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About Poland

Bounded by seven nations on all sides, Poland sits at the geographic crossroad that connects the forest of Northern Europe to the sea lanes of the Atlantic below. One of the most historically poignant nations in the world, Poland has waxed and waned through the ages, it’s history shaped by the ravaging forces of the medieval wars, the partition of Poland, and the Second World War.

With its characteristic medieval architecture and cobbled streets, Poland possesses all the charm of a quaint European city. Here, history melts nature into life, with age-old attractions blending together natural splendors to form the beating heart of the country. 

The Polish capital of Warsaw stands out as one of Europe’s culturally richest cities. Left to smithereens by the Second World War, the city has now built itself into a marvel. Those desiring to explore the country’s history should head over to Krakow, home to the devastating Auscwitz Birkenau concentration camp, now a Museum testifying to the Nazi atrocities in Poland. When in Poland, the fantastic Wroclaw deserves a visit as well, boasting of a whole range of museums and a fantastic market square.

Poland however, is not just known for its cities, but for its natural wealth as well. One of the great ways to enjoy the beauty of the country is to head over to the Tatra mountains for a night, or for a hike. Apart from its world-famous smoked cheese, the mountains offer one of the most biodiverse regions in the country. For an offbeat visit, one can even go ahead and explore the fantastic Zalipi village, a local village where everything- from houses to postboxes- are hand-painted by the villagers. 

The climate in Poland is of the continental type, which means the country experiences warm summers and extremely cold winters with temperatures below zero. Rainfall is aplenty and interspersed throughout the year, although heavy showers are concentrated to the months between June and August.

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Poland FAQ's

Which are the best places to visit in Poland?

1. Krakow: This historic city has witnessed it's share of turbulence in the past century, and stands testament to the Polish resilience that survived through the Second World War. However, Krakow's history spreads much beyond Nazi terrorism- dating back to the 7th century, the city has always been one of the biggest administrative capitals of Poland.

The colorful buildings, large market squares and cobbled streets define the rustic charm of the place. The enormous Market Square here dates back to the 13th century, and is the largest market Square in all of Europe. The market is also home to some of the city's biggest landmarks, including the famed Cloth Hall and St. Mary's Basilica. Krakow is also known for its fantastic shopping streets. 

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Krakow would be during the spring months, between May and September. The weather during this time remains pleasant, and the city generally remains less crowded than in summer months. 

2. Warsaw: The capital city of Poland, Warsaw stands out with its vibrant culture and heritage wonders. The Warsaw Old Town, regarded widely as the city's heart, is now a UNESCO Heritage Site and one of the most striking places to visit in the city. Those desiring to explore Warsaw on foot can take a stroll along the Royal Route, the road that connects the Royal residencies of erstwhile Polish rulers. The city is not lacking green spaces as well; there are more than ninety parks scattered across Warsaw, where the Chopin concerts come to life in summer evenings. 

Best time to visit:  The best time to visit Warsaw would be during the Polish summer, roughly between June and August. Although this is Warsaw peak season, the pleasant weather during this time makes it ideal for sightseeing. 

3. Tatra Mountains: A part of the Carpathian Chain, the Polish Tatras are an adventure on their own.  In 1995, the mountains were declared a National Park and designated as UNESCO biosphere reserve. It’s deep gorges and beautiful lakes are reason enough for one to pay a visit. The alpine forests here can be found brimming with a number of shrubs and flowers throughout the year, and the occasional wildlife can be spotted here as well.

The town of Zakopane, known for its fantastic wooden architecture and cuisine, stands as the very foot and acts as a gateway to the mountains. The mountains can be a stunning hiking location, although it is frequented by skiers as well. There are several food huts dotted across the mountains that are renowned for their specialty smoked cheese.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Tatras are between May and September, when the weather remains ideal for sightseeing as well as hiking. However, skiers and snowboarders should ideally visit during the winter months.

