POLAND 11 DAYS
Group size 10 Start Gdansk
Countries 1 End Gdansk
Reviews 1 Review5/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Leisurely
We have designed a journey for you with the ambitious purpose of bringing you closer to a region that you may know from history lessons or from the stories of your grandparents or even older generations, but which today is covered with a patina of oblivion and mystery. As in the myths and legends, this landscape of the much-cited “dark forests and crystalline lakes”, decorated with insignia of the archaic life of a premodern society, with a harmonious rural life and an intact nature, a landscape with a clearly perceptible identity, their continuity complicated by many fateful events in history. Let yourself be carried away by the fascination of this ubiquitous sincerity, rediscover Masuria for yourself!
- 10 overnights: 6 x Best Western Plus Arkon Park 4* (or similar) in Gdansk, 1x Hotel Młyn Aqua Spa Biblioteka 4* (or similar) in Elbing, 3 x Warmiński Hotel & Conference 3* (or similar) in Olsztyn.
- All-route English-speaking guide.
- Transfer by modern coach throughout the whole trip.
- Meals: HB (incl. Kashubian and Masurian specialties).
- English-speaking city tours (or other languages required): Gdansk, Sopot, Hel, Kartuzy, Elblag,Olsztyn, Mrągowo, Mikołajki, Torun.
- Entrance + guided tours: all sacral buildings according to the itinerary; Crane in Gdansk,trip to the Hel Peninsula, Slowinski National Park, open-air museum of rural life in Kluki, Kashubian Museum in Kartuzy, Pottery in Chmielno, City Park and the “Crazy house” in Szymbark, Malbork, Copernicus Museum in Frombork, Wolf ’s Lair at Kętrzyn, the Prussia Museum in Zondern, excursion in Puszcza Piska Forest, Philippon monastery in Wojnowo, the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus in Torun.
- Other highlights: Boat trip from Hel to Gdansk, ride by electric train in the Slowinski National Park, folklore evening “Masurian peasant wedding“ with specialties of Masurian cuisine and a carriage ride in Olsztyn, boat trip on the Elbląg Canal, boat trip on the river Krutynia.
- Visa Fee
- Travel Insurance
- Single Supplement
- Any meals not mentioned
- Any transfers not mentioned (e.g. first and last day)
- Any expenses of a personal nature
- Camera/video permits
- Tips to the guide and driver
Welcome to Poland
We have designed a journey for you with the ambitious purpose of bringing you closer to a region that you may know from history lessons or from the stories of your grandparents or even older generations, but which today is covered with a patina of oblivion and mystery. As in the myths and legends, this landscape of the much-cited “dark forests and crystalline lakes”, decorated with insignia of the archaic life of a premodern society, with a harmonious rural life and an intact nature, a landscape with a clearly perceptible identity, their continuity complicated by many fateful events in history. Let yourself be carried away by the fascination of this ubiquitous sincerity, rediscover Masuria for yourself! You check in to the hotel in Gdansk, have a dinner and relax after the road. Time permitting, you could still have a walk around the city
Today we all join together to explore Gdansk on a guided tour and to make sure that the city is rightly called “the pearl of the Baltic Sea”. Downtown Gdansk suffered a lot from bombardment during the Second World War, with the result that the old city was almost totally destroyed. After the war Gdansk was completely rebuilt and constructed true to the original. Similar to the Polish kings, we go from the High Gate through the Golden Gate to the city center, walk along the Long Lane and the Long Market with the Neptune Fountain to the Artus Court. You feel you have stepped back in time. The Green Gate opens up towards the water and offers a view of the Long Bridge on the Moltawa. At least now it becomes clear that Gdansk looks back on a glorious history as Hansa City. Here you can also see the main landmark of the city – the Crane Gate. Afterwards we visit the St. Mary ’s Church – the largest brick church in the world. The arduous ascent to the church tower rewards the traveler with the magnificent view of the city.
Tri-City and Peninsula Hel
Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia – these three cities are located close together on the Gdansk Bay and form the so-called Tri-City. Today we explore these towns and the peninsula Hel. In Sopot wealthy Gdańskians built their summer residences in the 16th century. In the 19th century Sopot became a popular national health resort. We walk along the longest mole of the Baltic Sea, called pier – a 516 meter long wooden pier with restaurants and docking facilities for excursion boats – today the visiting card Sopot. A few kilometers to the east lies the village of Oliwa. We visit the city’s landmark – the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. The total length is 107 meters, making it the longest Cistercian church building in the world. The cathedral is also known for its Baroque organ. We enjoy an organ concert there. Our next destination today is the Hel Peninsula. We pass a 34 km long headland with a beautiful dune landscape and beautiful sandy beaches. In the southeast of the peninsula lies the popular eponymous resort Hel, where some fishermen’s huts have been preserved. On the peninsula we visit the lighthouse and the seal station of Gdansk University. From Hel we take a boat trip back to Gdansk.
