CZASTKOWO, Poland (Reuters) – As summer begins and the lockdown eases, more Poles are shunning foreign resorts and are opting instead for holidays in remote rural settings at home, perhaps a forest tent or a lakeside cottage far from tourist crowds and COVID-19.
When Malgorzata and Maciej Bryl opened their 4rest Camp in the Kashubian lake region, comprising round yurts overlooking the lake, they had not expected such a surge in demand this season from guests yearning for rural solitude.
“We noticed that guests’ expectations are changing and it’s not about having an all-inclusive option in a hotel with a swimming pool … anymore,” Maciej said, adding that Poles were looking for safety from the disease in secluded spots.
Poland has so far reported 30,701 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 1,286 deaths. Most shops and businesses have reopened as the lockdown eases, but Poland has recently seen an uptick in the number of new cases to around 400 or more.
“The coronavirus is always somewhere around, so the fear remains and in this solitude we simply feel safer,” said Justyna Stanczak, a guest at 4rest camp.
The Bryls also run a 20-room guest house, but the number of reservations has dropped compared to the same time last year as people want to socially distance from other guests, Malgorzata said.
Aleksandra Klonowska-Szalek, co-founder of booking platform Slowhop which lists rentals in hidden corners of Poland, said interest in renting small houses in remote areas has soared.
Since hospitality restrictions were lifted in May, her website has seen a 400% increase in reservations from the same time last year.
Pawel Piwowar of Stare Gospodarstwo farmhouse said Poles were rediscovering their own country’s hidden attractions.
“Those unable to take foreign trips are very eager to come and visit our place, which means our high season will last longer,” Piwowar said, adding they already had bookings for November, while the season usually ends in September.
Additional reporting by Marcin Goclowski in Warsaw; Editing by Gareth Jones