Poland has rebuilt itself since the world wars and past devastation into a mix of modern and old styles. Beautiful countryside, lovely towns, and friendly people, not to mention many beautiful women. It's very easy to get around and pretty inexpensive to visit.
Last Visit: May 2016
Cost: $53/day
Stayed: 9 days
Suggest Staying: 1-2 weeks
English: 4/5
Safety: 4/5
Currency: Zloty
Transport: Train, Bus, Metro, Tram, Taxi

My Favorites

1. Krakow

Wawel Castle

Highlights: Old town, castle, salt mine, parks
Suggest Staying: 2-3 days
Stay Around: Kazimierz
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Pronounced “Crack-ov,” this beautiful, fun city is great to visit with things to see in the city itself as well as several attractions nearby. People are friendly, the food is good, and it’s young and vibrant. Possibly the most popular place to visit in Poland, among tourists at least.

See & Do

  • Kazimierz. Jewish quarter. Nightlife.
  • Stare Maisto. Old town.
  • Wawel Castle. Apartments, rooms, treasury, armory, cathedral, crypt.
  • Dragon’s Den. Dragon’s cave at the foot of Wawel hill.
  • Barbican. Fortified gate entrance to old town.
  • Wieliczka Salt Mine. Pronounced “vil-itch-ka.” Old salt mine still in use, but part of it is set aside for tourism. Buildings, salt sculptures, chapels (people get married here) are located down below. It’s pretty unbelievable.

Food & Drink

  • Zielony Kredens. Local. Best pierogies (dumplings) I’ve ever had. A bit tough to find. SW Krzyza just before Sienna next to the park.
  • Polakowski. Polish food. Schnitzel, dumplings, soup. Good and cheap.
  • Hamsa. Israeli food. Hummus, small and large plates, good tea. Located near the old synagogue.


  • Wieliczka. Bring a jacket, it’s a bit chilly in the mine. Go by train about 20 minutes and take to the end of the line. Get in line for tickets. The lines with flags are where you wait for the tour in your language once you have tickets. Make sure you’re in the right line! It can be a long wait and you must take a tour which lasts about 3 hours. It fills up and there are designated tour times, so check ahead if you can. Costs 84pl (zloty).

2. Wroclaw

Wroclaw Dwarf

Highlights: Old town, markets
Suggest Staying: 2-3 days
Stay Around: Old Town
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Pronounced “vrats-wahv,” which is useful when you’re listening for your stop on the bus. Quiet, pretty little city with a big university influence. So lots of activity and young people.

See & Do

  • Old Town. European style markets, shops, and such.
  • Market Square. Rynek.
  • Wroclaw Dwarves. Little dwarf statues of legend located around the city. Read about it here.
  • Japanese Garden. Small and serene. Near the zoo and in a nice park with a large multimedia fountain that plays music every hour on the hour. I saw it go off at 2pm.
  • Wroszczyzna. Healthy concept food. Located top level of the mall.

3. Warsaw

Chopin In The Park

Highlights: City, shops, museums, gardens
Suggest Staying: 2-3 days
Stay Around: Old Town
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The capital city has much to offer. It’s a fairly typical European city with a mix of modern and old architecture and things to see. Transportation is excellent with the metro and tram system, making it cheap and easy to get around the city. Very clean too.

See & Do

  • Uprising Museum. Really cool place, definitely check it out. Open 8am-6pm, closed Tues. Takes 90-120 minutes to see.
  • Jewish History Museum (POLIN). Also really good, very well done. Tons of information, a lot of which you’ve probably never heard before ranging from ancient times of Jewish persecution to the Nazis to more modern day. Open 10am-4pm, closed Tues. Takes 2+ hours to see.
  • Lazienki Palace & Park. Really nice palace you can view from the outside and wander the park for free. Lake in the middle.
  • Old Town Market Square. Places to eat, shop, and walk around.
  • University Library. There is a lovely rooftop garden. Access from the outside.
  • Mermaid of Warsaw. Symbol of Warsaw.
  • Wilanow Palace. Baroque royal residence.
  • Castle Square. Historic square in front of the old royal palace.
  • Warsaw Barbican. Fortified outpost.
  • Warsaw Vodka Factory. Koneser, Praga. Pretty sure it’s permanently closed, but you can see the remnants from the outside.
  • Praga. Hipster neighborhood. Walk down Zabkowska St.
  • La Playa. Beach club along the river. Nice to place to have a drink.

