Are you considering a European experience this year? Do you have the desire to see the culture and history of some of Europe’s ancient cities? As you consider your destination options, why not consider a vacation in Poland? Poland may not be one of the first countries you think of when planning a European adventure, but a closer look at all that the country has to offer will show you that it is the perfect place for your next trip. Here are some of the reasons why you need to take a vacation to Poland.
Poland’s history is exceptional, and the country boasts 14 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Many of these are lesser known than the historic sites in more widely traveled countries, so you can get a unique glimpse into ancient Europe without the crowds of tourists when you travel to Poland.
Does historic Europe appeal to you? Plan a visit to Krakow and spend some time at Old Town, the central district of the city. From 1038 to 1596 it was the heart of the Polish political scene. Many medieval structures still stand, and you can get the chance to step back in time for an afternoon.
For a more sobering slice of history, consider a visit to the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp in Oswiecim. The largest of Germany’s World War II concentration camps, Auschwitz housed over 1.3 million people, 1.1 million of whom were killed. Approximately one out of every six Jews who died in the Holocaust were killed here. It stands as a somber memorial to just how debase racism can become.
For a more lighthearted experience, consider a visit to the Castle in Malbork. The largest castle in the world by area, this castle showcases the intricacies of medieval fortress architecture. It was completed in 1406, and today guests can tour the structure and marvel at its intricacies.
These are just a few examples of the many historic sites you will find to discover in Poland. No matter which you choose to explore, you will leave your trip with a greater appreciation for the rich history of the region.
Save Some Money
When it comes to European countries to visit, a vacation in Poland offers an exceptional value. In fact, it is one of the more affordable countries to visit, yet still offers the same culture, beauty and history of many of the more popular destinations. In Krakow, for example, you can get a full one bedroom apartment in the center of Old Town for just 32 euros a night. Hostels and hotels are event cheaper. Many of the more popular destinations are free, and some that do cost are less than 5 euros to visit. Food is also more affordable in Poland, especially if you eat like a local and avoid the chain restaurants. If you are looking for a budget-friendly European vacation, Poland must be on your list.
Enjoy a Gourmet Food Scene
There’s no denying some European destinations offer poor food choices. England, which is famous for its royalty and history, lacks a thriving food scene. Not so in Poland. Here you can dine on fresh kielbasa and taste the world’s best vodka, and as you dine your way around the country you will find that it offers treats worthy of the most critical foodie.
When you plan your trip to Poland, make sure you plan some meals around pierogies. Pierogis, which are savory filled dumplings, are a staple of the Polish culture, and you’ll find that the many varieties available will tickle the tastes buds of everyone in your group. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, paczki, the Polish version of donuts, or sernik, a type of cheese cake, are both popular. If you are a fan of beer, you’ll love the craft beer scene in Krakow, and you’ll also love that this city has one of the lowest prices for beer anywhere in Europe.
Visit the Ocean
If your ideal vacation requires some time on the sea, Poland delivers. The northern coast of Poland is lined with white sandy beaches. In the summer, water sports, windsuring and kitesurfing are all popular pastimes on the coast. Resorts along the coast give you the opportunity to truly relax along the beach, and the lower prices in Poland mean you can enjoy your oceanfront experience without breaking the bank.
Take a Hike
While Poland’s cities are rich in culture and history, its mountain ranges are breathtaking. The Tatras, specifically, boast some of the most brilliant vistas in Europe. If you’re visiting in the winter, you’ll love the ski slopes, but in the summer the hiking is unparalleled. Tatra National Park is home to the highest peak in Poland, Rysy, which stretches 2,500 meters above sea level. It also boasts Morskie Oko Lake, which is surrounded by mountains and offers a peaceful respite from the larger crowds of the cities. You can even find caves to explore during your visit to the Tatras.
The Tatras aren’t the only places in Poland to enjoy hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter. The Table Mountains are also popular. This range, also known as the Stolowe Mountains, got its name from the plated sandstone foundations. Impressive rock formations make this a popular destination with nature-loving travelers. Table Mountains and the Stolowe Mountains National Park sit between Poland and Czech Republic in the Sudetes.
Experience the Nightlife
In Poland, the real fun begins when the sun goes down. Summer music festivals, clubs in all of the major cities, ample alcohol and plenty of live music mean the nightlife in Poland is hard to beat. After a day exploring history or lounging along the beach, get ready for a night of partying with people who know how to have a good time. The best part about the Polish nightlife? It’s a year-round activity, so no matter when you visit, you’ll find an entertaining club scene ready to greet you.
Experience a Trendy Art Scene
If art is more your thing, you will want to spend some time in Warsaw. Here, trendy, modern art galleries are found around almost every corner, and the country’s best-known contemporary art museums are also found in Warsaw. Make plans to visit the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw or the Center for Contemporary Art to see work done by Polish artists. The Bazar na Kole is an outdoor flea market where you can score some exceptional pieces from local artists as well. The National Museum, also in Warsaw, holds the country’s most impressive collections.
Are you ready to plan your vacation in Poland? If you do, you will come home with tales of ancient castles, vibrant art, breathtaking mountains and idyllic beaches. What’s not to love about that? Start planning your trip to Poland today, and get ready to experience the road less traveled. Need a few more details? Check out our handy insider guide to Poland here.