Kudowa-Zdrój (pronounced Ku-dove-ah Ze-droy; German: Bad Kudowa, Czech: Chudoba) is a town in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Poland. Positioned next to the Czech-Polish border and near Stołowe Mountains National Park, the town is a well-known tourist attraction in Poland, famous for its outstanding rugged countryside and historic spa facilities. The population of Kudowa-Zdrój stands at nearly 10,000.
The Sanatorium Polonia, a regional landmark.
Kudowa-Zdrój is situated in the heavily forested foothills of the Table Mountains (Gory Stołowe) in Poland's southwestern Silesian region, in Kłodzko County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, and is around 400 m above sea level. The town is located along the Czech-Polish border, just across from the neighboring Czech town of Náchod, and some 40 km west of Kłodzko. Hradec Králové, the largest Czech city in the region, is 50 km southwest, while the largest Polish city, Wałbrzych, is 60 km north.
One of the oldest spa resorts in both Poland and Europe, the earliest recorded mention of the town dates to 1354 by Henry the Older, son of the Hussite Czech king George of Podebrady (Jiří z Poděbrad). Originally named Chudoba, the village was located within ethnic Czech lands throughout the Middle Ages. The first record of the town's mineral waters dates to 1580 from the chronicles of Louis of Náchod, under the name Čermenské Lazne. In 1625 (or, as some sources say, as early as 1621), G. Aelurius, a Protestant Lutheran monk, wrote in his work Glaciografia about the exceptional taste of the village's mineral water, describing how healthy the water's chemical composition was for wine making. Crude, wooden-made devices for healing baths were in place in the town as early as 1630.
With Slavic influence waning in the 18th and 19th centuries due to Austrian and later Prussian annexations, the town, now known by its German name Bad Kudowa, became an important Prussian spa center, and became one of the first major health resorts for medical patients in Germany. Guests during the German period included Prussian field marshal Helmut von Moltke and future wartime British prime minister Winston Churchill. The noted German physician and anarcho-socialist Raphael Friedeberg also spent considerable time as a resident doctor in the town in the early 20th century. Additional investment arrived with the town's connection to the railroad in 1905.
After World War II's conclusion, the majority of the town's ethnic German population was forcibly expelled, replaced by Polish settlers with the region's inclusion into Poland in 1945. The town, now known as Kudowa-Zdrój, received city rights for the first time in its history under the Polish state.
Today, the town is an important tourist center in Poland, attracting large numbers of Polish, Czech and German holidaymakers, seeking Kudowa's spa facilities, relaxed town center, and its central location close to the scenic Table Mountains.
A view of the Pump Room (Pijalnia wód mineralnych
) and Spa Park (Park Zdrojowy
Kudowa-Zdrój is connected by highway DK8 (E67), allowing a 40 minute drive to Kłodzko and a two hour drive to Wrocław. Provincial highway DW387 connects the town to smaller communities and natural history sites in the surrounding Table Mountains. On the Czech side of the border, Kudowa-Zdrój is connected to Náchod, Jaroměř and Hradec Králové by road 33. Due to Kudowa-Zdrój's border location, the town is along a busy trade route for a large number of Czech and Polish-bound trucks. Since their inclusion into the Schengen Agreement in 2007, there are no border controls between Poland and the Czech Republic.
Provincial rail operator Koleje Dolnośląskie provides passenger service from the town's small train station. Passenger trains from Kudowa traverse to Kłodzko Główne, where travelers can transfer to the rest of Poland's regional and national rail network. On the Czech side of the border, the current closest rail station is in Náchod, with service provided by ČD. There are currently no rail connections between Kudowa-Zdrój and Náchod.
Kudowa-Zdrój is connected to neighboring towns on both sides of the border through the region's integrated bus network. Czech line CDS operates frequent routes between the town and neighboring Náchod, with a journey time usually less than ten minutes. Polish bus service PKS w Kłodzku connects Kudowa with daily service to neighboring Kłodzko and Náchod, as well as offering lines to further cities Wrocław and Prague. Additional bus companies frequently stop in the town due to its border location. Most buses stop at the outdoor dworzec autobusowy, a small bus station near 1 Maja street in the town's center.
For Polish bus connections, check e-podroznik for schedules, while Czech schedules can be researched via Idos.
The town's compactness and marked pedestrian ways makes the town ideal for walking. All attractions and activities within the town are in walking distance. Bicycling is also a popular activity, helped by several large bicycle lanes reserved for riders, along with a variety of bike trails stretching around the town.
The Skull Chapel in nearby Czermna.
