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Travel Itinerary HELP Request.

Greetings,
First post here. Gave up on trip advisor and was told I would get first class assistance here.
I'm traveling to Poland in early Fall for 16 days (14 days boots on the ground). Here is what I have planned so far:
1) Arrive in LVIV, UKRAINE from USA. Spend 4 days in LVIV old town, taking a day trip to surrounding areas.
2) Fly from LVIV to KRAKOW POLAND. Spend 4 days in Krakow area, also taking day trips. This is reserved with airline and hotel reservations made. It is set in stone and can't be altered.
3) My return flight leaves from Warsaw. We plan on renting a car in Krakow and working our way back towards Warsaw over the last 6 days.

My dilemma is where to visit during this time. Lviv and Krakow are very large cities and we'd like to see some smaller cities with historical significance that were not totally destroyed during the WW2. Here are some of my ideas so far:
1) Take rental car from KRAKOW to SANDERMIEREZ for 2 days and then to ZAMOSC for 4 days, exploring the surrounding areas.
or
2) Take rental car from KRAKOW to TORUN for 4 days and take day trip to MALBORK CASTLE and surrounding areas.

Our interests are old architecture, shopping, maybe day hikes, castles, beer and local food and especially old town areas. Anything historical.

Any opinions on my trip or any other suggestions on how to use up 6 days while heading back to Warsaw airport? I'm open to all opinions and none of these are set in stone except the Krakow and Lviv portion. Any help greatly appreciated First time in this part of the world for both of us. Thanks

Posted by
4686 posts

I haven't been to L'Viv though it has been on my list for a while. A few years ago, I did a train trip from Gdansk (day trip to Malbork from there), to Torun, Wroclaw, and Krakow, then headed west to Czech Republic. (I skipped Warsaw.)

I spent only a night in Torun, and it is really lovely (not as small as it might look though; the center is pretty small and quaint, though). And Malbork castle is great - one of the best I've seen in Europe. But I think most people would suggest Gdansk as the base not Torun, even though Torun is smaller. Gdansk is just more historically significant, even if it was leveled by bombs during the war. The rebuilt old town is really lovely, and the Cold War stuff is really interesting.

You certainly wouldn't need the car necessarily. Poland has a decent train system - in 2012, the trains were still pretty run down but cheap (even first class) and I didn't mind at all. It helps that I love train travel. You could fly from Krakow to Gdansk and work your way south by train to Warsaw, with a stop in Torun and a day trip to Makbork by train.

Posted by
4950 posts

jan, are you getting a local guide in Lviv?

I liked the small town of Kazimerz Dolny, between Sandomierz and Warsaw. Its a very nice little village, popular with Poles. Lonely Planet has a good description of it.

Posted by
27 posts

we plan on getting a guide and driver for our day trip out of Lviv to see Pihirtsty, Zoochiv and maybe Olesko castles. Otherwise we are touring Lviv on our own with the help of hotel concierge service.

Posted by
12091 posts

Now Tarnow is historically famous in WW1. There is a direct connection from Krakpw to Tarnow.

"...not totally destroyed during WW2." I can suggest a couple of places but that would mean you have to head north, to the lower
Vistula area. There are certainly towns that the Soviet bypassed in their 1944 offensive which means they were not raked by artillery fire and tactically bombed.

In 2005 I went as a day trip to one such small town, Chelmo, by bus from Torun. It was in the former West Prussia known as Kulm in Kulmerland. See the rynek in Chelmno, ca one hour from Torun.

If you're going to be near Malbork, the town Gniew is one that survived the war intact.

Posted by
12091 posts

If you have a car in Krakow, this diversion is also doable, even if a bit out of the way. From Krakow the next train stop is Katowice, south of Katowice ca 40 miles (maybe less) is the small historical town of Pszczyna, which has its famous chateau, refurbished, etc This town was the former Pless in Upper Silesia before 1914.

Schloß Pleß, as it called then, was the main attraction and its historic role in WW1 has been restored, etc recently...only if you are into the history. Princess Daisy of Pless wrote her memoirs of that era prior to 1914 and during the war.

Posted by
27 posts

Many Thanks for the suggestions. Please keep them coming. I'm really looking to avoid tourist areas and get the real Poland feel for my last week of travel. I feel drawn to Eastern Poland for some reason. Any suggestions?

Posted by
12091 posts

"...drawn to Eastern Poland for some reason." Good! In which direction?

How about the Masurian L:akes area and those small towns in that area. That is a very interesting area geographically and historically, especially since you have the rental car. You'll certainly be the only anglophone visitor in this area totally off the North American radar.

Or, go to Lublin. A friend of mine here visited that city last October spending 4 nights

Posted by
27 posts

I'm looking for smaller cities like Sandomierez and Zamosc type places. Lublin is a little too industrial and its on the larger side but I understand the old town has been fixed up in recent years. We're just trying to get off the beaten path after visiting larger cities like Lviv and Krakow. I'd hate to waste my time if these smaller, eastern Poland places turn out to be a bust. We've bent trying to find people who have been to southeastern Poland but no luck. We've been saving for this trip for over 2 years so we want to make the best of it. Keep the suggestions coming please.

Posted by
12091 posts

Towards eastern Poland....how about Przemysl ? In that area I would visit that historic place, more so than Lublin. It's all a matter of priorities. The Masurien Lakes are my top priority in the east.

Posted by
118 posts

I spent three summers in Lublin and loved it. It didn't feel overly large or industrial; however, I spent most of my time at the Catholic University or walking to the Old Town, so perhaps I missed something. But I think it could be a great base for you to explore the area. Zamosc is a lovely town, as is Kazimierz Dolny (get the rooster bread!). I think you would be happy in that area of Poland. However, if you want off the beaten path in eastern Poland, why not check out the Białowieża Forest?