Kazimierz Dolny is an interesting place on the map of Poland, located on the Vistula River, about 150 km south of Warsaw and 60 km west of Lublin, in the western part of the Nałęczowski Plateau. Some, however, believe that this town is somewhat overrated, as is Krupówki Street in Zakopane. Since we've been to Krupówki before, we decided to check Kazimierz Dolny and see for ourselves what it really is like. Here's a first-hand impression. We invite you to read.
There is no shortage of parking lots in the town - and it's very good, because there are a lot of visitors here in the season. We parked in the spacious parking lot at Nadrzeczna Street 15 (P1; GPS: 51.3201659, 21.9503855). If we remember correctly, the ticket price was 4PLN per hour or 15PLN per day (as of 2021). There was a second parking lot next door, a bit smaller, but at the time we arrived (not much after 9am) it was still closed. There are even more parking lots on this street, so in case of a problem with the place you just have to keep driving and look for the characteristic signs with the letter "P".
Other parking lots in the town include, for example, the parking lot at the Volunteer Fire Department (Senatorska Street, P2; GPS: 51.3226031, 21.9441969), the parking lot "Pod Zamkiem" (next to the castle, P3; GPS: 51.3231428, 21.9505427), and also parking lot at the Orlen gas station, a little more distant from the town center (P4; GPS: 51.3262187, 21.9516097).
After leaving the car in the parking lot, we walked Nadrzeczna Street towards the market square. The walk is short and takes literally a few minutes. We turned into a short Browarna Street and in a moment we found ourselves on the famous market square (A; GPS: 51.3221660, 21.9472899). As it was relatively early (around 9:30) the market was not full of tourists yet, so we could judge it better. The main observation is that, unfortunately, the entire south-eastern wall of the market square was filled by cafe-restaurant gardens, which simply effectively obscured the beautiful architecture. Only the Przybyła brothers tenement houses have "survived". Perhaps this is why we rate the market square in Kazimierz Dolny a little lower than in the case of Sandomierz, which is much larger and thus makes a better impression. Of course, market square in Kazimierz Dolny is still attractive, but in our personal opinion, Sandomierz wins here. Anyway, after a closer look at the market square and the characteristic well located in the middle, we left it via Lubelska Street.
We walked Lubelska Street to the church of St. Anna and St. Spirit, we went down the stairs, passing on the right a beautiful house, which houses the Center for Promotion and Tourism Culture (B; GPS: 51.3211666, 21.94895834), and then along a narrow street we reached the Little Market Square (C; GPS: 51.3214696, 21.9478993), at which we saw several interesting buildings, as well as a former synagogue.
We turned into Nadrzeczna Street and entered Senatorska Street. There we ate a good cake and drank coffee in the Cafe of the Vistula Museum (we recommend it!) (D; GPS: 51.3219586, 21.9463044). Then we walked Senatorska Street, which has beautiful Renaissance tenement houses (E; GPS: 51.3223363, 21.9455014), for example Celejowska tenement house (from 1630) or Biała tenement house. We walked Senatorska Street to finally reach the boulevards of the Vistula River.
Vistula Boulevards (F; GPS: 51.3246921, 21.9460622) is a great place for walks. They stretch for kilometers along the Vistula River. Walking here we can admire old granary buildings, the panorama of the town, the castle with a tower visible on its top, and the Vistula River. If someone is willing to take a cruise on the Vistula, there are cruise ships (an example cruise takes 60 minutes, and the route leads past the quarries to the nature reserve Krowia Wyspa ("Cow Island") and back).
After a few kilometers walk along the boulevards, we returned to the town and walked its charming streets (G; GPS: 51.3241707, 21.9475218), for example Sadowa Street or Podzamcze Streer. We admired the wooden buildings, which, interestingly, reminded us a bit of these from Zakopane. Lots of flowers grow by the houses, which makes the place really special.
An interesting place to visit in Kazimierz Dolny are also the landscaped and well-kept ruins of a Romanesque castle (H; GPS: 51.3236014, 21.9503014) from the 13th and 14th centuries with an observation tower (I; GPS: 51.3246965, 21.9525394). A normal admission ticket to both attractions costs 10PLN, and the reduced price is 7PLN (as of 2021). It is worth climbing there, just because of the unforgettable views of the whole area. Note: parents with children in prams may have some problems due to the narrow and steep steps in the stairs.
Summing up our trip: Kazimierz Dolny is definitely worth a visit. Of course, there are a lot of tourists in the season (and this makes it similar to Krupówki), but the advantages of this town outweigh some inconveniences caused by crowds and noise. Come here in fine weather and you will come back fully relaxed and satisfied.