A historic country which is full of culture, great food, and interesting Stalinist architecture from the Cold War era, Poland is a place that’s perfect for a city break. Popular options are that of capital Warsaw, Krakow, and Gdansk – with each offering its own unique pleasures.
Those starting their Polish adventure in Warsaw will be sure to see the Palace of Culture and Science as they arrive. Built by Stalinist architects, it’s certainly quite hard to miss. Today, the building houses a cinema, four theatres, two museums, and even a university amongst other things, but despite all this change, the amazing panoramic views from the top have remained very much the same.
The colourful Old Town is one of 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites in the city and its historic centre dates all the way back to the 13th century. Mostly obliterated in the Second World War, it’s been meticulously reconstructed to great effect. Those seeking a peaceful environment will find multiple parks across the city, but the most famous is the 17th-century Saxon Garden (Ogród Saski). The oldest public park in the city, it has colourful flowers, lemonade and ice cream stalls, and paths aplenty. The National Opera House is a popular spot very close to the aforementioned Old Town, providing an evening's entertainment unlike any other.
Moving across the country to Krakow – it’s is a romantic, old town that has managed to preserve its old-fashioned beauty and charm through medieval and renaissance buildings. Steeped in myths and history, this metropolitan gem, surrounded by the lush landscapes of Southern Poland, is a time capsule from a golden era of kings, legends and fairy tales. Stroll through the charming streets of the old Jewish area of Kazimierz, before visiting one of the local cafés, restaurants or old-fashioned milk bars for traditional Polish food like pierogis (potato-dumplings) and golabki (filled cabbage rolls). Alternatively, head to the up-and-coming area of Podgorze for a visit to the Starmach Gallery or the Drukarnia Jazz Club. If you want to explore a darker side of the area’s historical past, then you can visit the Oscar Schindler Museum in the Zablocie-area and see how the factory owner managed to spare the lives of thousands of Jewish workers from the Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War.
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