Poland Tours and Travel Guide
Poland Attractions & Landmarks Guide
One of the largest countries in Central Europe, Poland is a beautiful place to visit, with a fascinating history. Since emerging war torn after World War II, it has grown in popularity as a tourist destination, showcasing its own brand of European charm. There are endless attractions for history buffs in the major cities, Krakow and Warsaw, and plenty of "off the beaten track" opportunities for the more adventurous.
Poland is a beautiful destination, rich in history, mythical folklore, cultural heritage, and with gorgeous scenic landscapes to offer. Many Polish travel sights have acquired a worldwide reputation and have made it onto the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. The cities, nature, food, and infamous beer selections truly make Poland a must-see country for any traveler.
The Main Cities in Poland
There are 16 cities in Poland that have an estimated population of more than 200,000. Many of the main cities bring in thousands of multinational tourists every year.
- Warsaw is Poland's Capital city and leading tourist attraction. This Polish city is the perfect balance of historic sites, peaceful green spaces, and modernity. It is praised for its indestructibility and is commonly referred to as the phoenix for its rising up from the ashes after WWII.
- Krakow was named the official European Center of Culture by the European Union. It is one of the most politically and culturally significant cities of Poland. With its medieval core, Krakow has a historic city centre and jewish district that history buffs tend to flock to.
- Wroclaw is known for having the best living conditions in Poland. It is one of the oldest and most attractive cities in Poland. It consists of islands, lush green spaces, and is a dynamic centre of culture.
- What was once known for its immense textile industry, Łódź, is now a modern metropolis. It is famous for its architecture, technological industries, jewish heritage, and for being the centre of Poland's film industry.
There are certain items that you can only purchase in Poland and you won't have any trouble finding something very interesting for everyone on your list.
If you have the time to stop and visit the Bialowieza Forest you will want to bring back something to remind you of the natural beauty the forest holds. What better item to purchase than Bison Grass Vodka? This vodka is made like normal vodka, but is finished off with an infusion of herbs from the primeval forests of Białowieża.
Since the middle ages, Poland has been known for its skillful wood carvings. You can take a folksy gnome figurine or a Wawel dragon home to remind you of the fairytale history in Poland.
If you have come to Poland for the purpose of being submerged in the history the country has to offer then you will want to buy a Home Army anchor pin. The local Poles wear this pin to honor the efforts of the Home Army and the brave soldiers of the Warsaw Uprising who rose against the Nazis in 1944.
When visiting the Wieliczka Salt Mines you have the opportunity to purchase actual salt from the mines or one of the salt lamps that make for great decor. What was once used as a form of currency and carted to the tables of kings can now be bought for a couple of dollars at the gift shop of the on-site museum.
Top Cultural Activities in Poland
If you're looking for a destination rich in cultural activities then you have definitely picked the right place. Poland is known for cultural activities that send shivers down your spine, yet somehow manage to uplift spirits by shedding light on how far we have come since WWII.
Państwowe Muzeum Auschwitz-Birkenau is one of the darkest cultural activities a traveler can choose to partake in. A concentration camp thats grounds are now devoted to the Jews that lost their lives during the Holocaust, is a somber yet extremely informational tour that will leave you with a feeling you will never forget. Take a walk to the train ramp where thousands of men, women, and children disembarked for their final ride. You will also see where over a million people were killed in gas chambers.
The amazing guided tour of Wieliczka Salt Mine will be a day to remember. What is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site, once produced mass amounts of salt for over seven centuries. It is an underground tunnel system of mystic chambers and corridors made of salt. Generations of miners carved exquisite statues, cathedrals, and chapels out of the salt that was once so abundant.
The Wawel Royal Castle was once home to kings of many generations, but is now one of Poland's major art museums. The museum is filled with exhibits made up of Renaissance art, tapestries, sculptures, and much more. It is possible to cover the entire castle in a single day, but you will need to get an early start.
When visiting Poland, Old Town Warsaw is an absolute must. The oldest part of the city symbolizes Poland's rise from the ashes after being destroyed during WWII. When being reconstructed, builders attempted to recreate the buildings that stood before and used previous materials to rebuild. When walking the cobblestone streets you will notice the medieval architecture amongst cafes and restaurants. It is considered to be an architectural treasure and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As the Nazis were making their way through Poland, a military rebellion arose. It was an underground resistance movement and although the uprising of 1944 failed it is looked at today as a proud event for Poland.
