Poland is an underrated jewel of Europe that doesn’t get enough credit as an incredible tourist destination. Its cities brim with gorgeous architecture, and picturesque landscapes shine in every corner. The Central European country has incredible stories to share that highlight the resilience of its population.
If you haven’t conducted prior research on a holiday in Poland, we’ve got you covered for a remarkable journey. From nature lovers to history buffs, a trip to Poland will be a unique vacation. Here are 5 destinations to visit on a Poland holiday you’ll never forget.
One of Europe’s most beautiful but overlooked cities, Krakow enchants visitors with its medieval centre and beautiful architecture. Rynek Główny, the city’s Old Town, is the heartbeat of Krakow and Europe’s largest town square. St. Mary’s Basilica is the star attraction that steals the hearts of visitors and locals alike. Cloth Hall was a trading epicentre during the Renaissance and still flourishes as a vibrant shopping area.
Wander the Wawel Cathedral and learn about its rich history of hosting coronations of Polish monarchs. Krakow is also a museum mecca, and no holiday to Poland is complete without a visit to the Oskar Schindler’s Factory or Rynek Underground Museum. Kazimierz, the Old Jewish Quarter, has witnessed a revival in recent years and holds cultural gems like the Remuh Synagogue and Church of Corpus Christi.
Located along the Poland-Slovakia border, the Tatra Mountains are a hiker’s paradise with around 300 km of trails. The picturesque mountain range is a recreational playground filled with biking, rafting, and caving adventures. Ride the Gubałówka cable car for breath-taking vistas or chill by the crystal-clear waters of Morskie Oko. Using the scenic town of Zakopane as your base, you’ll wake up every morning to magical views of the High Tatras.
The Kościeliska Valley features less strenuous paths but presents epic views of jagged peaks and verdant forests. Giewont is the highest peak exclusively on the Polish side, and the granite massif is an icon of local folklore. When winter rolls around, the Nosal Ski Center is one of the best Poland destinations for novice skiers.
One of the most popular attractions in Poland, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is a historical treasure. Just a 20-minute drive from Krakow, the enormous salt mine has nearly 300 km of underground passages. But the elaborate network of caves presents a magical show of statues and chapels that make it a cultural icon. Operating since the 13th century, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the oldest salt mines in the world.
Walk along the tourist route to go deep underground and explore the labyrinth of chambers adorned with rock salt carvings. The Chapel of St. Kinga is the star attraction with its grandiose chandeliers, beautiful artwork, and the stunning altar. Your route passes underground lakes while the sounds of music echo through the corridors. Before you exit the mine, learn the impact of Wieliczka’s booming salt industry at the Krakow Saltworks Museum.
Want to gain a glimpse of what Europe resembled before the development of its famous cities? Białowieża Forest is the best destination in Poland to explore the primeval forest that once stretched across the continent. The reserve straddles the Poland-Belarus border and provides a border crossing for intrepid hikers wandering the biosphere.
For nature enthusiasts, Białowieża offers the rare opportunity to watch European bison in the wild. It’s also a bird watcher’s dream, and guided tours help visitors spot rare species of grouse, woodpeckers, and owls. The untouched wilderness hosts a diverse group of other creatures that include wolves, lynx, moose, beavers, and wild boars.
The Białowieża Village serves as a gateway to the forest and houses several cultural gems of the region. Wander Palace Park to discover dozens of plant species or climb the observation tower for a 360° panorama of the village. The Nature and Forest Museum presents exhibits of the native inhabitants and audio recordings of the animals.
Although a trip to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp isn’t a pleasant experience, it’s a reminder to never forget the horrors of the Holocaust. To learn from humanity’s past mistakes, the eerie brick structures are preserved for visitors who come to pay respects. Before you enter the grounds, memorials share many of the heart-breaking tales from WWII.
Guided tours are available, but individuals can wander Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau by themselves. It’s necessary to visit both sites to understand the atrocities carried out against European Jews, Poles, Romas, and other persecuted groups.
Auschwitz I contains numerous exhibits inside the former barracks that educate visitors on the lives of those sent here. You’ll witness personal belongings such as eyeglasses, briefcases, and shoes, and it’s gut-wrenching knowing the unspeakable acts the occurred within these walls.
There’s a shuttle bus that transports visitors to Auschwitz II-Birkenau, and this is where the infamous ‘Gates of Death’ stands. You won’t find as many exhibits here, but the sheer size of the camp leaves you speechless. Many of the former barracks are in near-identical condition as WWII, and you’ll gain a glimpse of the horrid living quarters for over 1.3 million people.
When you visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, please responsibly conduct yourself. Please avoid taking photos of exhibits and be respectful of victims who tragically perished on these grounds. This should be a moment for education and reflection on one of humanity’s darkest hours.
Book by: Oct 31st 2021
Book by: Sep 30th 2021
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