Poland

Thinking of flying into Gdansk for few nights and then going on to northern Germany, by train, stopping over in Koszalin, then on to Szczecin for three nights before going on to Germany. Does anyone have any input/information on Koszalin? Is it worth a two or three night stay, and is language a barrier if the only language I speak is English? The reason I have for stopping in Koszlin is to break up those long train rides (Gdansk to Szczecin is 5+ hours).

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

I'm Polish but have not been to Koszalin - however, I think you'd be fine even with a language barrier (there's a university there and you can always go to the tourist center or ask a young person - they'll speak English). I found a 2011 tourist guide..hopefully it can help you a bit: http://www.koszalin.pl/en/Tourist_Guide

Posted by CHRISTINA
Wake Forest, NC, United States
60 posts

Just a thought, mind you I'm not familiar with these locations but if you are worried about long train rides is there an option for a night train from point a to point b? We did night trains last year between destinations so that we weren't wasting day light hours sitting on trains. It worked out perfectly and we plan to do it again in a few weeks! Mind you though, I'm not familiar with the areas or distance you're traveling.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2684 posts

Hi, Ten years ago in 2003 I took that route from Szczecin (Stettin) to Gdansk (Danzig) to and fro direct. Stopping in Kozalin (Köslin) is ca. half the distance between the two cities. True, the train through the former Pomerania (Hinterpommern) is 5+ hours, but it seems as if it's much longer. I didn't visit Koszalin but if you're staying there for a couple of days, I would suggest doing a day trip r/t to the historical town of Kolobrzeg (Kolberg), very close to Koszalin. No need to worry about language. Poles are usually multilingual, definitely you'll find that in the service industry.

Posted by Matthew
Kihei, HI, United States
112 posts

Poles might be multilingual but I don't think you will find many that appreciate the use of German names for their cities. In fact I am quite sure there might be some offence taken.

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

@Matthew....as someone born there, I agree. While German is easier to pronounce for most, I don't think this will score points with the locals either. I didn't want to say anything at first, but glad you mentioned it.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7181 posts

While in Gdansk, I highly recommend Malbork Castle (once went by the German name Marienburg). It was the seat of the Tuetonic Knights when they were crusading against the Pagan Lithuanians and easily reached by train from Gdansk. As far as languages go. I'm not sure if German or Russian would be worse - I can speak passable German and only a few words in Russian - but they like Americans. There are English speakers but they aren't as proficient as elsewhere in Europe.

Posted by Russell
honolulu, hawaii, usa
5 posts

Thanks to all who replied to my initial post; you all have helped ease my concerns about going outside of my "comfort zone." Past trips have always included either Italy, Austria, Germany, Belgium or the Netherlands or a combination of those countries; only once have we ventured East (Slovakia). So, am looking forward to visiting a portion of Poland. Then on to Scandanavia - another area we haven't visited. Again, thanks to all, and, as Rick Steves says, "keep traveling."

Posted by Matthew
Kihei, HI, United States
112 posts

You will love Poland. I've spent several weeks there during two work trips so got to see quite a bit. Obviously Poland is an old country with a proud history but it is booming right now in a way that goes beyond tourism it feels very young, vibrant and dynamic in a way not a lot of the former Eastern bloc countries do. Also this is more traditionally considered central Europe, so culturally and economically it will be a lot less of a difference than, for example, southern Italy would be. I think if you are comfortable in Germany you will be comfortable in Poland.