Sights to See and Foods to Eat at Poland
Through the years, Poland had gone through a lot. There was constant struggle to maintain independence. And after the Second World War, much of the country was destroyed. Luckily, with the help of the people, Poland was able to regain and build itself to what it is today.
Poland has a lot of interesting places worth exploring. There are natural wonders such mountain ranges, lake, and rainforests. Aside from these there are also man-made architectures that have a large cultural impact to the world. These combined creates a place like no other. Because of these uniqueness travelers all across the globe visit the country.
The humble country of Poland lies in Central Europe. It is bounded on the west by Germany, on the south by Czech Republic and Slovakia, on the east by Ukraine and Belarus, and on the north by the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad Oblast, and Lithuania. With a total land area of 312,679 square kilometers, Poland ranks as the 9th largest country in Europe.
There are almost 40 million people residing in Poland. Out of this, majority (94 percent) are Polish. The remaining 6 percent are a mixture of Silesian, Belarusian, German, Ukrainian, and Kashubian. The most spoken and official language is Polish; other languages use include English and German. The country respects religious freedom
Before entering the beautiful country of Poland here are a few reminders:
• Prepare your passport. Poland is one of the countries who have agreed to the Schengen Agreement. This means, a Schengen Visa is required prior to entry.
• Always prepare cash. The currency used in Poland is Zloty.
• Learn their language. Although citizens could understand English and German, it is nice to know and have knowledge of basic Polish words. This gives you an advantage when haggling prices and talking to locals.
• Know the climate. Poland is generally a temperate country. But temperatures vary on the month and location. Southern and eastern regions are warmer compared to those on the northern and western section.
Once you have all those prepared, you are ready to travel to Poland.
There are different modes of transportation to get to the country. The most popular way is via plane. There are twelve (12) major airports: Warsaw-Modlin, Krakow, Katowice, Gdansk, Poznan, Wroclaw, Szczecin, Rzeszow, Bydgoszcz, Lodz, and Lublin.
These airports are served by the following flights: LOT Polish Airlines – the country’s official carrier, WizzAir, EasyJey, Germanwings, Norwegian, and Ryanair.
If you have time to spare, another alternative to reach the country is by train. There are railroads connecting Poland to countries like Berlin, Amsterdam, Kiev, Vienna, Prague, and Moscow.
Other ways to travel include bus, boat, and car. The benefit of travelling by car would allow tourists to have their own vehicle throughout their stay.
Once you are there are different ways to get around. The best and fastest way to travel between cities that are far away is by plane. Affordable means of travelling include the train, buses, and trams.
Be cautious when travelling on trains, some may offer cheaper prices but travelling conditions are poor. A better option would be the bus. Buses are more comfortable. Getting around using a private car is also possible just be wary on road signs.
Taxis are also widely used. But if you are athletic and wish to have a more pleasant and relaxing view of the surroundings would be by bicycle.
PLACES TO SEE
After knowing the basics on Poland: geography, visa, currency, and transportation, it is time to know what one could do. Architectures were inspired by Renaissance, Baroque, and Art Nouveau.
top the hills are medieval castles and ruins. There are also fortresses and wooden churches.
Here are a few of those impressive infrastructures:
1. Wawel Castle at Krakow
The most historically and culturally important area in Poland is Wawel Castle. Architectural deisgn was inspired by the Goths. It was once the home to the great kings of the country and now a premier art museum.
Included in the collection of artworks are Italian Renaissance paintings, sculptures, textiles, tapestry collection, goldsmith’s work, armor, ceramics, and furniture.
2. Chojnik Castle
Chojnik Castle could be found at a hill in southwestern Poland. The place of the castle gives it a scenic view of the valley below. Part of the castle had deteriorated but is still a tourist destination. As a matter of fact, some areas of the castle (areas that have not been damaged) are used as a hotel and restaurant.
3. Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa
This monastery is a well-known Polish shrine in dedication to the Virgin Mary; it is a common pilgrimage site for most devotees. The image of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa (Our Lady of Czestochowa) is the distinguishing feature of the monastery.
In 1994 the place is considered as one of the national Historic Monuments.