4. Wonderful Main Market Square:  The main market square in Krakow is the city’s beating heart. One of the oldest medieval squares in the world, this open-air plaza forms an attraction in itself. Taking centre stage at the square is the Cloth Hall; built in the 14th century, the Cloth Hall can rightfully be called the first shopping mall in the world, and can still be found packed with vendors selling wood or lacework items.

Right beside it is the St. Mary’s Basilica, known to carry out Krakow’s age-old tradition of hourly bugle calls. Another prominent landmark in the Square is the Town Hall Tower, the only remaining segment of the medieval town hall, which lets tourists climb up for city views. 

Location: Rynek Glówny, 31-422 Kraków, Poland
Best time to visit:
The best time to visit the market square would be between May to September when the summer tourist crowd has marginally lessened. 

5. Bialowieza Forest Reserve: One of the largest and only remaining portions of the primeval forests that once stood across the European Plains, the Bialowieza Forest Reserve possesses an unearthly Narnia-like charm. Now a UNESCO Heritage Site and biosphere reserve, the Forest is recognized as Poland’s national wealth.

The symbol of the forest is the near-declining European bison, which has been saved for extinction here. The National Park is also rich in ‘dead wood or remains of decaying trees that have been kept undisturbed to foster the growth of mushrooms and other fungi. Tourists to the Reserve can find accommodation in the many villages at the very heart of the reserve.

Location: Podlaskie Voivodeship, Poland
Best time to visit:
The park remains open between April and October

6. Bieszczady Mountains: Poland’s untamed beauty shines through the Bieszczady Mountains, the mighty ranges of the Outer Carpathians that run along the country’s length. Neither the atrocities of the second world war nor the wars of the Middle Ages had any effect on the mountains, whose wilderness remains unparalleled in the region.

There are several hiking routes across the mountains, peppered with forest patches, old Churches and other historical attractions. There are some narrow railway tracks as well, taking one to different corners of the mountains. If you want a trip to the darker side, try visiting Nasiczne, one of the mountain caves that has never seen sunlight. 

Best time to visit: The best time to visit the mountains would be between the months of April and October when the weather remains ideally suitable for hiking

7. Royal Castle: Dominating the streets of Old Town, the Royal Castle is one of the most historically poignant landmarks in the city. Built-in the 15th century, The Royal Castle once functioned as the residence of the Mazovian princes. The magnificent castle was nearly completely destroyed during the Second World War.

Ever since, the castle has been built from its rubble and remains what it is today- a magnificent building in 17th-century architectural styles. In 1980, the Royal Castle and its surrounding area were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Museum within the castle is one of the biggest in the city and attracts nearly 5 million visitors in a year.

Location: Plac Zamkowy 4, 00-277 Warszawa, Poland
Best time to visit:
The best time to visit the Castle would be during the warmer months, between April and October

8. The Vistula River Beach: Recognized as one of the most beautiful city beaches in the world, the Vistula River beach is an anomaly in the Urbanic Warsaw. The Vistula River beaches are a collection of several little beaches along the river bank. The soft golden sands here stand out jarringly against the Warsaw cityscape. One can easily find a sun lounger on rent, and whole food shakes and stalls are available in plenty. The beaches offer cycling routes along their lengths as well.

Location: Vistula River Bank, Warsaw, Poland 
Best time to visit:
The best time to visit the beach would be during the summer months, between April and September. Although it is peak tourist season, the summer weather would be best suited for a beach visit.

9. Zalipie Village: Visiting Zalipie is a lot like visiting Tolkein’s Shire, or a village right out of Disney. The tiny village is blanketed with clusters of crooked, colorfully painted houses that appear as wildflowers from a distance. The village is best known for its folk art, a tradition that began several centuries ago when the villagers started painting their own houses. Today, the practice has taken over nearly every element of the village, owing to its vibrant, hippy charm. There are some farms and Churches in the village that one can visit. The Painter’s House is a landmark building in Zalipie.

