A short visit to Poland
Poland is a huge country and there’s a lot to discover. Even so, you can make your vacation as long as you want.
A visit to Poland doesn’t have to take up several weeks! With one week in this Eastern European country you can already see a lot. Do you prefer to arrange everything on your own? Then rent a car or use the excellent public transportation. Would you rather have a travel agency plan out everything for you? You’ll probably pay more but you’ll be at ease during your whole trip!
Cheap flights to Poland
Poland is surrounded by some big countries. So if you’re not living in one of those, you’ll soon have to cover quite some miles to get to this country. A nice road trip perhaps, but with the current prices for gasoline it’ll get incredibly expensive. From most European countries, Poland is only a two-hour flight for which you shouldn’t pay more than €30 to €100. This makes it impossible to take your car out for that price!
Be sure to read this article. I’m talking about how to always score the lowest fare for an airline ticket using Skyscanner.
Hotels in Poland
The cities of Poland are mostly what’s interesting to tourists, and because of this, large cities such as Krakow and Warsaw have a lot of accommodation.
Poland is not an expensive country, and for luxury you still pay much less than in the rest of Europe. A 4-star hotel can already be booked for €65 ($72), one with one star costs €35 ($40). Are you planning a budget trip through Poland? Private rooms cost €20 ($23), a bed in a dormitory can be booked for as cheap as €5 ($5,50).
For availability, possibilities and prices, visit the following websites:
Excursions in Poland
Of course you also want to see a couple of things during your holidays in Poland! This country has hundreds of sights and activities that are truly amazing to see. Viewing all of them may not be possible, but there are some excursions that you shouldn’t miss out on. Consider the incredible Wielickzka salt mines, the gorgeous cities of Warsaw and Krakow and of course the horrible concentration camps of Auschwitz…
For an overview of excursions in Poland + prices, you can consult these sites:
Planning a visit to Poland yourself?
You’re not afraid to plan a trip yourself? Well done! Life is for the brave ?
Renting a car or using public transport?
Personally, I don’t think you need a car to explore Poland. Certainly not if you take the roundtrip through Poland as I describe below. The big cities aren’t very far apart, and there are dozens of buses running from one city to another every day.
For attractions or excursions you don’t pay much money, so sometimes it’s better to just count on those instead.
Renting a car in Poland
If you want to explore the nature of Poland, a car can be handy. Otherwise, I wouldn’t really consider it.
When renting a car, don’t forget that you have to be 25 years or older to pay no surcharges.
Some average prices for hiring a car in Poland:
- A one-week budget car costs between €100 and €150 ($110 – $165).
- Larger cars start for one week at €160 ($180).
- SUVs, pickups and jeeps are even more expensive per week. At least €210 ($235).
Visiting Poland with public transport
Public and private transport in Poland is excellent and it can take you almost everywhere.
For short distances you can count on local buses. A bus ticket in a big city costs about €1 ($1). Also, don’t forget that you can make use of the smartphone application ‘Uber‘ as well. This app ensures that you are picked up and dropped off wherever you want. A kind of taxi but one where you’re driven around by locals and much cheaper! Twenty minutes in a Uber car doesn’t even cost you five euros ($6).
Longer distances, like when traveling from city to city, can be done by long-distance buses or trains.
The buses are very comfortable, but the trains are just a bit more pleasant and they are also a lot faster.
If you book a bus in advance you can head from Kraków to Warsaw for as little as €5 ($6)! If you book only a few days in advance you still pay only €10 ($11,5). However… It’s a five hour drive!
By train you are often faster and you also have more comfort. A ride from Krakow to Warsaw will cost you between 60 and 100 zloty in first class (€14 – €24 or $16 – $27), and 45 to 70 (€11 – €17 or $12 – $18,5) zloty for second class. With the train it only takes 2.5 hours.
Day trips and excursions
Do you prefer a day trip or excursion from/to a particular city? Take a look at the possibilities for a day trip. Tours with transport and guide included start at €30 ($34) pp. Compare prices and offers on Getyourguide and Viator.
Visiting Poland in one week
Ive already given some general tips to book your trip through Poland as cheaply as possible.
Now we go on to a small itinerary for a short visit to Poland. One week I think is enough to see the highlights of this country.
Day 1: Off to Krakow
From the airport you arrive in the picturesque center of the city in less than thirty minutes.
Try to book an early flight so you have some time to explore the city already.
Day 2: Explore Krakow
The vast majority of sights in Krakow are found in the old town or the ‘Stare Miasto’.
Start your day here and let your eyes slide along the beautiful buildings, take a ride in one of the horse-drawn carriages and visit some of the imposing churches of Krakow.
Don’t forget to visit the Wawel castle too. This grand palace is just outside the old town but is still on walking distance.
