DAY 1: WARSAW
You will be assisted from the very beginning of the tour. Our driver will pick you up from the Warsaw airport, and take you to the introductory dinner, where you will meet other participants. During the meeting you will also get to know your tour leader, who will accompany the group for the whole trip. The dinner is the perfect occasion to relax and rest after the flight, as well as get familiar with the plans for the tour itself.
Warsaw Old Town Square
DAY 2: WARSAW
Let’s start with the Old Town and Royal Route. Standing on the Royal Castle Square, you can try to imagine that after the Second World War this part of the city was completely ruined. Only rubble was left. Now this area is rebuilt thanks to the effort of the inhabitants of Warsaw. Then just relax and walk through the paths of Łazienki Park – the former summer residence of king Stanisław August Poniatowski, the last Polish king. You can admire the beautiful Palace on the Water and its amphitheater.
The city center was part of the communist regime’s project to turn the city into a socialist paradise. The Palace of Culture and Science, a gift from Joseph Stalin, and socialist-realist style apartment houses testify to that. Poland was not formally a part of the USSR, but we were a ‘satellite state’, and the communist government had a big influence on people’s lives, art and architecture.
Warsaw Castle Square
The area of former Jewish ghetto was completely destroyed during the war and now only few remains are left. These are the bunker of Mordechaj Anielewicz, who led the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, Umschlagplatz – the spot where around 300,000 Jews were forced onto cattle wagons bound for extermination camp of Treblinka, and the Monument of Ghetto Heroes – commemorating those who dared to flight for their freedom in 1943.
Eventually you will pay a visit to Wilanów Royal Palace – it avoided the fate of the city of Warsaw and survived the war. The palace together with the park represents the best of Polish Baroque and is a real work of art. You will end the day with a delicious dinner.
DAY 3: WOLF’S LAIR – LIDZBARK
Heading north, the first stop will be the Wolf’s Lair. Hidden in the deep forest,Hitler’s former headquarters is an unique military complex from the Second World War. You will see its preserved bunkers, and old railway line and the airfield. During the war, Hitler used to spend quite a lot of time here, and the whole site was much like a town – there was even a power station.
From there, you will move on to Święta Lipka – a small village, know for the baroque church located there that is really magnificent. With luck, you can listen to the organ concert, which invariably draws large audiences.
You will spend the night in Krasicki Castle Hotel – built in 14th century, previously a hunting residence of local bishops. Today the castle serves as a hotel with a specifically artsy feel and spa facilities.
Sanctuary in Święta Lipka
DAY 4: MALBORK – GDANSK
Following the list of UNESCO Heritage Sites, the Teutonic Castle in Malbork is the next destination of our tour. We bet you will be amazed at the greatness of the fortress. For years, the castle was the seat of the Teutonic Order, which played a main role in the medieval history of Poland. It is hard to imagine that such a structure even could be erected 500 years ago. Unforgettable discoveries lie within the High Castle and Middle Castle – both of them had served the political activity of Teutonic knights.
Teutonic Castle in Malbork
From Malbork, you pass to Gdansk, often called the “Pearl of Nothern Poland”. This city has its unique atmosphere and is a great example of Hanseatic architecture. Unfortunately, the Second World War left its mark on the city, but it was meticulously restored and is now a tempting tour destination, especially with its picturesque Old Town. Visit to Gdansk is also a chance to try the local cuisine, rich in Baltic fish.
DAY 5: GDAŃSK, SOLIDARITY & SOPOT
Tricity can be described as a one of a kind union of three cities: Gdańsk, Gdynia, and Sopot. They lie so close to each other that sometimes it is hard to tell whether you are still in Gdansk or already in Gdynia. However, what makes this connection intriguing is that each city is different. Gdańsk – known for its marvellous Old Town, Gdynia – a typical port city, known for its shipyards and navy, and finally Sopot – a typical seaside resort, with a pier, long, sandy beaches and many cafes, clubs, and restaurants.
During the tour, both the differences and similarities will be visible and that makes this day worth remembering. We will start with Gdańsk and its Old Town, with the remarkable Crane Gate, Gold Gate, Green Gate, renaissance Artus Court and gothic Town Hall. Then Mariacka Street dominated by the biggest brick church in the world – St. Mary’s.
You cannot miss the opportunity to walk along the longest pier by the Baltic Sea in Sopot. Finally, you will pay a visit to the European Solidarity Centre – to learn more about the fall of communism in Poland and life of Lech Wałęsa.
DAY 6: TORUŃ – BUGAJ PALACE
Torun is often seen as the city of Copernicus. The Polish astronomer was born here and it was here that he spent the early years of his life. Apart from the townhouse where he was born, you can admire the city’s gothic architecture: Torun has been established in 13th century and is home to great examples of medieval townhouses, as well as a gothic fortressand town hall.
Leaving Toruń, we move for Bugaj, where there is small countryside mansion, Palace of Podonowski Family. In the evening you will take part in pierogi workshops, during which everyone will have an opportunity to learn how to make the famous Polish Grandmas’ dish. After dinner you can have a glass wine by the local lake and take a deep breath of the fresh air.
DAY 7: BOLESŁAWIEC – WROCŁAW
Polish pottery from Bolesławiec is famous all over the world for the unique pattern placed on every piece of pottery made there. It is hard to believe that the manufacture has existed for 350 years. During the tour, you will see how the process of production looks like from the very first stage. Last but not least, you can purchase original pottery made in Bolesławiec in a local shop.