Slowinski National Park
A unique experience awaits you on the third day of our trip. Today, a visit to the Slowinski National Park is on the program. We set off after the breakfast and reach our destination after about two hours. Created primarily with ecological objectives of maintaining natural processes, ecosystem stability and preservation of animal and plant diversity, today the National Park has become still an important tourist point in northern Poland. The Slowinski National Park has been a biosphere reserve on the UNESCO list of natural heritage since 1977. On the Leba-Spit is the largest wandering dune area in Central Europe with an area of over 500 ha. The highest sand dunes reach the height of 30-40 meters. They move at a speed of about 10 meters a year, pushing themselves into the surrounding pine forests, which submit to their fate to be buried under the sand sometime. We take a ride on an electric train through one part of the national park. Furthermore, we visit the open-air museum of rural life in the village Kluki. In the free time you can walk between the dunes or enjoy the coffee. The park also offers a lot of attractions. You can take a walk to Revekol mountain, where the Chapel of St. Mary used to stand in the Middle Ages and the mountain enjoyed the status of a pilgrimage site. But also the Garder Lake, the second largest beach lake in Pomerania, invites you to take a quiet break. In the evening we come back to Gdansk.
Right after breakfast we start our trip to Kashubia. Strictly speaking, we were already the day before on the passage through the Kashubia. Today we go to the region known as “Kashubian Switzerland”. The combination of the large wooded areas with rolling hills and a blue-eyed seascape make these lands even more appealing. Our tour guide is not stingy with the background knowledge about this region and the minority Kashubians, who speak for example about 50 Kashubian dialects. In less than an hour ’s drive we reach the small town Kartuzy, which is considered Kashubian capital and center of the Kashubian culture. We take a short walk through the city center and visit the landmark of Kartuzy – Marienparadies Charterhouse from the 14th century. In a former German villa today is the Kashubian Museum with collections on the history, folklore and everyday life of the Kashubians. Kashubians have always been considered excellent woodcarvers and potters, which can be also seen in exhibits in the museum. In nearby Chmielno we visit the traditional pottery and admire the famous blue painted Kashubian ceramics. In Szymbark, there is an interesting park, which houses an amusement park and national memorial at the same time. At lunch, you can taste Kashubian specialties, however, also watch folkloristic performances. According to an ancient Kashubian tradition, you can also snuff tobacco. The guided tour of the museum complements your knowledge of Kashubian culture. Lastly, we visit the “Crazy House” – a house that stands on the roof. You enter through the window and move on the ceiling. The interior is designed in the style of socialist realism. In the late afternoon we come back to Gdansk. The dinner will be done on your own.
Malbork and Frombork
Today we start our trip to the heart of Masuria. After a little more than an hour we reach Malbork and visit the mighty Order castle of the Crusaders on the Nogat, the monumental fortress with bailey, middle castle and stronghold. The impressive red brick structure is today considered the largest medieval fortress in Europe, backed by mighty ramparts and moats. Over the centuries, it was repeatedly destroyed and plundered, but rebuilt several times and enlarged. For over 130 years, the castle was the seat of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order. This masterpiece of late Gothic architecture has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1997. During the tour you will learn from many stages of the eventful history of Malbork. For a further 150 years, Polish kings moved in here, then the Swedes occupied the castle and even served as barracks. During the Second World War, the castle was mostly destroyed and then rebuilt by the Polish state. Then we head to Frombork, from a distance you can see the Domberg with the largest brick church in the region. Each of the towers has a strikingly different appearance, in the course of 150 years of construction, each canon and architect tried to leave his personal signature. In Frombork we also get acquainted with the story of the probably most famous native Nicolaus Copernicus. Here he began his 40-year civil service career as church administrator, here he also developed his theory of the heliocentric world view. The visit to the Copernicus Museum completes our stay in Frombork. In the late afternoon we reach Elbing, take a one-hour guided tour of the city and overnight here.
