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26 nights in Poland in September?

I am starting to sketch out almost a month in Poland for September, 2022 (because it is more fun than cleaning my house 🤣 and because I will most likely use miles/points to fly multi-city and want to lock down what I am seeing for business).

Last night when I started perusing old posts here for people’s previous trips and for those cancelled in 2020, I had 20 days available. After an hour of reading, I upped it. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Pre-Covid, September, 2021, would have been a combination of about 3 weeks Germany, a week in Prague and countryside, and a week in Budapest. Scrapped that for Croatia and Slovenia. I will get to Germany at some point later and will be in Prague in December (have been twice).

This is a very general question, as I am not yet wanting to commit exactly to how long in each place, but wanted feedback on whether I might be headed in the right direction - again, mainly because of flights. I tend to like countryside, old stone, wandering, walking but not hiking, and I don’t mind driving at all but I like trains best when it works. I like history but like it best in small doses. Part of what I did last night was create a reading list (thanks to all who contributed to that post) and a food list (Ha!). I am not an exceedingly early starter (racing out the door at 8:00) and I also don’t spend as long in museums as some (don’t need to read everything and tend to like an overview or a “feel”). But I also don’t want to be changing location every couple of nights.

Does this have the beginnings of a path that would be workable? I realize I can always go back, but right now it seems easier to stay longer and see more in case I don’t.

Fly in to Gdańsk- 5 nights
Poznań - 3 nights (I did see suggestions for elsewhere to stay in this area and might prefer that)
Wroclaw - 4 nights
Warsaw - 4 nights
Intrigued by a night in Sandomierz
Krakow - 6 nights (this seems long but maybe not with places to see from there)
Zakopane or nearby - 3 nights
before spending a few nights in Slovakia
and ending with Hungary, flying home from Budapest.

As I said, # of nights and where is far from decided. Just wondering how the general trajectory looks and appreciate thoughts!

Posted by
6615 posts

Travelmom, I'll put in my vote for Sandomierz, in case you hadn't come across it in a previous comment. Its a very nice smaller town, in contrast to the larger cities on your agenda. But distances are not that great if you want to go via there to points further south. One cool thing about it, is the church that has a very large painting depicting the demise of several martyrs. Each martyr has a small number by it, and the legend is that the number that corresponds to your birth month will be the way you die. Not looking forward to mine. Here's a good book refernence "A Grain of Truth" by Zygmunt Miloszewski, a detective novel set in Sandomierz, that touches on the Holocaust, modern life, and the ancient system of tunnels underneath the town. Kazimierz Dolny is a charming small town in the same area and worth a visit in transit. A rental car from Krakow might be worth it.

There are plenty of other smaller places on the eastern side, and they say that the further east you go, the more foreign it gets.

Posted by
1786 posts

Thanks, Stan. I HAD come across your (and Carlos’s) recommendation for Sandomierz. And had put the book on my list. I can barely stand, though, to read out of order if it says it’s a series (ha!) so I got “Entanglement” first and will get the “A Grain of Truth” after that. :)

I am wondering if I would really prefer to stay in smaller towns, as opposed to the large cities. A month seems long till you are filling it. Maybe a car Warsaw to Krakow with short stops east and west? Single nights are really not hard with a car and smaller places.

Posted by
2458 posts

Looks good to me. Only thing I would change is one day from Wroclaw added to krakow or warsaw. We were in krakow for 6 nights and were sorry to leave, missed many sights. We didn’t love warsaw at first but it grew on us and then our time was up. Didn’t make it to Zakopane. We used the trains and they were great, modern and fast. Didn’t rent a car but I would if we ever get there again. Where in Slovakia are you looking at, just curious.

Posted by
1786 posts

Thanks, Barbara. I may have to do lots of rearranging once I really start to research in detail, but having perspectives is really useful.

You caught me on Slovakia. Basically, I know I COULD go straight from Zakopane to Hungary, but it just seems like I ought to see a bit of Slovakia while I am there. Two places I have marked (that aren’t far apart) are Kočise and Spiš Castle but I have done NO research on whether or not I can easily get to them. Or anywhere else there.

Posted by
2585 posts

Hi Travelmom, 26 nights in Poland sounds like a lot of fun, and September is a great time to visit too! Some initial thoughts on your itinerary:

  • Poznań feels like an outlier here, I would replace it with Torun in a heartbeat. Torun is a perfectly preserved medieval town that's a joy to walk in and explore. Poznań does not have many unique draws that merits detouring to visit it.

  • I would flip Warsaw with Wroclaw, so that you are not back tracking back up north.

