Poland has been a popular destination since long before the fall of the Iron Curtain. It has been fought over and occupied numerous times, lived under Russian domination for many years but is now a member of the EU. Today Poland is a free and proud nation with plenty to offer as a destination – both for those on a backpacker´s budget to those who like to enjoy a little more luxury on their travels. That´s summing it up in very few words which, of course, doesn´t do it justice but there is more to come. Let´s take a quick look at its geography.
Poland´s east coast mainly consists of good beaches with areas of hilly woodland behind. It´s known as the ”Amber Coast” and includes, among others, the towns of Gdynia, Gdansk, and Miedzyzdroje. The latter offers a first class hotel virtually at the water´s edge and a golf course that is on a par with any of the best around. Definitely worth a visit.
Moving on, you can have a very pleasant ski vacation or hiking trip to Poland in the Carpathian Mountains. Hunting trips can also be arranged for those interested in hunting deer, bear or wild boar. Poland is also a popular destination for city breaks in historical cities such as Krakow (Cracow) and Warsaw.
Krakow, one of the earliest additions to UNESCO´s list of World Heritage Sites is simply beautiful and packed with unique, historical attractions – both medieval and contemporary. For centuries it was the capital of the country, the seat of kings and the spiritual heart of Poland. This history is still there to explore in the stunning buildings of the main square, the city´s landmark Wawel Castle, and the atmospheric Jewish quarter know as Kazimierz. Three other unique sites to visit are the unbelievable Wieliczka Salt Mines – a whole underground city of subterranean tunnels carved out of pure salt complete with a huge underground cathedral and dining hall, lavishly decorated with salt chandeliers and religious carvings, Auschwitz which needs no explanation and the Schindler Factory for those who are interested in the city´s more modern history. If you are visiting during December, be sure not to miss the bustling and colourful Christmas Market on the main square. If this city doesn´t get you in the Christmas spirit, nothing will.
Trendy Warsaw with its totally reconstructed old town, Stare Miasto, (see how easy Polish is!) should also be on your list of places not to miss on your trip to Poland. Let´s take a closer look at it:
Warsaw is sure to captivate you with its heady blend of European east and west. This where centuries old traditions and culture meet modern Europe!
This is a city of contrasts. Historical monuments and modern architecture go hand-in-hand. Monumental palaces, historical buildings and architectural pearls that were destroyed during the Second World War have been lovingly reconstructed and today it is virtually impossible to distinguish them from the original buildings that one stood in their place. The city has plenty of green, open spaces, and public parks which provide a welcome oasis from the hustle and bustle of city life. The city is chock full of stores offering all the latest brand-names from around the world, so if you have a well-developed shopping gene, be my guest. There are also Michelin star restaurants and nightclubs if that´s your thing. Others may enjoy the more hearty fare of the many good and inexpensive restaurants that can be found all over Poland. Your credit card will get a bit of a workout, but will not be maxed out! Even hunting for bargains is an art in itself! Warsaw is for everybody!
Poland really does have so much to offer!
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