Best time to visit: May to October would be the ideal time to visit Zalipie when the temperatures are moderate 

10. Torun: The town of Torun was built by the Teutonic Knights in the 15th century- but elsewhere. It was later removed to its current position as the earlier areas were victim to constant flooding. As a result, Torun is neatly divided into two halves- the Old Town and the New Town, with the palace of the Teutonic knights standing between the two.

The Gothic town is regarded for its splendid architecture; apart from a smattering of Churches and Towers, Torun is unique for its animal sculptures scattered around the marketplace, each telling a story or a legend of the city’s dark past. The city is also known for its gingerbread, which forms an irreplaceable part of its heritage.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Torun would be during the middle months, between June and August, when the weather here remains the best

What are the best things to do in Poland?

1. Visit The Auschwitz- Birkenau Memorial And Museum: Now synonymous with the Holocaust, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp is the biggest site of Nazi atrocity across Europe. More than a million Jews, Poles and Roma lost their lives at this concentration camp, and today, the Memorial has been preserved as a testament to the city’s turbulent past.

Both sections of the camp- Auschwitz I and the larger Birkenau- are now open to visitors. The camp offers tours throughout the area in multiple languages. Photography is permitted here, although without a flash or tripod. The Museum here houses relics of the lost prisoners, including bundles of shoes and other personal artifacts. The camp also conducts exhibitions from time to time.

Location: Wiezniow Oswiecimia 20, 32-603 Oswiecim
Best time to visit: April-October 

2. Marvel at The Royal Palace: The history of Warsaw’s Royal Castle dates back to the fourteenth century when the first Castle Tower was built. Over centuries, the Palace witnessed numerous expansions and renovations, until it met with devastating destruction in the war against Germany. However, the heritage monument underwent reconstruction in the latter half of the 20th century in an attempt to restore it to its former glory.

Some of the interior halls have been constructed to resemble its erstwhile 17th-century magnificence, and hold permanent exhibitions of European paintings. The charming flower lawns, illuminated daily after dark, are another marvelous sight at the Royal Castle.

Location: Plac Zamkowy 4, 00-277 Warszawa, Poland
Best time to visit: April - October

3. Explore the Palace of Culture and Science: One of the highest buildings in Europe, the Palace of Culture and Science dominates the skyline of Warsaw. The building was erected in 1955 by Joseph Stalin and stands as a symbol of People’s Poland. The Palace grounds feature a number of different sculptures representing art, technology and culture, and the Palace itself pays tribute to exactly that.

Although once a meeting site for the Socialist Party in Poland, the Palace of Culture and Science is now the seat of several exhibitions, theatre performances and cultural events. It even features an Observation Deck on the 30th floor, where one can enjoy panoramic views of the city.

Location:  plac Defilad 1, 00-901 Warszawa, Poland
Best time to visit: April- August

4. Try the Local Cuisine: One of the best ways to really get to know a country would be to sample the local cuisine of the place.  Poland too, has an astonishing variety of traditional delicacies. Zurek, the Polish fermented rye soup, is one of the most popular staples in the country. Another popular fare here is the Pierogi, fried dumplings stuffed with meat, fish or vegetables.

The sweet racuchy is a close relative to the pancake, while the traditional Makowiec is the most popular holiday dessert in the country. Apart from that, Poland also boasts of some site-specific delicacies, such as Torun’s exquisite gingerbread or the smoked cheese of the Tartar mountains.

5. Stroll around the  Isle of Usedom: An excursion to the Isle of Usedom can be a great way to extend one’s vacation in Poland. One of Germany’s sunniest islands, this little isle nestles right at the heart of the Baltic Sea. Visitors are greeted with 42 kilometers of fine white beaches, drenched in sunshine and fringed by the cleanest waters.

For those desiring to spend the night, the island offers everything from high-end seaside resorts to affordable guest houses and barges. There are several cycling routes snaking across the island, and biking can be one of the best ways to spend one’s time here. The island also hosts several cultural performances throughout the year. 

