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Poland‘s Kociewie region is a charming area with stunning villages, gorgeous cuisine, and a rich history. This region is best explored by those who have their own transport, as direct bus or rail links are infrequent. Start in the cultural capital, Starogard Gdański, and work your way through our list to see the best of Kociewie.
The little town of Pelplin houses an original Gutenberg Bible which is in a glass case inside the Diocesan Museum. It is one of only nine copies of the Gutenberg Bible in the world to survive in its original 15th century binding. This is the only copy of such a Bible in Poland and is best explored at the same time as the famous Pope Jan Pawel II Hill and the Pelplin Abbey.
In springtime, many fields in the Kociewie region blossom with an array of colours. There is no finer place to see this beautiful countryside than on the outskirts of the village of Kokoszkowy. Here, fields are covered in yellow rapeseed oil plants and on a hot spring day are a real treat for nature lovers and Instagrammers. While in the village, check out the church too, St. Barbara’s.
The old town of Skarszewy contains left over reminders of 14th century stone walls, rebuilt remains of the palace of the Knights Hospitaller and a Gothic parish Church of St Michael. Sadly, the town was annexed by Germany during World War II, and many of the original buildings were destroyed. The town is also surrounded by greenery and lakes and has a pretty facade in its town square.
Szpęgawski Forest is the second forest on the list, but has a pretty grim history in comparison to Tuchola. This area was the site of Nazi German mass murders and now houses the graves of around 7,000 Poles from the Kociewie region who were murdered during World War II by Nazi Germans. Annually there is now a mini marathon held in the area and there is a poignant Holocaust Memorial inside the forest.
While touring the region’s capital, you can’t really ignore the appeal of the Old Town Square (Stary Rynek) in Starogard Gdański, which at 107 metres by 107 metres (351 feet by 351 feet) is a perfect square. Two churches sit here, as do the Town Hall and some great nearby bars and cafes such as Browar Stary Rynek and Klubokawiarnia Szafa.
The tranquil village of Gręblin is a flat plain near the railway line which goes through Tczew and onwards to Warsaw. This makes it a perfect place to relax for a picnic and do a spot of trainspotting. The village also has a popular restaurant and function venue, Zajazd Arkada.
The tranquil town of Pelplin is easy to get to by train or bus from nearby Tczew and as well as the aforementioned Gutenberg Bible, it has a huge hill and cross dedicated to Pope John Paul II. The hill is known as ‘Góra Jana Pawła II’ and is on the edge of town.
The Kociewie region stretches quite far south and includes the town of Świecie. This town has a Teutonic castle in good condition. The castle had four corner towers, only one of which survives today. The castle is surrounded by a defensive wall and a moat. There is a museum inside and constant refurbishing of the castle.