Wondering whether should you be even spending 10 days in Poland? Well, I was faced by a similar dilemma but decided to take the plunge which resulted in a super awesome vacation. Poland, while not as popular (read ‘touristy’) as its neighbours, has a lot to offer from awe-inspiring cathedrals, castles, palaces, delicious polish cuisine, friendly cities and gorgeous mountains. It is also a very pocket friendly country (the local currency is zloty) with an efficient and well managed public transport system. Yes, language can be an issue– I never heard any announcements in English at train stations! However, the displays were in English and most Poles understand basic English so should not be a problem.
Here’s my itinerary for a 10 day trip to Poland. If you are looking for an off the beaten track vacation which is amazing but doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket read on!
How to reach there: LOT Polish Airlines commenced direct flights to Warsaw from Singapore in May 2018. Since we booked the round-trip in Feb 2018, we got a really good deal. The 12-hour journey was pretty decent- flight was on time, decent food, entertainment system, comfortable seats and leg-space.
How to get around: Public transport is very reliable. We used the trains, buses, trams as well as taxi. It is quite convenient to cover smaller towns like Gdansk and Wroclaw entirely on foot. Uber is present in all major cities and is a very economical option. Most inter-city travel was by train and it is very east to buy tickets from the machines at the station or online (counters have long queues!).
Day 1: We reached Warsaw at 6:00 am which gave us an early start. We had only 24 hours in the Polish capital but we didn’t try to squeeze everything in. Rather we picked what interested us and spent time at those places.
Day 2: We took the morning train to Gdansk, a port city in Northern Poland. We spent this day exploring the beautiful old town centre and the World War II Museum.
Day 3: We did a half-day trip to Malbork to marvel at the 13th century castle built by Teutonic Knights. It is the largest castle in the world. Post lunch, we went back to Gdansk to explore more about the fascinating history of this city at the Museum of Solidarity.
Day 4: We visited St. Mary’s Basilica, one of the largest brick churches in the world and then went to Sopot, a beach town and Polish Riviera of sorts. We spent half a day wandering around this cute town before taking the afternoon train to Poznan. We spent the evening admiring Poznan’s colourful market square.
Day 5: We visited the exquisite St. Stanislaus Church and marvelled at the interiors. Post breakfast, we took a train to Wroclaw. We spent the afternoon admiring the market square (again!) coupled with some mouth-watering Georgian food.
Day 6: We did a very informative and fun walking tour of Wroclaw— saw splendid architecture, spotted the super cute dwarfs and gaped at the majestic cathedrals at Ostrow Tumski. Post lunch we visited the Japanese gardens to connect with the nature, saw the fountain show and the Centennial Hall.
Day 7: After breakfast, we walked around the market square one last time before taking the train to Krakow. Spent the afternoon learning about Krakow’s history at Schindler’s Factory Museum. During the evening, we walked along the Vistula river.
Day 8: We visited Aushwitz Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mines.
Day 9: We did a walking tour of Krakow (with the same company as Wroclaw)– the charming old town and market square, Krakow university, pretty streets, and the Wawel Castle and Cathedral. Post lunch we took a bus to Zakopane, a mountain town near the Slovakia border. We did a one-night stay at Zakopane, where we hiked to Morskie Oko in the Tatra Mountains and took cable cars to Gubalowka and Kasprowy Wierch.
Day 10: We are back in Krakow to explore the Wawel Castle and Cathedral interiors. We also wandered along the old town one last time before taking our train back to Warsaw for our flight back home.
I try fitting in different experiences while designing my itinerary to keep it interesting! Poland is a big country and it offers a variety of experiences. This itinerary is moderately paced and has a good mix of history, architecture and nature. Have I inspired you enough for a vacation in Poland? Would love to hear your thoughts in comments.