(Multiple posts will be needed)
We returned from a 10-night trip to Poland in August, 2019. We flew to Warsaw, via Frankfurt, which slightly reduced the airfare. We flew to London from Krakow at the end of the ten nights. Some phrases in this report have appeared in other posts (by me) on this newsboard.
We slept in Warsaw (3 nights), Wroclaw (3 nights), and Krakow (4 nights). We did a full-day rail trip to Łodz (from Warsaw) and car-and-driver trips to both Churches of Peace and to Auschwitz-Birkenau. I believe it is practical to store bags in Łodz Fabrycna and see the town quickly on the way elsewhere. But you can’t visit the massive Jewish cemetery with a shortened day like that. Krakow does deserve the most nights. Wroclaw was not wasted time, but it pleased us the least. It has plenty of history, but many attractions, including the old market-hall and the UNESCO WHS Centennial Hall are disappointing. The old town has the freshly painted Disney (sorry!) gloss of rebuilt German ports. By that, I mean if you’ve seen a bunch of the Hanseatic cities, the core of Wroclaw isn’t that exciting. Other cities that may be of interest to people who know who Isaac Bashevis Singer was might be Poznan and Lublin, but we didn’t have time to see them.
Since we prefer to keep a hotel room for three days, I will suggest that we should have added a night in Warsaw, to permit a daytrip to UNESCO WHS Toruń (also accessible from Gdansk, which we did not visit-simply for time reasons.) Other nights taken from Wroclaw could permit a day visit to Lublin or Poznan (I mean, for people who know who Isaac Bashevis Singer was ... ). I toyed with visiting Lwiv/Lvov, which comes up in every historic event in southern Poland! But it seems to be up to 7 hours by land from even Krakow. I had some interest in Tarnow from Krakow, but the photos don’t quite justify it.
Polish trains were a pleasure. Purchasing in advance online was easy, and we qualified for a 30% discount for over 60. The tickets I bought earliest were automatically priced even lower, as Advance Purchase. These online tickets are for specific trains, and can’t be changed at a live agent’s booth. But they are so cheap that it didn’t matter the one time we wanted to go earlier. We even got a good, seated meal for our First-Class ticket from Warsaw to Wroclaw. However, that didn’t happen Wroclaw-Krakow, and in fact we arrived an hour late. That wouldn’t matter except that I had unwisely booked Schindler’s Factory Museum (which is more about the Occupation of Krakow than it is about Schindler) for the same afternoon. By taking a cheap taxi from our hotel to Schindler, we managed to pay for our internet-reserved ticket just 10 minutes before our 3:40PM entry time. Because that museum was, as usual, sold out for the rest of the day, our 3:30PM waiting line at the Factory was zero!
Do not fail to download the .PDFs of the “XXXXX In My Pocket” guides to each city you are going to visit. They demand an email address to do the download. Although this is an advertising-supported tourist book, it is a very good one. (One of our three hotels had the printed “… in my Pocket” on the room’s coffee table as a giveaway.)