Our Grand Tour is the ultimate choice if you wish to discover the best of Poland in 12 days. Enjoy a varied extensive program with many unusual experiences. A thrilling personal insight into Poland, with fantastic landscapes and 1000 years of amazing history.
Day 1 – Warsaw
Arrive in Warsaw this evening, meet with your tour leader and enjoy a hearty and delicious welcome dinner.
Day 2 – Warsaw
Your full-day tour of the city covers the very best of fascinating Warsaw: the charming Old Town (painstakingly rebuilt from scratch after WWII); the historical Jewish Ghetto area; the vibrant downtown and the elegant Royal Route with the Palace on the Water in the Lazienki Gardens, one of Europe’s finest 18th century royal residences.
The next stop is the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising, widely regarded as the best new museum in Poland, and dedicated to the uprising of 1944, the consequences of which scar and define the city to this day. Alternatively, you can choose to have free time to explore the cobbled lanes of the Old Town and spot the details of restoration on the facades of the historical houses.
This evening enjoy a delicious traditional Polish dinner in a stylish restaurant. We conclude the day with a private piano concert of works by Chopin, a Polish composer-pianist revered worldwide as the greatest master of Romantic music.
Day 3 – The Day of Teutonic Knights
Shortly after an early breakfast, we board our bus and head northwards to the Baltic Sea. We will travel through the Warmia (Ermland) region, stopping in the Ilawa Lake District to visit a marvel of 19th-century German engineering: the Ostroda-Elblag Canal, a system of canals combined with a narrow-gauge railway. Your boat cruise will let you take in the natural and technical wonders of this top Poland attraction. This afternoon we have a tour of Malbork (Marienburg) Castle, a triumph of architecture and one of the biggest medieval castles in Europe. Between 1309-1459, it was the seat of the mighty Order of Teutonic Knights. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with meticulously restored interiors such as the great halls, magnificent high towers and even a central heating system. This evening drive to Gdansk and check in to a comfortable hotel before dinner.
Day 4 – Gdansk
We start in the Old Town of Gdansk. Gdansk’s past as the richest Polish port city has made it one of the top tourist destinations in Poland. Its Old Town is full of maritime atmosphere and packed with unique Hanseatic-style architecture. Think Amsterdam; tall and slim red-brick waterfront houses. During sightseeing you will see the Old Town, St. Mary’s (the largest Gothic church in Poland), the Neptune Fountain and the Artus Court. After, we take you to Oliwa with a beautiful 13th-century cathedral famous for its set of incredibly complex pipe-organs. After an organ recital, you will have free time in Gdańsk. On the way to the Old Town, we stop at the famous Gdansk (formerly Lenin) Shipyards, the birthplace of the Solidarity movement led by Lech Walesa. This evening is free for you to enjoy Gdansk at your leisure.
Day 5 – Torun – Copernicus
After breakfast, we bid farewell to Gdansk and head south towards Torun, another red brick pearl! Lunch is followed by a tour of Torun Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). This delightful historical city is rich in original Gothic structures that survived numerous wars and invasions, including a magnificent town hall, medieval fortification walls, the Polish “leaning tower of Pisa”, as well as the superb St. James’ church. The town has always been famous for its gingerbread – taste it in different shapes and sizes. This evening enjoy some free time to explore this town a little more. Based on what our previous clients have said, it never fails to leave a lasting impression.
Day 6 – The first Polish capital
On the way to Wrocław (Breslau), we will stop in Gniezno, the first Polish capital. The town is a must-see to understand the early history of Poland. The cathedral is a true gem and it was the coronation site of five Polish kings. Visitors can see the tomb of Saint Wojciech (Adalbert) as the centerpiece of the cathedral. It is renowned also for its bronze Romanesque gate. We arrive at the medieval city of Wrocław in the Lower Silesia region this afternoon, and later enjoy dinner in a superb restaurant.
Day 7 – Lovely Silesia (The Church of Peace & Wroclaw)
From the feedback of the last ten seasons, Wroclaw has always been warmly received by the visitors. You can either enjoy free time (there is plenty to do and see) in the old town; see the breath-taking university hall; or go on a complimentary trip to Swidnica, a small town an hour’s drive away. Swidnica is home to the huge wooden Church of Peace, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was one of the three places in Silesia where Protestantism was permitted after the Thirty Years’ War and the church itself was built without using a single nail. Shortly after lunch, we will take a short walk in the Old Town led by an experienced local guide, before spending this evening at your leisure.
