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First-timer’s information to Poland – Lonely Planet

On the EU’s frontline, bordering each Ukraine and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, Poland has been a lot within the information of late.

It’s one in all Jap Europe’s most economically profitable international locations with a protracted, fascinating, generally tragic historical past, performed out in opposition to a backdrop of royal castles and palaces, picturesque outdated cities and unimaginable landscapes.

From the Carpathian Mountains within the south to the Nice Masurian Lakes within the north, Poland is a dream vacation spot in the event you’re up for an activity-driven trip – climbing, biking and kayaking alternatives are ample, plus there’s snowboarding within the winter.

If city pleasures are extra your factor, vibrant cities such because the go-ahead capital Warsaw, the atmospheric outdated capital Kraków, and revamped Nineteenth-century industrial powerhouse Łódź don’t disappoint. Every presents lots of cultural sights alongside scrumptious eating and full of life nightlife scenes – all at very inexpensive costs.

As Poland is an enormous nation full of journey potentialities, you’re certain to have questions. Listed below are some ideas and sensible recommendation on tips on how to get probably the most out of your first journey to Poland.

When ought to I am going to Poland?

There’s no time of the yr to particularly keep away from when scheduling a visit. For nice climate and the possibility to hitch summer season festivals and occasions corresponding to Kraków’s Jewish Tradition Pageant and Warsaw’s Summer time Jazz Days, come between Might and early September.

Cities and cities come alive as the hotter temperatures tempt everybody exterior for al-fresco eating and consuming. That is peak season, too, for visiting Poland’s 23 nationwide parks.

The countryside in spring and autumn can be very lovely. Winter is the quietest season, besides in ski resorts corresponding to Zakopane. Come ready for frigid temperatures and sloshing by snow and rain.

Compensations embrace off-season charges at inns and loads of glorious museums within the main cities through which to shelter from the weather. Autumn by early spring can also be when performing arts establishments corresponding to Warsaw’s Teatr Wielki and Filharmonia Narodowa run their season of top-grade reveals.

Woman on a hiking trip in the mountains sitting on a rock looking through binoculars in Poland
Plan a while to discover a few of Poland’s unimaginable nationwide parks © Westend61 / Getty Photos

How a lot time do I would like to go to Poland?

Two, or higher, three days is the minimal wanted for a brief metropolis break to both Warsaw or Kraków. You gained’t have sufficient time to cowl all the things, however it is possible for you to to get a really feel for these locations and tick off the primary sights.

In case you’re ready to maneuver round rapidly, you can cram in additional of Poland over 10 days to 2 weeks, including to your itinerary metropolises corresponding to Gdańsk (additionally near the Baltic seaside resort of Sopot) and Łódź, in addition to smaller historic cities just like the artists’ retreat Kazimierz Dolny and Zamość, a wonderfully preserved Sixteenth-century Renaissance city.

Have a month to spare? Now you’re speaking! This offers you the chance to discover rural backwaters and nationwide parks corresponding to World Heritage listed Białowieża Nationwide Park, dwelling to some 800 free-roaming European bison, Poland’s nationwide image and Europe’s largest land mammal; and Karkonosze Nationwide Park with its spectacular Ice Age glacier-carved landscapes.

Is it simple to get in and round Poland?

Poland is tethered to the world by worldwide flights. The capital’s primary airport is the central Warsaw Chopin Airport, with Modlin Airport, 39km (24 miles) north of the town, dealing with finances carriers.

Different worldwide airports embrace Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport, Katowice Airport, Kraków John Paul II Worldwide Airport, Łódż Airport and Wrocław Airport. There are additionally glorious rail and bus hyperlinks, particularly with Western European neighbors, together with in a single day prepare providers to Berlin and Vienna.

Getting round Poland itself is a breeze. There’s a complete system of buses and trains providing each frequent providers and inexpensive costs. For extra distant components, together with almost all of the nationwide parks, you’ll actually need your personal set of wheels.

Hiring a automobile is easy and the roads have vastly improved in recent times (though you’ll encounter some unsealed roads in probably the most rural areas). Main cities and cities all have respectable public transport, and you’ll simply cowl historic outdated city facilities on foot.

