range from well equipped and charming to not much more than four walls. In most cases, you’ll need wheels to get to your vacation hideaway, but once there, chances are you’ll have a great time communing with nature like a local.

Poland Cottage and Cabin Rental Resources:
Airbnb.com/s/Poland?type=cabin
DiscoverZakopane.com/dzen.html
Novasol.co.uk/holiday-cottages/poland.html

Monasteries

Although many Poles are devout Catholics, there aren’t as many opportunities as you might expect to stay in a monastery — but there are a couple of options.

The working monastery Opactwo Benedyktynow w Tyncu, in the Krakow area, accepts guests. See their contact information below. You can also stay in a former abbey, now transformed into the Hotel Podklasztorze, in Sulejow.

Poland Monastery Resources:
Tyniec.Benedyktyni.pl/en/day-in-the-monastery/ (email: tyniec@benedyktyni.pl)
HotelPodklasztorze.pl

Hostels and Tourist Houses

There is no shortage of budget housing in Poland. You’ll find hostels in the major cities, along with tourist houses. The latter, by regulation, have a minimum of 30 dormitory spots; hostels don’t have a minimum number of places. Both types of accommodations offer only basic services.

Poland Hostel and Tourist House Resources:
HIHostels.com
HostelBookers.com
Hostels.com
HostelWorld.com

Poland Camping

You’ll find campsites in nearly every corner of Poland. Most are associated with the Polish Camping and Caravanning Federation. They’re often located in scenic spots: near the seashore, by a lake, next to a river or at the foot of a mountain. Campgrounds are rated from one to four stars, with four being the top category. Ratings reflect the quality of services and the site’s convenience to desirable destinations. (A few campsites are classed under an old system as either “1” or “2.”)

Etiquette dictates that you maintain nighttime silence from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., and that you follow basic camping common sense, like not littering or taking up more than your allotted space.

Poland Camping Resources:
Eurocampings.co.uk/poland
PFCC.eu

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–written by Gayle Keck

Editor’s Note: IndependentTraveler.com is published by The Independent Traveler, Inc., a subsidiary of TripAdvisor, Inc.

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