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Relaxing in the Countryside
May 7, 2015   
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Poland has vast potential when it comes to rural tourism, a developing sector of the economy that at present comprises more than 8,000 farms capable of accommodating a total of 84,500 tourists.

Polish regions with the highest appeal to tourists include the Carpathian mountain ranges in the south and the Mazuria Lake District in the northeast. These regions are located in Małopolska, Podkarpacie and Warmia-Mazuria provinces, which are home to almost 40 percent of all farms offering accommodation and services to tourists nationwide. Farm stays are also provided elsewhere in Poland, including in regions that are not commonly regarded as tourist destinations.

The wide variety of accommodation, recreational activities and other attractions at Polish rural tourism farms cater to all kinds of tourists, from adventure seekers to those who appreciate the beauty of nature and those interested in active recreation. In addition to room, board and the unique opportunity to assist farmers in their chores, places like these enable guests to pursue their passions and hobbies through a host of activities such as horse riding, angling, rowing and mushroom picking, depending on what a given farm specializes in.

Culinary tourism is particularly popular in the Polish countryside, allowing tourists to explore the cuisine of different regions through flavors and smells that are completely new to many. Polish farms promote organic food along with regional and traditional products. The owners of a growing number of rural tourism farms make sure to have such culinary attractions available in the packages they offer.

The largest online database on rural tourism in Poland is available at www.agroturystyka.pl, allowing users to browse through a wide selection of recommended farms from across Poland. More traditional forms of advertising and information include brochures, flyers and other promotional publications distributed at regional and local tourist information desks and outdoor events such as fairs, festivals and tourism product exhibitions. The most important of those is the Agrotravel International Rural Tourism Fair held since 2009. Exhibitors come to this trade event to promote their products, services and other attractions. Agrotravel is a good opportunity for potential customers to explore ideas on how to spend their vacations.

Out of the countless tourism products and services, a “Relax in the Countryside” best-of list has been compiled and divided into five categories: Active Recreation, Education, Food, Nature and Tradition. The recommended farms stand out with a wide variety of comprehensive products and services, making sure their guests have an interesting time. The products and services are interactive in that tourists actively take part in a range of attractions, so they can get creative and pursue their passions and hobbies. Polish rural tourism farms have lots of different specialties and themes, all inspired by the heritage of the local countryside.


Active Recreation


Polish rural areas are ideal for all those who like to stay active. Tourists who want to explore vast, public woodlands will be captivated by their natural beauty and soothing silence as well as countless tourist trails, some of them easy and others more challenging. For those partial to water, there are plenty of lakes and rivers in which they can swim and practice aquatic sports.


Ranczo u Zapotocznego (Zapotoczny’s Ranch)—Almost Like the Wild West
The animals living at the ranch run totally free, so don’t be surprised if you see a pig trotting alongside a happily barking dog, fallow deer rubbing bashfully against a fence, and donkeys nibbling on the grass. The animals like visitors, so you are welcome to give them a stroke and a hug. The hosts make sure their stables develop and guests are offered natural-style horseback riding opportunities.
www.ranchouzapotocznego.pl


Pod Kogutem (Rooster’s)—Relaxing and Having Fun
When you come to Pod Kogutem, you will spend a lot of time outdoors and have a lot of exercise. This, according to the hosts, is the key to complete relaxation. The 4-hectare farm comprises a recreational meadow, green fields for playing games, a barn with hay, a swimming pool in summer, and sled riding hill in winter.
www.podkogutem.pl


Agrorelaks—Exploring Forest Tracks
The farm is close to spacious clearings and dunes reminiscent of those on Poland’s Baltic Sea coast. The thick woods nearby are populated by game, so when you take a walk or a horse ride in the forest, you are almost guaranteed to see deer and even wild boar.
www.agrorelaks.com.pl


Babskie Ranczo (Ladies-Only Ranch)—Crossing the Gates of Time
The hosts of this farm in Śmiechowice near Opole are passionate about horses, but they also have a unique way of attracting tourists: this is a ladies-only farm. The owner of Babskie Ranczo says this is the place for girls and women to discover the real power in them.
www.babskieranczo.pl


Baborówko Palace—In Harmony with Horses
Tourists who come to Baborówko get the unique opportunity to learn circus riding, including acrobatic stunts on a galloping horse. While this challenging activity is only for visitors in good physical shape, everybody else is welcome to feel the joy of spending time around horses. Hippotherapy is highly popular among Baborówko guests, who appreciate the warmth and energy they get from the horses.
www.baborowko.pl


Sudety Horse Riding Trail—High Up in the Mountains
Riding a horse in the mountains can be as difficult as living in the Wild West, but it is absolutely worth a try. As you rock gently and steadily in the saddle, the sight of the sun setting over the mountain valleys will stay with you for years.
http://gtj.pttk.pl/szlaki-sudety.html


Education


A vacation in the countryside is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to understand “rural living.” If you are keen to learn and want to get a taste of the Polish countryside and its everyday life, one of Poland’s many rural tourism farms will give you a firsthand experience of all the colors, shapes, sounds, scents and flavors of rural Poland. The Polish countryside will surprise you with its diversity. Come and discover its traditional, delightfully smelling bread and delicious, healthy fruit juices. You can also hear the sound of old instruments that folk musicians used to play at rural weddings.


