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Polish Destinations

Hi! I am currently working abroad in Warsaw Poland until the end of December. I don't have work on Friday, so I am free to travel Thursday night to Sunday night. I have plans to do 3 day trips to Gdansk, Gydnia, and Sopot; Krakow and Auschwitz; 4 days in Zakopane. What are some other destinations in either Poland or surrounding countries for a long weekend trip? On a budget so cheaper options are preferable, but willing to splurge if it's worth it.

Looking to explore beautiful nature/scenery, castles, historical buildings, culture, and WWII and Soviet Union history.

I would like to travel outside of the country at some point, but maybe pair it with a trip inside Poland? Like visiting Slovakia for a day when going to Zakopane.

Posted by
21499 posts

You may find it worthwhile to make two trips to the Gdansk area and to Krakow. In Gdansk both the Solidarity Center and the WWII Museum could require a great deal of your time, given your interest in 20th century history. I spent a total of nearly 30 hours in those two places, just to give you an idea. I assume you've done solid research on related sights in Warsaw; there are many.

The In You Pocket guides to the larger Polish cities, available for download, will be helpful.

Buy tickets to Auschwitz and the Schindler Factory in advance to be sure you can go when you want to. Advance tickets to Auschwitz are often sold out for a week or more, which would mean standing in a long line, outdoors, hoping to snag a last-minute ticket.

Wroclaw is a fun destination. Plock and Torun are attractive smaller cities.

Check on whether there are cheap airline tickets to places like Berlin, Budapest, Prague and Vienna still available for the period you will be in Warsaw. Since those are major capitals, you'll probably pay more for lodging there than in smaller Polish cities. You could also look at air transportation to Zagreb, Ljubljana, Beograd, Kyiv, L'viv and Odessa. Poland is a large country and Warsaw's in the middle, so trying to get to another country without getting on a plane will probably mean spending a lot of time in transit and not much time at the destination, unless you have a particular desire to see Brest.

Posted by
6888 posts
  • Malbork (combine with Gdansk); also Oliwa if you are into really old church organs (the cathedral there was lovely)
  • Łódź (great day trip; < 2 hours by train)
  • Wrocław
  • Szczecin
  • Poznań
  • Lublin
  • Zamość
  • Kazimierrz Dolny (small; better to have a car to do this)
  • Tarnow
  • Częstochowa
  • Wooden churches of Małopolska (close to Krakow; need a car)
  • Zialipie (village; need a car)

Basically, you can hit all the major cities easily by train. Don't be afraid to rent a car and see the more rural areas. If you have extra time, I would add Lviv and/or Czech Republic.

Posted by
6988 posts

Emma, Agnes provides a great list. I would add Sandomierz as a town worth seeing, and the Bialowiesza nature preserve in the east. I've not been there, but hear its worth seeing. Note that there are other concentration camps and memorials you can visit as well as Auschwitz.

Posted by
6888 posts

I would add Sandomierz as a town worth seeing

I agree (and the forest as well)...I would also add Rzeszów

Posted by
162 posts

Another vote for Bialowieza! I was coming on the suggest that and see two others have already done so. It's a very special place. I'll also second Agnes' suggestions of Lublin and Kazimierz Dolny, as well as Torun. I was there in the summer and we were still able to make our own gingerbread. I would imagine there would be special activities there closer to Christmas, although I can't say for certain. We did go to Krakow during the Christmas market; it was bitter cold but a lot of fun.

Posted by
13215 posts

I would suggest also the Masurien Lakes area, Elk and Olsztyn as recommended by Carlos.

Since you will be in Gdansk, do explore the towns in the lower Vistula area,