While the country’s steeped in history, Poland’s contemporary culture is vibrant, colourful and intriguing. Poland holidays offer opportunities to immerse yourself in city life or get back to nature, to uncover Europe’s past and soak up plentiful art, music and theatre. From the Baltic Coast in the northwest to the Carpathian Mountains in the south, the country’s diverse landscape and temperate climate make it a joy to delve into. And Poland’s location, with Germany to the west and Ukraine to the east, has produced a unique fusion of influences.
Poland’s biggest cultural hub is, of course, its capital, Warsaw. The city is a cultural hard-hitter, from its exciting arts scene to its brilliant nightlife and restaurants. Krakow is equally impressive, with magnificent monuments and churches and a buzzing city centre. Lodz, Poznan and Gdansk feature among the country’s other popular destinations. Outdoor enthusiasts have an abundance of nature to explore, including the stunning Masurian Lake District which is largely unpopulated and features more than 2000 lakes.
Poland’s recent past is dominated by World War II, and many museums and historic sites detail poignant tales from the country’s occupation. But it’s also a nation that refuses to dwell on darker times, and gets stuck in to enjoying the present. Great food choices range from local delicacies such as delicious beetroot soup and borscht to cabbage rolls, a wide range of fish and hearty hunter’s stew. Affordable, diverse and welcoming, Poland holidays are an ideal choice for holidaymakers across the board.
Students in higher education mark the beginning of exam season in late May with Juwenalia, which includes carnival-esque parades and concerts – and lots of partying.
Towards the end of June, Krakow’s summer solstice extravaganza lights up the Vistula River. Wreaths are placed in the water and firework displays pepper the sky.
Throughout December, Poland celebrates the festive season with visits from Mikolaj (the Polish Santa), night markets and advent events at many of its lovely churches.
Climb every mountain
Famed for their excellent slopes and breathtaking vistas, the snowy reaches of the Carpathian Mountains give skiers of all standards an unforgettable winter sports experience.
Go bison spotting
Beloved as one of Poland’s national animals, the bison was reintroduced to Bialowieza Forest as part of a conservation programme after the species died out in the early 20th century.
See Wawel Castle
One of Krakow’s crowning glories, this magnificent 13th-century castle, built for King Casimir III the Great, houses a beguiling art collection within its beautifully maintained interior.