Agroturystyka nad Jeziorem Sopień (Rural Tourism by Lake Sopień)—The Secrets of Real Bread
Everything starts with grain, so as you take a bread baking class at this farm, you will first learn about the four main types of cereals. Students then proceed to make a sourdough starter, after which they bake their first loaves of bread. As the bread starts to rise in the oven, another class begins. Called “Milky Way,” this one is all about milk and dairy products.
www.agroturystyka-sopien.pl


Synowcówka Settlement—Kitchen Math
At Synowcówka, visitors can improve their math in an innovative way. Child visitors to Synowcówka will learn to bake oat cookies and in the process they will find out the meaning of the word “proportion” and better understand other mathematical terms such as longer, shorter, lighter and heavier.
www.synowcowka.republika.pl


Pod Lipą (Under the Linden Tree)—Traveling Through Time
Kids and adults coming to this rural tourism farm invariably get the impression of having traveled back in time. The lady of the house is their guide to the magical world of the traditional Polish countryside.
www.podlipa.lezajsk.pl


Małopolska Children’s Village—Smart Family Fun Amid Nature
“Adults are forbidden to be lazy and they must make creative use of every single moment in order to teach our pint-sized guests about the world,” read the “terms and conditions” of the local tourist trail. But with so many interesting places, people and events in the villages of Małopolska province, this rule is hard to break anyway.
www.sot.org.pl


Mazowieckie Sioło Julianówka (Julianówka Hamlet in Mazovia)—Grandma Julcia’s Barn
Nothing tastes better than a slice of warm bread with freshly made butter spread over it. The butter will taste best if you make it yourself. When you get your first shot at milking a cow while at Julianówka, you are sure to feel so excited that you will easily forget the smartphone in your pocket.
www.julianowka.com.pl


Ekozagroda Jabłoniowy Sad (Apple Orchard Organic Farm)—The Art of Juice Making
In the middle of an apple orchard sits an old house. The hosts hold a range of engaging classes for young and old fans of sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyles. If you feel like pressing your own apple juice and want to see how great it tastes, you will first need to pick the apples yourself, press them and then clean up after yourself, which includes washing the juice pressing machine.
www.ekozagroda.pl


Polish Countryside Gallery at Ostoja Dworska (Manorial Refuge) farm—Customs and Traditions of the Past
The host at this farm is also a friendly guide who takes his guests to a Regional Chamber surrounded by ancient trees and to the nearby Polish Countryside Gallery. Comfortable accommodation is provided in a former granary that dates back to the mid-19th century.
www.przewodnik-swietokrzyski.com/ostoja.html


Kapkazy-Szkoła Wrażliwości (School of Sensitivity)—Theater for Kids and Adults
At the Kapkazy rural tourism farm, everything is connected with art in one way or another. Ever heard of rural theater? During theater workshops at Kapkazy, you can look behind the scenes of the work of an actor and learn to play old-fashioned instruments such as the zither and the hurdy-gurdy. In summer, Kapkazy is well worth a visit for the “Summer Academy of Pottery” organized here every year.
www.kapkazy.art.pl


Gospodarstwo u Flika (Flik’s Farm)—Homemade Bread
Once you’ve smelled the delightful scent of bread, you may feel tempted to take a unique tour of old culinary traditions. Your tour guide at Flik’s Farm will be the host, who bakes sourdough bread in a special wood-fired oven, just the way it has been done in the Podkarpacie region for centuries.
www.uflika.com.pl


Food


As you take a vacation in the Polish countryside, you can take the opportunity to discover the wealth of flavors and culinary delights offered by local farms and traditional inns. Each region of Poland has its own range of delicious and healthy dishes. Slow food in Polish villages is not just a marketing slogan, but the way in which food has been prepared for generations. Many recipes were forgotten during the country’s turbulent history, but they have now been rediscovered and reinterpreted by younger generations. Farmers have mastered the art of cooking exquisite dishes from natural ingredients grown at their farms and in their neighborhood, including local forests and meadows.