By ship over land
Who can be surprised today with a boat trip on a tourist trip? It is quite different in the case of the Elbląg Canal, which is considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of Poland and is a world-class hydraulic engineering masterpiece from the 19th century. The special thing about it and the actual tourist attraction on the boat, which we undertake in the morning, consists of five rolling hills, on which the ships are transported on land by rail vehicles to cope with the drop over 100 meters. Ships are therefore loaded onto wagons on sections and pulled up the hills on rails. Reaching the top, the ship can sail on the next leg of the canal. The economic importance of the Elbląg Canal has been lost long ago, therefore, it is more attractive today for the tourists. In the afternoon we reach Olsztyn and take a short guided tour through the picturesque city center on the hills and Lyna. Olsztyn is today the administrative center of the Warmia-Masuria region. We will visit the Olsztyn Castle, afterwards at a restaurant for us await not only specialties of Masurian cuisine but also a folklore evening “Masurian Peasant Wedding” and a carriage ride. Each of the towers has a strikingly different appearance, in the course of 150 years of construction, each canon and architect tried to leave his personal signature. In Frombork we also get acquainted with the story of the probably most famous native Nicolaus Copernicus. Here he began his 40-year civil service career as church administrator, here he also developed his theory of the heliocentric world view. The visit to the Copernicus Museum completes our stay in Frombork. In the late afternoon we reach Elbing, take a one-hour guided tour of the city and overnight here.
Highlights of Masuria
Today on our program are several highlights of Mazury region – one of the most beautiful areas of Europe. A legend tells that after the creation of the earth, God had a few liters of water in spare and poured it out over Masuria. So many lakes have emerged in this oasis for tourists in increasingly fast-paced Europe. Among other things, this landscape has inspired many artists to great masterpieces, and it will also convince you during the visit of the beauty of this region: lakes, meadows, forests – in part still untouched nature. In Sensburg / Mragowo we visit the city center with the town hall and the courthouse the city boardwalk at Castle Lake and the local market. In Święta Lipka we see the Sanctuary of St. Mary of Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship. The church rises on a forest glade. A true pride here is an organ from the 18th century with 4000 pipes and moving figures. A short organ concert crowns the church visit. In the afternoon visit the Wolf ’s Lair at Kętrzyn – Hitler ’s former headquarters, where he was assassinated. The land had its own electric power plant, a railway line and even a small airport. Our last program for today is the East Prussian State Museum in Sądry. The visit is in a very relaxed and joyful atmosphere. The owner tells about her childhood on a typical East Prussian estate – the whole thing over coffee and home-baked cake.
Puszcza Piska Forest
Today we explore Puszcza Piska Forest – the largest forest area in Poland and the most traditional area in Mazury. Our impressions of Masuria would be incomplete if we did not visit Mikołajki. In this “Masurian Venice” we go for a tour. The city received its name after the patron saint of fishermen and sailors. Mikołajki is a decorative center around the Holy Annunciation Church. On the way back, we pass a couple of beautiful lakes and take a short walk on Sniadwy Lake. Then we take a boat trip along the enchanting Krutynia River. Most tourists count a boat trip on the Krutynia River through the picture-perfect landscape in the midst of lush forests among the absolute highlights. Do not miss this opportunity. In the afternoon we cross at the edge of Puszcza Piska Forest in Wojnowo. You can see typical Russian wooden houses there. Prussian religious laws were always considered to be quite liberal, which is why representatives of the Russian Orthodox secession of Old Believers, who rejected the reforms of Patriarch Nikon, settled here. Wojnowo was just one of eleven similar communities in the area. Here was established the so-called subgroup of Philippons, which was severely persecuted in the Russian Empire. Right on Lake Dus, the Old Believers built the nunnery, to whom we also owe our visit to the village. At the opposite end of the village is still a worth seeing Orthodox church with onion domes.
Early morning we leave the hotel and say goodbye to Mazury. Around noon we reach Torun called “gingerbread town”, which was founded in the 13th century by a German order of knight. Today, the city is often referred to as the “pearl of the northern Gothic”. During a city tour, we see the old town hall, the courtyard of Artus, the Church of the Holy Spirit, the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral of the Holy Janow with one of the most beautiful bells in the country. Of course you will visit the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus. The world-famous astronomer led an interesting life that might not always fit into the image of a canon. You’ll learn interesting facts about him as well as his discoveries during the tour in Thorn. In the late afternoon we leave Toruń and arrive in Gdansk in the evening. We stay in the hotel that we already know. Then we go to a farewell dinner, where we exchange impressions of the day and of the entire journey.
On this day, our program comes to its end. In the morning, we start our way to the airport in Gdansk from which you will fly back home. From this trip, you will take with yourself unforgettable memories and the feeling of having experienced something special. Here in Poland, you have spent an intense and eventful time and we hope that we have convinced you to come here once more. The unique atmosphere of the region and the hospitality of locals have, for sure, persuaded you to return here in the future and it would be our pleasure to make your stay in the region as pleasant as it is possible. We always welcome you here!