Spending a Night in Czocha Castle Hotel, Poland (Review)
As I grew older, I realized that the chances of me getting proposed to by a handsome young prince grew slimmer each year — at quite the same rate as my waistline growing wider. So, if I wanted to experience living in a castle, I decided I had to do it some other way.
A few Google searches later, I found out that there were several castles in Europe where you could actually spend the night. One such castle was Zamek Czocha in Lesna, Poland. According to Booking.com, in Poland alone, there were at least five castles that had been converted into hotels.
My partner and I chose Zamek Czocha because it aligned with our plan to visit both Poland and Czech Republic. Its location near the border made it a convenient stop on our journey between the two countries.
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About Zamek Czocha
Zamek Czocha (Czocha Castle), also known as the Polish version of Hogwarts, was built in the 13th century by the Czech king Wenceslaus I to protect the Czech border. Over time, the castle lost its function as a fortress and became the grand residence of several noble families.
With every change of ownership, the castle underwent some modification, including the addition of a library, archives, and an armory where weapons and armors were manufactured and repaired.
One night in August 1793, a disaster struck. A huge fire broke out in the castle, destroying the ornate roofs, rooms, a tower with three bells, as well as some great collections of artefacts and archives. Its two bridges were also severely damaged, making it difficult to salvage whatever was left inside the castle.
For over 100 years afterwards, the castle remained almost totally derelict until 1909 when it was bought by a Dresden tobacco manufacturer Ernst Gütschow. With the assistance of a Berlin architect, Bodo Ebhardt, he managed to restore the castle to its former glory.
He then lived in the castle until 1945 when the approaching Soviet Red Army forced him to flee. After the Second World War, Czocha Castle became the property of the Polish state.
How to Get to Zamek Czocha
Zamek Czocha is located in the village of Sucha in southwestern Poland, about 6 kilometers from the Polish-Czech border. We went to Czocha Castle by public transports from Wrocław, on our way to Czech Republic.
First, we took an early morning train from Wrocław Główny to Lubań Slaski.
Once there, it was just a short walk to the bus station, where we took a local minibus to the castle. The bus is not very frequent, but it departs on time, based on the timetable posted at the bus stop. Do note that it does not operate on certain days of the year.
You will need to tell the driver that you are going to Zamek Czocha, and he will know where to drop you off. From the drop-off point, it’s only about 3 minutes’ walk to the castle.
You can check the train timetable here.
Alternatively, you can rent or drive your own car. It takes around two hours to drive from Wroclaw, Dresden or Prague, and 3.5 hours from Berlin. The parking fee at the castle is 10 PLN per car.
Czocha Castle Entrance Fee
Once you walk past the main gate, you will see a ticketing office. If you’re a hotel guest, you can enter the castle ground for free (have your booking confirmation ready in case they ask). Otherwise, these fees apply:
Visiting the Castle + Courtyard
- Standard ticket: 35 PLN
- Discounted ticket: 27 PLN
- Family (2+2): 172 PLN*
- Family (2+3): 205 PLN*
- Night sightseeing: 65 PLN
*Family tickets include a guide and entrance to the multimedia torture chambers.
Entrance to the Courtyard
- Standard: 8 PLN
- Discounted: 6 PLN
Multimedia Torture Chamber
- Standard: 16 PLN
- Discounted: 12 PLN
Discounted tickets apply to children, adolescents aged 15 and below, and people with disabilities. Check the latest fees here.
Czocha Castle Tour
There are daily guided tours conducted in Polish from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in July and August). Tours in German and English are also available with advance booking.
The tour starts in the Grand Knight’s Hall, which occasionally serves as a ballroom. This is followed by the beautiful Marble Hall with its wall paintings and a fireplace.
The Library Hall is filled with various books and masonry symbols, while the Portrait Hall displays portraits of the Piast dynasty members. Visitors will also be taken to the Treasury, which was once secured with steel and concrete doors.
The castle houses an exhibition of communication devices used by the Polish Army in the past, as well as treasures found during the castle’s renovation in 2015.
Other than that, visitors can also visit the Multimedia Torture Room, the Outer Castle Museum, the Room of Curiosities, the two-story-high Knight’s Hall, and the Riddle Room. The lookout tower offers breathtaking views of the Kwisa river and surrounding forests.
The official check-in time was 3 p.m., but since we arrived early, we tried asking at the reception if they’d allow early check-in. Unfortunately, they were quite strict about it, so we had to kill time by exploring the castle ground and having some coffee and dessert at the cafe.
If you’re a beer drinker, don’t forget to try the special Zamek Czocha bottled beer.
There’s plenty to see, both outside and inside the castle. Some areas are restricted and can only be accessed on a guided tour.
