Zielona Góra, Poland
Zielona Góra is a vibrant Polish city based perfectly to allow travel to both Poznan and Berlin withing two hours by car, or even quicker if you're being driven by your slightly crazed Polish friend.
I visited Zielona Góra a few years ago for one of my best friends' wedding. She is British and he is Polish and I can honestly say it is one of the most wonderful holidays I have had in one of the most interesting places that I have ever visited.
From what I had seen and read online about the city, mostly about it's charming architecture, many nearby vineyards and museums documenting the town's history, I had expected to find a traditional and conservative Polish town. Though much of Zielona Góra is as traditionally impressive as I had imagined, the history of the place is perfectly interlaced with a modern electricity that makes Zeilona Góra a very unique place indeed.
The first thing that struck me about the city was some of the stunning street art, much of which is standing tall, unapologetically striking in it's presence.
Zielona Góra is also home to countless unique places and happenings. They have a Planetarium, a Palm House and an annual wine festival. The city's oenological heritage is celebrated throughout the town with characterful statues of Bachus around the city centre, which are fun to spot as you explore, and have your photo taken next to, cringeworthy tourist pose is optional…
We were fortunate enough to be chaperoned by our Polish speaking host, however when we did venture out on our own we realised that most people we met spoke both Polish and German, and most menus in restaurants and cafes were in both languages so it's advised to brush up on your German as well as your Polish. This is due to the town being quite close to the German border, convenient for Berlin if you fancy a spot of driving. Coincidentally, when I visited the Greek Island of Corfu, our host spoke Greek and German so it seems this is the language to know!
There are plenty of good shopping spots and many silver shops and jewellers which are well worth a visit, as well as a large mall and restaurants, bars and cafes for all. Being something of a beer drinker, I enjoyed the smaller independent bars where we were made to feel very welcome. A must try is Black Boss Porter, or so I was told by our Polish hosts. It's surprisingly quaffable at 9.4% ABV… There's also a bright green beer which is far more delicious than it looks!
If you're looking for somewhere to stay, I couldn't recommend The ForRest Hotel & Spa more. It's pricing is reasonable for the service it offers and the facilities are superb, with gorgeous gardens complete with peacocks. The staff are accommodating and welcoming and you'll feel right at home.
Visiting in Summer should mean delightful weather and lots going on, however if you get a chance to go in September for the annual wine festival I'm told that you absolutely must!
Have you visited Poland? I'd love to hear about your travels!