16 nights in Poland

Jan 4th, 2017, 02:14 AM
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16 nights in Poland

My husband and I plan to spend 16 nights in Poland in July this year. After considerable research we have more or less settled on -
Warsaw - 3 nights (inc jetlag recovery)
Krakow - 4 n (inc Auschwitz, salt mine, day trip to Zakopane)
Wroclaw - 2n
Poznan - 2 n
Torun - 2 n
Gdansk - 4 n
which adds up to 17 nights, so we have many questions!
Would 24 hours (lunchtime to lunchtime ish) be long enough in Torun?
or should we reduce our stay in Gdansk (or somewhere else?) by 1 night?
Will there be time to visit the Masurian Lakes from Gdansk esp if we reduce by a day? I've read the Lakes area's quite difficult to get to.
Is 4 nights in Krakow too few?
Would we have time to take the steam train through the Klodzko Valley from Wroclaw (I guess not, unless we basically don't see Wroclaw!).
We shall be travelling around Poland by train and leaving by ferry from Gydnia (~ 30 mins from Gdansk) to travel to Sweden.

Many thanks.
MRM49 is offline  
Jan 4th, 2017, 08:31 AM
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I think your itinerary is good as it is. I haven't been to Torun or Gdansk so have no opinion on that. I'm sure you can get by with only 24 hours in Torun.

I don't think 4 nights in Krakow is "too few", I think it's about right for most people but it sounds like if you spent more there, you'd take it away from somewhere else. Five nights might be better because you want to do all those trips outside of the city, though. Maybe add on one more. But where would you get it from?
Christina is online now  
Jan 4th, 2017, 04:35 PM
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Depending on your priorities, one more night in Krakow might make sense. If you are anything like me, you won't want to do anything other than Auschwitz on the day you go there, except maybe a very quiet evening. And in addition to the salt mine and Zakopane, there's easily enough in Krakow itself to fill a couple of days (or more). While in Krakow, do consider making time for the Lady with an Ermine -- she is quite lovely.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Jan 4th, 2017, 05:04 PM
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Torun is wonderful, but I spent only a night there, and that was enough. It's not that big - at least, the old town area you'd want to explore isn't that big. I am not sure I would want two nights, so good call - take the night elsewhere if you need it.

I had three nights in Krakow and that was barely enough. Four would have been plenty for me. I had two in Wroclaw and that was plenty, too (one day it poured rain so my outdoor activities were limited - frustrating as a photographer). Wroclaw has a lovely town square but unlike Krakow (and like Gdansk), Wroclaw was bombed out during the war and re-built. Krakow mostly was spared damage and is pretty authentic.

I had three nights in Gdansk which was enough too. If I had one night to add to either Gdansk or Krakow, I'd probably use it for Krakow. But it depends what you want to do in each city. (Do visit Malbork Castle by train from Gdansk - excellent castle, very much worth the time!)
Andrew is online now  
Jan 4th, 2017, 06:17 PM
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Thank you Christina. Most itineraries for Poland seem to be 10-14 days - and yet we still don't have enough with 16! I shall take the excess day from Torun and perhaps(reluctantly) skip the day trip to Zakopane, the Masurian Lakes and the steam train through the Klodzko Valley.
MRM49 is offline  
Jan 4th, 2017, 10:18 PM
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Thank you kja. Yes, I've read about Leonardo's master-piece - it sounds very special.

And thanks Andrew, good to have someone who's been there say that one night in Torun is enough (even though I avoid one-nighters wherever possible!). I'd also read about Malbork castle, so thanks for that too.

Based on both your experiences, I'll take the 4th night from Gdansk to make 5 nights in Krakow (and reinstate Zakopane).

