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2 week itinerary in Poland REVISED

Hello again everyone,

It's been two months since I last requested your help, and I've come a long way.

The basic framework of my trip is complete. All accommodation is booked and paid for.

Background about myself:

  • I'm an American male solo traveler in my upper-20s taking my second trip to Europe.
  • I enjoy architecture, history, food/drink and natural beauty. I am particularly fascinated by 20th century history, but older architecture.
  • I'm a budget traveler when it comes to accommodations (Airbnbs, public transportation, etc.), but I don't mind splurging a bit for a great restaurant or sightseeing experience.

What I'm looking for now are the specifics. I have questions below -- but let's go over my itinerary first.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19
Arrival in Warsaw (3 nights)

-- Flight scheduled to land at WAW at 1:55 p.m. local time.
-- Find Airbnb in Srodmiescie, perhaps do the Royal Way walk if I'm functional enough.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20
First full day in Warsaw

-- Chopin Museum (necessary because it's closed on Mondays)
-- Royal Way Walk and Royal Castle (free on Sundays, but not open until 11 a.m. in October)
-- Warsaw Museum (if time permits)
-- Museum of the History of Polish Jews (closes at 8 p.m. on Sundays according to Rick Steves guide)

MONDAY, OCTOBER 21
Second full day in Warsaw

-- Warsaw Uprising Museum (opens at 8 a.m. on Mondays)
-- Lazienki Park
-- Neon Museum (only open 12-5 p.m. so may be a tight fit)

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 22
Depart Warsaw for Malbork, then on to Gdansk (3 nights)

-- Morning train to Malbork (2.5-3 hours)
-- Malbork Castle (open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in October)
-- Afternoon train to Gdansk (30-45 minutes)

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 23
First full day in Gdansk

-- Gdansk Walk
-- Town Hall
-- St. Mary's Church
-- Solidarity Center (open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in October)

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24
Second full day in Gdansk

-- Museum of the Second World War (open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in October)
-- Possible side trip to Sopot, Westerplatte or more Gdansk-centric sights (Artus Court, National Maritime Museum, etc.)

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25
Depart Gdansk for Torun (1 night)

-- Morning train to Torun (2.5 hours)
-- Torun Walk
-- City Hall Museum and Tower
-- Gingerbread Museum (open until 6 p.m.)

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26
Depart Torun for Wroclaw (3 nights)

-- Morning train to Wroclaw (4.5-5 hours)
-- Wroclaw square and town hall
-- Cathedral of St John the Baptist
-- Raclawice Panorama

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 27
First full day in Wroclaw

-- Churches of Peace at Swidnica and Jawor

MONDAY, OCTOBER 28
Second full day in Wroclaw

-- Ksiaz Castle or Jelenia Gora
-- Possible Wroclaw spillover (Szczytnicki Park, Ostrów Tumski, Centennial Hall)

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 29
Depart Wroclaw for Krakow (4 nights)

-- Morning train to Krakow (3.5 hours)
-- Royal Way Walk
-- St. Mary's Church
-- Main Market Square
-- St. Francis Basilica

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30
First full day in Krakow

-- Kazimierz
-- Schindler's Factory Museum (open until 8 p.m.)

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31
Second full day in Krakow

-- Auschwitz (open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
-- Maybe Nowa Huta in the evening?

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1
Third full day in Krakow

-- Wawel Hill, Cathedral and Castle Grounds (open until 4 p.m.)
-- Wieliczka Salt Mine (open until 5 p.m. in November) or Schloss Pless

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2
Depart Krakow

-- Flight departs from KRK at 10:40 a.m.

Questions:

  • Has anyone been to either Ksiaz or Jelenia Gora? Are they worth it, or should I just make up time in Wroclaw?
  • Sopot, Westerplatte or more Gdansk sights?
  • How long for Churches of Peace if traveling by public transit?
  • Wieliczka Salt Mine or Schloss Pless?
  • Where is Lady with an Ermine?
  • Any other general comments or concerns about my itinerary? Let me know.

Thanks all!

Posted by
6144 posts

Lady with an Ermine is in the National Museum of Krakow through the end of November 2019.
https://mnk.pl/exhibitions/current

Maybe because I've spent many years in Southern California, Sopot (and Gdynia) definitely seemed a bit underwhelming. Not bad, but just underwhelming (I say this as someone from Poland). But it's a good way to see some water and have a relaxing time.

Did you check out the In Your Pocket guides for each city? They're pretty good. The Warsaw visitor website is also very good.

Your itinerary looks fine to me. If you had more time in Warsaw, I'd say to go to Lodz for a side trip (interesting old industrial center with neat architecture that's been refurbished for the 21st century). Other than that, your itinerary looks good. Praga (where the Neon Museum is) is a cool neighborhood (parts in gentrification mode), even if you miss the museum, you should check it out.

