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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » June 27, 2013
Discover Poland at Weekends
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European Destination of Excellence
June 27, 2013   
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The EDEN European Destination of Excellence competition, run by the European commission and now in its seventh year, aims to identify sites that not only offer a comprehensive and innovative range of tourist services but also meet the requirements of sustainable development in the tourism sector. The Polish Tourist Organization (POT) is the coordinator of the Polish leg of the competition.

“Apart from some general criteria that apply ever year, competition winners have to meet those defined for a specific year,” says Elżbieta W±sowicz-Zaborek, vice-president of the Polish Tourist Organization. “This year the main theme was accessible tourism, meaning tourism for the disabled, senior citizens and families with children. We awarded prizes to sites that cater to tourists who, for objective reasons, are not always able to take full advantage of what tourism offers.”

Przemy¶l—much like Rome—stretches across seven hills, which means it looks different from different points. A panorama of the town can be viewed from the metropolitan cathedral’s bell tower. Attractions are accessible to the disabled: tourists in wheelchairs can go up in an elevator and see the city on special monitors. The nearby forts are a standout example of historical military architecture, and the local stronghold is the third-largest in Europe. Another must-see is the Arboretum in Bolestraszyce, where the Sensory Garden enables blind people to read the plant labels in Braille and the paths easily accommodate wheelchairs and pushchairs.



Duszniki Zdrój is home to a Museum of Papermaking with a collection of sheets of paper with watermarks from all over the world. Other items on display include sieves for making forgery-proof paper, historical tools for testing the properties of paper products and original equipment and models of machines used in paper mills. In the 17th and 18th centuries, paper made in Duszniki Zdrój was highly valued by printing houses, government offices and even royal courts.

One unusual attraction is a papermaking mold where visitors can watch how paper is molded using a system developed in the 13th century. Visitors can become medieval papermakers themselves and mold their own paper, decorate pages using historical techniques and do some printing on a typographical printing press from the mid-19th century.

Duszniki Zdroj


The Tuchola Forest Biosphere Reserve established under UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere program is a model project in terms of the harmonious coexistence of man and nature. Practically all the elements of the Tuchola Forest tourist infrastructure meet the needs of families with children—little car traffic, extensive forested areas, a well-marked network of trails, kayaking trips under the watchful eye of a lifeguard (also available on the calm waters of the Great Brda Canal), educational nature paths, rental of bicycles with child trailers, and lifeguard-patrolled swimming areas. Disabled tourists can enjoy beaches with jetties and paved paths around the lake.



Zaborek is an unusual place where nature meets tradition. Visitors can take in the local forests, fields and the Bug River, while also enjoying a trip to an open-air museum showcasing the over 100-year-old architecture of the Podlasie region. This place offers a unique combination of cultural and environmental attractions, with a wealth of historic religious places of worship and breathtaking landscapes that are unique in Europe—such as the Podlasie Bug Gorge park buffer zone.



The Beskidzka Pi±tka (Beskid Five) microregion is made up of five districts in the Beskid ¦l±ski mountain range: Brenna, Istebna, Szczyrk, Ustroń and Wisła. There is plenty of disabled-friendly accommodation in the area. Ustroń’s Sanitarium and Spa Hospital has more than 50 beds for people in wheelchairs and almost 220 for people with mobility problems without wheelchairs.

The microregion offers visitors a single discount card covering 20 attractions, four in each district, that have been profiled and selected with disabled tourists, families with children and senior citizens in mind. Attractions focusing on active recreation are family-oriented and include a rope climbing park and a kayaking pond in Ustroń.


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