Location: Baltic Sea, Germany 
Best time to visit: April-October 

6. Explore The Museum of the History Of Polish Jews: The POLIN Museum of Polish Jews sits where the former Warsaw Ghetto once rested. The Polish word ‘Polin’ that starts the museum name translates literally to “rest here”, possibly referring to the great Jewish migration. Established in 2005, the Museum details the lives and history of Jews in the Polish islands over the past millennium.

The eight active exhibits include multimedia narratives with paintings, oral histories, interactive installations and more. The exhibits are divided by eras, starting with the migration of Polish Jews from Europe, and the postwar years of recovery.

Location: Mordechaja Anielewicza 6, 00-157 Warszawa, Poland
Best time to visit: April- May

7. Visit Ostrów Tumski: Nestled right between two branches of the river Oder, the island of Ostrow Tumski is the oldest part of Wroclaw. While the island’s fantastic natural beauty draws many here, its cultural value is its greatest asset. The island community was built as early as the 10th century, with a little wooden chapel, the St. Martin’s Chapel still standing as a testament to its history.

The island is also home to Wroclaw’s oldest Museum, the Archdiocese Museum with its bountiful sacred art. The stunning Church of the Holy Cross and the Cathedral of John the Baptist are two of the most prominent landmarks here.

Location: Oder River, Wroclaw
Best time to visit: April- September

8. Explore Malbork Castle: Nestled on the bank of the river Nougat, Malbork is by area, the largest castle in the world. The impressive fortress and castle was constructed by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century as a defense of Baltic tribes. Despite undergoing significant damage in the Second World War, the Malbork Castle has now been restored to resemble its original medieval designs.

In 1997, it was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although primitive in design, the sprawling brick castle is proof of the builders’ considerable architectural capacity. The Castle is now home to a Museum displaying artifacts, paintings and an amber collection from the Middle Ages.

Location: Staroscinska 1, 82-200 Malbork, Poland
Best time to visit: April- October

9. Check out the Slowinski National Park: Covering a 33-kilometer stretch on the Baltic coast, the Slowinski National Park is one of the most diverse regions in the world. The Park is known for its tall, shifting dunes, scattered with occasional lakes. The National Park features several hiking routes, with occasional watchtowers promising excellent views of the dunes and the sea. Rowell Hill, a little hill within the Park, was a former pagan site. The Museum of Slovenia Countryside is an open-air ethnographic Museum here, which displays the finest values of the Pomeranian culture of the place.

Location: Bohaterów Warszawy 1A, 76-214 Smoldzino, Poland
Best time to visit: July- August 

What are the best romantic places to visit in Poland?

1. Love bridges: As a country drenched in romance, Poland has got various scenic love bridges where couples can spend quality time together, such as the Tumski Bridge and the Kladka Bernatka- Bridge of Love. You can add your own lock to these bridges and throw the key in the water to mark your love. Over the years, thousands of padlocks have been attached to the railings of these bridges, each one symbolising a unique love story. The Love Bridge and Most Jana Kiepury are two other bridges in Poland that are ideal for romantic strolls.

Tumski Bridge - Wroclaw, Kladka Bernatka Bridge - Krakow, The Love Bridge - Gdansk, Most Jana Keipury - Bydgoszcz

2. Polish castles & palaces: Poland is well-known not just for its historical and architectural marvels but also for its romantic castles and palaces that seem plucked straight from a fairy tale. Niedzica Castle, for example, is famous for its rich romantic past, fantasy festivals, and music nights, whereas Lancut Castle is famous for its classical ballroom and huge dining hall. But what they both have in common is that you can have a great time with your significant other on a romantic evening.