If you’re not taking the tour, you can ask the receptionist for a printout of the castle information in English. There are common halls that you can access to see displays of ancient furniture, black and white photos with descriptions, as well as armors and weapons, such as these ones here:
Apart from that, you can walk outside in the courtyards and enjoy the beautiful views of the forests. In the summer, the forests are popular for hiking. Nearby, you can find the Leśniańskie Lake, where cruises and water sports take place. There are also numerous hiking and cycling routes at the Jizera foothills, which are interspersed with monuments and ruins.
Even if you can’t make it during summer, the Kwisa River that surrounds the castle looks phenomenal no matter what time of the year you visit. We went in late November, and this is how it looks:
When it was time to check in, we walked back to the reception.
Language was a bit of a problem because both of the receptionists didn’t speak much English and we didn’t know a word of Polish other than dziękuję. But the one with the better English of the two was fantastic.
Although he absolutely didn’t have to, he apologized many times for his limited vocabulary, and we all shared a few laughs over our pitiful attempts at trying to understand each other.
With some help from Google Translate, he managed to book us a taxi for the next morning because we had to leave super early to catch a train. He also made sure that the taxi driver would make a quick stop at an ATM before dropping us off and that the morning staff would pack our breakfast to go.
Definite 5 stars for the service!
Czocha Castle features 50 rooms, including eight special-themed rooms, inspired by historical or literary figures, such as Harry Potter, Bodo Ebhardt (the architect who redesigned the castle after the fire), and Edgar von Üchtritz (one of the previous owners). If you can afford it, try the Prince’s Chamber or the Daughter’s Chamber suite (the room of the last owner’s daughter).
Some of the rooms can fit up to 4 people. While all of them are designed with the guests’ comfort in mind, due to the historic nature of the castle, some rooms come without bathrooms.
We chose one of those because it was the cheapest. Our room came with a double bed, TV, wardrobe, table and chairs and what they call a ‘half bathroom’. It’s basically just a shower and a sink, with no toilet.
The toilet was outside in the corridor, to which we were given a key (we had to keep it locked when not in use). I’m not sure if they actually gave a key to every guest, but because there didn’t seem to be many other people in the castle, I think we pretty much had the toilet to ourselves.
That was our first time encountering that kind of arrangement, so we found it rather strange, to be honest. Personally, we would have preferred to have the toilet — instead of the shower — inside the room in case we needed to use it urgently. I don’t think there’d ever be an urgent need for a shower, especially in that climate.
Anyway, other than that, everything else was perfect. We liked that the room had everything we needed including power sockets, and that the heating system worked perfectly well.
There were not many other establishments in the area, and if there were any, I assume you’d need a car to get there. But this was not an issue for us, because the castle has its own restaurant, “Uczta” (Feast), that offers specialties of Old Polish cuisine.
We had homemade pierogis and chicken liver in forest sauce. They also serve an assortment of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
The price was reasonable, which was a pleasant surprise for us because we had been to places like that that like to capitalize on people’s lack of other options and charge an arm and a leg for an average meal.
The room rate is inclusive of breakfast, but since we had to leave very early, they had it packed for us. It was sandwiches, fruits, chocolate, and a bottle of water each.
Interesting Facts about Czocha Castle
- Zamek Czocha is often called the “Polish Hogwarts” because it is the venue for world-famous LARP (Live Action Role Playing) sessions, Summer School of Magic, and magic classes for schoolchildren. One of the guestrooms in the castle also features a wizardry theme.
- The Prince’s Chamber allegedly features a unique mechanism under the bed, that can plunge those sleeping on it straight into the dungeon (useful for when your spouse unexpectedly comes home and you need to hide someone immediately, I imagine?)
- Legend has it that a newborn baby was bricked up inside the Marble Hall fireplace by a former ruler. He also killed the mother, whose spirit now still haunts the castle, looking for her lost child.
- There is a well at the castle called the “Well of Unfaithful Wives”. It was where one of the rulers drowned his wives and mistresses out of jealousy. Apparently, one can sometimes hear moans and wails coming from it.
- Pets are not allowed in Czocha Castle’s rooms.
- Courtyard tours with pets are allowed, but dogs must wear muzzles. The only exceptions are miniature dogs (max. 30 cm).
- Pets are not allowed in the courtyards during outdoor events due to safety reasons.
- You can rent one of the castle halls or courtyard for weddings, gala dinners, banquets, as well as barbecues or bonfires.
I am thrilled to have finally fulfilled my wish to stay in a real castle — albeit for just one night — without having to spend a fortune on it. Out of the many castle stays in Europe, this one is probably the most affordable. It’s still more than what I would usually pay as a budget traveler, but hey, it’s a castle.
The room was a little too modern for my liking — it makes you forget that you’re actually in a medieval building. But I suppose I must not be ungrateful for all the creature comforts that modernity brings you, like the heating system. And a proper toilet.
So if you’re a princess / prince / wizard wannabe, don’t miss the chance to fulfill your childhood fantasies and discover the magic of Zamek Czocha.
Have you ever spent a night in a castle? Where was it? Share your experience in the comment section below.