Aside from these castles there are 14 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are widely visited by tourists. These sites include unique infrastructures and parks.
1. Malbork Castle
The Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork, or commonly referred to as Malbork Castle is the brick largest castle in the world. Teutonic Knights (German Roman Catholic religious order of crusaders) commissioned the castle to be built as an Ordensburg fortress. In 1994 the castle was declared as a Historic Monument.
The nearby museum with the same name was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1997.
2. Wooden Churches of Southern Lesser Poland
Wooden Churches of Southern Lesser Poland is a collection of churches that used horizontal log technique during its construction in the medieval times.
Old church in Sekowa
15 century St. Dorothy Church in Trzcinica
1672 St. Catherine Church in Gogolow
3. Kalwaria Zebrzydowska Park
In the year 1999, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska Park was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is also one of the Historic Monuments in Poland.
The park was built during the 17th century as a Counter Reformation and was a very popular pilgrimage park. Included in the park is the Basilica of St. Mary, Ecce Homo Chapel, Chapel of the Crucifixion, and Heart of Mary Chapel.
Church of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska
4. Muskau Park in Leknica
Just between the borders of Poland and Germany is the famed Musau Park. 3.5 square kilometers of the total park area is under the jurisdiction of Poland and the other 2.1 square kilometers is under Germany.
The park was declared a World Heritage Site in 2004 by UNESCO. According to the organization, the park is “an exemplary example of cross-border cultural collaboration between Poland and Germany.” The same year, the park was included in Poland’s Historic Monuments.
Muskau Park, Germany in the foreground and Poland in the background
5. Bialowieza National Park
Bialowieza National Park is another national park in Poland known as the “last untouched wilderness of Europe.” It measures a total of 152.2 square kilometers. It is famed for preserving the Bialowieza Forest which is the home to the European bison.
Białowieski Park Narodowy (7)
European bison in the natural habitat
Nature lovers would be glad at the solitude of the mountains. One could always go on a hike through the luscious forests and take a tip at rivers and lakes. There are a total of 23 national parks across the country. Here we have listed a few of the parks worth visiting.
1. Eagle’s Path in the Tatra Mountains
Orla Perc or Eagle’s Path is located at the southern region of Poland. This park is considered to be one of the most difficult and dangerous parks. Only experienced trekkers and mountaineers are allowed to walk these paths. It takes approximately 6 to 8 hours to complete the trek.
2. Masurian Landscape Park
A protected area in northern Poland is Masurian Landscape Park. It was built in 1977 and covers a total land area of 536.55 square kilometers, including Lake Sciardwy, the biggest lake in Poland.
Seksty Lake viewed from Kaczor Peninsula
3. Bory Tucholskie National Park
Bory Tucholskie National Park was established in 1996 with a total area of 46.13 square kilometers. The park includes forests, at least 20 lakes, meadows, and peatlands. Within the park one can spot different species of fishes and birds. One can enjoy a yacht ride, use a bike, or simply stroll along the path.
4. Wolin National Park
Wollin National Park could be found on the island of Wolin, northwest of the main island. It covers a total land area of 109.37 square kilometers. Tourists visiting the place could get to see various species of animals, plants and vegetation.
5. Slowinski National Park
Slowinski National Park could be found at the northern regions of Poland, just along Baltic coast. It consists of lakes, forests, and a dessert. This is the only dessert place in Poland with sand dunes as high as 30 meters. Sand dunes were due to the waves and wind carrying the sand inwards. The place was declared as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1977.
Dune in Słowiński National Park
Signpost in Słowiński National Park
FOODS TO TASTE
Aside from the spectacular sites, one has got to taste the food. Their dishes involve the use pork, cabbages, mushrooms, beetroot and onion. And their desserts and pastries are simply delectable.
They serve various meals such as soups, stew, stuffed dumplings, and many more. Popular Polish dishes include Pierogi – similar to stuff dumplings, and Bigos – hunter’s stew.
They also added a twist to famous international food like baguette -they call it zapiekanka. The added Polish twist is the baguette being opened and covered with toppings of choice.
A traditional alcoholic drink is called mead. This is made from brewed honey. The most popular drink would be tea and coffee. Each cup of coffee is made to perfection.