We just booked this, and we are excited though a bit nervous too. We would love to hear any comments or tips from those who have done it. Thanks!
Hi! I got back from a wonderful trip to Poland 2 months ago and there is no need to be nervous. The bottom line is that while the Ukrainian War and refugee crisis is quite a tragic situation it had no impact on traveling through Poland. Polish tourism industry needs you now more than ever. By traveling to Poland now you are helping the situation :)
There was no military presence, no shortages of food or supplies, shops and restaurants bustling, hotels half empty. You would not even know there was a war on.
Rick Steves' frequent co-author, Cameron Hewitt, also agrees as he just returned from leading the first Best of Poland tour - https://blog.ricksteves.com/cameron/2022/05/poland-ukraine-crisis/
How fun!! I think you will have a great time.
Thank you! All good things to hear!
How exciting! Glad Carlos chimed in and reported his recent experience. Also enjoyed reading Cameron’s report. I took a class from Cameron pre-COVID before our independent trip to Central Europe in 2019. He is a wealth of information. Poland is at the top of my list! Looking forward to your trip report! I have Cameron’s new book on my iPad. Excellent!!
Poland. Wow, wow, wow. My first trip to this under rated gem of a country was in October. My best friend and I spent 12 days in Poland out of a 21 day trip visiting Gdansk, Krakow and Zakopane. We were both blown away by the beauty, history and people.
I wasn’t home more than a month when I started plotting my return visit. In early February, I stumbled on an incredible airfare into Wroclaw and out of Budapest from the west coast for under 500 dollars for late April. I took this as a sign from the universe that I was meant to go.
Then the war broke out. Everyone started chattering about what was I thinking. I was headed into a war zone. Things were tumultuous there. I was going to be a burden on an inundated country. My best laid plans to see more of this gorgeous country started crumbling. Rather than zigging right into the heart of Poland, I zagged left to Germany and Austria before flying home from Budapest.
I spent four days in Wroclaw, falling absolutely in love with it. It wasn’t over run with refugees though there were help centers at the airport and train stations. (I ran into a lot more refugees in Berlin). Had I to do over, I would have never listened to the naysayers or little worry whispers in my head. I would have dived in deeper. It was so impressive to see a country extend such a humanitarian hand to their neighbors in need. Poles are some of the nicest people I’ve ever meant. Germany and Austria never disappoint but Poland is so refreshingly unique not to mention half the cost. I feel completely safe there as a solo, female traveler. Pack your worries away. I’m scanning google flights for another cheap ticket to Poland daily.
My mother and I will be on the same tour with you in September! No hesitations on our side. I’ve been planning some variation of a Poland itinerary since 2019; the war never put any doubts in my head to not continue wanting to visit this country. We were actually originally booked on the inaugural RS Poland tour that was supposed to have taken place in September 2020, with Cameron as tour guide; glad to be able to follow through two years later.
Thanks for everyone's comments. We are really looking forward to the trip, and looking forward to meeting others on the trip as well!
I'm sure you'll both have a great time! September and May are the best times to visit Poland in my experience :)
Just checking in to see how you enjoyed the tour. Can you please share the hotels you stayed at on the tour? Any input is appreciated as this tour is at the top of our list. Thanks.
Well, unfortunately, my husband and I had to cancel the trip the day before we were to meet the group. We had been traveling beforehand in Italy and both got covid a couple of days before our scheduled flight from Venice to Gdansk. We hope to do the trip in the future. The good part is that we got a full refund from Rick Steves Tours (Covid wellness policy) within 48 hours of having to cancel.
I was on the same RS Tour that the OP ended up missing out on. I’m hoping to do an in depth trip report at some point, especially since this was a new tour and there have been few detailed reports, but I just haven’t had time yet. But I can answer your question about tour hotels, and I added our pre/post tour stays as well in case they might be helpful.
We stayed in the following:
Gdansk (Pre-tour): Airbnb apartment at Deo Plaza, with an unmatched balcony view of the canal and old town. (2 nights)
Gdansk: Hotel Admiral Gdansk (2 nights). This was our least favorite tour hotel. Glad we stayed elsewhere pre-tour.
Toruń: Hotel Solaris (1 night)
Warsaw: Chopin Boutique B&B (3 nights). Owner and staff are top notch, The tour spends a lot of time here (concert, Q&A, Ukrainian themed dinner)
Krakow: Hotel Grodek (3 nights + 2 nights post tour). Our favorite hotel of the trip, seems almost too fancy for a RS tour 😉
Wroclaw (post-tour): Korona Market square hotel (3 nights).