The domain is located on a small hill and is, at the very least, impressive. The richly decorated buildings are beautiful from the outside, but the gorgeous interiors made my mouth fall wide open. Inside, you can’t take pictures. So make sure to look around and not skip a thing!
Once you’ve explored the city center of Krakow, you may already be tired. Enjoy the sunset on the main square or from the Wawel castle. From here you get a beautiful view over the rest of Krakow.
Day 3: Auschwitz
The schedule for day three will be quite tiring and painful for a lot of people. Still, you shouldn’t skip this.
A city trip to Krakow without seeing Auschwitz is just not complete.
The Auschwitz concentration camps are about one hour from Krakow (see how you get there here). The camps are completely free to visit, but a guide or informative booklet needs to be paid for.
In the first camp you will find dozens of bunkers with the most horrible exhibitions about life in Auschwitz. For me, bunkers 5, 7, 11, 20, 21 and 27 were the most impressive.
Take your time. Really. There is so much to see and read! Occasionally, take a little moment for yourself to escape from all these horrendous stories.
If you have enough of this dark place you can head on to Birkenau. The actual extermination camp of Auschwitz.
From Auschwitz I, there’s a free shuttle bus driving here almost non-stop.
Once you see the domain and its unmistakable gateway, you’ll get cold chills again.
Birkenau has virtually no exhibits, stories or video clips. Therefore, I recommend to at least get some information in advance or purchase a small information booklet.
At the back of the giant domain lies a memorial to Anne Frank. Near the destroyed gas chambers.
There are some trips or excursions from Krakow that combine this day with another activity (eg the Wielickzka mines) but I think that this is too much for one day. The camp leaves a lot of deep impressions, and secondly, there is just too much to see in Auschwitz if you only have half a day.
In the evening, when you’re back in Krakow, try to do something relaxing. Have a nice meal, enjoy a terrace or make a comfortable ride with one of the horse-drawn carriages. It’s important to close this hard and difficult day in beauty.
Day 4: Wielickzka salt mines and the Jewish quarter
A few miles from Krakow, lies the most famous mining village of Poland: Wielickzka.
That might not seem to be an interesting sight, but believe me: Wielickzka is definitely worth a little detour!
The abandoned salt mines once served as a job opportunity for thousands of Polish families. There was work here day and night, and as time passed a fully functioning underground city came to be. The workers made underground works of art, water reservoirs and even giant cathedrals!
Fortunately, the beauty of Wielickzka has been preserved, because now these salt mines account for millions of visitors a year!
Don’t visit too late. In the morning there are a lot less visitors and it’s more fun to discover this attraction. In addition, you don’t have to wait very long to get a ticket.
Do you want to arrange your excursion yourself? Here I explain how to do it the cheapest way possible.
Kazimierz; The Jewish district
A few hours in these underground corridors should certainly be enough. When you have returned to Krakow, you have some time left to discover the Jewish district.
Kazimierz is a bit outside the old city center, but still easy accessible on foot.
This cozy neighborhood has a very turbulent history and some buildings still show clear marks of that.
Be sure to visit Schindler’s factory. A very interesting museum about the Second World War and the deportation of Jews and other Nazi victims.
Day 5: Departure to Warsaw and explore the city
Leave in the morning by train from Krakow to Warsaw. In about two and a half hours you arrive in the capital of Poland.
The contrast with Krakow can not be bigger!
During World War Two, the entire city was destroyed. As a result, the capital of Poland is now very modern. Wide streets, monuments and sights that are located quite far away from each other and many communist influences are still well visible.
Take a look at the impressive monuments and buildings, or visit the old town district: ‘stare miasto’.
Impressive, because this part of the city was completely bombarded. Using pictures and paintings, the old city center was restored to what it originally looked like. I almost didn’t notice that the buildings are so recent!
Day 6: Discover Warsaw
The second day in Warsaw, you can fill with visits to the dozens of museums!
Most of them have to do with war or the deportation of the jews, but art and culture is also a common subject.
Learned enough? Take it easy and have fun watching people in the stare miasto. I really enjoyed doing some people watching in Poland.
Day 7: Visit the Wilanów Palace and back home
Before returning home, there is one more attraction in Warsaw that you need to see. The Wilanow Palace is about half an hour from the city center, but the small detour is definitely worth it.
The yellow palace is impressive from outside, but much more once you enter it. The richly decorated rooms show you how good life has been for several royals who lived here. You’ll find a beautiful art collection, clothing and everyday items of the inhabitants of this castle.
Don’t forget to buy an admission ticket for the beautifully maintained gardens of the palace as well. It may not be Versailles, but it comes close!
From the center of Warsaw it’s about a 20-minute drive to the airport.
Excursions in Poland
A country as big as Poland has more than enough sights to discover! Have a look at the tours and excursions that are being offered.
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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.