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Holiday in Poland


Poland is a large country in Central Europe. It has a long Baltic Sea coastline and is bordered by Belarus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast), Slovakia, and Ukraine.

Regions:
Poland's administrative regions are called województwa, abbreviated "woj.". The word is roughly equivalent to a duchy or a district. Some English dictionaries use the word voivodship to describe them, but the word is exceedingly rare, and likely not to be understood.

Central Poland (Łódzkie, Mazowieckie, Wielkopolskie, and Kujawsko-Pomorskie)
A varied landscape and the location of Europe's largest natural forest, profusion of wildlife, bird-watcher's paradise, inland dunes, the enormous cityscapes of Warsaw and Łódź.
Northern Poland (Pomeranian (Pomorskie), Warmian-Masurian (Warmińsko-Mazurskie), and West Pomeranian (Zachodnipomorskie))
Home to Poland's attractive seaside; sandy beaches with dunes and cliffs; lakes, rivers and forests.
Western Poland (Lubuskie, Lower Silesian (Dolnośląskie), and Opolskie)

Eastern Poland (Podlaskie and Lublin (Lubelskie))
Unique primeval forests and picturesque backwaters (e.g. Biebrza river) with protected bird species make the region increasingly interesting for tourists.
Southern Poland (Małopolskie, Silesian (Śląskie), Subcarpathian (Podkarpackie), and Świętokrzyskie)
Home to spectacular mountain ranges, the world's oldest operating salt mines, fantastic landscapes, caves, historical monuments and cities. The magnificent medieval city of Kraków is a major metropolitan center.

The countryside throughout Poland is lovely and relatively unspoiled. Poland has a variety of regions with beautiful landscapes and small-scale organic and traditional farms. Travellers can choose different types of activities such as bird watching, cycling or horseback riding.

Culturally, you can visit and/or experience many churches, museums, ceramic and traditional basket-making workshops, castle ruins, rural centers and many more. A journey through the Polish countryside gives you a perfect opportunity to enjoy and absorb local knowledge about its landscape and people.

Cities:
There are a lot of big cities in Poland that are worth seeing. Most of them have a flourishing medieval history.

Warszawa - the biggest city and capital of Poland, and one of the EU's thriving new business centers. The old town, demolished during World War II, has been rebuilt in a style inspired by classicist paintings of Canalletto.
Gdańsk - one of the old, beautiful European cities, right on the Baltic coast. Although it was destroyed in World War II, it has been perfectly rebuilt. The city is a good departure point to the many sea resorts along the north coast.
Kraków - the "cultural capital" of Poland, and its historical capital during its formative years in the Middle Ages. In modern times Krakow became one of the largest tourism centers in Europe. The historical center is filled with old churches and many monuments, the largest European medieval market-place, and plenty of magical pubs and cafes; all attract millions of visitors from around the world each year. Its location is a great starting point for trips of any kind.
Łódź - once renowned for its textile industries, the "Polish Manchester" has the longest walking street in Europe, the Piotrkowska Street, full of picturesque 19th-century architecture.
Poznań - the merchant city, considered to be the birthplace of the Polish nation and church (along with Gniezno). Presents a mixture of architecture from all epoques : from pre-romanesque to modern buildings. Vibrant night life and many historical monuments make it an interesting stop for tourists.
Szczecin - one of the most important cities in Pomerania since the Middle Ages. An enormous harbour, monuments and old parks in the centre, museums, etc.
Toruń - one of the capitals of Kujawsko-Pomorskie and after Kraków the city with the most sites to visit in Poland. It is famous for its son Nicolaus Copernicus and the its medival gingerbread called katarzynki.
Wrocław - the old Silesian city; it was also destroyed during World War II and successfully rebuilt. Placed on 12 islands, it has more bridges than any other European town except Venice, Amsterdam and Hamburg (which has more than the other two combined).

Bicycling is a good method to get a good impression of the scenery in Poland. The roads can sometimes be in quite a bad state, but mostly they are ok. The car drivers are not as careless as they are said to be. Especially in the south you can find some nice places for bicycling; e.g. along the rivers Dunajec (from Zakopane to Szczawnica) or Poprad (Krynica to Stary Sacz) or Lower Silesia (Zlotoryja - Swierzawa - Jawor).

Vacation homes, private rooms, pensions, or apartments for rent, can sometimes be found for a very reasonable price. Best deals are usually offered off-season.

Holidays
Note that Catholic religious holidays are widely observed in Poland. Stores, malls, and restaurants are likely to be closed or have very limited business hours on Easter, All Saints Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Most of the young people and teenagers know English well enough. Since English is taught at a very young age (some start as early as 4 years old), only Poles who grow up in isolated towns or communities will not be given English lessons. Older Poles, however, especially those outside the main cities, will speak little or no English at all. However, it's highly possible that they speak either German or Russian which were taught in schools as the main foreign languages until the 1990s.


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> Central Poland > Eastern Poland > Northern Poland > Southern Poland
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