Małopolska Wieś Pachnąca Ziołami (Małopolska Countryside—Scent of Herbs)—A Wealth of Flavors and Scents
Lovage, tarragon, peppermint and oregano are just some of the many herb species that thrive in Małopolska province. With such an abundance of fragrant plants, the owners of several local farms joined forces on a new tourist trail with herbs as the central theme. Pleasant scents aside, an herb-inspired tour of the Małopolska Countryside is sure to engage all your senses.
www.sot.org.pl


Karczma Kaliska (Kalisz Inn)—Feasting Like a Russian Emperor
Tasty specialties attract visitors to the Karczma Kaliska farm like magnets. This rural tourism farm owes its success to old, proven recipes from the Wielkopolska region. Dishes served at the inn are simple, traditional and heartfelt.
www.agroturystyka.kalisz.pl


Tatarska Jurta (Tatar Yurt)—Oriental Flavors
The small village of Kruszyniany in the center of Knyszyn Forest is where the heart of the Polish Orient beats, as the local community includes many descendants of the Tatar people from Asia. One of the Kruszyniany housewives cultivates her Tatar family’s culinary traditions, and she is so good at it that whoever sits at her table always asks for more. After all, who could possibly resist a piece of the huge pierekaczewnik stuffed pie?
www.kruszyniany.pl


Ziołowy Zakątek (Herbal Nook)—Herb-Scented Vacations
Poland has a few picturesque locations that are easier to find when, instead of satellite navigation, you trust your nose. The scent of forest, fresh breeze and fragrant, lush vegetation are sure signs that Ziołowy Zakątek is just around the corner. This is the largest private botanical garden in Poland with around 900 plant species. Compared with other such places, Ziołowy Zakątek stands out with plants that not only look spectacular, but also taste great and have therapeutic properties.
www.ziolowyzakatek.pl


Trzy Świerki (Three Spruces)—Nature’s Delicious Gifts
What can you do with 100 eggs in three hours? People who live in the Suwałki area in northeastern Poland know the answer: you can bake the cylindrical sękacz cake. Sękacz is just one of many culinary wonders you can find at the Trzy Świerki rural tourism farm. The local menu delivers homemade food at its best: smoked cold meats, croquettes stuffed with apples, organic preserves, thick honey, mushrooms picked in local forests, and fish caught in the nearby lake.
www.trzyswierki.pl


Dworek Tradycja (Tradition Manor House)—Goose Specialties
The farm’s manor house used to be an inn and the home of a pastor, who had linden trees planted in the local garden to give shade to people and shelter to birds. The Tradycja manor house smells of delicious magic, as the heart of this farm is in the kitchen and the lady of the house is a cooking sorceress. The magic she works includes light carpaccio of goose meat smoked in acacia smoke, czarnina blood soup boiled with goose offal, and goose paté served with slightly tart gooseberry jelly to highlight the taste.
www.dworektradycja.pl


Nature


Rural tourism is a great choice if you love exploring wildlife. Many rural tourism farms are located just a step away from dense, almost pristine forests and overflow areas that give shelter to rare bird species. There are many ways to explore nature in Poland. Some farms have their own gardens with rich collections of herbs, flowers and bushes. You could hardly wish for a better place to kick off your shoes and relax.


Stawy Milickie (Milicz Ponds)—Land of the Extraordinary
This fish farm is located in the largest scenic park in Poland and the country’s largest bird reserve. The smooth surface of the ponds is only rippled by birds that plunge into the water, and all you can hear in the idyllic silence is the splash of feeding fish and the sound of birds circling above the water in the hope of catching a fish. In the rushes are boats with anglers who come here to take a break from the city bustle.
www.stawymilickie.pl


Osada Karbówko (Karbówko Settlement)—Thatched Luxury
If you think you cannot find exclusive accommodation in a traditional cabin with a thatched roof, think again, as that is exactly what you get in Karbówko. But once you’ve checked in to your comfortable room, make sure to get out for a minute or two to catch a glimpse of the stunning beauty of the Drwęca River valley, where Karbówko is located.
www.osadakarbowko.pl


Pensjonat Uroczysko Zaborek (Zaborek Wilderness Boarding House)—Wild and Untamed Nature
The Bug River valley is a vast stretch of wilderness with lots of mysterious and charming nooks and corners. The Uroczysko Zaborek boarding house is one of them. Hidden between the river and pine woods, it is hard to find and even harder to leave. The scenic, winding road to Uroczysko Zaborek first takes you across the picturesque countryside, between fish ponds and then along dirt roads to a place so beautiful you could think you are in a wonderland. And who knows, you might even spot a gnome or a water nymph as you take a walk by the river at dawn...
www.zaborek.com.pl


