With Kati’s family living close to the Polish border, Poland has always been easily accessible when visiting. But Poland is so much more than just Warsaw, it has incredible national park for hiking and seeing animals, old-world architecture, and incredibly friendly people. Poland is an attractive country for travelers from Western Europe. This former country of the Eastern Bloc and its tormented history make it a rich travel destination for architecture, landscapes, traditions, and a sense of hospitality. From Krakow to Warsaw, Poland is a destination you should not miss! Here is our guide to essentials to know before leaving on a trip to Poland.
Why Visit Poland?
Poland is a country with a tormented history. After being wiped off the map for more than 120 years – Poland was then Prussia – this nation was dominated by the Nazi regime and then the USSR. More recently, Poland entered the European Union and experienced significant economic development. Despite all these depravities, it has kept its Slavic soul so charming in the eyes of travelers.
Poland also has breathtaking landscapes, which is why it is the favorite destination of hiking enthusiasts, especially the Bialowieza National Park. A unique opportunity to come across a herd of bison in the middle of a walk in the forest – which gives their name to an aromatic herb used in alcoholic beverages – and to marvel at the jewels of this nature reserve.
When to Go to Poland?
Poland oscillates between an oceanic and continental climate. Summers are hot and sometimes stormy, with temperatures regularly approaching 30°C. The beaches are pleasant from July to September. The end of September or October is the ideal duration to visit it away from the summer rush. The winter season is rather cold. To the east, in the snow-capped mountains, the thermometer can reach -15°C. Surprisingly, the winter remains drier than the summer.
The golden and sunny autumn will delight nature lovers on a getaway to the mountains, particularly in beauty at this time. Be vigilant in the mountains as the climate varies rapidly. Do not forget to equip yourself with a k-way and a little wool! The best time to explore Poland is around summer, between May and September. April remains, despite inclement weather, interesting for soaking up Christian traditions deeply rooted within the population. Indeed, many events are organized on these occasions.
What is the Expected Budget?
Although Poland has been a member of the European Union since 2004, the currency used remains the “zloty”. Prices may vary depending on the season and the places visited. Certainly, a passage in the middle of summer in a high tourist place with strong affluence will skyrocket your budget. To meet your average expenses related to housing, travel by public transport and food, plan a small fifty euros per day and per person.
A “backpacker” budget would rather be around thirty euros per day. Accommodation prices can fluctuate significantly. The cost of a double room in mid-range accommodation varies from 25 to 95 euros, depending on the level of comfort sought, the location and the season. A more luxurious hotel will be in a price range between 100 and 150 euros per night. Food and restaurants are more than affordable. A meal in an average establishment can cost less than 15 euros, while a snack on the go will cost you a maximum of 5 euros. Have fun!
What are the Main Sights to See?
- Warsaw, the capital of Poland, is also the largest city in the country and notably has a rich historical centre. The old town is lined with churches, and several museums and sites are unmissable: the Uprising Museum and Historical Museum, Wilanow Palace, and Bankowy Square.
- Krakow is an old mining town: It also has several interesting buildings to visit. The Jewish quarter is also a walk not to be missed.
Not far from Krakow is the former Auschwitz concentration camp. One of the pivotal places of the Second World War, not to be missed for the symbol it represents!
- Wroclaw, the Polish Venice: In addition to intense nightlife, the capital of Lower Silesia is famous for its Gothic architecture. Navigate from one island to another, thanks to its 100 bridges and relax in one of its riverside parks!
- Gdansk, the pearl of the Baltic: known for its port, a symbolic place of the resistance movement against the Soviets, this charming city invites you to immerse yourself in its lively daily life. Stroll through its narrow streets and discover its very fascinating historical past!
- Malbork and its Teutonic fortress: its immense medieval castle, located in Pomerania, is the largest brick construction in the world. Its elegance and refinement will not leave you unmoved!
- Wieliczka and its salt mines: this unmissable place, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, does not spare your legs with its hundreds of stairs and takes you to visit a breathtaking landscape in the centre of the Earth!
- Torun, Krakow of the North: also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the birthplace of the astronomer Nicolas Copernicus is famous for its rich history. Lose yourself in the alleys of this medieval stronghold before reaching the ruins of the castle of the knights!
- Lodz, the industrial city: the atmosphere of its many working-class neighbourhoods makes the city unique. This city is full of an unparalleled architectural, intellectual and cultural heritage that testifies to a rich and intense past.
Where are the Most Beautiful Hiking Trails?
Poland is full of natural corners, each more beautiful than the next. This surprising playground will delight lovers of forest and mountain walks, wildlife enthusiasts and hikers of all kinds. Stroll through the unmissable region of the Great Masurian Lakes. They allow you to observe flora and fauna in a majestic setting. Why not try a kayak trip to enjoy the tranquility of the place completely?
In Bialowieza National Park, on the Belarusian border, in the heart of Europe’s only virgin forest, do not be surprised to come across a bison. Hundreds still live there in freedom and rub shoulders with lynx, wolf, deer and beaver! Live moments of pure magic thanks to your guide, who will share with you the privileged places in this dense forest.
The Tatra National Park includes the only mountains in Poland. Morskie Oko Lake, one of the most beautiful water points in the world awaits you for a unique moment of disconnection. Then take the opportunity to learn about climbing or paragliding in these grandiose landscapes! Discover an incredible lunar landscape in a desert in northern Poland, bordering the Baltic Sea. Slowinski National Park is a unique biosphere made up of impressive dunes, which is located between Lake Łebsko and the sea. Explore this stunning place on foot or by bike to savor these timeless moments!
Our Final Word
Poland might not be on everyone’s bucket list, but it should be. With incredible charming cities and villages, friendly people, and natural beauty, Poland has it all. It is an easy drivable country with surprises at almost every turn. We will certainly go back and enjoy more of this wonderful country.