- Skull Chapel (Kaplica Czaszek), ul. Stanisława Moniuszki 8, ☎ +48 74 866 1433, . Tu-Sun, 09:30-17:15. Constructed in 1776, the Skull Chapel is a bizarre (if not morbid) chapel located in the Czermna neighborhood of the town, just north of the town center. A necropolis containing the bones of perhaps 3,000 individuals carefully placed along the walls and ceiling of the chapel, this part church, part ossuary, contains the remains of 17th and 18th century victims of diseases, as well as conflicts including the Thirty Years' War and the various Silesian Wars fought between Austria and Prussia throughout the mid-1700s. Another estimated 20,000 skeletal remains are under the chapel's vault. The Chapel of Skulls is one of the only such places to exist in Poland, and altogether is one of the three in existence in Europe. 2.5/5PLN. edit
- Mineral Pump Room (Pijalnia Wód Leczniczych), ul. Zdrojowa 43A, . Standing near the flowered entrance of Spa Park is the Mineral Pump Room, a beautiful large building dating to the turn of the 20th century. The building is richly decorated with colorful murals depicting Silesian history, with its namesake large mineral water spring inside, where visitors can taste Kudowa's spring waters for several złoty. Also within the building are spa facilities, a large concert hall and a cafe. edit
- Spa Park (Park Zdrojowy), ul. Zdrojowa 38A, . All day. Founded in the 18th century, Spa Park is a central location in the town. Stretching nearly a kilometer from the Sanatorium Polonia spa and hotel to a large pond next to the Czech-Polish border, the park is lined with fountains, lush trees, imported palms, grand spa palaces and flower gardens. During the summer months, Spa Park is popular with families and couples alike, listening to music bands, or playing outdoor games with an enormous chess board, or simply lounging in the cool shade. edit
Standing as one of Poland's relaxation centers, many visitors come to Kudowa-Zdrój to rest in its various spas and baths. Despite its well-earned reputation, Kudowa is not strictly limited to spas. The town is also an excellent starting location to explore Stołowe Mountains National Park (Polish: Park Narodowy Gór Stołowych) , a wide area of stunning views, weathered prehistoric rock formations, and wildlife watching. Various hiking trails cross through the town also, including the red, blue and green trails, traversing through the Czech-Polish borderlands. Closer to the town is the Wodny Świat Aqua Park, a large aquatic play and fitness center that draws in large numbers of local Polish and Czech residents.
A rural inn in the Pstrążna area near Kudowa-Zdrój.
- Cafe Domek, ul. Zdrojowa 36 A, ☎ +48 74 866 15 75, . A cozy and modern pizza parlor, Cafe Domek cooks a collection of pizzas and pastas, as well as reserving a large part of it menu to Polish food and regional Silesian cuisine. edit
- Czeska Restauracja Zdrojowa, ul. Słoneczna 1, ☎ +48 74 866 21 33 ([email protected]), . Situated in the heart of the town near Spa Park and the Polonia, Zdrojowa stays true to Kudowa's shared Slavic Czech and Polish heritage, specializing in Czech cuisine, beers, spirits and wines. edit
- Kosmiczna, ul. Zdrojowa 41, ☎ +48 74 866 25 70 ([email protected]), . An elegant restaurant dubbing also as a dance club, the Kosmiczna offers Polish and Central European food. edit
- Piekiełko, ul. Moniuszki 2, ☎ +48 74 866 38 29 ([email protected]), . Translated as "Hell", Piekiełko is a Polish restaurant, as well as a popular bar and dancing spot. edit
- Villa Antica, ul. Zdrojowa 29, ☎ +48 74 866 15 15 ([email protected]), . A quaint hotel and resturant, the Villa Antica r offers exquisite cuisine, drawing on the best culinary traditions of Poland and Europe. The restaurant has been frequented by many artists, musicians, actors, and politicians. edit
- W Starym Młynie, ul. Fredry 10, ☎ +48 74 866 36 01 ([email protected]), . A rustic venue evoking the previous three centuries of Silesia's history, serving hardy Polish and local cuisine, the W Starym Młynie is also a fine dining experience. edit
- Cafe Sissi, (Located inside the Pump Room). Cafe Sissi is a popular cafe for tourists visiting Kudowa. Housed within the exquisite Pump Room building, Cafe Sissi offers coffees, pastries, ice cream and alcoholic drinks. edit
Kudowa-Zdrój's long history as a spa center means that the town is never short of places to stay at.
ul. Zdrojowa is lined with many stately villas, now hotels and businesses.
- Villa Antica, ul. Zdrojowa 29, ☎ +48 74 866 15 15 ([email protected]), . The stylish and elegant Villa Antica, recently restored to its original 19th century appearance, is adjacent to the historic Spa Park, guaranteeing a short distance to the local attractions. 60 PLN. edit
- Hotel Amalia, ul. Zdrojowa 35, ☎ +48 53 156 59 03 ([email protected]), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. A three star establishment located across the street from the Cafe Domek, the Amalia is a cozy hotel in the center of the town, only a few minutes walk from Kudowa's major spas and attractions. 160-460 PLN. edit
- Hotel Kudowa, ul. Buczka 16, ☎ +48 74 866 50 00 ([email protected], fax: +48 74 869 77 10), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. One of the town's four star hotels, the Hotel Kudowa sits close to the town center, offering comfortable rooms and and large, relaxing spa. 270-700 PLN. edit
- Villa Elizabeth, ul. Buczka 14, ☎ +48 74 866 15 15 ([email protected]), . The stylish and elegant Villa Elizabeth, recently restored to its original 19th century appearance, is adjacent to the historic Spa Park, guaranteeing a short distance to the local attractions. 60 PLN. edit
Kudowa-Zdrój is only a five minute drive to the Czech-Polish border, ensuring an easy way to enter and explore the neighboring Czech Republic.
The grinning gardner statue in Spa Park.
- Náchod — Kudowa's Czech sister city right across the border, known for its imposing Baroque castle overlooking the region, with an active town center.
- Kłodzko — a charming spa town 37 km (23 mi) east in the picturesque Kłodzko Valley, complete with a significant historic core and a large Prussian-era fortress.
- Hradec Králové — the largest city and regional capital of East Bohemia 48 km (30 mi) southwest of Kudowa, with a significant historical center, Gothic cathedral, and a large student population.
- Litomyšl — home to a Renaissance chateau 83 km (51 mi) south, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Bohemian Paradise — a heavily forested and rocky area in North Bohemia, located 70 km (43 mi) west, popular among Czech holidaymakers for its hiking, biking, and castle sightseeing opportunities.
- Wrocław — the charming provincial capital of Lower Silesia, located 125 km (77 mi) northeast.