Location: Niedzica Castle - Zamkowa 2, 13-100 Nidzica, Poland,
Lancut Castle: Zamkowa 1, Lancut, Poland
Timings: Niedzica Castle - 9 AM to 4 PM ( Tuesday to Sunday) Monday (closed)

3. Kazimierz Dolny: Kazimierz Dolny, a Polish village, is often considered one of the country's most romantic destinations, because of its combination of picturesque landscapes, rural calm, and lively jazz clubs and candlelit restaurants. You can take in the scenic beauty of the trees and vegetation in Korzeniowy Dol Gorge, located on the outskirts of town.

From the summit of the Hill of Three Crosses, you can see the Wisla, the longest river in Poland. Finally, enjoy a romantic evening out with your special someone at Akuku or Herbaciarnia U Dziwisza, two excellent restaurants serving traditional Polish food and wine.

4. The Sopot Pier: Sopot Pier, the longest wooden pier in the Baltic Sea, is a sight to see due to its exquisite location and breathtaking ocean backdrop. On each side of the pier is a sandy beach, and at its entry is a spa garden with circular decks and a fountain. Walk here with your special someone and have some quality time together.

The area around this port is filled with fantastic places to eat and unwind, such as The Blue Pedal and Toscana Restaurant. There are also several opportunities for entertainment here, such as art performances at Wybrzeze Theater and music concerts at Forest Opera venue.

Plac Zdrojowy 2, 81-723 Sopot, Poland
Price:  ZL 9-15
Timings: 8 AM to 11 PM

5. Lazienki Park in Warsaw: If you're looking for some romance in Poland, Lazienki Park is a must-see. It's a true gem, thanks to the gorgeous landscaping and architectural design. In addition to serving as a museum and venue for artistic, cultural, and entertainment events, this park and palace complex served as King Stanislas's summer home.

Hold your loved one close and let yourself be swept away by the enchanting sights of the White House and the Palace on the Isle. Several concerts are held during the summer here, at the foot of the world's most renowned Fryderyk Chopin monument.

Aleje Ujazdowskie, Warsaw 99-200, Poland

Which are the best beaches to visit in Poland?

1. Krynica Morska Beach: One of the most popular beaches in Poland, Krynica Morska remains heavily crowded during holidays. If you can arrive early, you can get a quiet spot near the water for sunbathing or relaxing.

2. Jurata Beach: This scenic beach combines great views with superb entertainment options. It’s a great place for swimming, sunbathing or even just riding a bike along the promenade. You can even try surfing at the beach here if the weather is suitable.

3. Brzezno Beach: One of the less crowded options, this Gdansk beach is ideal for those looking for quiet time by the sea. Unlike most beaches, Brzezno does not require an entry fee. The sand here is soft and clear, and there’s a lifeguard on duty during peak season. The beach has a lovely promenade as well, ideal for romantic strolls.

4. Sopot Beach: This bustling beach offers a host of fun sports to try. When in Sopot, do not miss out on the short boat trips that leave from the beach. The water here is shallow, making it a great spot for swimming even for non-swimmers and children. Sopot is also well known for its spa treatments, so keep an eye out for a beachside massage centre.

Which are the best cities to explore in Poland?

1. Warsaw: The capital of the country, Warsaw is definitively the best city in Poland from a tourist’s perspective. The historic city has much to offer, from fantastic museums to an exquisite nightlife culture. One of the best places to visit in the city would be the Warsaw Old Town; now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Town has been restored to its medieval glory in the post war eras, and boasts of fantastic Gothic architectures, bustling market squares and more.

2. Krakow: At the heart of the Polish war against Nazism, Krakow’s historical importance cannot be downplayed by any other Polish city. The Auschwitz Birkenau concentration camp is the biggest attraction here, and stands testament to the turbulent history of the country. Krakow is also home to the famed medieval Market Square, the oldest such Square in all of Europe.

3. Wroclaw: One of the lesser visited cities in Poland, Wroclaw stands out with its colorful buildings and fantastic architecture. The city is home to some of the most fantastic architectural landmarks in Poland, including the UNESCO listed Centennial Hall. The Wroclaw Market Square is the largest Market Square in Poland, and is home to many fantastic buildings.

