Poland Travel Guide
🗝️ Key Facts
💶Currency: Złoty (PLN)
🕙Time Zone: +1 GMT
📞Phone Code: +48
✈️Best time to visit: April to October
🍴Eat: Pierogi (dumplings)
🍷Drink: Polish Vodka
🗺️Don't miss: The Multimedia Fountain in Warsaw / The Smok Wawelski (Fire Dragon) in Krakow.
🗺 Menu of Contents:
Located in Eastern Europe, boarded by the countries of Germany, Russia (Kaliningrad), Lithuania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Poland is a country which has evolved substantially over the last decades thanks to the support of the European Union and having a cheaper way of life, means that many businesses opted to open up and create more jobs and opportunities. Ever since joining the European Union in 2004, Poland has been undergoing a true tourism renaissance, as more and more visitors are seeking out the rich history, great cuisine and cities full of character of this popular nation, increasing in demand and services.
There is much to see and do in contemporary Poland, with most visitors starting in the capital, Warsaw, where the beautiful Old Town district has been rebuilt brick by brick after past decades of wars and occupations. From Warsaw, many travellers make the four hour train journey to Krakow, by far Poland's most popular tourist destination.
Poland's cultural capital, Krakow, is an exciting, cosmopolitan city, boasting a remarkably well-preserved medieval centre and several key cultural sites, such as the famous Wawel Hill, where the Royal Palace and the Gothic Wawel Cathedral can be found.
On the other hand, the historic port city of Gdansk - where Lech Walesa and his Solidarity trade union first rose to oppose Poland's Communist government in 1980, is also a popular destination, featuring a restored Old Quarter and several fashionable restaurants and cafes.
Most visitors to Poland do not venture too far into the countryside, which is a shame, because the country is home to some excellent scenery, as well as walking and hiking trails. The southern Bieszczady Mountains are particularly beautiful, featuring tall forests and rural houses that seem to have been lifted straight from Grimm's Fairy Tales.
The Bialowieza National Park is a UNESCO-protected area that guards the last remnants of the primeval forest that used to cover most of Europe. Poland is also a great choice for an affordable European beach holiday, with the charming seaside town of Sopot offering cut-price fun in the sun on the Baltic Coast.
Since Poland joined the EU, links to reach the country have also multiplied and now it's easy to travel to, not only to the main cities but secondary ones which can be flown to direct from Europe.
It's also due to the large numbers of Polish citizens who have emigrated to other European states that the number of flights have also increased proportionally.
Reaching Poland from the UK, Ireland, Germany or France has become much easier thanks to the increase of low cost airlines offering direct links. The best low cost airlines to fly to Poland from Europe are Ryanair, Wizzair and Easyjet.
The national carrier is LOT Polish Airlines, which offers the best connections and times flying to the main cities, Warsaw and Krakow. It flies to most European capitals and some leisure destinations in the Mediterranean. It is as well, the airline of choice if you're coming from the USA or Asia, as the airline offers links from New York, Chicago, Toronto, Los Angeles, Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul.
Reaching Poland is also very easy by train and bus, if coming from mainland Europe. There are frequent connections from Berlin, Paris, Munich, Vienna and Prague. Check Eurolines for more information.
Once it the country, public transportation has improved a lot in Poland over the last decades. Now it's easy to navigate your way in the big cities with digital information screens and live stop updates on busses and trains. It's also cheap and reliable to travel by public transport and many cities offer day cards or tourists cards which offer discounts to the attractions, as well as including unlimited rides on the transport. Refer to each city on our guides below for more individual information about their respective travel options.
Poland has very opposite climates, as most of its land is landlocked, the country is generally very cold in the Winter but hot and dry in the Summer.
The best time to visit Poland is during the late Spring or end of the Summer to avoid the high season (July and August). As well temperatures will be more moderate at about 22°C.
Summer's can be enjoyable by the Baltic sea to the north where Polish flock to the beach, and temperatures can reach easily above 30 °C. On the other side Winter's can be harsh with many cities bathed in snow during January and February. Temperatures don't go above 10°C and in some occasions you can expect even -15°C!
Taking waterproof gear is advised as well as an umbrella for this time of year or if you visit during the early Spring, expect wet days.
In Poland, there is a wide range of ingredients, including dill, marjoram, caraway seeds, wild mushrooms and sour cream, which is frequently added to soups, sauces and braised meats. Soups play an important part at mealtimes and are usually rich and very thick. Main courses in Poland include fish dishes using trout, carp and herring, as well as stuffed cabbage leaves, pork chops and other heavy-going, meaty products. Polish cuisine is also noticeable for its pastries. When having a meal, Poles traditionally wish each other "smacznego", the Polish equivalent of ‘bon appetit’, at the start of a meal. Then they end it in a delightful way too, by saying thank you to one another.
The specialities which can be found are: Pierogi, probably the most important item to try whilst in Poland. They are crescent-shaped and made from dough, they are a bit like ravioli in that they are stuffed with a whole range of fillings, including cottage cheese, potato and onion, minced meat, sauerkraut or even fruit, then fried or boiled. Kasza gryczana, buckwheat groats. Kiełbasa, Polish sausage. Kluski, dumplings about the size of golf balls sometimes served on their own with cottage cheese or poppy seeds. Zurek: A soup made with stock, bacon, onion, mushrooms and sour cream, and is given a distinctive, almost sour taste with the addition of kwas (fermented beverage commonly made from rye bread). Barszcz (or borscht – beetroot soup), which runs thin and clear and is often served in cups with small hot pasties stuffed with meat or cabbage. Gołąbki, cabbage leaves stuffed with beef, onion and rice and baked in tomato sauce. Golonka, boiled pig’s knuckle served with horseradish and sauerkraut. Szarlotka, a dessert that’s somewhere between an apple pie and a pastry. Sernik, cheesecake made from special Polish cheese filling. Pączki, jam doughnuts. Makowiec, poppy seed cake.
As for drinks, you can find: Żywiec a fairly strong lager. Wódka, (Vodka) the country’s national tipple is Polish vodka, which comes in many different varieties.
Thanks to having made good friends in Poland, it was the main reason to have visited the country and discover first the north of Poland. Gdansk, Spot and Gdynia, were the first towns I'd discover and I was pleasantly surprised how pretty and attractive these cities are to walk around, enjoy evening meals and get away from the crowded cities which I was always more accustomed to.
Then it was time to visit Warsaw, the capital, which again impressed me greatly with its magnificent buildings, some evoking the past from the Communist eras and others which reminded me of medieval towns, but still beautifully preserved and restored. There's nothing missing in Warsaw, from big shopping centres with loads of entertainment options, cosy restaurants and cafes where to relax to many cultural and historical sights which will leave visitors , pleasantly delighted. Plus, everything is set in a modern infrastructure which is so easy to travel around.
Every city in Poland seems to have its unique charm and personality, so definitely it's worth checking them out and discovering more from this fascinating country which has so much beauty and history associated to it.
(visited 5 times)