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Itinerary & Sightseeing Help in Poland

My waitlist spot on the Poland tour came through on Thanksgiving eve. I signed up for it on Thanksgiving Day as they only give you 24 hours to decide. So, I’m officially doing back to back tours for the first time. I have 3 days before my Scandinavia tour begins in Stockholm after the Poland tour ends.

My dilemma is I need to meet my friends in Stockholm on May 19, the day the Poland tour ends in Krakow. I want to see Auschwitz, outside Krakow, which the tour does not include. My thought is to fly Atlanta>Kraków for 3 days and do Auschwitz and other sights, fly to Gdańsk where the tour begins and spend 2 days pre-tour. Sounds complicated for someone who’s never been to Poland! Any thoughts?
Thanks!

Posted by
3186 posts

My dilemma is I need to meet my friends in Stockholm on May 19, the
day the Poland tour ends in Krakow.

That seems like a bit of a dilemma. What time does the tour end and when do you need to meet your friends?

I want to see Auschwitz, outside Krakow, which the tour does not
include. My thought is to fly Atlanta>Kraków for 3 days and do
Auschwitz and other sights, fly to Gdańsk where the tour begins and
spend 2 days pre-tour. Sounds complicated for someone who’s never been
to Poland! Any thoughts?

Does not seem that complicated to me. But rather a good way to see Auschwitz if you can't do it after the tour ends. The only thought I have at the moment is that I would suggest the train from Kraków to Gdansk instead of flying.

Posted by
2458 posts

Sounds fine, but I second the vote for train. It is about 5 hours and a very lovely ride. Buy a first class ticket, just a few dollars more and so worth it. We took the trains around Poland and found it less stressful then flying. We used our train time to go catch up on our journaling and sleep.

Posted by
21026 posts

You'll find Poland easier to manage as a tourist than you're probably expecting. Many of the younger people, in particular, speak considerable English. The trains are fine, but don't wait till the very last minute to buy the Krakow-Gdansk ticket. I was planning my trip on the fly, and I ran into an all-trains-sold-out situation at one point when I tried to buy a ticket for the next day.

Definitely buy the Auschwitz memorial/camp ticket well ahead of time. Those were sold out for eight days in advance during my 2018 trip. Fortunately, I had taken care of that purchase earlier. The Schindler Factory was selling out about a day ahead, and that situation may be tighter next year if they've reduced the traffic through the facility for health reasons. (There were some rather tight quarters.)

Posted by
2316 posts

I spent 8 solo days in Poland and found it easy to navigate by train—Krakow to Warsaw, Warsaw to Gdansk. I took a guided tour from Krakow to Auschwitz, picked me up around 7 am, dropped off around 4, made the logistics quite simple for me. I absolutely fell in love with this beautiful country, hope you do, too.

Posted by
4249 posts

Your itinerary is well thought out and doable. I will add that Poland has a great train system. You do save money if you buy the high speed train tickets in advance. Both the Krakow and Gdansk train stations are within easy walking distance of the old town. I like your plan to arrive at Gdansk days before the tour starts instead of getting there the day of. It was very easy to find an English speaking person just about anywhere but the train stations. However, the train ticket staff tries their very best to communicate and you will be fine. I found the people of Poland to be very pleasant and willing to help.

The only RS tour (Rome) I have taken ended after breakfast. My recollection of reading about the other tours is they tend to end after breakfast, as well.

Posted by
724 posts

I think this sounds like a good plan. We did not fly within Poland but we have flown LOT airlines twice from the US and also RT Warsaw-Vilnius. You’ll need to look at the schedules to see what works best for you: flying or taking the train. Poland has modernized its train system, faster trains and raising the platforms so you don’t have to climb up into the train. I bought all of our train tickets and made seat reservations ahead of time. We found it very easy to get around Poland. We loved Gdańsk. So glad you are getting there early.

Posted by
2095 posts

Thanks to all of you who commented on my thoughts. I consulted with a RS consultant and he concurred in taking the train from Krakow to Gdańsk. He said to fly from Krakow at the end of the Poland tour (begins in Gdańsk & ends in Krakow) to Stockholm for the start of the Scandinavia tour. Remember I’m going early to Krakow so I can spend my extra days visiting the sights that the tour will not cover.

I will post more later.

Posted by
57 posts

I agree your plan is a good one. Be sure to stop in a Milk Bar in Krakow just so you can say you have had another uniquely Polish experience. We found most of the food to be quite good, just like a Polish babcia would make.

Posted by
4978 posts

We loved eating in milk bars when we lived in Poland many years ago. The quality varied considerably, but the experience was always truly authentic. I'm glad to hear they still exist. Look for "bar mleczny" on the storefront. Do they come branded now? We were there in the 70s and early 80s, so I suspect they've changed quite a bit.

Posted by
3186 posts

He said to fly from Krakow at the end of the Poland tour (begins in
Gdańsk & ends in Krakow) to Stockholm for the start of the Scandinavia
tour.

That sounds like the only way to get to Stockholm in time if you are meeting friends the same day the tour ends. Direct flights between Krakow and Stockholm are however not that frequent, but Norwegian has a direct flight on the 19th that departs Krakow 10.00 and allows you to be in Stockholm for lunch. Since your dates are fixed, it might be worth booking that flight while there still are cheap tickets available.

Posted by
57 posts

I wrote an article about Milk Bars. I hope this is helpful.

donnagawell.com/europe/poland/milk-bars-a-taste-of-history-in-poland/

Posted by
6615 posts

Hmm. Well the last afternoon of the tour (the 18th) is scheduled free time, so you could go to Auschwitz then? And nothing is actually scheduled on the morning of the 19th, beyond breakfast which people often skip to get to the airport, since its not mandatory. So maybe you could go to Auschwitz then, and still fly to Stockholm late on the 19th?

Posted by
3186 posts

Leaving on the 18th doesn't sound like a bad idea. Unfortunately there seem to be a lack of direct flights that day, but there is a 13:10 departure with SAS via Copenhagen and 14:55 & 18:15 with LOT via Warsaw.