A Guide to Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec

When we first moved to Germany three years ago, I promised myself (and my spouse) that I would NOT take up collecting Polish Pottery. Honestly, it all looked the same to me and the prices seemed a bit ridiculous. Even after finding some pieces that I liked at the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (BX) and the military community Bazaar, I still only purchased them as gifts and never for myself. Deciding to venture out for Mother’s Day weekend with my two adult daughters landed me in Boleslawiec, Poland and I have now started a Polish Pottery collection. {Sigh}

Everyone Goes to Boleslawiec!

Photo 1 Cheryl Beginner’s Guide to Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec Poland May 16© Cheryl Koller

When I mentioned to a friend that I was going polish pottery shopping in Boleslawiec she flippantly said, “Oh, I’ve been. Everyone goes!” Everyone? Really, I doubted that. However, the more I asked around, the more I found plenty of ladies who have been several times and love to talk about the great deals they get on their pottery runs. I had no idea it was so popular and that women were driving just over the Polish border to purchase trunk-loads of pottery to ship back to the US.

I am telling this from a newbie perspective. Consider it the beginner’s guide to polish pottery shopping in Boleslwiec. I will not lie, I just didn’t get it. Obviously, I will have to admit that I’m no Martha Stewart and I am not a polish pottery expert. However, I did get a quick lesson in shopping for these beautiful treasures and I’m going to pass it along to those of you who may not have been to Boleslawiec and for those of you who are still holding out on starting that polish pottery collection.

Why Boleslawiec?

Boleslawiec is known as the Ceramics City for its long-standing pottery-making tradition. All authentic Boleslawiec pottery has “Hand Made in Poland” stamped on the bottom. Although it has become more popular among Americans in the recent years, it is still mostly regional. There are 25+ pottery shops in the area, a lot of them within walking distance of each other.

Getting There

The easiest way to get to Boleslawiec from the Kaiserslautern area is by car. I searched for train options but with multiple stops, it was a 10-hour ride. The drive took us a little over 7 hours. It is very easy to get there on the A5 and A4. We did experience a bit of traffic coming back in on Sunday due to road construction, which put us closer to 9 hours in the car.

Where to Stay in Boleslawiec

Photo 2 Cheryl Beginner’s Guide to Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec Poland May 16© Cheryl Koller

On the recommendation of a good friend, the girls and I stayed at the Blue Beetroot. I cannot say enough good things about this very popular hotel. Fortunately, we were there on a weekend that was not crowded and it seemed as if the attention of the full staff was on us. We stayed in a family suite for €120. We could have easily fit another person in the room (making it €30 per person). The room was everything we could have wanted with plenty of room and privacy. They even have a therapist on staff for massages and facials. The Manager, Jarek, provided us with a map and a guide of the area telling us where to shop and when. This is especially nice for those who have never been before.

Photo 3 Cheryl Beginner’s Guide to Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec Poland May 16© Cheryl Koller

There are other hotels in the area that I have heard good things about and of course, you can always go onto booking.com or Airbnb.com to find appropriate and inexpensive accommodations.

Currencies



Booking.com
As far as I know, all of the pottery stores will take USD, Euros, and Zloty (polish currency). They will also take credit cards. They mostly give change back in Zloty. The restaurants will also take Zloty and some will take credit cards. I know many people recommend getting Zloty at the ATM when you get into Poland. I did not, but I still had zero trouble buying my pottery and eating with Euros.

Where to Eat

Since we were only there for a short overnight trip, I can really only recommend a couple of places to eat. We ate two of our meals at the Blue Beetroot. The food there is delicious! FYI…breakfast is only €6 per person.

Our lunch on Sunday before returning home was at the very popular Chata Opalkowa. If you go there, you must (I mean MUST) order the pierogis. You will have several different options for fillings. I chose cheese and potato topped with bacon, but no matter what filling you choose, I am convinced you will love it.

Photo 4 Cheryl Beginner’s Guide to Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec Poland May 16© Cheryl Koller
Photo 5 Cheryl Beginner’s Guide to Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec Poland May 16© Cheryl Koller

Pottery Ratings

Before you start your shopping spree, I will give you a quick lowdown on pottery ratings. All of the polish pottery in Boleslwiec is rated and you can find stickers with the category number somewhere on the pottery. Below is a rough guideline for ratings:

Gat1: Best quality, no imperfections. Microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe.

Gat 2: Imperfect (but hard to notice). Microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe.

Gat 3: Imperfect (may have cracks in the glaze).

Gat 4: Imperfect (possible chips).

Gat 5: Decorative pieces only. Not microwave, oven and dishwasher safe.

Where to Shop

Because we stayed at the Blue Beetroot, we were given a map and guide of the pottery stores. The guide comes with the names and locations of the shops, their hours and what currency they accept. It definitely made planning our 2 days of shopping very easy.

Since this was our first trip, we were a little overwhelmed with the number of stores and I had a difficult time making a decision. My brain was literally on pottery overload. Keep in mind that many of these stores have the same or very similar patterns, so don’t feel pressured to buy everything at the first store you visit. Here are just a few of the stores we visited:

Andy: This is one of the most popular shops, especially for Americans. It is number 1 on Blue Beetroot’s map and is highly recommended by them. Jarek also provided us with a discount coupon for Andy of 15% for cash purchases and 10% for credit card purchases.

Photo 6 Cheryl Beginner’s Guide to Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec Poland May 16© Cheryl Koller

Manufactura: This pottery store has a regular shop and an outlet. They also have tablecloths, aprons and other kitchen items. They do have a lot of highly discounted items due to imperfections. My girls bought a couple of items from here with imperfections that weren’t even noticeable until pointed out.

Photo 7 Cheryl Beginner’s Guide to Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec Poland May 16© Cheryl Koller

Henry’s: Henry’s is a great store with pottery from eight different producers. Parking is on property and they have wicker baskets upstairs.

Photo 8 Cheryl Beginner’s Guide to Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec Poland May 16© Cheryl Koller

Millena Pottery: While not one of my favorites, they did make their own shapes and design their own patterns. They also design silver jewelry combined with polish pottery and will do special request items. You can organize a pottery workshop for up to eight people if you call in advance.

Ceramika Artystyczna: This store boasts the best and oldest pottery with a world famous ceramicist since the 1950s. They will also do tours of the factory.

Zaklady: I found the pattern and colors I was looking for at this store along with some additional items in their outdoor tent sale.

Photo 9 Cheryl Beginner’s Guide to Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec Poland May 16© Cheryl Koller
Photo 10 Cheryl Beginner’s Guide to Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec Poland May 16© Cheryl Koller

Borowski: This studio is a glass blowing studio. The Blue Beetroot will offer you a 10% discount coupon for this studio and if you request in advance, they can arrange for you do create your own glass piece.

Photo 11 Cheryl Beginner’s Guide to Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslawiec Poland May 16© Cheryl Koller

We did visit more of the stores although my eyes were starting to cross at the thought of looking at more pottery so we called it a trip.

I know that some of the shops have pottery festivals in the month of August and offer many discounts. I recommend looking at some of the websites and planning a trip around a festival.

There you have it…a Beginner’s Guide to Polish Pottery Shopping in Boleslwiec. I hope this gives you enough information to start your own collection!

Author’s Profile: Cheryl Koller is a native of Georgia. She is a DOD spouse, mom of 4 daughters (2 adults, 2 teens), thrill-seeker, avid traveler, and lover of food and wine. She is a self-proclaimed Freedom-Preneur and Blogger currently living in Ramstein with her family.

Featured Image Photo Credit: © Cheryl Koller

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