With Poland on the UK’s ‘safe’ list, Katie McGonagle finds out where to spend a weekend away.
Unlike other Polish cities, Krakow escaped the worst of the wartime damage, meaning the medieval architecture of the country’s former capital has survived surprisingly intact. Head up Wawel Hill to see inside its famous castle, a fascinating introduction to Krakow’s many-layered history. Then get an aerial view of the Old Town from the Town Hall Tower, an icon overlooking the sprawling Market Square. Take time to wander through the Kazimierz quarter, centre of the Jewish community and used for filming locations in Schindler’s List, or take the short journey to the impressive Unesco-listed Wieliczka Salt Mine.
“Take time to wander through the Kazimierz quarter, centre of the Jewish community and used for filming locations in Schindler’s List.”
Book it: Osprey Holidays offers two nights’ B&B at the five-star Radisson Blu Hotel Krakow with flights from Stansted from £185 per person departing October 6.
Learn about Poland’s cities for your chance to win one of several weekend visits by watching Travel Weekly’s Roadmap to Recovery webinar with the Polish Tourism Organisation at comp.travelweekly.co.uk/PolandWebinar
Exploring the Polish capital is a lesson in urban regeneration – after the Second World War all but obliterated its Old Town, the medieval centre was meticulously rebuilt, complete with cobbled streets and colourful shopfronts. It’s awash with museums and galleries including one dedicated to its most famous son, the composer Chopin, along with street art and entertainment in hipster district Praga. But for outdoor pursuits, take a stroll along the banks of the Vistula or through its many parks (around a third of the city is made up of green spaces) including the 17th-century grounds of Lazienki Park.
“For outdoor pursuits, take a stroll along the banks of the Vistula or through its many parks including the 17th-century grounds of Lazienki Park.”
Book it: Reserve tickets on a hop on, hop off bus tour around Warsaw from £17 with Do Something Different.
This is one of Poland’s lesser-known cities, but its compact size makes it easy to explore in a weekend. Get a look at Poland through the ages at fun, interactive museum Porta Poznania, then walk across the bridge to Ostrow Tumski (Cathedral Island), known as the birthplace of the country. Back in the city centre, stop for coffee in the merchant house-lined market square, and watch out at noon as two mechanical goats emerge from the Old Town Hall to butt heads 12 times in a tradition that dates from 1551.
“Watch out at noon as two mechanical goats emerge from the Old Town Hall to butt heads 12 times in a tradition that dates from 1551.”
Book it: Cosmos tour Portrait of Poland spends a night in Poznan with guided sightseeing as part of a nine-day tour that costs from £874 excluding flights and transfers.
This atmospheric city, where Gothic spires sit alongside colourful merchant houses and old-fashioned gas lamps are still lit by hand by a lamplighter clad in cape and top hat, has been dubbed the Venice of Poland. It’s tremendously walkable, has a beautiful central square (with a popular Christmas market), and a curious love of gnomes (once a symbol of anti-Soviet resistance, now a playful icon) which can be spotted on street corners around the city.
“The city is tremendously walkable, has a beautiful central square (with a popular Christmas market), and a curious love of gnomes.”
Book it: Great Rail Journeys’ Discover Poland tour includes two days in Wroclaw, from £2,595 for a 13-day tour including rail travel, four-star accommodation and 18 meals.
This central Polish city, pronounced ‘Woodge’, has a Manchester-like vibe, having gone from 19th-century centre of manufacturing through a period of post-industrial decline, to emerge as a hub for artists and entrepreneurs. Expect huge street-art murals, an inventive food scene, good breweries and bars, and pride in its industrial heritage – best seen at the Manufaktura complex where a range of museums and galleries showcase the city’s arts and history.
“Expect huge street-art murals, an inventive food scene, good breweries and bars, and pride in its industrial heritage.”
Book it: Viator offers a Private Walking City Tour in Lodz from £130 per group for up to 10 people for a three-hour tour that can be customised to clients’ interests.
Watch Travel Weekly’s agent webinars in association with The Polish Tourism Organisation, featuring walking tours filmed exclusively in Warsaw, Lodz, Krakow and Poznan.
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