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I’m not going to lie; before moving to Germany, I never really knew that “Polish Pottery” was a thing or that woman in the States would pay upwards of 100+ dollars for something you eat off of.
I also had no clue that there were people who flew to Poland to pick out pieces, somehow paid the astronomical fees to ship the heavy duty dishes back and then jacked up the prices in little quaint boutique shops for middle aged woman to flock to and pay whatever was being charged.
If You Live in the US
Did you know that you can actually get Polish Pottery on here on Amazon!? I mean, yeah, I had to laugh when a coffee mug was over $20 and I paid maybe $2 in Boleslawiec buuut I will admit, it is nice to know that if I need a replacement piece or a really really awesome gift to someone that there are options.
[Tweet “The Complete Guide to #PolishPottery…and more!”]
But that all could be due to the fact that I have never really been one to claim that I am either 1) a decent cook or 2) a decent “homemaker” or 3) the fact that I have no decorating sense whatsoever.
However, I joined in the bandwagon and took my first trip across the border and bought a few pieces. Suddenly, the food I prepared looked so much fancier, if not at least cuter and the coffee in my mug somehow immediately tasted better!
It also didn’t hurt that I could be lazy and throw the dishes in the microwave, dishwasher AND oven!!! Also, when I would take food to a group event in a dish, it was raved about, making me look like I actually gave a damn. Win-Win! Thus began my small collection of Polish Pottery.
To make everything better, the prices to buy the pottery IN Poland is a fraction of the cost to the States. So, make that a Win-Win-Win!!! So, if you’ve ever thought about buying a piece, head straight for the home and Polish Pottery Capital; polish pottery shopping in Boleslawiec, Poland to save big instead of buying it at jacked up prices of bazaars and boutiques. Even after the cost of driving and staying in a hotel, I would argue that it is still cheaper to go polish pottery shopping in Boleslawiec and buy there. Plus, who could argue with a girls weekend getaway of shopping!?
So, you are ready to pack your bags and head to Poland for some shopping? Here is everything you need to know and more about polish pottery shopping in Boleslawiec.
The best, easiest and most stress free way of getting to Bolesławiec is by driving. The drive is easy and this will allow you to hop around to all the shops on your own time schedule. No vignettes are needed. Depending on where you are starting from, some tolls may be encountered (Note: For the short jaunt from over the German border, there are no tolls).
Staying in Bolesławiec:
There are plenty of great accommodations right within Bolesławiec. Most of them are extremely affordable, offer fantastic restaurant and breakfast selections and are cozy and cute.
The three times I have been Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec , I always stayed at the Hotel Garden. I can’t recommend this place enough. There are large rooms for 3-4 woman to split (something often unseen in Europe!) and the food is some of the best I’ve had in Europe. (Note: I do NOT earn commission through this hotel, but since I was a frequent guest and I will only recommend what I have personally tried/done/ love, they were so kind as to give my readers a sweet deal!)
Another all-time favorite in the military wife’s community is the Blue Beetroot. Once again, from personal friends who have stayed here, they rave about the food, rooms, service and hotel in general. There are plenty of other options and a quick TripAdvisor or Booking.com search will help you see if any others fit your needs better.
Read Other Reviews of Top Rated Hotels here or shop around for the lowest prices here.
Eating in Bolesławiec:
Poland’s traditional foods are some of the best and underrated in Europe. Menus will be in English, but don’t hesitate to try their local delicacies.
Pierogis: Wherever you go, don’t forget about the stereotypical, yet delicious Polish Pierogi. No matter the filling, you just can’t go wrong!
Zurek Soup: This surprising pairing of sausage and boiled egg (and sometimes potatoes) in a soup is oddly delicious!
Kopytka: These tiny little potato dumplings are out of this world. Be sure you get the ones that are fried to perfection.
Where to Eat in Bolesławiec
The hotels mentioned above (Garden Hotel and Blue Beetroot) have amazing food and are never missed by those “in the know.” Some other favorites are the adorably cute Opalkowa Chata and the cozy Elric Restauracja. All offer fantastic Polish food at great prices.
Alright, so now you’ve gotten to Bolesławiec, checked into your hotel, eaten some life changing fried dumplings and now are ready to shop!
Bolesławiec’s main money comes from the pottery industry. Therefore, the town as a whole is very conscious of the tourists’ effects on their economy which means you will find English almost everywhere as well as some German in most places.