  • Sandomierz is really nice to visit, but feels like an outlier here too, I would save it for when you explore eastern Poland (Zamosc, Przemyśl, Lublin etc.). Instead there are a few towns closer to Krakow that are similar to Sandomierz, like Pszczyna or Tarnow could even be done as a daytrip from Krakow.

  • If hiking is not really your thing, I would skip Zakopane, that's really what is the main activity there.

  • Instead of Zakopane, I would suggest 3-4 nights exploring the charming Kłodzko Valley, in the heart of the Sudeten Mountains. This can easily be done renting a car from Wrocław and driving south. The landscape is dotted with forgotten medieval villages, baroque spa towns, and grand old castles. This region has been at the center of a constant tug-of-war since the middle ages, between the Germans, the Poles, the Czechs, and the Austrians. You can base yourselves in the spa town of Polanica-Zdrój and explore from there. Here's a great blog post about the Kłodzko Valley https://www.travelsewhere.net/klodzko-valley-poland/

  • Here is my trip report + photos from the Kłodzko Valley and surrounding area (I also went in September) https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/general-europe/vicarious-travel-poland-2017-wroclaw-silesia

To recap here is the itinerary with my suggested revisions:

Fly in
Gdansk (5 nights)
|
Torun (3 nights)
|
Warsaw (4 nights)
|
Wroclaw (4 nights) - rent car drive south
|
Kłodzko Valley (3-4 nights)
|
Krakow (6 nights) - day trip to Pszczyna
Continue south to Slovakia

Hope this all helps! :)

Posted by
1777 posts

You do not need three nights in Poznań. All you need to see is the old town and you can do that when changing trains and you can leave your luggage at the station. The old town is cute but it’s new and Poznań lacks the charm once you get off the beaten track.
Krakow is one of my favorite cities but you don’t need six nights. I took an overnight train from Bratislava to Auschwitz which was worth it.

Posted by
1786 posts

Carlos - Wow.

First, I now remember reading your trip report but hadn’t gotten back that far yet in my re-readings. At that point, I was still thinking Poland was two or three years away so hadn’t bookmarked it. Covid travel rearranged my schedules. :)

The Klodsko Valley looks like a great recommendation for me. I think I am going to wish I had more than 4 nights for that area….. I loved all your descriptions and photos!

I had Torun on my notes as a potential base - will go ahead and make that change right now. :)

Thanks so much!

I love making travel plans…. :)

Posted by
1786 posts

Thanks, MaryPat. Second vote for dropping Poznań in favor of other places! (I was writing while you were.)

It looks like I am not allotting too much time for the trip - which was my first concern. I think I will find plenty to see and do!

Posted by
21026 posts

Gdansk is a very pretty place, and it does have worthwhile sights. However, you might be able to trim a day there. It doesn't sound as if you're going to spend a full day at the Solidarity Center and 2-1/2 days at the WWII museum like I did. On the other hand, you probably want to go to Malbork and I didn't have time for it.

Posted by
6615 posts

I dont think its a question of enough to see or do. As long as you can manage that long of a trip.

Posted by
1786 posts

Thanks, acraven. While I would want to see those, you are right - I probably wouldn’t spend that much time. So it’s good to have your time perspective. And yes Malbork Castle would be a day for me, definitely. I am seeing where if I was willing to give Poland 6 weeks (but I probably won’t), I would find plenty to see and experience.

stan, this long travel is still kind of new but I think I will like it a lot for now. I spent 4 weeks in Croatia in September and wasn’t in a hurry to get home. I will be gone 4 weeks in Jan/Feb and then 5 weeks to Scotland/northern England in July. I figure at the end of 2022, I will know for sure how I feel! Ha!

Posted by
183 posts

I did a 20 night trip in August and I did not give myself enough time, so you are definitely going in the right direction. Zakopane and Wroclaw were the highlight of my trip. I went everywhere on your list as well as Torun which I absolutely recommend you add. Its such a cute city and be sure to try their gingerbread! Its a small city though an can easily be seen in just one day or treated as a stop over between Gdansk and Warsaw. I took a day trip to Zalipie when I was in Krakow and it is the cutest and most colorful town in Poland. Wasn't the easiest to get to on public transport but completely possible. If you have a car its super simple. Most people told me to skip Poznan and I only allotted two night there and one of the days I went to Gniezno, but I quite liked Poznan and which I had more time to explore there. I ended up meeting with some locals and they took me out to lake Rusalka and I had a wonderful time. Such a beautiful part of the city.

Whatever you end up doing, please come back here and report on your trip. Sounds like a great time, have fun!

Posted by
1786 posts

Christina, it sounds like you had a great trip. The more I read, the more time I wish I had! It’s also good to know about the day trips you enjoyed, since I want to keep from bouncing too much from town to town for this trip. Thank you!