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Poland Tour - Question about Post-tour days

Yes, I'm going on the "Dress Rehearsal" tour for Poland in Sept. Yippee!! I'm trying to decide on the number of days post-tour I need to take in the sights that are not included on the tour. Several forum members are also on this tour and we are discussing possible side trips post-tour, for example, a visit to Auschwitz. I plan to do this. Other Poland experts on the forum have suggested Wroclaw is a fantastic old city with lots to do and see. If I go there, would 2 nights be sufficient? I know I can't see everything but I'm not sure I will be back to Poland after this introduction.

The tour ends after breakfast on Thurs. 9/17, so I count that as 1 day. Then I believe I would fly home on Weds. 9/23. So, if I go to Wroclaw or somewhere else, I want to return to Krakow and spend the night of Tues. 9/22.

I'm counting 6 days:
9/17
9/18
9/19
9/20
9/21
9/22
Perhaps I don't have enough time to do everything in Krakow and going to Wroclaw is a no-go. I'm interested in art, history, WWII, Jewish history, pottery, or anything culturally significant.
By the way, have any of you received your tour kit yet? I may have to call the office about mine.

Posted by
16581 posts

If you're interested in the very new and excellent WW II museum in Gdansk, you should arrive a day early; I managed to spend 20 hours in that museum. Warsaw has many, many sights related to 20th-century history, so it's worth spending extra time there if you end up needing to return to Warsaw to fly home. I don't believe the tour goes to the Warsaw Rising Museum, which is extremely informative and took me about 8 hours.

As for Krakow/Wroclaw, I can only suggest that you dig into guidebooks and make lists of what you'd want to see. That's the best way to estimate how much time you'll need in each place.

I think you can find In Your Pocket guides to the major Polish cities online. They'll give you additional input. Here's the webpage for Gdansk. The download link is near the bottom at the left.

In case it helps, this is how many full days I spent in the cities relevant to your situation:

Warsaw: 9 (excluding day-trip to Treblinka)
Gdansk: 6 (excluding two day-trips)
Wroclaw: 5
Krakow: 7 (excluding day-trip to Auschwitz)

Wroclaw could have been shortened by a day, I think. I spend a lot of time in museums and am extraordinarily interested in the Cold War; the typical visitor certainly wouldn't need as much time in those cities as I did, but perhaps the relative times will be of some use.

One other thing: Don't expect Wroclaw be non-touristy. It gets a lot of visitors, though not as many as Krakow. I think it's the dwarves.

Posted by
1371 posts

Hi Judy - so exciting about your tour!

My Wrocław trip report might give you ideas. I spent 4 nights, including a wonderful day trip to Świdnica.

For my RS tour this spring, we were able to order our (free) tour kit 30 days after our initial deposit, essentially when that deposit became non-refundable. If you look in your tour information account online, you'll see where (and when) you can order it.

Posted by
5307 posts

Wroclaw is nice, but I too agree that two nights would be enough.

What an exciting trip!

Posted by
4855 posts

Consider going to the mountain resort area of Zakopane, which is not far from Krakow. It would be a bit different than adding another large city.

Posted by
1791 posts

I would say that 2-3 nights for Wroclaw is moderately reasonable, but that is only for the main highlights of the old town. If you would like to explore more modern Wroclaw, or perhaps tack on a day trip or two, then I would certainly add a few more nights. Wroclaw has some really fascinating day trips, here are some of my favourites:

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.

Zamek Książ - a large, originally medieval castle of the Duchy of Pless, and overlooks the Pełcznica river gorge. During WW2 the Germans built underground tunnels here. In these tunnels is apparently where the train filled with Nazi gold is hidden. This tunnel network was part of Project Riese, which was a secret Nazi project consisting of several underground megastructures (for yet unknown reasons).

Stołowe Mountains National Park - a primeval forest deep in the Sudeten Mountain Range, dotted with some very unique rock formations (they actually filmed one of the Narnia movies there). There are some pretty good hiking spots here too.

Protestant Churches of Peace - UNESCO world heritage sites located in Jawor and Świdnica, the largest timber-framed religious buildings in Europe, built after the 30 Years War in the 1600s. They are so spectacular and the interiors are so ornate and magical.

Hope this gives a few ideas about some of the really rewarding day trips from Wroclaw. Outside of Książ Castle I doubt you will run into any other English-speaking tourist, in fact you may not even run into any other tourists at all lol! When I was last in Wroclaw in September of 2016, I had the Prussian Fortress at Kłodzko and the Church of Peace of Świdnica all to myself, imagine having a UNESCO World Heritage Site literally all to yourself to explore (in Europe), it still blows my mind today :)

Posted by
577 posts

I went to Krakow on the Eastern Europe tour in 2013. I found it to be a wonderful City. I was wishing I had a couple more days there. I especially enjoyed the Wieliczka Salt Mine tour outside of Krakow. It turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. St. Kinga's Chapel built by the miner's deep inside the mine was jaw dropping.

A great book that I read after I returned was the Krakow Ghetto Pharmacy by Tadeusz Pankiewicz. It describes the Nazi occupation in Krakow and the heroic steps some people took to shelter the Jews in Krakow.

Visiting Auschwitz on your own is a must. Not easy, but necessary.

Posted by
1533 posts

Thank you, everyone! What a bounty of ideas.

CW, Tim, Jeff,
I have printed out all your wonderful trip reports. Can’t wait to settle in for some good reading.
Acraven and Carlos, thanks for your detailed responses, too.
It seems 2 nights for Wroclaw might be all right given my limited vacation time.

However the Protestant Churches of Peace in Świdnica sounds amazing. So, maybe 3 nights?
Thanks, again everyone!

Posted by
6061 posts

Near Krakow:
- Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska
- Tarnow
- Rzeszow
- Zakopane

Other interesting cities (all train accessible):
- Poznań
- Łódź

Check out anything else here: https://poland.pl

Posted by
1400 posts

We too spent 2 nights in Wroclaw and enjoyed the city. Would go back there and anywhere in Poland. Very underrated country.

Posted by
763 posts

I know nothing about Poland. Want to go sometime. But congrats on getting in Judy!!!!!

I am jealous but I already gave two trips planned this year!

Posted by
1533 posts

Kim,
I love your two trips this year and would love to hear more about them.

Also, I sent you a private message.

Posted by
918 posts

Judy - I think we are going to fly into Krakow early and visit Auschwitz before the tour begins. We'll spend two days in Krakow, then train to Gdansk on Sunday morning and have roughly two days there before the tour begins.
I haven't booked it yet because I've had no response about a question I posed to the owners, but think we might leave on the 17th and take the afternoon flight to Budapest and spend two weeks there before moving to Amsterdam for two weeks. Then we'll probably come on home since my caretaker will be dead tired of taking care of all of my cats.

Reading responses from Carlos, Agnes and others though has me rethinking two whole weeks in Budapest. and possibly adding some days back into Poland after the tour ends.

Posted by
685 posts

Hi Judy.
Congratulations on being one of the few going on this trip, looks fantastic.
Keep us informed, we will want to know every detail!