Not only the castle
Under the slogan "visiting Książ Castle" there is much more than just the castle itself. Coming to Wałbrzych just to visit the castle only is a missed opportunity. Książ is surrounded by an exceptionally beautiful area and attractions that are not worth (or even) not to be missed. The accompanying attractions are so interesting that they can boldly compete even with the castle itself. Before entering one of them, I stood in a line, stepping impatiently like a little boy from foot to foot. Stretching my neck, I looked to see if they had already started to let in… and it was fantastic! But more on that in a moment. I will post descriptions of all attractions accompanying the castle later in the text.
It's best to spend the whole day exploring the castle and its attractions. There will really be something to do, and at the end of the day you will be a little tired and very satisfied with what you saw. I guarantee!
Of course, I understand that it is not always possible to organize a trip in such a way as to spend the entire day visiting Książ and its neighboring attractions. So I will propose two variants of sightseeing:
- all-day variantin which practically everything can fit
- shortened variant, in which you can fit exactly that much and you can do it (I will arrange attractions in the order of the most interesting ones with the approximate time of visiting).
Map of attractions at the Książ Castle
For a quick orientation in the subject and area, a simple and legible map will be best. So I prepared a special map and marked on it all the attractions that you can read about in this post. In addition, on the map you will find the location of parking lots, hotels, restaurants and the course of the walking trail around the castle.
The numbers on the map correspond to the numbering next to the attractions' descriptions further in the text.
What to see?
Exactly… what to see when visiting Książ Castle?
I mentioned earlier about two variants of visiting: full-day and shortened.
Here they are.
If you have all day
Let's start with the comfortable option, i.e. one in which you have the whole day to explore. In this situation, the choice is simple: you do everything you see on the map roughly in the order of the numbers on the map. In practice, however, it may turn out that you will have to significantly change the order I have proposed, because admission tickets to some attractions are sold for specific hours. If there are no more tickets for the hours you are interested in, it will be necessary to quickly reconstruct the plan. Next to the descriptions of attractions, you will find information about the approximate time of the visit. This will make it easier for you to quickly reconstruct your sightseeing plan.
I suggest that you first go to the ticket office by the castle and buy admission tickets with fixed admission hours. These are tickets to:
- Książ Castle and Tarasy
- The undergrounds of the Książ Castle
Tickets can also be purchased online directly on the castle page - [click].
It is best to make the purchase a little in advance. Even if tickets for the times you are interested in will no longer be available, you will surely be able to find one that you can cleverly fit into your schedule.
We left it by chance and as it is in life: we were unlucky and lucky at the same time. The bad luck was that the entrance to the castle was 4 hours away from the next free entry to the Underground (!!!).
The luck was that we bought the last two tickets to enter the Underground. The eager one who was standing in the line to the cash register behind me left the window with the receipt.
I admit that I was surprised by this fact, because we were in Książ far off season (end of September)! We arrived at the ticket office around 15.00 p.m. and managed to buy the last two tickets for the last entrance to the Underground, at 19.00 p.m. (!!!). Next time I would definitely use the option to purchase tickets in advance on the website of the castle - [click].
If you have less time
In this case, most often you have to limit yourself to three attractions, which are marked on the map with numbers 1, 2 and 3, i.e. Castle (visiting time 60 - 90 minutes), Terraces (visiting time 30 minutes) i The underground (visiting time 45 minutes).
If you are not interested in the remains of underground structures after the mysterious activities of the Nazis during World War II, you can give up the Underground. Instead, consider walking the Hochberg Trail (walking time about 2 hours). It is a beautiful, extremely picturesque, and at the same time probably the most underrated attraction in the vicinity of the castle.
If you come to Książ by car, you will walk along the path from the parking lot to the castle Mausoleum of the Hochberg family (number 7) and nearby viewpoint (number 5). To get to the viewpoint, you have to stray from the path for a moment. Both directions will take a total of 10-15 minutes.
1. Książ Castle
visiting time: 60 - 90 minutes
I was thinking for a long time how to describe the history of the castle. Why? In the castle, you will receive headphones and an electronic guide during the tour. The lock prepared audio guide is great. It is listened to lightly and with interest. I watched the visitors and it seemed that he was drawing in others the same. People eagerly stopped at the next points, listening to what the teacher had to say. Really great job! Bravo for the Castle!
So I think that it is definitely worth delving into the meanders of the history of the castle directly when visiting. Here, literally in four words, I will outline the most interesting turning points related to the history of Książ.
Looking at the entire history of the castle, it can be said that the castle was generally lucky with its owners. It was built at the end of the 200th century. Just over 1509 years later (exactly in XNUMX) it passed into the hands Hobergs (at that time, this name was still written without the letters "ch" in the middle, and the Hochberg notation began to be used only from 1714).
