Poland Travel Guide
With 14 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, beautiful cities, inspiring mountains, national parks, and rugged coastlines, the country of Poland is one of the most welcoming yet underrated and undiscovered destinations in Europe.
The history, both ancient and also its more recent World War II history is fascinating and the museums and architecture are jaw-dropping. The food and drinks are both excellent and cheap. The countryside and coast are popular with regular tourists in the know heading for activities or relaxation during the barmy summer months. At night there is the exciting nightlife in the main cities. Poland really does offer a lot more to visitors than they may at first envisage.
In recent times the country has become popular for city break holidays to places like its capital Warsaw or Krakow. While both cities are the most popular in the country it is clearly not all that Poland has to offer.
Personally, I have spent a few days in a city called Szczecin which is located on the North Western side of Poland and on the border of Germany. I have also transited through Warsaw so not really much I can report there but on both occasions, I can say my experience was good with friendly welcoming people.
For history, art and nature, Poland has so much to offer.
Map Of Poland
GMT + 1 Hr
2 hrs 30 from London
Poland on Film
Bus – There is a vast bus network all over Poland offering excellent prices and comfortable services. Some of the bus companies even provide onboard bathrooms, power points, and Wi-Fi.
Train – There are three major train operators servicing the major cities. Express InterCity Premium provides modern fast trains and has a dining carriage. Express InterCity offers a similar service, but they are not so fast. Inter City is cheap yet slow as they make more stops.
Metro – Warsaw has a metro system making getting around the city easy, good value, and convenient.
Air – Ryanair and Wizz operate low-cost services across Poland and with the prices excellent they provide a good option for those with limited time.
Car Hire – Renting a car is reasonably priced with drivers needing to provide proof they have had a license for over one year and have an International Driving Permit.
Hitchhiking – Still quite popular in Poland so a great way to travel cheaply.
When To Go
Summer in Poland runs from June to August and is the busiest time of year, particularly in the major cities.
Spring and Autumn months offer milder weather, but great colours and cities are less crowded than in the peak summer months.
Winter in Poland brings snow and often sub-zero temperatures but this is ideal for winter sports and makes those Poland Christmas Markets even more beautiful.
Places To Stay in Poland
All forms of accommodation are generally well priced throughout the country making a holiday in Poland very cost-effective.
The major hotel chains are well represented in Poland with gradings 1 to 4 star and then luxury. For the lower end of the market, there are guest houses, pensions, and motels. In the countryside, you will find accommodation ranging from pretty basic rural retreats to luxury spa hotels.
Hostels also represent great value for money with Poland running the polish Youth Hostels Association to ensure standards are maintained.
Farm stays, country homes, and cottages are, like much of Europe, increasing in popularity with interest in organic food, outdoor space, and green eco-friendly living.
Food & Drink
Polish meals are wholesome, hearty, and delicious. You will find Polish food filling and with ingredients often including potatoes, cabbage and meat.
The best and perhaps most traditional way to enjoy Polish food is at one of its many restaurants, cafes, milk bars, and street-food kiosks.
Pierogi are filled dumplings containing either meat, vegetables, cheese, fruit, or chocolate. These are generally really good value and a staple diet for Polish people.
Zurek is a traditional rye soup and is often served with a hard-boiled egg.
Bigos is a local stew made from meat, vegetables, and sauerkraut.
Kotlet schabowy is similar to an Austrian schnitzel this is a breadcrumb-coated cutlet made from pork.
For dessert, the Polish love their sweet treats and pastries such as Makowiec and Racuchy.
For drinks, the Polish are well known for their vodka. I recall every club I went to in Szczecin had a bottle of vodka on the table as if it were water!
There are, as you would expect many great value beers including Zywiec, Tyskie and Warka.
Top Things To See & Do
Auschwitz-Birkenau Camps, Oswiecim
The story of Auschwitz I and the Auschwitz II–Birkenau concentration camps is one of the most shocking stories of the 20th century. A sobering visit is a must for those interested in our recent history.
Crooked Forest, Gryfino
For those seeking peace and adventure head to the small town of Gryfino where you will find the Crooked Forest. A forest of strange pine trees growing at acute angles make for a unique and spooky experience.
Lazienki Park, Warsaw
A huge urban park that offers visitors the chance to wander around and explore stunning gardens, statues, places, museums and galleries
Malbork Castle, Malbork
This enormous Teutonic castle showcases beautifully maintained rooms and halls and includes a museum that proudly displays exhibitions following its restoration.
Morskie Oko Lake, Tatra National Park
The Lake is a great place for hikers to enjoy the numerous trails, mountain peaks and waterfalls and actually spans across both Poland and Slovakia.
Schindler’s Factory, Krakow
Made famous in the Schindlers list film from the 1990s this is Oskar Schindler’s enamel and metal factory. There are two museums – the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow.
Warsaw Old Market Place, Warsaw
The oldest part of Warsaw is now completed restored after the devastation of World War II. Today it is the place to be seen with its many cafes and restaurants, as well as street art sellers and souvenir shops.
Warsaw Rising Museum, Warsaw
For those interested in the history of World War ii this museum in the heart of Warsaw is a must-see attraction.
Wawel Royal Castle, Krakow
A UNESCO World Heritage Site the Wawel Royal Castle is an important part of Poland’s history.
Wieliczka Salt Mine, Wieliczka
A top attraction is one of the world’s oldest and longest-working salt mines. It houses four chapels, corridors, and various statues which have all been carved out of the rock salt walls.
Wolf’s Lair, Gierloz
In the Masurian woods is Hitler’s secret military hideout and a popular excursion from Warsaw.
Regions Of Poland
Poland is split into 16 different provinces, each with its own capital city.
Greater Poland Poznan
Kuyavia-Pomerania Bydgoszcz and Torun
Lesser Poland Krakow
Lower Silesia Wrocław
Lubusz Gorzow Wielkopolski & Zielona Gora
Holy Cross Province Kielce
West Pomerania Szczecin