Now that there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel on the pandemic front, it’s time to make up for lost time travel-wise. And heading across the pond for a good, old-fashioned European adventure is as enticing as ever this summer. While eyes will inevitably turn to the typical summertime spots – France, Italy, Greece, or Croatia, for example – Poland is also worthy of your first passport stamp post-pandemic. While it may not be an obvious go-to, Poland should be on the bucket list of the curious and well-traveled set.
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It Provides a History Lesson
History buff or not, Poland’s historic buildings and sites fuel curiosity about times past, aptly getting the wheels turning in the process. The Eastern European country is home to 14 unique UNESCO World Heritage Sites, from the stunning historical Old Towns of Warsaw and Krakow to the dreamy ancient Bialowieza Forest. Throughout the storied country, Poland is full of old churches, medieval castles, famous and infamous landmarks (like Auschwitz concentration camp), and museums that offer a glimpse into the country’s event-filled past – the good, bad, and horrific.
It Fuels the Foodie
If not for anything else, visit Poland for its vibrant food and beverage scene. Those with a soft spot for Polish food can savour it straight from the source; there’s no better to enjoy Polish food – pierogis, pork, sauerkraut, or potato pancakes – than in Poland’s countryside or big cities. In Warsaw, you’ll find a flourishing culinary scene that features forward-thinking chefs and cuisines of all varieties, including no shortage of vegan options (something that comes as a pleasant surprise to some). Word of advice: if you find yourself in Zakopane, don’t leave without trying the traditional smoked cheese, Oscypek.
From its sweeping mountain ranges, stunning forests, and white-sand beaches to its countless historic buildings, Poland’s scenery offers an abundance of photo ops and subsequent double tap-worthy social media material. Hiking Zakopane’s Tatra Mountains offers a fresh air fix that’s filled with scenic lookouts. Meanwhile, the visual set will also appreciate the magical storybook-like architecture that characterizes places like Gdańsk and Wroclaw, or the magnificent gothic designs found at the Church of St. Catherine.
It Offers a Well-Deserved Party
After a seemingly never-ending pandemic, the need to shamelessly let loose is completely understandable. Poland’s urban areas are full of opportunities to do just that, from welcoming dive bars with dirt-cheap shots and beers, to sophisticated hot spots with flowing bubbly and creative cocktails. If partying is on your vacation to-do list, make sure to spend a few days in the bar and alternative club-filled Krakow. Unbeknownst to some, Poland is also known for its vodka – and its people, for their love of it (in other words, you sort of have to try it).
It Doesn’t Drastically Dent the Wallet
An overload of fellow tourists can really kill the vibe when discovering new destinations (or trying to, at least). Refreshingly, Poland isn’t as touristy as other European countries thanks to its under-the-radar nature. Subsequently, it’s also a lot more affordable. From wining and dining to quality accommodations, your Euros go a long way in Poland – so you can go all out at the country’s best establishments without worrying about the ensuing credit card bill when you return home (you’re on vacation, after all).
Featured Image: Maksym Harbar