Looking for a quick change of scenery? Koleje Dolnośląskie's bargain weekend ticket can get you to Czechia and back for just 35zł.
With summertime here, many Wrocławians are looking to make the most of it by venturing out to pastures new in the comfort of the warm sunshine. We all know Wrocław is a fantastic city, and the region of Lower Silesia has plenty of delights too of course. That said, if you've been here a while you may just fancy taking a break from Poland for a day or two – even if it's just to hear a different language on the streets or try another country's specialities.
Those seeking to do this normally head towards the buzzing cities of Berlin and Prague, which are obviously two brilliant places to visit in their own right. Going there can prove time consuming and expensive however, so why not try a different, more laid-back foreign jaunt that takes less time and costs less money?
One such option is a day trip (at a stretch) or an evening in Trutnov, a quiet Czech town (at least when it's not ski-season) in the shadow of the Karkonosze mountains. You can get there by train on Saturdays and Sundays in 2 hours and 45 minutes for just 35zł return.
It's all possible thanks to the 35zł 'Podróżuj z KD' ticket, which allows unlimited travel on Koleje Dolnośląskie trains between Friday at 6pm to Monday morning at 6am.
Koleje Dolnośląskie run 3 services per day on Saturdays and Sundays between Wrocław and Trutnov (including one stop where your connecting train waits for you), and there is no additional charge for the Czech part of the journey for weekend ticket holders.
Admittedly, there are far more interesting places in Czechia than Trutnov. However, the quaint town does have its charms, prices for dining and accomodation are cheap, while the Czech side of the beautiful Karkonosze mountains is just a 30 minute bus ride away.
Trutnov's market square is pretty but sadly lacking in activity. The same could be said for most of the town though, which is actually no problem – this is the type of place to unwind in rather than party hard.
One of the best places to pass the time in the town is the bar and restaurant bolted onto the Krakonos Brewery, which offers great beer at jaw-droppingly low prices. As you can see from the price list below, a large beer costs between 2.80-3.20zł – incredible value no matter what way you look at it. This isn't the tepid watered-down stuff you see sold at student clubs either, but proper beer delivered straight from the brewery next door.
When it comes to the food the prices aren't quite so rock bottom, but are still right on the money. The two Czech classics in the photo below were very good value at roughly 16zł each.
The service at Krakonos Brewery is swift, while the vibe in the beer garden is most laid back. Quite frankly, it's an ideal pub for wasting away a few hours in the summer sun.
Trutnov does nonetheless have its limitations; it is a small town and there isn't too much to do other than stroll around the old town and enjoy the local food and drink. So if you are to spend the weekend there, a short trip to one of the mountain towns comes highly recommended.
On our visit we took the 20 minute bus ride to Janské Lázně, a sleepy spa-town that is the only one of its kind on the Czech side of the mountains (there are far more on the Polish side). The town has some wonderful viewpoints and there are easily enough bars and restaurants around for food and refreshments, largely thanks to the influx of skiers during the winter months.
A short walk up the hill from the town centre is the ski resort, which runs a cable car up to a viewpoint which allows you to catch a glimpse of Śnieżka and other peaks in the Karkonosze mountains.
Since our trip to Janské Lázně, the town has become home to another big tourist attraction in the shape of a brand-new treetrop trail. As photographed in the title image at the top of the page, the trail gives you the chance to catch some fantastic views of the surrounding area from a viewpoint just above the treetops.
As we boarded the train home from Trutnov on Sunday evening, there was no doubt in our minds the short excursion had been worthwhile. The whole border area around Trutnov has a very relaxed vibe and it's easy to spoil yourself there when eating out is so affordbable. Trutnov also lends itself as a nice base for anyone looking to explore the nearby mountain areas.