Snow crunching underneath the fast-pace running sledges, sound of neighing horses vibrating in the air. People are laughing on the high speed, hills and trees are disappearing from the view. Hot tea and mulled wine are quickly warming up the cold hands, delicious sausages are sizzling on the fire. Looking for a great winter activity? Look no further and check where to find horse sledge rides (kulig) in Poland!
What is kulig?
An old Polish tradition, dating back to the times of nobelty (szlachta). It involves riding sleigh, which are pulled by a pair of horses through the snow. In the old days, the whole group of horse-pulled sleighs was going from one court to another, entertained on the way with big meals and typical Polish dances. This winter activity was also treated as a patriotic event organized against the foreign invaders in order to cultivate Polish traditions.
Nowadays, after, or in between the tour, participants attend traditional sausages barbecue on the fire and then old style dance party in the Inn.
Where to go for a ride?
The most popular places for horse sleighing are in the mountains. You will find them in tourist places like Zakopane in Tatras, Sudety, Bieszczady.
However, if you want to go off the beaten path, you can visit some less popular, but also amazingly beautiful places. One of them is in the middle of Beskid Niski in Poland, near the Slovakian border.
Since it’s very close to my home, we went there for a sleigh ride this year. I remember doing it many times as a kid, but for my Scottish boyfriend, who was visiting Poland for the first time, it presented entirely new experience.
Beskid Niski is a hilly region in south of Poland. You won’t find there high mountains, but old wooden churches hidden in between snowy hills, sleepy villages and beautiful, empty landscape, will steal your heart. It’ still a bit wild and unexplored, giving you a feel of a fairytale.
Horse Stud in Regietow
There are several places where you can try horse sledging in the area, but we decided to go with Horse Stud “Gladyszow” in Regietow. That place is famous for having special type of animals – Hucul horses and it’s the biggest this type of stud in Europe. Hucul horses are smaller than Arabian horses, very friendly and patient, and look very cute.
The stud offers different types of sledge rides – you can organize it for a bigger group (booking required well in advance), or you can just rent a single sledge for up to 5 people – that’s what we did (book it online before!). Prices vary around £17-25 for a ride per sledge.
You can rent them per hour, and 1 hour ride is what most people do – that’s enough to enjoy the journey with stunning scenery and to not to get too cold! Unless you are on an organized event, then it would take longer, since you would have a break in the middle to cook some sausages on the fire.
They also organize rides in the night with fire torches – this makes it really magical – we need to try next time.
Horse sledge ride
The path for the sleigh ride goes through the forests and hills – you have wide view on the gorgeous scenery around. None of those places are accessible by car, so it’s just you, horses and snow.
There are some slower bits where you can enjoy the views and also some faster ones, where horses gallop and you need to hold tight to not to fall off the sledges on the turns. It’s so much fun 😉
To keep you warm during the ride you get blankets. You can take some more and also tea in a flask or something a bit stronger, which we of course did although it was 10 am (I’m Polish, hey!). After the ride, you can warm yourself up in the Inn with mulled wine and some traditional Polish food.
To get to Regietow village from the closest big town Gorlice, you need to cross Magura – a hill with a windy road leading to the top. It’s nice to walk from the pass where you can leave your car to the nearby mountain hut and get some alone time with nature.
On the way worth to see are also old orthodox churches. They are associated with Lemkos – small ethnic group living in Carpathian Mountains and are very interesting and picturesque buildings worth to explore.
So, would you like to go on a winter horse sledge ride in Poland now? Let me know in the comments!