What to Buy:
Just a warning: you will be very overwhelmed!!! Don’t worry. If you ever feel too stressed from the million and half different pottery pieces, styles and designs, just take a pierogi break and all will be fine. Look at some pictures online first to get an idea for pieces that you might want to keep an eye out for.
What to Look For:
Not all Polish Pottery is created equal. However, they make it extremely easy on you and divide the pottery into different categories (Gat) of quality. Look at the bottom of the piece and you will either see it painted with a number or often on a barcoded sticker
Gat1: This is the best quality; no imperfections and can be used in the microwave, oven and dishwasher
Gat2: Can be used in microwave, oven and dishwasher but may have a stray brush stroke (oh the horror! They obviously haven’t seen my painting skills).
Gat3: May have a crack in the glaze.
Gat4: May have a chip.
Gat5: Should not be used for the oven. Best as decorative pieces only.
How to Pay for your Pottery
A HUGE question that most women ask is what and how to pay. You have several options. Most shops will accept dollars, euros and zloty (polish currency). With the exchange rate, it is absolutely foolish to pay in anything but the zloty.
So, how do you get zloty? Since I am a travel hacker, I buy EVERYTHING with a card (note: it should be one that has no foreign transaction fee). When they go to charge you, ask for it to be in zloty.
Your other option is to pay in cash. There are plenty of ATMs (Bankomaty) that you can either google for your nearest location or ask your hotel where you can find one.
Where to SHOP in Bolesławiec:
There is no shortage of shops to choose from in town. While many are in a generally similar price range, some can be much cheaper while others can be quite a bit more expensive. Here are just a few of my favorites:
Andy’s is one of the more expensive shops, but has some of the most unique designs both in their painting designs and actual dishes themselves. I am always willing to pay just a little bit extra for these adorable patterns
Hours: Mon-Sat 7am-6pm
Address: Tomaszów Bolesławiecki 110, 59-720 Raciborowice Górne, Poland
Manufaktura’s has many shops and locations, but at this discounted warehouse, you can find pottery up to 70% off! So, naturally, this is one of my favorites! Many of the highly discounted items have small imperfections, but many are hardly noticeable at all. Make sure that the issue is not in a spot that could cause breakage, and you should be fine (ie: a crack that could expand in the oven). This is also a fantastic location if you are just wanting decorative pieces and don’t need a piece that wouldn’t function in the oven or microwave.
Address: ul Zgorzelecka 22b
Hours: Mon-Sat 9 am-5 pm and Sun 9 am-3 pm
Other Manufaktura shops:
Manufaktura Potter: ul. Gdańska 30 Mon- Fri 7am- 4pm, Sat: 7am-3 pm
Manufaktura Shop: ul. Kościuszki 24b Mon-Fri:9am-5pm, Sat 8am-4pm &
Sun 10am- 2 pm
Right next to the outlet warehouse of Manufaktura is Henry’s making it an easy one stop for several shops. The prices are a little higher here than other locations, but there is a great selection of christmas ornaments and children’s stools. There are also a few other shops right in this area. So, park once and shop multiple places.
Very large selection with some unique pieces. Often can find great discounted items.
Address: Kościuszki 11
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-6pm (Dec-April only open until 5pm) & Sat 7am-3pm
-The following four shops are all right next to each other:
Ceramika Artystyczna: One of the original and oldest stores. This is a little higher priced but some of the best quality. Look at their website for information on taking a free tour
Address: ul. Kościuszki 23
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am–5pm & Sat 8am-2 pm
Ceramika Wiza: Pottery from the the Wiza factory (which you will find at several locations). Also has other items for sale such as aprons, jewelry and polish pottery patterned table cloths.
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm Sat: 9am-3pm (Also has another location at Masarska1)
Factory Store Vena: Small but worth stopping into while already at the location
Sklep Firmowy: Small but worth stopping into while already at the location
Decent discounts with pottery from various stores and manufacturers
Address: ul. Kosciuszki 17
Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-6pm & Sat 8am-3pm
15 minutes outside of Bolesławiec, you can find this great store where they make everything themselves. The prices are good and you can even have a custom made dish.
Address: Parzyce 108 59-730 Nowogrodziec
Hours: Mon- Sun 10am-6pm
A few minutes past Millena, continue on the main road to the “P” shop or “Blue Shop” where
they create their own pottery as well and can do free tours.