4. Torun: Built entirely in a Gothic style, Torun is one of the most impressive, albeit least visited, cities in Poland. The town was built by the Teutonic Knights, whose Castle divided the city in exactly half. The history of Torun is as interesting as its aesthetic- the city is scattered with sculptures of animals throughout its length, each telling a story about it’s past.

Which are the best national parks in Poland?

1. Bialowieza National Park: Recognized as the country’s oldest national Park, Bialowieza National Park sits right at the border of Belarus and Poland. Kept undisturbed for over 800 years, the Park is now a prominent area of study for biologists across the world. It is also home to some of the most fantastic species indigenous to the country, including the European bison, which was saved from extinction here.

2. Tatra National Park: Home to Poland’s highest peaks, the Tatra National Park is one of the most biodiverse regions in all of Europe. Apart from its assortment of local wildlife, the Tatra mountains offer the perfect spot for skiing and snowboarding sports. The mountains also have a stunning range of local cuisine, including the local smoked cheese.

3. Slowinski National Park: This stunning national park is known for its shifting sand dunes, changing shape with the wind. Located just by the Baltic sea, it is one of the most enchanting places to visit in Poland.

Which are the best historical sites to visit in Poland?

1. Auschwitz Birkenau Concentration Camp: The largest concentration camp in Nazi Germany, Auschwitz Birkeneu is now a sight of harrowing retrospect. The Museum at the site displays an unsettling collection of photographs, documents and personal artefacts detailing the history of the prisoners at the camp. 

2. Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines: Located just outside Krakow, Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines are one of the oldest salt mine systems in the world. The impressive mine system includes several underground lakes, a chapel and impressive rock statues. 

3. Krakow Market Square: Built in the 13th century, the Krakow Market Square is one of the oldest and largest market square in the world. The first of all Heritage Sites in Poland, the Market Square is lined with some of Krakow’s most significant buildings, including the Gothic St. Mary’s Church and the medieval Cloth Hall.

4. Malbork Castle: Originally built by the Teutonic Knights as a fortress, this 13th century Castle is an architectural wonder. After the assault of the Second World War, much of the castle has been restored to its original glory, including some of the interior rooms being preserved intact. The Castle also features a Museum which displays weapons and other artefacts.

What is Poland famous for?

Although there is no shortage of culture or heritage when it comes to Poland, what makes this country really stand out from its European sisters is its local cuisine. Although often overshadowed by the more elite French or Italian, Polish cuisine is indisputably one of the best in the world. From the fried Pierogi to the myriad potato dishes, the country is an absolute dream for travellers looking to try new food.

What is the best time to visit Poland?

The best time to visit Poland would be between the months of April and October. The weather during these summer months remains cool and pleasant, making it the best time for sightseeing or other outdoor adventures. 

How many days are enough to explore Poland?

A trip of about 10 days to two weeks would be ideal for one to explore all of Poland. The country has a lot to offer, whether it be its historic cities, its National Park or even the countryside. A shorter duration would not allow one to explore all of the country in a leisurely manner.

Which is the coldest month in Poland?

January is the coldest month in Poland. At the very heart of winter, temperatures in January and early February generally tend to dip below zero, making the season an excellent time for snow sports. 

How much does a trip to Poland from India cost?

A standard 7 day trip to Poland would cost anywhere above INR 1,00,000. The exact price of the trip, however, would depend entirely on the season of visit, the accommodation opted for, and the attractions and activities included in one’s itinerary. 

What food is famous in Poland?

  • Pierogi:  A friend dumpling filled with sweet or savory items, including meat and vegetables
  • Bigos: Polished pickled cucumbers, a lot like kosher pickles
  • Kotlet Mielony: Pan fried meatballs, generally eaten with boiled potatoes 
  • Zrazy: Slow cooked beef with various fillings, traditionally served to royalty 
  • Makowiec: Rolled sweet bread filled with poppy seed paste, a traditional dessert

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