Karpacz, South-West Poland

This was probably one of the most memorable trips that I’ve taken since being in Poland, but not for the best reasons!

Before I had bought a car, my wife & I decided to take a trip to the moutains and settled on Karpacz as the destination. It looked good in the pictures and was supposed to be a nice place to enjoy some fresh, mountain air. So I booked a hotel, rented a car with GPS and we set off on a cold, winter’s afternoon. This was also one of the first times I had driven in Poland, or on the “wrong” side of the road.

It was during this trip that I learned a valuable lesson: Never, ever trust a Sat Nav system! I have no idea where the damn thing was taking us, but we ended up on a tiny country lane in the mountains, which was only wide enough for 1 car. With a forest on one side and a steep drop on the other, the road was covered in sheet ice, and it was now dark with no street lighting. As I was heading up this random sloped road, the inevitable happened and I met a car, which was going the same way as me, but who had become completely stuck and unable to progress any further up the hill.

The only thing to do was to reverse back down the icy hill with this car in front of us sliding his way down as well. We had easily covered over 1km of this road at this point, and it seemed we would have to reverse all the way back. It was hell, really scary and with very little control but we did make it down safely. I then turned the car around and with both me and my wife shaking and exhausted, we almost headed back to Krakow!

But we persevered and eventually, by sheer luck, found our way to Karpacz and to our hotel. The hotel itself was nice enough with a central location and pretty good spa facilities.

The hotel was in an excellent location and allowed us to go for a short hike in the mountain. Unfortunately, we were not really prepared for more than a short walk as we are not mountain people and don't have the right gear to do trekking. I also don't have the energy!

The local town and restaurants were very good, with some very pretty buildings along the main street through the town. We also found a small book store, which sold road maps, and hastily bought the biggest and most official looking one. We got home without incident by ignoring the sat nav and using the map!

We only visited for 1 night, so it was a short trip but well worth it. I'd love to go back at some point, with a decent sat nav or map! I'm sure there is a lot more to explore there!