Food & Drink

  • Bazyliszek. Polish. Located in Old Town.
  • Pod Samsonem. Jewish. Located in Old Town.
  • Lilla Weneda. Huge breakfast buffet of all kinds of food. It’s pricey at 87pl (zloty), but great if you’re hungry. Located inside the Marriott by the central train station.


  • Free Concert. Every Sun afternoon (at least in the summer), there is a free Chopin concert at 12pm and 4pm. Nice whether you like classical music or not, especially on a nice summer day.

4. Auschwitz

Gateway To Auschwitz

Highlights: Concentration camp
Suggest Staying: 1/2 day
Stay Around: Krakow
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The most brutal and well known concentration camp from the Nazi regime, Auschwitz remains a chilling reminder of horrifying events that occurred during the Holocaust. Certainly not a happy tourist attraction, the site itself is exceptionally well done and contains much information about what went on there. Some of which is more disturbing than you can even imagine and beyond what you might have even heard already. A few parts are pretty graphic, so I wouldn’t bring young children.

You are required to go by tour which includes a 1.5 hour visit to the museum and Auschwitz I and a 1 hour tour of Birkenau and Auschwitz II. They are connected by shuttle bus. Plan for several hours (roughly half a day or more) to get there from Krakow and to actually visit the site.


  • Getting There. Take the bus from Krakow (ask at the bus station ticket counter, there is a bus that goes direct). Look for sign going to Oswiecim/Oscwiec, which is the Polish name…yea it’s confusing. This is the fastest way and takes about 1.5 hours. Tickets are 14pl (zloty), which you can buy inside the station or on the bus. Usually the driver has change, but it’s good to bring small denominations just in case.
  • Getting Tickets. It’s a bit confusing to actually get in and everything, but once inside it’s no problem. Guided tours are the only way to see Auschwitz before 3pm. Afterwards you can enter individually, but I’m not sure you’d have enough time or know everything you’re looking at. I would definitely recommend the tour. Tickets cost 45pl (zloty). Get them at the window off to the side. You will select a tour in your desired language and then have to wait for it. Since a lot of people speak English as a second language, those tours can fill up fast if people don’t feel like waiting for one in their native language. If you can, I would suggest looking up tour times before you go to avoid unnecessary waiting.
  • Belongings. Anything bigger than a purse must be put in a locker.
  • Food. Have a snack or lunch at the cafeteria style restaurant.
  • Film. There is a movie you can watch beforehand while you wait. You have to ask to get in to see it.

Cost Breakdown

  • Lodging: $140 (AirBnB, friend)
  • Transportation: $65 (bus, train, metro, tram, taxi)
  • Activities: $49 (salt mine, Auschwitz, museums, gardens)
  • Food: $225 (estimated $25/day)

Total: $479

General Tips

  • Getting Around. The bus is great for travel between cities. Use Polski bus which is cheap, comfortable, and you can book online or at a bus station. You can even take to other countries in the EU. I took the bus from Berlin to Wroclaw no problem. Within the cities, there are trams, taxis, and in Warsaw the metro also. Trains are also a good option, so you can compare the train to the bus. I liked the train when possible because it's smoother and sometimes cheaper, BUT, depending on which car you get, you may be crammed in with a bunch of people making it not so comfortable. Blah Blah Car is also widely used, which is a car sharing service.
  • Pronunciation. In Polish, "w" is pronounced "v" for English speakers. Although my Polish friends don't agree, I think when some words in Polish are spoken, to me it sounds like extra letters are inserted for seemingly no reason. I found the language a bit difficult to learn, but there are plenty of people that speak English.

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