Pławniowice Palace is a hidden gem just a 1.5-hour drive from Krakow, offering an ideal opportunity to explore the beautiful countryside of Małopolska and the Silesian Voivodeship. Situated only 40km from the bustling yet often overlooked city of Katowice, it’s increasingly appreciated by young people and students for its lively nightlife and tranquil, modern atmosphere.
Nestled among the woods and meadows of Silesia, the stunning Pławniowice Palace ranks as one of the most exquisite noble palaces in Poland. It was constructed at the end of the nineteenth century with architectural influences from both Flemish and Central European styles. Throughout its history, the palace has undergone several changes of ownership, including transformation into a forced labor camp for prisoners of war by the Germans during World War II, and subsequent occupation by the Red Army. After a period of abandonment, it was finally reclaimed and meticulously restored, a process that began in 1993.
What you will find in this guide to Pławniowice Palace:
Pławniowice Palace: History & Facts
Nestled in the tranquil village of Pławniowice, the Pławniowice Palace is a splendid late 19th-century estate enveloped by a sprawling and exquisite park. Situated in the Rudziniec municipality, approximately 130 kilometers from the historic city of Krakow, this picturesque complex offers a captivating journey through history and architectural beauty.
Commissioned in 1882-1885 by Franz von Ballestrem, the palace was conceived as a replacement for an aging structure, with only the chapel from the previous estate still standing today. The architectural mastery behind this project was entrusted to Konstantyn Heidenreich of Kopice, who seamlessly blended various influences, primarily drawing from the Renaissance style while subtly incorporating elements of Dutch and French art. Throughout its existence, the Pławniowice Palace has undergone several expansions and enhancements, adding charming features like small turrets, a carriage shed, and the knights’ house.
The property exchanged hands over the years, passing through the ownership of various families. However, with the advent of the Second World War and the subsequent arrival of the Red Army, the renowned owner, Count Mikołaj Ballestrem, was compelled to flee, and the residence was transferred to the Catholic Church. The chapel of the palace was repurposed into a parish church, the western wing transformed into a rectory, and the remaining rooms provided lodging for Benedictine nuns for a time, later transitioning into an Augustinian monastery.
In 1993, the palace underwent a profound renovation, both internally and externally, to restore its former glory. It subsequently served as the Education and Training Center of the Diocese of Gliwice, offering versatile rooms for conferences, congresses, and catering facilities, thus becoming a destination for a wide range of events and receptions. Adding to its charm, the palace is enveloped by an enchanting park, which today provides an idyllic setting for concerts and events, making it a multi-faceted destination where history, architecture, and nature harmoniously converge.
Visiting Pławniowice Palace: Things to Do and See
The Pławniowice Palace, a marvel of architectural beauty, stands as an exquisite testament to craftsmanship. Constructed entirely from red bricks, it creates a stunning contrast against the pristine white finishes and intricate architectural details. The roofs of this majestic edifice are adorned with a profusion of turrets, towers, and spires, with one square-shaped side tower standing prominently above all. It not only holds the distinction of being the tallest among them but is also crowned by an elegant pyramidal roof and graced with a clock on each of its four façades.
The palace, designed in a horseshoe plan, encircles a vast courtyard where a magnificent, sprawling fountain takes center stage, encircled by a graceful pedestrian path that provides access to the palace. Adorning the central façade, the coat of arms of the Bellestrem family stands as a captivating emblem of its historical significance. Step inside, and the palace’s interiors, though predominantly renovated, transport you back in time. The furnishings and wooden details within the various rooms recreate the ambiance of a bygone era.
Marvelously decorated ceilings bear splendid frescoes, and the walls are adorned with an array of artworks. Each room offers unique collections, from porcelain to bladed and ornate weaponry, as well as hunting trophies. Among the treasures within are the dining room, exuding Dutch neo-mannerism style, resplendent with wooden furnishings and a grand fireplace. The ceiling, adorned with the owner’s coats of arms and geometrically arranged wooden coffers, is the crowning glory. Two magnificent brass chandeliers further enhance its charm. Adjacent to this room lies the “Pink Room“, so named for its rosy walls. Here, a pink marble fireplace and a neo-rococo-style ceiling create an inviting atmosphere.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the palace’s library, and visit the office room where the ancient desk of the former owner, Franciszek Ballestrem, takes pride of place. The Pławniowice complex also encompasses neighboring structures, including a late Baroque chapel dating back to the 18th century, dedicated to the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today, it serves as the parish church. Nearby, you’ll find the knight’s house and the former carriage house.