Address: GPS Coordinates N 51° 13.371′ E 015° 21.305′
Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-7pm & Sat 5am-6pm & Sun 8am-1pm
If you want a break from pottery, there are several other artisan shops within Boleslawiec such as:
Borowski’s Art Glass Blowing Studio. Address: Tomaszów Bolesławiecki 87
Stan’s Antique Shop: Specializes in antiques and WWII artifacts .Address: Kościuszki 24
This is by no means a complete list of all of the shops in town. The above mentioned shops are some of the bigger ones with larger selections or discounts. Just driving down any given street, you are bound to come across any number of artisan shops selling beautiful pottery.
What about you? Send me a picture in the comments with your favorite piece of polish pottery or tell me what part of polish pottery shopping you loved the most.
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This is a well done article on going shopping for Polish Pottery. I am looking forward to planning my trip. Thank you for sharing this
Thanks, Kris! I’ve been to Boleslawiec three times now. If it were up to my hubby, there would be no more trips…we shall see!!!
Thank you for sharing your experiences and insight. I enjoyed the informative, well written article. The pottery is art. I own a few pieces I bought from vendors and won in a raffle at aukamm ES. During my years with DoDDS in Germany, I did not make it to Poland. Now that I am retired, I would love to visit there soon.
Thank you, Inge! I agree, the pottery is stunning and to know it is done by hand is fascinating! I agree that living in Europe makes it much easier to get to Poland to buy the pieces at a great wholesale. Let us know when you get there!
Hi LeAnna! Great website! So glad to see you found your “thing” and I wish you all the best! I will have to say that I only went on a Polish Pottery shopping trip to go with a friend, I had no interest in the pottery….until I got there! I can’t pick a favorite piece, but you are right, my coffee somehow tastes much better in my coffee cups! I look forward to reading more about your travels. I do miss Germany, even though I didn’t think I would. (Tried to attach some pictures, but it didn’t work)
Thanks, Nancy! I agree, my first trip was just for a girls weekend. Oh how we got sucked in!
Thank you so much for the info! Saving this for our future trip!
Thanks Cindy! Feel free to Pin as well for easy future access.
A military friend shared this with me on facebook. I am an American missionary in Poland, approx. 18 kilometers from Boleslawiec. We run a mission in a palace that was built back in the 1500’s and we are an outreach to the poor. One of the ways that helps support the mission is by people staying here with us in our guest rooms/apartments. Would it be possible for you to share about us in your accommodations section? Would love to hear from you! Thanks so much! Judy
Hi Judy! Thanks for stopping by! I only like to recommend places that I have been to personally and can testify for myself. However, please feel free to comment with the name and location. I am not sure if I am going to be making another trip over there before leaving, but if so, I’d love to check it out! It sounds like a great idea and fantastic cause!
Thanks so much for allowing us to share our info! We are a Christian mission that has an outreach to the poor in our area. The mission is part of a Palace that was built back in 1550 and part of the renovation includes rooms and apartments for guests (this helps to support the work that we do). The suggested donation is 12 euro per person/per night for adults and teens…and 8 euro for children. Anyone interested can write to [email protected] We are only 18 km from Boleslawiec (where all the pottery is). http://www.elimcenter.pl
A palace from 1550!? That sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing, we’ll have to check it out on the next Polish Pottery run!
I am a military wife who went to Poland many, many times during our approx 7 years of being stationed there! Stayed at Elim Mission every time and was never sorry! You get to see more than just the shopping and “touristy” stuff that way as well as get a little perspective on how the Polish people live! Well worth checking out. Miss you and everyone at the Mission Judy!
Thanks Traci!!! I agree that the mission sounds awesome! I’m not sure if I’m going to be making a trip over there anytime soon, but if so, I know I need to check it out!
Hi Judy, my husband and I will definitely check out your ministry/Palace; we are born again Believers living in Poznan for next couple years and I am the one who has fallen in love with Polish Potter!
What day of the week offers less people shopping? Meaning more room in the stores for shopping?
Honestly, I’m not sure if there is a better time- surprisingly. Even on the weekends it is not that packed. However, I’d have to imagine that a day like Monday or Tuesday would be good to really avoid others. Have fun!!
Do the pottery factories ship to USA?
Great question, Gail! Many actually do! Just click on the links of each individual shop from the section “Where to Shop…” to see which ones will ship. However, most people that do this end up paying quite a hefty price and fees.
I’ve heard that people buy several patterns for their collection. Have you heard this? Did you buy the same pattern or different? What would you recommend? How do I know how much money to bring for a rather big collection of gat 2? Thanks for the good tips!
It’s a complete personal decision. If you like all the same- go for it! If you do this, most likely, you’ll buy most of your collection at one store then so you ensure the same print. I, on the other hand, actually love the mix-matched look (It’s all clearly Polish Pottery, so in my mind, it all still “goes” together). I don’t have a single piece that goes with another.
