Picturesque landscapes, the best vodka, parties you won’t forget and one of the most hospitable people are only a few of the reasons why visiting Poland should be in anyone’s bucket list. So, let’s get right down to it. Why Poland?
- Just because.
No trip to Poland is ever complete without visiting Warsaw, a city that has so much history and culture running through its veins. Old Town (Stare Miasto) is a modern era version of old Old Town before WWII. UNESCO has also declared it to be a World Heritage Site, so do drop by for some heritage basking. In Warsaw, there’s a little bit of everything, from world-class museums, medieval squares, to hip restaurants.
- The biggest castle in the world
Malbork Castle, built by the Teutonic Knights, is, in fact, the biggest castle in the world (measured by land area). If you get tired with Malbork Castle and still have royal cravings, Poland has a long list of castles to choose from.
- Bison in Białowieża Forest
One of the last remaining sources of primeval wood in Europe, the Białowieża Forest is home to the only remaining bison in all of Europe. It almost went extinct if not for a few captive pairs that saved the species.
- Pierogi and so much more
The dumplings of Asia or the empanadas of South and Central America are pierogi in Poland. Flat discs of dough filled with delicious fillings that are boiled or fried is a food staple you would not mind having over and over again.
For drinks, there’s Bison Grass Vodka. When we think “vodka”, Russia is almost always associated with it; but the Polish are willing to fight to the death to prove that it was them who invented it. They can definitely prove so through szarlotka or tatanka. Even non-vodka drinkers get converted after tasting Polish vodka. Look out for the brand “Zubrowka” because it offers the unique flavour of bison grass. Expect a distinct yet subtle vanilla flavour when drinking this beverage. Add some apple juice and voila, you have szarlotka.
There is also steak tartare to try. Stary Dom, with its veteran chef, makes around 150 orders of steak tartare a day! Chopped steak mixed with mushrooms, onions and lots of other secret seasonings will satisfy every meat lover’s palate.
Look for a milk bar, not because it has milk but because it is the hawker centre of Poland. Here you will find cheap and traditional Polish cuisine that will make tummies very happy.
- Party in Poland
There are over 200 bars in Kraków alone that are strictly for backpackers. No dress code required, none of those strict door policies or entrance fees. When inside, the drinks are light on the pocket, the music great and the atmosphere chill. If you’re tired with bars, then it’s time to dance. Cień Klub, which has been around for sixteen years now is the place to be in for the latest tunes by famous DJs surrounded by beautiful people letting loose. Thursdays is Sex on Wax night at Cień Klub so make sure to block off your schedule on that night.
- Instagram-worthy pictures
If you want to be surrounded by lush greenery, then head on over to Beskids Mountains. Sculpted ridges softly rise and fall along the Slovak and Ukraine borders. You can see every single shade of green in this beautiful scenery. Then there are the colourful buildings in Kraków’s Gdańsk old town. It was officially established over seven centuries ago and it houses one of the most important Baltic ports. There are medieval lanes, cobblestone market squares and historic docklands to visit and snap photos with Gdańsk.
Pro tip: Do not bring euros. Even though Poland is a part of the European Union, its currency is złoty (“zwoty”/ “PLN”).
Pro, pro tip: Poland is not in Eastern Europe and the Polish consider it an insult if they are labeled as Eastern Europeans. Considering them to be located in Central Europe is the way to go.
While Poland isn’t Tokyo or Rome, it’s exactly the lack of expectations that make everyone who visits Poland fall in love with the country. The cheap ticket into Europe turns out to be a treasure trove you will not forget.
LOT Polish Airlines, one of the world’s oldest airlines still in operation, is the flag carrier of Poland and it offers world-class services for everyone who wishes to visit Poland. It’s time to get a LOT done and plan your trip for 2019.