Not long ago one of the region’s best-kept secrets, it’s probably safe to say that Poland has now entered the European travel mainstream. Driven by the beauty & popularity of its top tourist city, Krakow, Poland has become a must-see on any Central European itinerary worth its salt.
Not sure where to start planning your trip? Get started with this handy Poland travel guide, including when & where to go and how to get there…
When to visit Poland
Like much of Central Europe, you could say that Poland is a year-round destination. There’s no particular time of year when there are any major weather concerns that would ruin a trip. (Truth be told, the weather in Poland is quite unpredictable even at the best of times).
Poland has a fairly typical continental European climate with hot & humid summers and cold & overcast winters. Autumn & autumn tend to fall somewhere in between.
Overall, the best time to visit Poland is in May and September. Both of these months avoid the summer tourist rush and are much drier than the summer months when rain seems a possibility on any given day.
Where to go in Poland
Whatever you’re looking for in a European holiday, I can almost guarantee you’ll find it in Poland. From stunning historic cities to towns with heartbreaking stories, there’s a whole host of places to visit that are a must-see for anyone with even a passing interest in European history.
Adventurous and outdoorsy types will also find a haven here. Whether your travels take you to the High Tatras for a hike around the crystalline glacial lake of Morskie Oko, or to the primeval Białowieża Forest, where Europe’s last remaining wild buffalo roam, Poland will not leave you unmoved.
Almost every first impression of Poland begins with Krakow, the former royal capital and historic breadbasket of the Polish nation. Although its popularity has soared (seemingly to the point of no return), it is still easily one of Europe’s most charming cities.
No trip to Poland is complete without a visit to the modern capital of Warsaw. While Krakow is undoubtedly the prettier of Poland’s two top tourist destinations, Warsaw is arguably the more interesting of the two, pushing the nation’s cultural boundaries more than any other Polish city.
When the big city vibes of Warsaw and Krakow start to wear you down, head for the countryside goodness of Zakopane, one of Poland’s most popular outdoor getaways. Nestled in the High Tatras on the Polish-Slovak border, this small resort town really comes into its own in winter, when it transforms into the country’s premier skiing destination.
Transport in Poland
By air: Most of Poland’s major cities are served by airports with connections to other European and international destinations. The most common gateways into the country are Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW), Krakow Airport (KRK) and Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport (GDN).
By train: Poland is well connected by rail to its Central European neighbours. Some of the most common routes include Prague to Krakow (8h-12h), Berlin to Warsaw (6h23m), Berlin to Szczecin (2h) and Lviv to Krakow (6h-8h).
By train: As in much of Europe, my favourite way to get around Poland is by train. Poland’s train service is constantly improving and is a quick and comfortable way to travel between cities. Some of the most popular routes include Warsaw to Krakow (2-3 hours), Krakow to Wroclaw (3 hours 36 minutes) and Warsaw to Gdansk (2 hours 43 minutes).
By bus: In some areas of Poland, destinations are not well served by rail. A glaring example is the route from Krakow to Zakopane, where taking the bus will save you about an hour.