Poland is a place often overlooked in the glamour that is Europe, but Poland is one of the most fascinating and beautiful countries to visit in Europe. Poland has a rich history and is one of the cleanest and most beautiful countries in Eastern Europe.
There are a lot of great tips available for travelling in North America, but let me give you an insiders perspective on what to do and see when you are in Poland.
Make sure to visit many cities in Poland – People may think that Warsaw is the best place to visit, since it is the capital. Warsaw definitely is cool, but there are many more cities that are a lot older and more historically interesting than the capital. While in Warsaw, you will want to check out the old city, the old town square market, St. Anne’s church, and Lazienki Park.
They are all relatively close together and none of these sites will disappoint. After you have visited the capital, there are a few cities you must plan to see on your trip. Poland is a relatively small country and trains run frequently from city-to-city. On your trip, take some time to visit Lodz, Poznan, Gdansk and Krakow. Each city is unique and has amazing town squares, art museums, castles and shopping.
A word on Gdansk – Gdansk is probably the most amazing Polish city (rivaling with Krakow). Gdansk sits right on the Baltic Sea, so you can enjoy the historical richness of Gdansk in its beautiful town square, churches and castles, and spend some time on the sea as well. If you don’t have time to visit all the above cities on your trip, Gdansk is not the city to cut out of your itinerary.
Trains in Poland – It is important to know that trains in Poland aren’t the most reliable. It is fairly easy to get around in Poland, and it is very cheap (especially if you get a 2nd class ticket), but the train schedules change often. When you go to the train station, make sure to check the marquee often and don’t be afraid to ask anyone who works at the train station if there are changes to the schedules. In fact, just expect that there will be schedule and platform changes, even at the last minute.
Auschwitz – Auschwitz is about an hour away from Krakow, so you can visit both of these locations in one day. Make sure to prepare yourself emotionally for visiting Auschwitz, because it is one of the most depressing places on earth. It is really hard to take in all of the atrocities of the Holocaust, but it is extremely important take a reverent and respectful attitude as you visit. Words really don’t express what you will feel while you experience these two concentration camps, but prepare yourself to take part in remembering those who died in the Holocaust. A quick word on terminology—a lot of Polish people are offended by the German term “Auschwitz,” so take time to learn how to pronounce the name of the city in Polish –Oswiecim (ah-svye-cheem).
Castles in Poland – You could spend your whole entire trip in Poland just looking at castles. There are many preserved castles in Poland and they are amazing. Make sure to check out Malbork (just outside of Gdansk) Ogrodzieniec and the Niedzica castles.
Eat the local food – Another great tip for visiting Poland is to eat the local food. Some of the best food you will find all over the streets of Poland are Turkish döner kebabs. Oh. My. Yum. They are so delicious and they are open 24 hours, so you can get a döner kebab after a long night of traveling, or partying. Also, they don’t call it a polish sausage for nothing. If you are in Poland, you must eat a polish sausage. You will not want to miss out on pierogi. Pierogi are delicious bread cakes stuffed with something delicious in the middle. Also, Poland happens to make the best candy bar on earth – 3 Bit. Eat one and your life will change.
Poland really has all there is to offer from an Eastern European country. Poland has great food, a rich history, great castles, and it is fairly easy to travel from city to city. Poland is definitely a place in Europe you will want to visit.
Bio: Ashley R. Cummings is an avid traveler and writer. She loves exploring new places and meeting new people. Check Ashley out on Facebook and Twitter.
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