One question I have experienced a lot since returning to the UK is ‘Why would you want to visit Poland? That’s a weird destination…’. Yes, it isn’t the obvious Ibiza or Magaluf kind of holiday destination but what it has to offer fits my type of holiday perfectly. I am not one for just beaches and booze. I like to explore, experience new cultures, new activities which push me out of my comfort zone. For me, thats what holidays are all about. Two of my friends are Polish which is why I trusted their advice when they said Poland’s beautiful, lets go.
I have been trying to write this as fast as possible but there is so much to get through and I think a lot of people underestimate the beauty of Poland, which is why I wanted to take my time and do this blog post. I visited Poland about a month ago. I already am missing the dumplings, kiełbasa (polish sausage) and their scrambled eggs. I want to share with you some of the places I had the opportunity to visit and why I 100% recommend you booking your next holiday to Poland.
Day 1 – Our first day arriving into Poland was extremely reminiscent of Spain. Apparently others have compared the streets to those of France. I can definitely see that. However I spent more time in Spain so I feel like I can speak with more comparison than that I can with Paris. The streets were colourful, busy and exciting. Immediately giving me the impression of a vibrant city. We located the apartment and dumped all of stuff, freshened up and headed into the main square. It was really hot. Surprisingly hot. Anyways we ate at ‘Gruzińskie Chaczapuri’ for our Luinner (Lunch/Dinner). We ordered too much food but this was where I got to experience ‘Pierogi’ (Polish Dumplings). Then we headed to the main square for some beers and enjoyed some music under the warm sunset. Desperately in need of a good nights rest we headed back to the apartment for a well deserved trip to bed.
Day 2 – Bright and early we set off to eat breakfast at ‘Czerwone Korale’. It was a pleasant surprise having such a light breakfast. I really enjoyed having salad on my plate, compared to the typical fry up’s and cereal breakfast’s were used to. The restaurant was beautifully decorated and we got to sit in the booth with a window view. We ventured around the square and headed to ‘Wieliczka Salt Mine’ to over indulge in the salty taste of the walls and the decadent chandeliers . It took roughly around 2 hours and a half of exploring the hiking trails. It was a phenomenally beautiful experience, the salt cellars within the mine were cool and smelt fresh despite being so low below the ground. It’s stunning and I would 100% recommend visiting if you have the opportunity to go. Once finishing our day out, we drove back to Krakow and over indulged in a lot of desserts. Eating desserts in the day is completely acceptable on holiday right? We went to a cute restaurant called ‘Cafe Camelot’, whom has the most delightful fruit smoothies and chocolate cake! Here are some images from our sweet tooth venture. Be jealous. Day 3 – On the third day we decided to stay within the centre and visit the iconic Wawel Royal Castle. It was a truly and an astonishingly breathtaking place. I feel like that sentence was enjoy to sum up my entire experience. This particular day was incredibly hot. Scorchingly hot. So to walk up to the castle and climb the bell tower was challenging. Sweat was present. The tower we climbed is called ‘Sandomierska Tower’ which is one of two, nick-named ‘fire towers’. The wooden steps are steep and tight, theres a lot of bending and winding through wooden beams, but when you get to the top and get to see the view and the church bell it is stunning. Here are some photos I took. Once we made our way down we thought we might as well use the Dragons Den (a legendary cave) to take us all the way back down to flat land. I can’t recall how much it cost but it wasn’t much and we got to wonder through a cave. This then bought us out down by the river which runs through Krakow. Directly afterwards we had a brand new experience, called ‘Lost Souls Alley’. A haunted house filled with rooms of challenging tasks and character dressed actors. It was terrifying although we knew it was fake, but wen someone is running at me with a chainsaw I was incredibly scared. In the evening we ate dinner at ‘U Babci Maliny’ which my friends told me translates to Grandma raspberry. I loved this little restaurant. Serving extremely authentic polish cuisine and beautiful decor U Babci Maliny became one of my favourite that I ate in whilst visiting Poland. Gold star for U Babci Maliny.