From there, we move to Wroclaw. The history of the city was turbulent – throughout the ages it belonged to four different countries and its name was changed several times. After World War Two it had to be rebuilt from ruins, and has become one of the main tourist destinations of Poland. Its three must-sees are: the Old Town – with the marvelously restored Market Square at its center and its maze of cobbled streets, canals, bridges and church spires; Ostrów Tumski – the oldest part of the city, founded as a village in 9th century by a Slavic tribe, it now hosts a medieval Cathedral; and the Centennial Hall – anUNESCO Heritage Site.
DAY 8: AUSCHWITZ – KRAKÓW
On our way to Kraków, we will visit the Auschwitz – Birkenau Museum. It is an obligatory destination for every human being: only here can you realize the scope of the Holocaust. Auschwitz was the largest Nazi concentration camp, launched in 1940, and in 1942 it became the place where the massive extermination of Jews in gas chambers began. Later, Nazis built a second death camp in the nearby village of Birkenau. In both camps, over 1,5 million people died.
Electric fence in former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz I, Poland
Your tour of Auschwitz I begins by passing beneath a replica of the infamous ‘Arbeit macht frei’ (‘Work Makes You Free’) entrance gate. From the entrance gate, the route leads through brick blocks, which house exhibitions now. Block 11, called the “Death Block” may be the most difficult part of the tour – here the Nazis conducted their first experiments with the poisonous gas.
The Birkenau camp contains 300 mostly wooden buildings covering 17 hectares. After the Wannsee conference, it became the largest of Nazi death factories.
In the evening we will arrive to Kraków – the most famous of Polish tourist destinations.
DAY 9: KRAKÓW
For hundreds of years, Kraków was Poland’s capital – the center of Polish political, cultural and scientific life. The city, with its unique atmosphere, is one of the most beautiful showpieces of Eastern Europe – a claim validated by the inclusion of its historic center on the first ever UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978. It is a city of majestic monuments, cobbled streets, priceless townhouses, pieces of fine architecture and last but not least, the city of Polish kings.
Wawel Castle in Kraków
We will begin with paying a visit to Wawel Castle, the marvelous renaissance residence of kings. Next, the Cathedral, where they were crowned as well as buried. The Cathedral amazes visitors with both its history and its breathtaking decorations. Then, heading up Grodzka Street, you will reach the Main Market Square. Among other reasons, it’s known for the anthem played every day, midday, from the tower of St. Mary’s Church. Inside the church there is a wooden altar from 15th century. In the Cloth Hall, a renaissance equivalent of a shopping mall, you can look for souvenirs. While roaming around the Old Town, you will see the Barbican, part of the defense walls, and the breathtaking Floriańska Gate.
Before the War, Kraków was a vivid, multicultural city, with a significant and prosperous Jewish community, which was centered around the district of Kazimierz – made famous by Oscar Schindler and the much-accoladed film about him by Steven Spielberg. Today, the district is being rediscovered, the remains of Jewish cemeteries and synagogues being restored. It has also gained a more artistic character, packed with cafes, galleries and museums.
DAY 10: ZAKOPANE
After breakfast we will head for Zakopane, to see its fine examples of the unique,regional style of wooden architecture, as well as a number of museums with regional curios, the area offers plenty of attractions. The most picturesque view over Tatra mountains can be admired from Gubałówka peak. Don’t worry – there won’t be any need for perilous climbing – you will reach it by a funicular!
Landscape of Zakopane
The next step will be the old cemetery, where tombs of famous Polish writers or poets can be found. We also cannot miss Krupówki – a perfect place to purchase some regional souvenirs, as well as Tatra Museum, where you can learn more about the history and culture of this highlander region. Last but not least is the old wooden church in Jaszczurówka.
The day in Zakopane will finish with a delicious dinner in traditional highlander restaurant. After that, you will return to Kraków for overnight.
DAY 11: WIELICZKA SALT MINE
The salt mine in Wieliczka, an UNESCO World Heritage site, makes a unforgettable impression. It is hard to believe that it has operated since the Middle Ages. The underground sightseeing route leads through 2,5 km of corridors, chambers, chapels andlakes. Moreover, you can also see the equipment used by miners hundred years ago. Although you will have to go down by 378 stairs, the elevator takes you up to the surface.The temperature there is always 14 Celsius degrees and the air there is believed to have a positive impact on health.
St Kinga’s Chapel
Free afternoon in Kraków may be perfect for shopping or, perhaps, paying a visit to Schindler’s Factory museum.
DAY 12: CZĘSTOCHOWA – WARSAW
On our way back to Warsaw we will stop in Częstochowa. The shrine of Black Madonna is famous all over the world for its miraculous painting. It is the most important pilgrimage destination in Poland, and every August thousands of people arrive on foot, from all over Poland, to pay their respects to Our Lady. The history of the monastery dates back to 14th century, and the edifice is a great example of sacral architecture. The oldest, gothic part of the whole complex is the chapel, where the Holy Painting is located. The baroque basilica is also worth paying a visit to.
Jasna Góra Monastery
After arriving to Warsaw, depending on your further flight plans, we can leave you directly at the airport, or in the nearby hotel, if you are catching a plane next day.Expected arrival to Warsaw: 17:00.