After two and a half weeks exploring Poland, we are sad to move on – so is the life of a backpacker. Looking back, we’ve learned so much about a country that, unfortunately, rarely tops the travel itineraries of most North Americans. Here is a quick summary of our favorite, miss at your own peril, must see attractions in Poland.
Wawel Castle, Krakow
Offering stunning architecture and wonderful views of the surrounding city, and encased in a lush park-like setting, Wawel Castle is a jaw-dropper and easily the most photogenic of Krakow’s attractions.
Wroclaw, all of it
It didn’t take long for Wroclaw to claw its way into our hearts. A charming city full of ornate architecture, bridges and waterways, and adorable gnomes, Wroclaw is still relatively unknown to the international travel community, although we don’t expect it to stay that way for long!
Warsaw’s Old Town on Foot (via Michal of Orange Umbrella Tours if you’re lucky)
We are BIG fans of free walking tours and Michal of Orange Umbrella Tours led us on one of the best tours we have ever taken, paid or tip-based. Winding our way through the Old Town, we were immersed in Warsaw’s unique history and surrounded by it’s beautifully reconstructed buildings. Yes, you could explore the area on your own, but why?
Sample different styles of pierogies in Torun
Although we ate a lot of pierogies during our time in Poland, Torun offered a good range of different types and styles of the delicious dumplings including traditional boiled pierogies, ones made with a pastry shell, and enormous fried versions. Pierogarnia is a restaurant with two locations in the city offering the delicious dumplings, just get there early or you’ll have to wait for a table!
Amber shopping in Gdansk
Although amber jewelry can be found throughout Poland, Gdansk has the best prices, selection, and atmosphere. Even if bling isn’t your thing, Mariacka Street is visually stunning and worth a visit.
Honorable Mention: Auschwitz Concentration Camp
Our visit to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp can be summed up with one word: heartbreaking. However one difficult day pales in comparison to the days, months, and years the detainees spent locked away, tortured, and murdered. It’s impossible to fully grasp the horrors of the Holocaust without taking them in first hand and as you move throughout the buildings and streets the site somehow finds a way to giveback and everything that is truly important in life becomes clear before your eyes.
As I was speaking to my mom on the phone the other night she exclaimed “I never wanted to visit Poland until I saw your pictures!”. A smile spread across my face because this is the very reason Travis and I take the time to write about and share the places we visit. Poland is a truly amazing country with much to offer visitors and is most definitely worth a visit!