Day 8 – Auschwitz-Birkenau
Today’s journey will be a totally different experience. In eastern Silesia, at the edge of the town of Oswiecim there are two gruesome reminders of the former German death camps that now make up the Holocaust Memorial, kept so that humanity will never forget one of the worst periods in its history. We will visit the older camp Auschwitz I (the museum) and II Birkenau, a concentration and extermination camp. After lunch we continue south to Zakopane, the principal Polish mountain resort located at the foot of the majestic Carpathian mountain range. In the evening, we take a horse carriage ride to one of the best local restaurants. Enjoy a lively highlander show with live music and dance where you will see the folk customs that are still thriving in this region, and get a taste of the local cuisine and the strong “highlander tea”.
Day 9 – Polish mountains
We see the exquisite local wooden architecture in Zakopane before hopping onto the funicular railway to Mt. Gubalowka, one of the most beautiful peaks in the Tatras, to view the dramatic scenery. During the day, there is time for some souvenir hunting along Krupowki Street in Zakopane. We arrive in Krakow this evening and stay in the beautiful Old Town.
Day 10 – Wieliczka
Descent into the underground chambers of the Wieliczka Salt Mines for an unparalleled and eerie tour of the medieval galleries, chapels and halls carved out of rock and salt deposits. All you’ve heard about this place is true; there is nothing like it in the world. The rest of the day is free to enjoy at your leisure.
Day 11 – Krakow – royal capital
This city tour promises to be a feast for the senses and includes: exploring the medieval section of the town that has the main town square, the largest square in Europe; the fascinating churches with different architectural styles; and the most beautiful streets brimming with old world charm. The world’s biggest wooden altar (carved by Veit Stoss between 1477-1489) opens its wings in the Church of the Virgin Mary each day and we will be there to witness the magical moment. From one of its twin towers every hour you can hear the Hejnal, the haunting alarm-call played by a trumpeter. We take a comfortable walking tour of the legendary Wawel Castle, covering the Cathedral and the Belfry. Afterwards, we shall treat you to a sumptuous dinner in one of Krakow’s finest restaurants. You will have a chance to learn how to prepare delicious pierogi (the national dish, a type of dumpling filled with meat, vegetables or fruit).
Day 12 – Black Madonna – return to Warsaw
Breakfast is followed by the last highlight of our tour – Czestochowa. Along with Rome, Fatima in Portugal and Lourdes in France, the Jasna Gora Monastery of Czestochowa belongs to the most important and inspiring pilgrimage points in Christendom. We will see not only the famous Black Madonna but also the monastery premises on a tour led by a resident Pauline monk. Arrive back in Warsaw this evening.
We can provide the best rates for an extended stay or arrange a continuation of the tour. Favourite private extensions include:
- Lublin, once called Poland’s Jerusalem
- Kazimierz Dolny, an untouched renaissance trading town
- Poznan, one of Poland’s most historic and dynamic cities
- Bialowieza forest, the last unspoilt forest in Europe with its renowned bison or a spa hotels break –Poland is noted for having restorative micro-climates.
- hotel accommodation as described or similar
- transport (air-conditioned high-class motorcoach)
- experienced driver
- parking fees
- professional English-speaking escort guide while on tour
- 17 diversified meals, including breakfasts and 6 three-course dinner
- city tours of Warsaw, Gdansk, Krakow, Zakopane and Wroclaw with licenced guides
- sightseeing of Gniezno, Malbork Castle, the Jasna Gora Monastery, Wawel Castle, Our Lady’s Church, Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, Wieliczka Salt Mines, Swidnica Peace Church, the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising
- entrance to private Chopin piano concert
- cruise on the Ostroda-Elblag Canal
- organ concert in Gdansk-Oliwa
- cable car to Mt. Gubalowka
- horse carriage ride and highlander show in Zakopane
- city taxes in Krakow and Zakopane
- information booklet
- tour organization and travel documents
Images courtesy of StayPoland.com