The entire estate is enclosed by a stately stone wall, safeguarding a magnificent garden, which spans 2.4 hectares. This green oasis is home to a diverse array of trees and plants, including exotic species. Crisscrossed by various paths, the garden invites you to explore and discover hidden gems such as a small pond, an alpine garden, and the serene Marian Courtyard. Here, a small statue of the Virgin Mary with Child takes center stage, atop a pedestal supporting the sculpted bust of the Ballestrem family founder.
In close proximity to the palace lies Lake Pławniowice, a renowned retreat for residents and visitors alike. This picturesque lake provides an ideal setting to unwind after exploring the residence. Lakeside, a multitude of restaurants offer delightful fish dishes with panoramic lake views. You can also rent boats or bicycles to further explore the surroundings along two scenic cycle paths, making Pławniowice Palace and its natural surroundings a captivating destination for history, culture, and leisure.
Pławniowice Palace Tickets and Prices
The Pławniowice Palace welcomes visitors daily, though it’s important to note that the interior is accessible only on select days of the week. If you wish to explore the palace’s inner treasures, be prepared for an enlightening guided tour that typically spans an hour. The entrance fee is 10 PLN for adults, and there’s a reduced rate of 7 PLN for eligible visitors.
Best Hotels near Pławniowice Palace
Nestled just 10 kilometers from Rudziniec, Villa Vanilla stands as a paragon of modern elegance, offering refined air-conditioned rooms with a host of amenities, including a TV and a private bathroom replete with complimentary toiletries. The spacious, luminous rooms provide a comfortable retreat, with select suites even featuring a cozy living area.
Adding to its appeal, the hotel offers complimentary parking and an outstanding buffet breakfast that’s included in the room rate. Within the premises, a restaurant awaits, serving a delectable array of Polish cuisine alongside an extensive wine selection. Be sure not to pass up the opportunity to indulge in their homemade ice cream. Additionally, a charming on-site shop tempts you with a variety of cold cuts and freshly baked bread.
Situated just 10 kilometers from Rudziniec, the Dworska Elektrownia hotel finds its abode within the historic walls of a 19th-century former police station. This two-star gem provides guests with complimentary Wi-Fi and classic-style rooms, each offering a private bathroom with free toiletries and a shower.
Convenience meets travelers’ needs with free parking and a round-the-clock open reception. The hotel kicks off your day with a hearty buffet breakfast, and a small playground keeps the little ones entertained. For dining options, the hotel restaurant serves up a menu teeming with authentic Polish and Silesian flavors.
Leśna Perła – Restauracja
Nestled in Rudziniec, the Leśna Perła Hotel is enveloped by a splendid garden adorned with a profusion of flora. While the property often hosts ceremonies, the accommodations offer a tranquil escape, characterized by hushed serenity and exceptional service.
Guests can begin their day with a continental buffet breakfast, and complimentary parking further sweetens the deal. The rooms are thoughtfully furnished with private bathrooms, TVs, and even a handy kettle. For added convenience, room service is at your disposal, and a lovely terrace beckons for moments of relaxation. Venture to the hotel’s restaurant for a culinary journey through typical Polish cuisine, which is presented with an elegant and refined touch.
Best Restaurants near Pławniowice Palace
Situated just a stone’s throw away from the palace, alongside the picturesque Lake Plawniowice, Panorama Restaurant beckons with its indoor and al fresco dining spaces, complete with a stunning terrace that affords captivating lake vistas. The menu here predominantly showcases delectable fish dishes, replete with an array of soups and sumptuous mains, all complemented by generous side dishes. What’s truly noteworthy is that the prices remain refreshingly reasonable, making it an ideal choice for savoring a delightful lakeside meal.
Conveniently located in close proximity to the palace, Minoas beckons with a tantalizing menu of authentic Greek cuisine. While the restaurant boasts a somewhat rustic decor, it’s the generous portions and attractive pricing that steal the spotlight. Be sure to explore their range of excellent beers. Additionally, the restaurant boasts a spacious outdoor terrace, perfect for warm days, and even offers a small play area for children, making it an excellent option for families.
Nestled on the riverbanks, directly opposite the palace, Świerkowy Zakątek, or “Spruce Nook”, is a charming haven for relaxation. During the summer months, this restaurant offers a plethora of outdoor tables set upon a beautiful lawn, where you can indulge in a meal or simply unwind with a refreshing beer. The menu, though concise, offers a delightful variety, ranging from classic hamburgers to traditional Polish pierogi. Moreover, the establishment provides barbecue facilities, ensuring an all-around pleasant dining experience by the waterside.