Lower Silesia is a region of vasts forests, snowy peaks, picturesque villages and historic towns in southwestern Poland, bordering Germany and the Czech Republic. Power over the region exchanged hands many times through its history; from the medieval Kingdom of Poland to the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Habsburg Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia – each constructed imposing castles and fortresses that still stand till this day, making Lower Silesia home to some of the best castles in Poland to visit. Throughout the centuries, Lower Silesia became well-known as a holiday destination for many of Europe’s richest families and monarchies. The verdant landscapes, virgin forests and mineral springs acted as a magnet, and these families spent many of their holidays here in custom-built palaces.
These days, Lower Silesia boasts one of the highest concentrations of palaces and castles in Europe. On my recent trip there, I was amazed by the sheer number of them. Many of them have been converted into luxury hotels, restaurants, spas or museums, making Lower Silesia the perfect destination in Poland to visit castles and palaces.
The castles and palaces of Lower Silesia, Poland
There are so many castles and palaces spread out across the region, from the Silesian Lowlands to the Karkonosze mountains, though there is a significant concentration around the town of Jelenia Góra (map) in the Jelenia Góra valley. One of the most intriguing castles I visited was the Ksiaz Castle (or Schloss Fürstenstein). The castle (map) sits atop an impressive cliff and is surrounded by lush forests. In its heyday, the castle was host to some of Europe’s richest families before falling into the hands of the Nazis and later the Soviets. There’s also a hotel right next to the castle. Read about my visit to Ksiaz Castle.
Another castle that cannot be missed is the imposing 13th century Czocha Castle (map). The castle’s history is absolutely fascinating; it was the scene of many sieges and it changed hands many times. Its role during the Second World War and the Cold War is especially intriguing!
These days, visitors can stay at the castle – the rooms are large, modern and decorated with all sorts of regalia and armoury. My room featured axes and spears on the walls and a full suit of armour! You might even bump into the ‘White Lady’ who purportedly roams the halls at night – I’m glad I didn’t bump into her but the castle is spooky at night! A tour of the castle reveals its many intriguing secrets such as hidden passages and bookcases that open to reveal tunnels and staircases. The surrounding woodlands are perfect for long walks whilst the nearby lake is a favourite watersports and picnic spot for locals. Read about my spooky experience in Czocha Castle.
One other castle that I absolutely loved was the beautiful Lomnica Palace (map). Situated near Jelenia Góra, the palace can trace its history back to the Middle Ages. The von Küster family owned the palace from the mid-19th century right up till World War II when the palace was seized by the Polish State. It was only after the fall of the Iron Curtain that the family received the opportunity to repurchase the palace.
Today, the palace and its estate house a wonderful hotel, restaurants, a museum and farm which are popular with visitors and locals alike. The palace is a great base from which to explore the lovely town of Jelenia Góra and the lush valley, with its many castles and palaces, idyllic villages, walking trails and historic monuments. The valley and surrounding mountains are popular for activities including paragliding, mountain-biking, hiking and skiing.
Other palaces in Lower Silesia that have been turned into gorgeous hotels include Brunow Palace, Paulinum Palace (the Paulinum also has a renowned spa and restaurant), the romantic Staniszow Palace, and the Jugowice Palace.
Despite the region’s great array of attractions, scenic beauty and comfortable accommodations, Lower Silesia remains relatively off-the-beaten-path. If you’re planning to visit Lower Silesia, the best place to start is Wroclaw (Breslau) which has a modern airport and train station. I suggest spending a few days in this lovely university town before heading west/southwest to Jelenia Góra where you can easily spend a week or more exploring the beautiful town and nearby historic spas, parks, palaces and castles.
Check out this 4-day castles package tour from/to Wroclaw
[…] 13th century Czocha Castle (map) is one of several castles in Lower Silesia that I visited on a Poland road trip. The castle’s history is long and eventful: it was the scene […]
[…] Castle or Zamek Ksiaz (or Schloss Fürstenstein in German) is one of the most imposing castles in Lower Silesia in the southwest of Poland. The castle, situated atop an impressive rock cliff, can trace its […]
I’m fascinated by your comments about castles and museums.
It is my intention to visit many castles in Germany, Poland, England, Scotland
and Ireland in the next 10 years. It’s on my bucket list.
I am wondering if you have heard of the following castle:
My family, (the POHL) lived in that castle in the 1950’s.
My family knew BARON VON Zitzewitz. whose family owned the castle and
it has been in their family for over 20 centuries. The castle was built in 878
and is still in excellent condition and standing.
Our family lived in the “Gatekeeper’s House” which was on the other side of
the bridge that was built over the moat, for 6 years from 1948 to 1954.
The Zitzewitz family were very kind and allowed many families to live in their castle after the war as many families were displaced from the Soviet invastions and had no homes to go to.
Needless to say, the castle is over 1200 years old. My brother, Guenther Pohl, who is now deceased, was born one day after the Baron’s son, “Bobby” on April 21, 1946 and spent many hours playing with “Bobby” in the 100 room castle. My brother advised me that
the rooms were massive and the walls were approximately 3-4 feet thick and that there were always mice running throughout the castle. Guenther told me that there were large rooms in the attic filled with mirror, chests, art and other artifacts. Guenther and my oldest brother, Peter (who is also deceased) threw a tire into the moat one day and the “towns people” thought someone had fallen into the moat and had it drained. After they drained most of the moat, they discovered many artifacts including helmets, swords and cannons from Medieval times. I believe these items were placed in a local museum.
I thought you might be interested in looking into this. I spoke to the new owner, Mannfred Schroeder, who bought the castle in the early 2000’s and he advised me that he was writing a book on the history of the castle and that it is now a museum. Interesting isn’t it?
I can be reached at this email address if you require more information.
I live in Toronto, Canada.
Thank you for listening.
Poland is very reasonable, price-wise. There are various accommodation options, ranging from budget to high-end, around the country. I’m not sure how Americans, specifically, are received but I don’t think they would be received any differently than other visitors. The Polish are so hospitable and fun-loving. I’m sure you’ll have a great time there.
Looks like tons of fun . How is it on price ? Ow are Americans received ?
Thanks Eve! 🙂
ohhh… you should go there next time! you can check this place when you write in browser “zapora wodna w leśnej” – it’s really amazing place. It’s at the beautiful lake.
Thank you Eve! No, I didn’t go to the dam. Is it nearby the castle?
beautiful post! what a feeling! I come from this wonderful, magic place. my home is near Czocha Castle. have you been on a dam?
My favourite was Ksiaz because of its dramatic setting and history. It really is a beautiful part of Poland and definitely worth a visit. There’s so much to do and see that you can easily spend a week or more here.
Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. 🙂
You had me hooked at “land of a thousand castles and palaces” and then sold me at “remains relatively off the beaten path” hehehe 🙂 I’ve never even heard of Lower Silesia but now I *really* want to visit and definitely want to stay in the Czocha Castle! So…which one was your favorite?
Castles, palaces, hiking, walking, quaint towns – and luxury castle hotels too. Sounds like our kind of trip :-). Would love to visit some day…
Nice post !!! I always looking forward to visit historic place. Now after reading this post would like to visit this place.
Thank you Sofie for your comment. Lomnica palace sure was one of my favourites. In addition to the museum, it’s a beautiful hotel/restaurant and the farm is a hive of activity.
Lomnica Palace seems amazing!
I love visiting palaces and castles, trying to imagine what life must have been like for the people living there.