In the hands of the family Hochbergs the castle remained unchanged until the Second World War. During this time, he passed two Great Rebuilds and owes its current shape to the Hochberg family, which has been associated with it continuously for over 400 years.
Third major reconstruction was carried out by the Nazis during World War II. In 1941, the Nazis managed to take over the Hochberg Castle and it was probably a kind of punishment for their anti-Nazi activities (mainly Princess Daisy Hochberg von Pless). The fact that the two sons of the duchess fought against Hitler in World War II was probably also not without influence.
Jan Henryk XVII served in the British army, and Alexander served in the Polish army (in the Polish Armed Forces in the West, in the personal protection of general Władysław Sikorski and in the XNUMXnd Polish Corps of General Władysław Anders).
Ultimately, the Germans decided to convert Książ into the headquarters of Adolf Hitler (although Hitler never visited the castle).
To be honest the third major reconstruction it should be called rather The First Great Devastation. Changing the function of the building from a castle to a military-military facility, and in fact an exclusive bunker and bunker for the leader of the Third Reich, could not help him. The scale of the destruction associated with the Nazi "reconstruction" of the castle was such that only solid bombing could compete with it.
The reconstruction was carried out by the Germans with the hands of concentration camp prisoners Gross-Rosen, whose fila was established in the castle grounds (until today, in the forest right next to the tourist car park, where you will probably leave your car, you can find the remains of foundations of apartment blocks for prisoners).
Historians to commemorate the "contribution" of the Nazis to the reconstruction of the castle write about it with a lowercase "w", while the other two Great Remodels write using a capital letter.
Much about the Nazi reconstruction can be heard and seen while visiting the Castle Undergrounds.
After the war, until 1946 Soviet troops were stationed in the castle, devastating it thoroughly. At the same time, the collections of the Książańska Library in Majorca (approximately 64 volumes), which were probably taken to the Soviet Union, are lost from the castle.
You will learn more interesting stories related to Książ Castle by listening to an audio guide while visiting the castle. I recommend!
Książ Castle, GPS coordinates:
50.842509, 16.292516 - click and route
2. Terraces at the Książ Castle
They are available for visiting: from April 1 to September 30 (if the weather permits, the opening time may be extended, you can check it by calling the Customer Service Center at 74 66 43 834).
The first terraces at the Castle were built in the XNUMXth century, but the final shape was given to them by Princess Daisy at the beginning of the XNUMXth century. She hired English gardeners to arrange them, who gave them a form that imitates natural landscapes ... that is, in short and in human terms, the terraces are simply beautiful!
We spent much more than 30 minutes on them. It was just nice to sit there and relax after hours of sightseeing. On the occasion, many beautiful, commemorative photos were taken. It's hard to imagine a better place to rest.
There are 14 terraces in total, each has its own name, and the last one (a faithful reconstruction of the appearance from the 2010th century) was opened to the public in XNUMX.
3. The undergrounds of the Książ Castle
I was waiting for the underground the most. The tunnels and halls carved under the castle are associated with the Nazi reconstruction of the castle for the purposes of organizing Hitler's headquarters there. Their size, however, indicates that the plans were much wider. Their actual purpose has not been fully explained until today.
The route of the underground walk is about 0,5 km long and runs along the castle terraces near the alleged location of the underground railway station. The end of the first half of the route is at the cave, next to the elevator shaft leading straight from the castle. The shaft began in Hitler's private room and was to allow for a rapid (counted in seconds) evacuation of the Nazi leader straight to safe, concrete undergrounds and then through a network of tunnels to a safe place.
During the tour, the guide tells an interesting story, interrupted by short multimedia projections, launched at the next stops of the underground walk.
The underground route, however, has one major drawback: the time to listen to the stories passes so quickly that 45 minutes fires like the snap of a finger. At the end of the tour, one would like to shout: encore! we want more!
4. Walking path around the Książ Castle (the Hochberg's Path)
time of easy passage: about 2 hours (5km)
The most underrated attraction of the castle surroundings. Perhaps because it requires more time. However, if you have enough time, you must follow this path. A picturesque path, beautifully situated along the Pełcznica gorge, will lead you around the castle, giving you time to breathe and rest from the main tourist current. Here, the disadvantage (i.e. underestimating this attraction by tourists) becomes an advantage, because even in the middle of the season you can find a moment of respite for yourself. Along the way, you will come across the ruins of the Stary Książ Castle.
Plan for two hours for this walk. It's worth it!
I marked the course of the path on the map of attractions presented earlier. It starts with the red trail at the main gate in front of the Książ Castle, and not far from the ruins of Stary Książ Castle, it turns into the green trail, which will lead you back to the starting point.
You can see a short movie showing the course of the path below.
I decided to mark this viewpoint as a separate facility because it is in a very convenient place for all those who do not have a whole day to explore the surroundings of the castle. You will pass by this point walking from the car park towards the castle and you only need to take a few steps to the side to get to the pier, with access to one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the castle.
