Greetings everyone! When you hear about the country of Poland, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? The capital city of Warsaw? Crazy and wild soccer matches? Or Polish sausage? (Yum!)
I recall seeing a picture of one of the palaces with caught my attention and made me curios about the country’s history.I wanted to discover more and see beyond the books, I wanted to feel and experience it in person. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone to find the hidden treasures and I did. My exploration started after I landed in Warsaw. After sleeping through a 300 kms ride, I woke up in the city of Poznan.
Known for its Renaissance style buildings in Old Market Square, today it is an important cultural and business centre and is one of Poland’s most populous regions. The Old Town is centered on Stary Rynek, and this is where the historic Poznan Town Hall (Ratusz) stands representing the glory of Poznan from its foundation in 1253! You can find many local restaurants, cafes and pubs and don’t forget to check out the Town Hall towers where the heads of 2 small goats collide everyday at noon.
Next head out of Poznan to a small village roughly 19kms far and you will end up in Rogalin. Here you will find the magnificent Rogation Palace. The palace is rich in Polish history and the decor is every room is royally fit (aka amazing!) depicting everyday living.
Lastly, don’t forget to check out Kornik. A small town roughly 25 kms south east of Poznan, it houses the famous Kornik Castle which was built in the 14th century! The castle presently houses the Kornik library and a museum showcasing numerous unique objects including historic furniture, Polish and European paintings, sculptures, military antiques, and porcelain and silver art objects.
Now lets head towards the Baltic Coast and you are in Gdansk. Part of the Tricity, Gdansk is a port city known for its long sandy beaches and is a center for the world’s amber trade. Nearby cities are Gdynia and Sopot. Gdansk of course is the most famous, thanks to its long legacy as the prosperous German port of Danzig. It is here you will find the cobble stoned streets, medieval quayside and Gothic churches that make it very instagrammable.
Hop on a quick flight and head to the Southern side of Poland, near the border of Czech Republic lies the city of Krakow known for its well preserved medieval core and Jewish quarter, I found the largest group of English speakers (a lot of them were international students). Krakow is one of the most culturally and politically significant cities in the country, and its major attractions include the Wawel Castle and Rynek Glowny which is Europe’s largest market square. This city is rich in history as it dates back to at least the 7th century! It was also Poland’s former capital for almost 5 centuries. The Wawel Castle, represents nearly all European architectural styles of Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods.
Poland has so much to offer to the world often overlooked. Some of my tips to make your trip to Poland an enjoyable one are as follows. The most economical flight options I found were to Warsaw, there are other airports throughout the country too. Polish is the official language, I would recommend you familiarize yourself with some key phrases, English is spoken more among the younger crowds. Make sure you check the travel and visa requirements to Poland, travelers insurance is required. Poland has an extensive railroad system, however, I found driving as the best option as I got to stop and enjoy the views at my own pace. Polish cuisine was one of my favorites, there are a lot of restaurants and cafes all over, some of them by the square in Poznan are tucked away, almost underground, but you will find the best food there, don’t forget to check out those hidden treasures!
“A little step may be the beginning of a great journey.”