Day 4 – Half way through the trip and we thought we’d venture out to Zakopane. We had to park quite far away from the Tatra National Park. We walked through Strążyska Valley, which took us to us to the Siklawa waterfalls where they served food, drinks and you could recharge before deciding to climb Mount Giewont. We decided to. In hindsight, what the hell were we thinking. We weren’t ready for that kind of experience. The trail we took estimated our route would take 2h 55m. Which sounds like a easy walk. However we weren’t walking. The incline was ridiculous and again it resulted in sweating my face off. Amazing views, if you like climbing/hiking I recommend this experience. Hard work but extremely rewarding. When we returned to our apartment we all were in desperate need of a shower. We headed into the square to fill up on food and prepped for tomorrow.
Day 5 – The next day we visited the Jewish district and grabbed some breakfast. I wandered past this really cool restaurant which had singer sewing machines as their tables. It was so sweet! From there we headed over the river to visit ‘Schindler’s Factory’. Although it wasn’t what I expected the exhibitions that they had created were so in-depth, enlightening and interesting. I was expecting actual parts of the factory to visit, however the exhibition provided a unique perspective which I really liked. I didn’t take much photos of the inside because I was too involved in the exhibition. It took roughly 2 hours to get around the whole thing, reading in depth of course and watching the video footage they had on display. I loved it. I got to learn so much about Oskar Schindler. Again in the evening we headed back into the centre and went to the museum under the square, its called ‘Rynek Underground’. I never thought it would be done so well. So uniquely displayed, the presentation was beautiful and each piece of text was eloquently written. It has many areas of interactive perfect for kids and all ages. To see the amount of damage the square endured you would never have guessed from seeing how beautiful the square is now. More food and drinks in the evening on the square.
Day 6 – Nearing the end of our trip I insisted on visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau. It was very hard to digest. I enjoyed the day but not in the typical ‘enjoyment’ kind of day. I can’t explain the feeling, it was moving yet emotionally draining. Auschwitz was painful when it came to seeing the children’s clothes, rooms of hair and seeing the suitcases/belongings which belonged to so many people. I found Birkenau hard to swallow too. There were a lot more displays of the Jews living conditions, the gas chambers and the crematoriums. We spent the majority of the day there. I don’t want to go into too much detail because its not something easy to put into words. It wasn’t a far drive from Krakow’s centre and when we returned we had to lighten the mood by going to get some food and headed for a few drinks afterwards.
Day 7 – On the final day we were so excited to go to the Zoo. Sounds ridiculous but I love zoo’s. It was not too far and not pricey. A must do for all when you go to Poland. And if you have families, then again, its a must. I have lots of photos and zoo’s are self explanatory so I’ll skip past all the animals. But I love this shot! 🙂
After the zoo we wanted to visit ‘Zakrzowek’ an old Quarry which became an oasis in the centre of Krakow. Honeslty it was a lot closer that we ever expected. Some of my friends has doubts as well but it was everything they doubted me on. There is a lot of hills and steep parts, I made the mistake of wearing inappropriate shoes, trainers would be a wise decision. The outskirts of the turquoise water is very rocky and cliff like. Reminded me of the rocks in Barbados. We stopped and had lunch there under the hot sun, it was blissfully perfect. I felt so at peace there, and although it said ‘closed for swimming’ people still dove in. You can even take scuba diving lessons and they are look really fun, if I had known I would bought appropriate swimwear and give it a go because apparently there is a plaque below the water commemorating John Paul II who worked there during World War II when the quarry was functioning and not the beautiful oasis it is today.
Overall Poland was an incurable experience. One I will truly treasure, I need to go back so I can explore the underrated places which are often over looked. I’ve created a list of all the restaurants/ places we’ve visited if you are heading out there you could take a look at:
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it and if you have visited Poland and know exciting places/things to do please let me know. I would love to hear other people’s explorations.