Viewpoint, GPS coordinates:
50.839693, 16.296367 - click and route
6. Old Książ Castle
The first stronghold was built in this place at the turn of the 1797th and XNUMXth centuries. The brick defensive castle was built in the XNUMXth century, but the walls that can be seen here come from XNUMX. It was then that the owner of the Książ castle (Jan Henry VI von Hochberg) commissioned the reconstruction of the remains of the ruins of a medieval castle in the style of a romantic, medieval, old-fashioned building (i.e. an artificial ruin). The aim was to recreate the medieval staging of the surroundings of Książ Castle.
Immediately after the war, in the summer of 1945, the castle was burnt down by the Soviet army.
Below is a panoramic photo of the Stary Książ Castle. You can rotate them around the axis and zoom in.
Old Książ Castle, GPS coordinates:
50.837822, 16.294918 - click and route
7. Mausoleum of the Hochberg family
On Topolowa Górka, at the southern gate to the park, you will come across the Mausoleum of the Hochberg Family. If you come to Książ by car, the path from the parking lot to the castle will take you there by itself.
Originally, the building was not a mausoleum. It was built in 1734 and was a typical belvedere, i.e. a leisure pavilion with a beautiful view of the surrounding area. It was not until 150 years later (i.e. in 1884) that a deep crypt was dug out under the floor of the gazebo under the gazebo and transformed into the Hochbergs' chapel.
Several members of the Hochberg family were buried there, but the first to find a place there was the nameless daughter of Princess Daisy, who died shortly after giving birth. Princess Daisy herself was the last one (in 1943) to rest in the mausoleum.
Just before the arrival of the Soviet army in 1945, fearing the desecration of the body (which Soviet soldiers did in search of valuables in the coffins), the servants of the Hochbergs took Princess Daisy and other members of the family out of the mausoleum. Where? Until today there is no certainty.
Today, the mausoleum is a beautiful, perfectly restored building, with a stunning interior covered with frescoes depicting the Książ Castle from all over the world.
The crypt, enriched with special illumination, is really impressive.
Mausoleum of the Hochberg family, GPS coordinates:
50.839540, 16.299880 - click and route
8. A herd of stallions
The Książ Stallion herd is housed in historic buildings that were erected in the XNUMXth century at the request of Prince Hochberg. A must for lovers of the subject.
As a curiosity, I would like to add that the indoor arena included in the complex was built entirely of larch wood without the use of even one (!!!) nail.
It is one of the most beautiful buildings of this type in Europe.
Useful GPS coordinates
Tourist car park Książ Castle, GPS coordinates:
50.838079, 16.301118 - click and route
In 2020, the car park cost PLN 15 (once, without time limits)
Admission tickets, price list, opening hours
ATTENTION!!! The castle changes visiting hours to adapt them to the current situation. I recommend checking the current hours directly on the castle page - [click]
Before the pandemic, the castle's ticket offices were open
- in the high season from April to October:
Monday - Friday: 9.00 a.m. - 17.00 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday: 9.00 a.m. - 18.00 p.m.
- in the low season from November to March
Monday - Friday: 9.00 a.m. - 15.00 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday: 9.00 a.m. - 16.00 p.m.
During the pandemic, the castle was open every day:
Friday - Saturday: 16.00 - 21.00
Sunday - Thursday: 16.00 - 20.00
The price list of tickets is very extensive, because there are many facilities and variants available for visiting. You can choose from: Castle, Palm House, Underground, Stallion Herd, Mausoleum in various versions (without a guide, with a guide, and an audio guide) ...
In order not to unnecessarily clutter the page with too much information, it is enough to know that depending on the selected range, ticket prices vary:
- normal tickets - from 39 to 69 PLN / person
- reduced tickets - from 32 to 62 PLN / person
- night tour - 55 PLN / person
It's best to buy tickets online, directly on the castle page - [click]
I recommend buying tickets electronically. Thanks to this, you can also check if the lock is open at the time planned by you. Additionally, you will avoid queues and surprises that the next available date is e.g. in 4 hours.
Hotel and accommodation
There are two small hotels in the castle area: Hotel Książ i Castle Hotel. It is best to book accommodation online. Below are links to the booking sites for each hotel.
Hotel Książ - check available rooms - [click]
Castle Hotel - check available rooms - [click]
Access by public transport
If you are going to get there by rail, get off the train at the station Wałbrzych Szczawienko. In front of the train station you will find a bus stop. In the season, he commutes to the castle line number 12.
You can also get from Wrocław to Wałbrzych by BUS. Buses depart from David's Square in Wrocław (near the Wrocław Główny railway station). There are several carriers.
The ticket costs between 20 and 30 zlotys.
You should get off near the Palm House. From here you can get to Książ by bus line 8 or 12.
Bus stop at Plac Dawida in Wrocław, GPS coordinates:
51.095370, 17.037694 - click and route
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