Poland Travel Guide

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Poland is a very interesting country located in Central Europe, a member of the European Union and a hugely underrated traveling destination, at least in this writer’s opinion. With a population of 38,6 million and a land surface of 312,685 square kilometers, Poland has a lot to offer for tourists of all stripes.

For example, if you’re an “urban dweller”, you’ll absolutely love Poland’s breathtaking old towns, like Zamosc, Krakow, Wroclaw or Gdansk. If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, let me tell you about Poland’s stunning national parks, like the Białowieża National Park, which offers epic vistas and majestic buffaloes roaming free in the wilderness.

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Warsaw is the country’s capital, a city imbibed with history and home of the infamous ghetto from World War 2. Also, the city was basically erased from the map during the war, but since it was totally rebuilt and nowadays it’s in the process of modernizing rapidly, blending the old soviet-style architecture from the country’s communist era with new-contemporary styled buildings. The old town was also rebuilt, while the local populace is progressive and upbeat, very warm to strangers and a pleasure to mingle with.

Krakow is Poland’s second-best city, as it was the country’s former royal-capital and it offers its visitors an outstanding opportunity to admire its impeccably preserved medieval architecture that miraculously managed to survive the country’s numerous wars.

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To get an idea about how wonderful Krakow’s architecture is, even the Nazis considered it too awesome to bomb it out of existence. Krakow is a city imbibed in history and culture and home to a myriad of monasteries, churches and abbeys built in Renaissance and Gothic styles. Due to its architectural marvels, Krakow became the first-ever World Heritage Site on UNESCO’s patrimony way back in 1978.

But don’t worry, Krakow is not the only hot-spot on Poland’s map in terms of cultural heritage. For example, you can always go visit Lodz, a magic place where big names like Roman Polanski or Krzysztof Kieślowski graduated the city’s world-famous film school, not to mention Torun, the birthplace and home-town of astronomer Nicholas Copernicus. Warsaw also lays claim for being the home town of Frederick Chopin and Marie Curie and so on and so forth.

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Gdansk is Poland’s biggest port and the place where Lech Wałęsa created the Solidarity movement, the inception of the revolution sort to speak, which led Poland to democracy later, in 1989.

But enough with history and let me tell you a few things about Poland’s extraordinary and varied scenic beauty. To visit Poland is to love it, especially the Baltic coast, which is as beautiful as it gets, not to mention the ethereal bogs, luxuriant forests and sand dunes of Słowiński National Park. The north east of the country is well known for its  Great Masurian Lakes, which are paradise on Earth for water-sport aficionados. Here you can go wild kayaking and diving, as you’ll have at your “feet” tens and even hundreds of pristine lakes.

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Also, the Krakow Wielun Upland area looks like taken from the  Lord of the Rings movie, boasting its incredible medieval castles and limestone caves, not to mention the breathtakingly beautiful Carpathian mountains in Poland’s far south.

And just wait until you get a taste of Poland’s cuisine, which is very rich in meat and game, filling and hearty. Let me mention just the Polish dumplings or Pierogi, or Zurek, a delicious thick soup, you’ll fall in love instantly. Speaking of Polish specialties, I must also mention bigos (fresh cabbage, sauerkraut, leftover meat and onions), buckwheat groats, polish sausage, dumplings stuffed with meat, cheese, mushrooms or cabbage, thick barley potage, cheesecakes and jam doughnuts.

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As  per alcoholic beverages, the local made vodka is one of the best in the world, together with strong lagers.

 

And if you want to visit Poland, you’ll only require a valid passport and no Visa, if you’re from the US, Canada or Australia. EU citizens can travel freely, as Poland is a member of the Schengen treaty.

 

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