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Apr 28 2015

Discovering Sucha Beskidzka

Sucha BeskidzkaOn one of my recent jaunts, which seem to have become a weekly thing, I ended up in Sucha Beskidzka (pronounced Sue-har Bes-kid-ska).

I had never heard of this place until I was thinking of places to go on my next day off.  I looked at a map, and saw Zywiec (the town where Zywiec beer comes from).  I then searched for the town on the internet, and it looked interesting.  The next thing to sort out was getting there.  It looked as if I would have to change buses at Sucha Beskidzka.  I searched for that on the internet, and saw that it had a castle, so that was it.  I would go to Sucha Beskidzka, take a look around, and either stay or continue on to Zywiec.

The following Saturday, I arrived at the bus station in Krakow, and in less than an hour and a half, I was in Sucha Beskidzka.  The bus journey alone was worth it.  It was the most scenic bus journey I’ve been on since arriving in Poland, which included mountains, lots of greenery, cute villages, streams and rivers.

As we went past the rynek (square), it was time for me to get off the bus.  I did, and looked on the map of the town that was beside the bus stop.  It pinpointed the main attractions, so I headed off in the direction of the rynek in search of the castle.

The Town’s History

The town was founded towards the end of the Middle Ages in the 15th century by the Duchy of Oświęcim at the time.  You will probably know Oświęcim by its German name Auschwitz.  He encouraged people to settle around the Beskidy mountains, and Sucha (as it was originally called) was one settlement.  Ownership of the village changed a few times over the years, and it became a thriving industrial centre.  Once the railroad was built and then later extended, it became an important rail junction.  In the late 18th century, Sucha became part of Austria, and, at the end of the 19th century, it was granted town status.

During the Second World War, the town was annexed by the Third Reich, and all of the town’s Jewish community were murdered.  Since the war, it has been rebuilt, become a county town, and it has what seems to be a well-developed infrastructure and is a growing tourist destination.

Sucha Beskidzka is a small town.  The main attractions are the castle, the church, an old wooden inn, hiking trails, and the friendly locals.

The Castle

Sucha Beskidzka Castle

The castle is near the rynek, so it’s easy to find.

It was built in the 16th century for an Italian goldsmith from Krakow who obviously had visions of grandeur.  The castle somehow became known as ‘Little Wawel’, after Wawel Castle in Krakow.

In the 19th century, the then owners opened a museum in the castle.  There is a museum in the castle today, although I don’t know if it is the original one.

If you have the time, and if the weather is fine, you can enjoy the grounds, and even venture up into the forest and search for red squirrels.  If you do, make sure you have insect repellent with you.

You can actually stay at the castle and/or eat at the restaurant there.  When I realised that, I enquired about a night’s stay, but there were no rooms available.  I have no idea what it would have cost, but I was disappointed that I couldn’t stay there.  That evening, I went back to dine, but I couldn’t even do that.  There was some sort of private function going on.

The Rome Inn

The Rome Inn

This is a small wooden inn, which was built in the 18th century.  It’s in the middle of the rynek, so you can’t miss it.  It’s unclear how the inn got its name, but it, apparently, refers to an old Polish legend about Pan (Mr) Twardowski.

You can’t stay at this inn, but you can eat traditional Polish and local cuisine.

The Church Complex

Church in Sucha Beskidzka

There is an old 17th century church and monastery, as well as a newer church from the beginning of the 20th century, which is the town’s main church these days.  You can wander around the grounds and into the church to take a closer peek.  The newer church is actually much grander than I thought it would be.

Cemetery

Cemetery for Cholera Victims

Way before the Second World War, the inhabitants of Sucha Beskidzka went through hard times in the mid-19th century.  Floods damaged crops which resulted in years of famine and then the second cholera pandemic hit Europe.

On my Sunday morning hike to get a great view overlooking the town and surrounding area, I stumbled across a cemetery to some of the cholera victims.  It was the last thing I was expecting to see on my hike.  Unfortunately, all the information was in Polish.

My thoughts

Sucha Beskidzka is off the main tourist track, even though it isn’t too far from Krakow.

I instantly liked Sucha Beskidzka.  It’s partly because it is a small, pretty town, and everyone was extremely friendly.  I had people just come up and start chatting to me in Polish.  If only my level of Polish was better!  It’s also a great place to go walking, which I love to do.  If you can, head up to get a great view of the town and surrounding area.  That’s what I did.
View of Sucha Beskidzka
If you like cycling, you can hire a bike and make use of the cycle lanes.

Jpeg

Jpeg

If you’re looking for a good cup of coffee and perhaps a slice of delicious cake, Cofeina Cafe is the place to go.  That cake not only looked good but was delicious.  Whether you are looking for a place to sit and work, or kick back and relax, this is worth a visit.

Location

The town is situated in Malopolska:

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Center map
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Google MapsGet Directions

As mentioned above, you can get a bus from Krakow to Sucha Beskidzka.  You can also get a train, although not as frequently.  In addition, you can get to almost anywhere in Poland from here.  I’m not kidding.  I was astounded at all the places you can get to from this small town.  However, having learned about the history of town, it makes sense now.

Have your say

Would you consider stopping for a night or two in Sucha Beskidzka, or just visit it for the day from Krakow?

About the author

Teresa Keane

Teresa has been to almost 60 countries. She started travelling independently at the age of 38 when she gave up her job, rented out her house, put her possessions in storage and spent a year travelling the world. It changed her life. She now creates, publishes, & promotes online travel content and is an experienced freelance trainer & EFL teacher.

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