I might be ready now to book some accommodation - not before time I feel.....
MRM49 is offline  
Jan 4th, 2017, 11:01 PM
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One more tip: the trains in Poland have a reputation as being a bit run-down. In 2012, I found this to be true, though I love train travel and didn't mind the Polish trains at all. But I found that upgrading to first class was well worth it - and didn't cost that much more than second class - on Polish trains. Even the first class trains I took in Poland were not all that nice - just a little more comfortable. Once I got bumped from my first class seat when our train (leaving Torun) had some issue, and they had to leave the only first class car behind. The second class compartments sat four people to a bench! Only three to a bench in first class.

I don't normally splurge for first class on trains in other countries - usually costs a bit more. When I left Poland for Czech Republic on my trip, I automatically booked the train ticket first class. When I got on the Czech train as I left Poland, I was shocked at how nice it was - and then I remembered I'd booked first class, no wonder!
Andrew is online now  
Jan 4th, 2017, 11:41 PM
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Funny, we were discussing this last night. My husband said he'd prefer first class(!) so no question about it now. Hopefully trains have improved in the last five years and first class is shockingly nice! We too love trains, so much more relaxed than flying, train stations generally in city centres and absolutely no point being there hours ahead of departure time.
MRM49 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2017, 12:02 AM
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While the Masurian Lakes are a wonderful region to explore, I would not want to do it with public transport. It would be an easy day trip by rental car from Gdansk, but since you seem to prefer/ have to rely on trains and have a packed schedule, it is probably better to skip it (as you already mentioned).
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2017, 01:37 PM
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My experience with Polish trains is limited to the sixties and, more recently, 2015 and 2016. It appear that the Polish rail system took advantage of the EU infrastructure funding, because second class, especially on the IC trains, is comparable to the Belgian trains (my only other European train experience).

Unless you have some specific reason to visit Toruń, given that you are already visiting Kraków, you could give it a pass.

The Masurian lake district is a bit of a drive, and it is a very popular area so there by car would not be easy in July.
The Kashubian Lake District is closer and offers the same experience.

Having been to both, I feel that Frombork is more interesting that Malbork.

You would need a car to enjoy both Kaszuby and Frombork.

When in the Tri-City area consider a trip to the Oliwa Cathedral and catch the organ recital. Oliwa Botanical Gardens are also worth a visit.
cdnyul is offline  
Jan 5th, 2017, 02:12 PM
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cdnyul: Unless you have some specific reason to visit Toruń, given that you are already visiting Kraków, you could give it a pass.

What does that mean? I visited Torun and Krakow on the same trip. I'm sure glad I didn't give Torun a "pass;" I thought it was a charming small town, one of the highlights of my trip, even though it lacked (for me, anyway) the historical significance of Krakow.

My experience with Polish trains is dated to 2012. I would not be surprised if they have upgraded some of their trains since then, but even then I had heard that the trains between, say, Warsaw and Krakow (which I did not ride) were nicer than the TLK trains I took between Gdansk, Torun, Wrockaw, and Krakow. I'd be surprised if they have upgraded ALL of their trains, nationwide since 2012.
Andrew is online now  
Jan 6th, 2017, 05:12 AM
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Torun and Krakow are two cities that are essentially in their original state.
Torun can be charming and can also be a bit of a tourist trap.

In my opinion, Poland can be an enjoyable destination without either of the above, but I am probably spoiled, since I am there a few times a year.

I think a difference of opinions and experiences is a good thing.
cdnyul is offline  
Jan 7th, 2017, 06:06 PM
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Thanks for your suggestions, cdnyl but, as they require a car, we won't be able to follow them up.
We are travelling by train as previously mentioned.

We shall however, try to get to an organ recital at the Oliwa Cathedral, sounds delightful. We are definitely going to both Torun and Krakow - this will almost certainly be our only visit to Poland.

cowboy1968, my husband decided a few years ago that he was over driving on the "wrong" side of the road (I was over it years before)so I fear we shan't ever see the Masurian lakes. I imagine a taxi would be prohibitive and, as you commented, our schedule is pretty full already anyway.

Thanks all.
MRM49 is offline  
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