It’s been a while since I posted about any weekend or travel in general and so on the occasion of the long weekend here in Poland, I have decided to jot down a quick note on a place I have only just visited. There are many points of interest close by to Krakow worth visiting like the Wieliczka Salt mines or Zakopane mountainside, but the place I am about to mention is I believe not so much on the tourist radar. I have only just heard of it and therefore decided to go have a look for myself.
A little introduction & history
Lanckorona (pronounced Lance-Korona) is a village located 30 kilometres south-west of Krakow in Lesser Poland. It lies on the Skawinka river, among the hills of the Beskids, 545 m above sea level. It was probably established and settled by German colonists at the turn of the 12th and 13th centuries. They erected a small fortress on a hill. In the 14th century, King Kazimierz Wielki (Casimir the Great) turned the fortress into a castle made of brick and stone. He had also granted town privileges to the village and founded a parish church. Most of the structures with deep passages, wide gates and characteristic roofs come from the days of reconstruction of the town after the last great fire in 1869.
How to get there and what must you see
Driving down to the village from Krakow takes about 30-40 minutes. Once you arrive mind you; parking can be a bit tricky as the village is built upon a hillside. We parked close to the cemetery at the bottom of the hill and walked up to the village which was about 1km or less on foot. It is a beautiful village with picturesque views all around. The cemetery overlooks what might have been a great battlefield as referenced to the Battle of Bar Confederation in 1771. There are many intricate roads that lead either to the Rynek or up to the ruins of the Castle or other points of interest.
We managed to stumble upon a gem in the form of Willa Tadeusz which is just 900m from the village centre. The pre-war guest house is a charming place set in the wooded landscapes of Lanckorona. Willa Tadeusz is not a typical hotel in the mountains, but a cosy guesthouse ideal for an escape from the urban hustle and bustle and offers a restful abode in the beautiful garden or the brick swimming pool. I have already made a mental note to come back here in summer to spend a night in the villa and to take a dip in the pool surrounded by the beautiful forest!
Back down we took a right street and we came to the picturesque and small Rynek which was bustling with visitors and local craftsmen at stands selling handmade ceramics, jams and pickles and also various types of cheeses and other knick-knacks! If I could change one thing about this village it would be to stop allowing vehicles into the city centre as it takes away from the beauty of the wooden houses and cobbled streets.
A small walk further up the hill will bring you to the St. John the Baptist Church of Lanckorona which was built in 1336! It’s a beautiful and small church which could accommodate less than 100 people during mass. Further uphill about 30 meters, lies the ruins of the Castle of Lanckorona. Once a glorious castle built upon the old fortifications, today it’s just a pile of bricks and rubble. There is nothing left to see there except one of the walls. The rest of the castle seems to have been completed destroyed. However worth the walk, if you would like to have a look.
Back down in the village are also located many cafe’s and restaurants offering local food and drinks. There is a bakery which was founded in 1925 and still run’s to this day and you can just drop in to buy some fresh bread. Close by one of the alleyways to the church is a small cafe with quite intricate and beautiful interiors. It kind of reminded me of mountain style wooden interiors of Zakopane. Across this is a local ceramics shop which sells handmade ceramics perfect for gifting or as souvenirs.
I was quite charmed by the simplicity of this village and yet the locals seemed open and welcoming. Not the typical reception one would expect out of village folk! The sun was out and so seemed the entire village. People were out and about, not just the tourists, but locals taking lazy afternoon strolls up and down the tiny streets.
If you are short on time and would like a quick trip, this village is just perfect. You can really switch off from the hustle and bustle of the city life. As the place is on a hilly terrain it is surrounded by nature all around. There are forests and we spotted a squirrel, a few water streams flowing from somewhere high above the mountains and birds chirping in the trees even at lunchtime.
Here are more pictures from this trip. Wish a wonderful Labor Day and hope you get to visit this gem of a place if in Krakow.