By visiting the Warsaw Rising Museum you can witness the artifacts of those who died trying to free their country. It is jam packed with interactive displays, video footage, photographs, and much more that will leave a lasting impact on those who pay a visit.
Top Foods to Try in Poland
The Polish people create amazing dishes with base ingredients: meat, cheese, and potatoes. Americans have come to love Polish cuisine and have adopted many of the traditional Polish dishes such as Pierogi, the delicious meat or veggie filled dumplings and the traditional kielbasa sausage. The scrumptious flavors do not stop here though; here are some Polish foods that should not be overlooked:
The Poles take pride in their Bigos, also known as “hunters stew.” This dish is made up of different meats, cabbage, sausages, mushrooms and spices. The meal is cooked for hours and sometimes even days to get the most flavor out of all of the food items.
You may have had a potato pancake, but probably never the way the Poles make them. The placki ziemniaczane (potato pancakes) are thin pancakes made with onion, carrots, parsnips and other vegetables. You can top them with sour cream or even powdered sugar.
Golbaki is a very popular dish in Poland. It is a cabbage roll made of minced pork, rice, onion, and mushroom wrapped in white cabbage leaves and simmered in fat.
If you're in the mood for Polish pasta during your stay, you will want to try Lazanki. This pasta is commonly served with sour cabbage, sausage, other meats and mushrooms. It is sometimes referred to as the Polish version of stroganoff.
Things to Know Before You Go
Common Countries Also Visited on Poland Tours
Poland is often included on Europe tours that include other nearby countries. Poland shares land borders with Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, and Russia. European tour packages offer the chance to visit on or more of these places as well as a stop to Poland and the many cities the country has to offer.
Estonia and Budapest are also very popular stops on Polish tours.
What is the Weather like in Poland
Poland features a mixture of continental and oceanic climate influences. The country experiences extremely cold winters, often below freezing, and fairly warm summers.
Winters, Decembers to February, are often freezing. Springtime, from March to May, is also very cold and will bring about snow showers. Summers, months of June to August, experience temperatures of around 64 degrees fahrenheit with the occasional rain shower. Around Autumn, from September to November, the temperatures begin to decrease.
Who Will Enjoy Visiting Poland?
Absolutely anyone will enjoy visiting Poland! Polish cuisine and architecture bring many tourists in every year. History buffs will especially love this country due to its historical architecture, fairytale castles, and WWII stories.
Nature lovers will also love Poland. Mountains covered in lush vegetation and thick forests like Bialowieza Forest, make for great hiking trips. The Great Masurian Lake District, a labyrinth of rivers, is a great place for scenic boat trip.
When is the Best Time to Visit Poland?
The best times to visit Poland is during the summer and spring months when the weather is warm and the colors of nature are at their most vibrant. However, during the summer months you will need to pack an umbrella because the weather is extremely unpredictable in Poland, with rain showers and occasional thunderstorms. The streets become flooded with locals and tourists alike filling the open air cafes and museums.
If you are looking for a quieter time in Poland as well as a good ski trip, then winter would be the ideal time to visit. This is the least popular time amongst tourists, but it is also the driest. You will also find good deals on flights when booking at this time.
The good news is, no matter what time of year you are visiting Poland, there is always something to do.
Key Polish Phrases for Travelers
Polish is known to be one of the most difficult languages to learn, with J’s sounding out as Y’s and W’s making a V sound, it may get slightly frustrating to catch on. Here are some key phrases with simplified phonetics to help you on your trip:
- Hello/hi/bye (informal): Czesc (cheshked)
- Nice to meet you: Milo Mi
- How are you?: Jak się masz’ (yak-she-or-mash)
- Goodbye: Do widzenia (oe-wid-zen-yah)
- Good morning: Dzien dobry (jeen doe-brah)
- Good evening: Ddobry wieczor (doe-brah vee-ech-cho)
- Good night: Dobranoc (doe-bran-nok)
- Yes/no:Tak (tahk)/Nie (nee-eh)
- Please: Prosze (proh-sheh)
- Thank you:Dziekuje (jink-wee-ah)
- How much does this cost?: Ile to kosztuje? (ee-le-toe-kosh-too-yea)
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