The central part of Kashubia, an area south of the Baltic Sea, has for a century and a half been called Kashubian Switzerland. Kashubians, who have lived here for more than a thousand years, believe that God has particularly gifted this land, showering it with all the diverse beauty left in it after the creation of the world. In this part of Pomerania you will find high but gentle hills, thousands of lakes and postglacial ponds hiding in deep depressions, shady ravines and wild forests of the former Kashubian Forest, and above all a charming mosaic of solitary farms scattered among fields, meadows and groves. This diversity is additionally enriched by the still pulsating with life Kashubian culture. The richness of landscapes, nature and culture makes every season an interesting time to spend here. Winter landscapes can be admired while cross-country skiing or downhill skiing in several ski resorts or while getting on a sleigh ride. Spring will delight you with the abundance of flowers in the forests growing in the valleys and ravines, and the fresh greenery of the beech trees. Summer encourages you to relax at Kashubian lakes and explore the area by kayaking, cycling or walking along marked trails. Finally, at the beginning of October, you can admire the blazing colors of the forests as they prepare for their winter sleep!
There are many hidden places in Kashubian Switzerland that are definitely worth a visit! If you want to learn more about how plates, cups or pots with beautiful Kashubian designs are made, you should visit the Necel Museum of Kashubian Ceramics, which has been run by the same family for generations. There, you will not only learn more about how pottery is made, but you will also be able to create your own pottery and take it home with you! Another very interesting place is the Kashubian Museum in Kartuzy. This museum has many very interesting collections depicting life in the old days, traditions and costumes of the Kashubians. Both of these places are small but run by passionate people, and we really recommend supporting local communities because only with financial support they can teach next generations about their beautiful traditions and history!
Have you ever heard about the Łapalice Castle, without a doubt the strangest construction in Kashubia or even in Poland? In 1983 Piotr Kazimierczak, a woodcarver and furniture manufacturer, received permission to build a 170 m² single-family house with a sculpture studio. Instead, he constructed a much larger building looking like a castle, with an area of 5,000 m² ! However, at the beginning of the 1990s, the construction works were interrupted due to financial problems of the investor. The castle was therefore not finished and after some time it became an attraction of the region. Notably, in 2015, a group of Harry Potter fans were interested in buying the castle! You need your own transport to visit the place. There's a big fence behind it, but you can easily access the property through the gate. There's also a small parking area near the castle. It's been reported that the castle is in a fragile state and some parts are in danger of falling apart, so enter at your own risk.
Wieżyca (Polish spot: Wieżyca Wieża Widokowa) rises 329 meters above sea level and is the highest place not only in Pomerania region, but also in the whole of northern Poland. It is one of the so-called hills "Kashubian Switzerland", which is a hilly part of Kashubia rich in forests and lakes. In 1997, the Kashubian Observation Tower named after John Paul II was opened at the top, from which visitors can admire the vast panorama of the surrounding area. The easiest way to get to Wieżyca is via the black trail, from the parking lot located approx. 100 m from the national road No. 20 (Gdańsk - Kościerzyna). This car park is located on the local road to Szymbark. From the top, visitors can see not only Kashubian forests and lakes, but also - in completely cloudless weather - also Helska Spit, which seemingly seems to be hundreds of kilometers away. Climbing the tower, despite its height (approx. 35 m), is not difficult. The stairs are comfortable and wide, with appropriate railings, and the terrace itself is also extensive.
Kashubian is a West Slavic language belonging to the Lechitic group of languages of northern Poland, and is thought to be a variation of the original Pomeranian language. The legacy of the Germanic history of Northern Poland can also been seen in Kashubian vocabulary. It includes about 5% loanwords from German, not unsimilar to Polish, however these are mostly from Low German and only occasionally from High German. Other sources of loanwords include the Baltic languages. Kashubian enjoys legal protection in Poland as a minority language, is taught in Polish schools, and can be found on many street signs in the region. Of the many folk art disciplines, the Kashubians pride themselves on their embroidery. Kashubian embroidery uses just five colours: green, red, yellow, black and blue, of which the latter comes in three distinct shades. Green represents the forests, red the fire and blood shed in defence of the homeland, yellow the sun, black the earth and the three shades of blue representing the sky, the lakes and the sea. The Kashubians are also great weavers, even managing to weave buckets and jugs from pine roots and straw capable of holding water. Their weaving skills can also be seen on the roofs of the many thatched houses in the region. The Kashubians re also well known for a style of primitive painting on glass, woodcuts, and wooden sculptures including roadside chapels known as the Passions of Christ.