For how much to bring, that is completely dependant on what you are buying. A casserole dish could be 40-$80. I coffee mug could be $5. So I can’t give you a good estimate. However, if you use a credit card, just use that (w/ no foreign transaction fee) and ask to pay in Zloty. That way, you don’t have to take out any money. If you do, there are ATMs all over
Thank you for your information. I am nervous to go next week. This article really helped and was amazing.
Would love to order from you!
Hi Stella! I don’t sell any Polish Pottery, but there is an amazon link (http://amzn.to/2d8T2cC) that you can use to buy some (Sadly, it is WAY more expensive than if you can get over to Poland, but not sure where you are at, so maybe it’s not a bad price afterall?)
Thank you so much for this information. I’ve used this guide to help prepare for my Polish Pottery shopping weekend! So excited to check it all out.
I’m so glad it has been helpful! Enjoy your weekend! Post on our FB page what goodies you get! https://www.facebook.com/EconomicalExcursionists/
thank you for your information. I am looking forward to using it in a couple months to visit the city.
Nancy, I’m glad it will be useful for your trip! Enjoy shopping for all those pretty pretty items!!
traveling with group to warsaw
any shops in or closer to warsaw?
US Polish Pottery fan
Hi Susan! There are shops absolutely everywhere in Poland. Since Boleslawiek is where a lot of them are made, there are shops that just sell pottery, however all over the country you can find pottery just about anywhere.
LeeAnna, Thank you for the help in your web site with parts of my planning. I am currently a Peace Corps health teacher in Moldova and will travel over Easter days off with my spouse. Where is the best place to fly into and then travel from that is close to this little town? Berlin? Warsaw? then train or bus? Suggestions… What is the most economical way to ship my purchases back to Minnesota? From Poland or Germany? Moldova is not part of the EU so it is uncertain if purchases will make it to the states from here plus the price sometimes seems to fluctuate for shipping costs… I await your response. Thank you for the help! IN HIM, Marcy
Please respond in email because I don’t know how to do the other social media stuff….
Hi Marcy! Thanks for the stop by! I’ll respond both here and via email in case anyone else has a similar question. I will be honest and say I am not 100% sure about the best place to fly simply because I have never done this. I would think if you can even get a cheap flight to Dreseden, then a bus ride (Bahn.de still does good prices for buses) then that would be the closest option. However, if you have time, I would recommend Berlin just to be able to add that to your itinerary for a few days.
As far as shipping it home, contact the shops before arriving (contact info in the article) and discuss having them ship directly back to the US. Many of the manufactures will and while it isn’t CHEAP, it will be better than you doing it yourself from either Poland OR Germany.
Good luck and enjoy! 🙂
Wow, I feel so happy to find this article on line and thank you so much for sharing your shopping experience in Boleslawiec. I recentely falled in love with those lovely Polish Pottery but disappointed to find that the price are extremely high charged by the local shops in China. Now I’m going to plan my first trip to Poland.
Thanks, Sherry! I’m sure you’ll have a great time! You’ll find it MUUUCH cheaper in Poland, I’m sure!
I’ve been dreaming of Polish pottery for a while and just found your site. How is the driving in Poland? I would be coming from the US and so would need to rent a car there. Your thoughts?
Thanks for this post. Love it!
Hi Lorri! Driving in Poland is super easy! No toll roads and while some of the back roads are bumpy, I’ve never had any issues or felt unsafe. Not sure where you are flying into, but I would recommend renting a car from that location, as it is very difficult to get to Boleslawiec without your own vehicle.
Thank you for all the info about the Polish pottery/ With all the beautiful colors used, I have always wondered about toxicity of the paints for those items used for food. Could you let me know what you know about this please? Thank you so much!
Also someone had a question about driving in Poland. We were there 2 years ago and we rented a car and GPS in English. It made all the difference for us to have that GPS! Happy traveling to Poland! Wish I could go every year!
Hi Theresa! You know, I have never thought about the toxicity, oddly enough. However, I’ve never once seen the colors or paints leaking and I do know that ceramic is a very healthy option as far as eatery goes. Great question though!
I am an American living in Poznan for the next few years and I have gone to Boleslawiec twice now to shop for pottery! $1000+ dollars later …I want to thank you for all the tips because I’ll definitely be going back to shop! I wish I’d read your blog before going, in knowing about the unique pieces! Again, thanks for the info!
Haha! Once you start spending, it’s hard to stop, that’s for sure!!!