Piątka znad Biebrzy (The Five by the Biebrza River)—Bird Photo-Safari
If you like photo-safaris, you could go to Kenya, but you can get the same thrill of excitement in the Biebrza River National Park in northeastern Poland. A vacation at one of the “Biebrza Five” farms will give you an intense experience of Polish wildlife and the unique local flora and fauna are guaranteed to take your breath away. Your hosts will also introduce you to traditional delicacies, local customs and the cultural heritage of several nations.
www.hamulka.pl


Siedem Ogrodów (Seven Gardens)—Land of Herbs
and Flowers

The farm with seven gardens has been a lifelong dream of Grażyna, the owner. The story began with Anne of Green Gables and Grażyna’s sweet-smelling kingdom grows every year. The selection of plants in the gardens is sometimes inspired by painting masterpieces, but Grażyna is also keen to find new flavors for the dishes she serves her guests. Everywhere you look, your senses are stimulated by rich, natural colors and the exhilarating scent of plants.
www.7ogrodow.pl


Rzeczpospolita Ptasia (Bird Republic)—Wild Birds’ Haven
Most travel agents offer you trips to noisy and busy resorts, but the Dudek Nature Tourism Office is completely different, taking tourists on a vacation in a “bird republic” in the wilderness of the Warta River delta. Inhabited by 270 bird species, the “republic” is a peaceful haven for both birds and avid bird watchers in a scenery of limitless blue skies, lush green meadows and backwater areas wrapped in mist.
www.hoopoe.com.pl


Kraina Rumianku (Land of Chamomile)—Rural Spa
The power of white and yellow chamomile flowers is revealed at this farm, allowing guests to feel younger and stronger. The farm truly deserves its name. In the center of the farm is an herb drying room where workshops are held for residents from nearby villages and other visitors.
www.krainarumianku.pl

Tradition

A weekend or a longer vacation in the Polish countryside could become a trip back in time. Old traditions and customs can be fun to discover and worth your while. Many rural tourism farms in Poland offer you an opportunity to try your hand at traditional crafts. Your imagination is your only limit, so if you feel like traveling all the way back to the Middle Ages, you will be helped by hobbyists who reconstruct ancient fortified towns so they look exactly like they did centuries ago.


Agroturystyka u Kowalowej (Rural Tourism– Blacksmith’s Wife as Landlady)—Passion, Creativity and Perfection
Visitors to the Wojciechów Smithy near Lublin are greeted with a cordial handshake so strong it feels like steel. No wonder—the host is a trained blacksmith with a pair of powerful hands. Once you’ve had your fill of watching iron being forged, you should try the local specialties. The host’s wife is a talented cook, so make sure not to miss her irresistible homemade fruit preserves, dried and marinated mushrooms, juices, syrups and healthy soups.
www.czerniec.pl


Folwark Zrębice (Zrębice Farm)—Old Cooking Recipes
The lifelong passion of the Zrębice farm owner is to bring back what he believes were the best things about the past. Dressed in traditional Polish nobleman’s robes, he likes to give his guests an old-fashioned welcome. He also aspires to save old recipes and food making techniques before they are completely forgotten. A strong believer in slow food, he teaches environmentally friendly meat processing techniques to his visitors and shows them how to prepare dishes from offal—something that Polish cuisine used to be famous for.
www.folwark-zrebice.pl


Chlebowa Chata (Bread Cottage)—Tradition and Emotion
It all began with a dream of real, fresh sourdough bread made mostly from rye flower and without any synthetic dough enhancers. This is the kind of bread you won’t get from a supermarket. The Chlebowa Chata farm is also a convenient place to embark on tours of nearby attractions. Near the farm flows the Vistula River, the local mountains offer hiking trails, and the neighborhood is full of stables, historic churches and regional museums.
www.chlebowachata.pl


Gród Pędzików (Pędzików Town)—Chivalry and Style
They say you cannot turn back the clock, but the managers of the Gród Pędzików farm in Chęciny near Kielce have proved otherwise. This is a magical place where the past meets the present, where tourists become medieval warriors and princesses and where kids find out that history is fascinating.
www.grodpedzikow.pl


Garncarska Wioska (Pottery Village)
During demonstrations of old, dying professions, pot making in particular, visitors to this farm can fully appreciate the skills of traditional craftsmen. The heart of the farm is an almost 150-year-old barn and, apart from pottery, you can try your hand at making paper, painting Christmas ornaments and sewing traditional folk outfits from the northeastern Mazuria region.

www.garncarskawioska.pl
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