Stopping in one of these cities for 2 days. Any recommendations?
When we were trying to decide between the two for our trip, we read about both, looking at each city’s website. It was close, but we decided on Wroclaw mainly based on ease of transportation. We hired a private driver to take us from Krakow to Wroclaw with a stop in Częstochowa where we had a tour and a lovely visit. Either city would probably be great.
Both are worth visiting. It was my impression there were more traditional sights in Wroclaw, but a traveler with different interests might have the opposite reaction. For sure Wroclaw seemed much, much more touristy. Maybe it's the gnomes.
For a first time trip to Poland, my vote would be for Wroclaw (my favorite city in Poland), I think it has more to see in terms of history and architecture. Poznan is more of a modern business/trade town (a bit like Milan), while Wroclaw is more of a laid-back historic university town.
Wroclaw is also a good base for visiting the so-called Churches of Peace in Swidnica and Jawor: grand wooden churches for the protestant minority under Austrian rule. The one in Jawor is the least visited of the two, but I found it the most impressive. With some careful planning you can reach them by train, but with a rental car it would, of course, be a lot easier.
Just got back from Poland last week. Another vote for Wroclaw.
I am glad to see this posting as a friend and I have two days between Krakow and Prague and are considering Wroclaw.
Barbara, may I inquire where you found your driver, what it cost, and why you chose Częstochowa for a stop? Was the trip scenic, and do you think it is more scenic by car than by train? I know that can be the case sometimes.
Hi Bistoa - I have traveled the area between Krakow and Prague too, mainly on the Polish side, there are quite a few interesting/scenic towns and villages in between the two:
Wrocław - the historic capital of the lower Silesia region, in 2016, the city was named a European Capital of Culture and is home to Centennial Hall which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old center is quite unique, as it incorporates a little of every country that has ruled the city - from Silesian Gothic to Austrian Baroque and German Modernist.
Kłodzko - a sort of “Little Prague”, definitely the architecture of the town reflected that. By far the most interesting site in the town is the old Prussian Fortress that dominates the center of the town. It was apparently one of the largest star fortifications in the Prussian Empire and is in remarkably well preserved.
Polanica - an old spa town located in the Sudeten mountain range. Really relaxing place with restorative mineral waters, I had the best pierogi I've ever had in Poland at Villa Polanica. This spa town makes a good base to explore/hike the forested mountain range along the border between Poland and Czechia.
Ustroń - larger spa town, quite popular with local Poles. Nestled in the mountains where Slovakia, Czechia, and Poland meet. The President of Poland has his Presidential Castle nearby, that he uses for winter/summer retreats, it's possible to visit the castle when he's not in.
Wisła - mountain resort town, the smaller sister to Ustroń. They have great hikes here that run all the way to Slovakia and Czechia.
Pszczyna - old baroque town, former capital of the Duchy of Pless. It's dominated by a large Baroque style chateau, which used to be owned by the von Pless family. The interior is very well preserved and many of the original furnishings are all still there. It is also historically important as this is the place where Kaiser Wilhelm II had his HQ for the eastern front during WW1.
Štramberk - quaint medieval hill town, with a small castle at the top, very relaxing. located in Moravia, close to the Polish border. Close by is a cave with Neanderthal remains.
Hope these give a few ideas :)
Between the 2 choose Wroclaw.
Most of the votes are going to Wroclaw because it has gnomes or better vibe. Ok, that's understandable.
In the end all coms down to a question: what you would to visit/ experience?
I will vote strongly for Poznan. Just to give some strong facts. Go to Poznan if you wish:
- see where Poland was born. Together with oldest Cathedral in Poland and 2nd most importa burial place for Polish fist(!) rulers and kings.
- to tase amazing roasted duck or duck's boold soup and St. Martin's croissants.
- To learn that 3 mathematicians from Poznan Univesity cracked the Enigma code
- see graves of 10 heroes of The Great Escape, including it's mastermind - R. Bushell. Do you remember Hollywood blocksuter from '60? :)
- experince city which is still cheap, natural and has a long Polish history!
Yes, Wroclas is better promoted, it has many cool sights and has this amazing city vibe... but regardless of your decision I wish to show you best sides of Poznan :)
Definitely Wroclaw. For me, it's more beautiful and also faster to get around. Lots of bridges (located on Oder river), gnomes and charming antique townhouses. Great museums, gardens and restaurants and everything are close to Wroclaw Old Town. Also, it's a great place for day trips to Karkonosze mountains and Rudawy Janowickie nature reserve.
We got the name of our driver fromAndrew Durman (spelling). He was recommended by Rick in his book but he was already booked and he got us the driver. We stopped in Częstochowa because we wanted to see the Icon of the Black Madonna. The driver also arranged a private tour while we were there. I believe we paid $600 for the driver and tour.