Also, someone else posted here that they really enjoyed the Crazy Guides Communist Tour of Nowa Huta (https://www.crazyguides.com) so maybe that's worth checking out as a unique experience. You'll be tooling around in an old Trabant, and it will give you the chance to see some good ol' Stalinist architecture and hang out with some young folks leading the tours.

Posted by
1862 posts

Hello, glad to see some of my recommendations were helpful! Here would be my answers to some your questions:

  1. Personally I would pick Zamek Książ, I found it quite impressive, while nice, Jelenia Gora has a lot of what one would find in Wroclaw, for me Książ is more unique.

  2. If you are interested in WWII history, Westerplatte may be an interesting half-day trip, fairly close to Gdansk, it is, after-all, where it all started.

  3. The Churches of Peace took me about 1:30 hr to see each, however I went there with a rental car, so I can't comment on public transportation.

  4. If by now you are a bit tired of baroque palaces and castles Wieliczka Salt Mine should be a good day trip, if not then by all means Pszczyna Castle (Schloss Pless).

Hope this helps! :)

Posted by
124 posts

We saw Lady with an Ermine in August, 2018 at the Main Building of the National Museum in Kraków located at al. 3 Maja 1. The National Museum has several branches, so make sure you go to the Main Branch. She is there until Nov. 30. We did buy our tickets online ahead of time at bilety.mnk.pl and we're glad we did because the day we were there, a Sunday in August, there was a long lineup at the ticket office, we were able to walk right in. Other members of this forum have not experienced a lineup there, and most likely Nov. will not be busy. The tickets are not dated, it says on them "Valid until the end of the exhibition", so even if you buy your ticket ahead of time you will have flexibility on what day you go. She is lovely - so glad I saw her.

Definitely buy ahead for the Schindler Museum.

Posted by
661 posts

Looks like a fun trip! I recommend that you take a minibus to the Peace Churches. We took the train to Swidnica and we got started later than I would have like because of the train schedule. The minibuses run more frequently.

Posted by
16757 posts

I took a walking tour of Nowa Huta, which was very interesting.

Buy the Auschwitz ticket ahead of time.

I liked the neon museum, but I walked around quite a bit before I found my way to it. There were barriers. Unfortunately, I don't remember how I ended up reaching it. Search online for specific directions; someone may have included them in a TripAdvisor review if they aren't on the museum website.

Quite near the neon museum is a small museum of communism, worthwhile if you're in the area and haven't been to the DDR museum in Berlin. The Warsaw place is small and doesn't take long to see.

Posted by
1131 posts

We went to Poland for the first time last year and absolutely loved it. Our route wasn't hugely dissimilar to yours and we were happy with what we did (knowing that we clearly missed so much too). I say all that in case the following sounds too negative.

  • Warsaw is spread out and initially for us confusing. We got a better handle once using http://wyszukiwarka.ztm.waw.pl/bin/query.exe/en
  • the Uprising Museum was hard to fillow, we should definitely have bought the audioguides; the royal castle is fine but I'd allow time to see the rest of the wonderfully recreated Old Town and also the neighbouring New Town
  • Gdansk is a delight, but the older part is quite small so you may well find you have time to visit Westerplatte even after the blockbuster Solidarity and War museums. It's easy to get to by ferry.
  • Torun gingerbread museum is okayish, but the Copernicus museum is also worth seeing. Best, we liked the skansen type museum just outside the centre.
Posted by
157 posts

Thank you all so much for the helpful advice! Sounds like my itinerary is just about good to go.

I'm very excited to visit Poland and provide a trip report for you all :)

Posted by
6144 posts

I don't remember if this was brought up before (and I know it's too late) but are you OK with gloomy/ rainy/ even bitterly cold weather? The time you're visiting may not put Poland in the best light, so to speak (in contrast, May is just glorious and early to mid October could be quite lovely - later than that, it can take quite a dive). It's not much different than Pittsburgh at that time of year, and you may get lucky (I lived in both places). But you may get snow too in early November. The key downside is it will be less lively, but the upside is that it will be (even more) inexpensive and not crowded at all with tourists. Either way, I hope you have a terrific trip!

Posted by
157 posts

It's not my ideal travel weather, but I recently got a new job and am now fairly low on the seniority scale when it comes to vacation priority.

I don't mind the cold but I sincerely hope there is no snow. I'm optimistic since I'll be ending my trip in Krakow.

Posted by
12090 posts

As a budget traveler (so am I), would you consider staying in a hostel? Say, in Krakow? That's an option I have open when traveling solo.