Courtesy of the American Spouses of Brunssum Travel Information Guide
Time of year: April 3-10, 2004 — Only had one day of rain, otherwise we hit beautiful weather. (It was nice also going during Easter break as there wasn’t a shortage of Easter decorations and traditions around each area.)
Itinerary: Stayed the first night in Alsfeld at a (really out of the way) B&B, then went on to Boleslawiec and hit the many pottery places, then drove onto Krakow via the highway which leaves a lot to be desired. After Krakow, we went up to Zakopane and then through Slovakia onward to Olomouc and finally Prague. (Happy to have a rental car on the Polish roads. Wouldn’t want to put our own car through such abuse.)
The route we took was from Aachen: A4/E314, A4/E40 at Koln change to A3/E35/E40, then A4/E40, A45/E40/E41, at Geissen (you can gas up before 6 p.m. at the military base) change to B49/E40/E44, B429/E40, A480/E40, A5/A7/E40, A7/E40, A4/E40, A4/E40/E55, A4/E40, cross border into Poland and stay on 4 road. Stay on 4 road/E40, A4/E36/E40, A4/E40, 4 road/E40, here you’ll hit roadwork, 4 road/88 road/E40, 4 road, 4 road/79 road, 79 road, A4, 79 road, 4 road/E40/E462. From Krakow, take A4, exit towards Budapest and Zakopane, 7 road/E77, 47 road. From Zakopane, we took 4 road/E40/E77, 7 road/E77, 52 road, 1 road/E462/E75, E462, 48 road/E462, 47 road/E442/E462, 35 road/E442/E462, D35/E442/E462, exit Olomouc on 35 road/E442/E462. From Olomouc, we went via Brno to Prague, 46 road/E462, A46/46 road/E462, D1/E462, D1/E462/E50, D1/E50/E65, D1/E465/E50/E65, D1/E50/E65, D1/E50/E59/E65, D1/E50/E55/E59/E65, and E50/E55/E59/E65. Then we went to Heidelberg for a night from Prague.
Activities: We hit the many pottery places.
Stayed at: An apartment right by the Cloth Hall
- Wieliczka salt mines (http://www.poland-embassy.si/eng/poland/wieliczka.htm),
- Auschwitz Camp (we took our kids and it was suitable for them as well; very well done; http://www.krakow-info.com/auschwit.htm)
- The city tour of the old Jewish area. Plenty of area to walk and see–very nice city center. http://www.krakow-info.com/index.htm, http://www.warsawshotel.com/lastminute_k.asp
Stayed at: A military hotel in Zakopane — check with the Polish delegation for reservations
Activities: We went up on the gondola to the top of the mountain for a great view. There was just enough snow to make it absolutely beautiful up there. Great skiing area, which makes the area very scenic and rustic.
Olomouc (former capital of Czechoslovakia)
Activities: There are a lot of historic buildings with great architecture to see, as well as lots of fountains and statues. Enjoyed our walk, even for half a day!
Stayed at: Szczepanski Apartments
Activities: The history and beauty of the city is worth walking around to see and explore. We walked for three days and didn’t see everything, although we tried!
“Our kids enjoyed the salt mines, Auschwitz (we gave them a history lesson before we went there), Zakopane (running around in the snow–dress warm!), and the horse-carriage rides. They also enjoyed getting to pick out a pottery item and a souvenir from each place. I also gave them each a disposable camera to take pictures of all the places we went and to see it from their perspective–it kept them focused on the next place to go as well, instead of how tired their feet were from all the walking.”
Mostly watched for places where other families were seated and that they had a kids’ menu, of course, watching the prices as well. Most meals were very affordable–stay away from any American chain restaurant as they’re VERY EXPENSIVE compared to local places to eat. Polish food was great!