High issues to do in Poland

Kraków, the previous royal capital, is a stunner with its heady mix of historical past and harmonious structure. At its coronary heart are the huge Rynek Główny, Europe’s largest medieval market, and the magnificent Wawel Royal Citadel, on a hill above the Previous City.

However that is simply the beginning – each a part of the town is fascinating, from the previous Jewish district of Kazimierz and its full of life nightlife to the atomic fallout shelters of Nowa Huta.

Warsaw needed to be virtually fully rebuilt after WWII. The highly effective Warsaw Rising Museum focuses on the darkest hours of WWII, whereas the Museum of Warsaw fantastically paperwork the town’s rise, fall and resurrection. Additionally don’t miss the award-winning POLIN Museum of the Historical past of Polish Jews, and regal Wilanów Palace and surrounding lush parkland.

Toruń, a walled Gothic metropolis on the Vistula River, miraculously escaped WWII intact. Wander by the Unesco-listed Previous City filled with museums, church buildings, grand mansions and squares. If you’re flagging, perk up with a peppery gingerbread cookie, Toruń’s signature snack, which you can also make your self on the Gingerbread Museum.

The Unesco-listed Białowieża Nationwide Park holds one in all Europe’s final vestiges of primeval forest, which you’ll be able to go to within the firm of a information. The bison, which was as soon as extinct exterior zoos, has been efficiently reintroduced right here, though your finest guess for seeing these magnificent animals is the area’s European Bison Present Reserve.

A woman walking through a medieval square in Kraków with a suitcase
Discover Kraków on foot to see its unimaginable historical past and structure up shut © martin-dm / Getty Photos

My favourite factor to do in Poland

I’m an enormous fan of avenue artwork and Łódź has embraced this public type of artistic expression not like anyplace else in Poland – the town is virtually one large artwork gallery! There are nicely over 200 public artistic endeavors starting from huge painted murals to installations involving neon, nails and porcelain tiles.

Amongst my favorites are Pasaż Róży, a blinding courtyard fully plastered with mirror fragments organized in swirling rose patterns, and Wiedźmin, a 70m tall mural designed by Jakub Rebelka on the edges of adjoining condominium blocks – it’s a homage to the Witcher collection of fantasy books by Łódź-based creator Andrzej Sapkowski.

How a lot cash do I would like for Poland?

Like in all places in Europe in current occasions, costs have been rising in Poland. That stated, the nation presents nice worth, particularly in relation to lodging, eating out and leisure. Getting round by public transport can also be a discount.

  • Hostel room: 60 zł
  • Primary room for 2: 200 zł
  • Self-catering condominium (together with Airbnb): 120 zł
  • Public transport ticket: 3.40 zł
  • Espresso: 15-20 zł
  • Sandwich: 15 zł
  • Dinner for 2: 150-200 zł
  • Beer/pint on the bar: 12 zł

Poland’s a part of the EU proper?

Sure, which suggests in the event you’re crossing into the nation from neighboring EU international locations – the Czech Republic (Czechia), Germany, Lithuania and Slovakia – there are not any border formalities. Nevertheless, relatively than the euro, Poland’s nationwide forex is the złoty (zł, generally additionally abbreviated as PLN) which dates again to the 14th century.

Most locations settle for card or digital funds however generally you will have to pay in money so it’s useful to maintain some cash in your pockets.

How simple is it to get on-line?

Very simple. Relying on your property cell phone/web plans, it is best to be capable to surf the online and keep in contact utilizing a smartphone or pill. There are many wifi hotspots and a few of them free.

A person dipping Polish pierogi in sour cream
Dive right into a plate filled with pierogi while you arrive in Poland © Alexander Spatari / Getty Photos

What’s Polish meals like?

Locals like nothing higher than scoffing consolation meals corresponding to pączki (rose-jam crammed doughnuts) or a plate of pierogi, dough dumplings filled with something from cottage cheese, potato and meat to blueberries or different fruits.

Conventional cooking is rustic and flavorful and will be summed up by Poland’s signature kiełbasa sausages. These are normally made with pork and numerous seasonings, although different meats, like beef and veal, will be added.

Past such staples Polish delicacies additionally contains hearty soups and dishes corresponding to beef tartare. Within the main cities and cities, there’s a large selection of world cuisines alongside artistic renditions of vegetarian and vegan dishes.


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