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Please help with 12-day itinerary for Warsaw-Krakow-Zakopane

Please help with 12-day itinerary for Warsaw-Krakow-Zakopane

Old Jul 14th, 2017, 02:33 PM
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Please help with 12-day itinerary for Warsaw-Krakow-Zakopane

Hi.

We just started planning a very last-minute 12 day/night trip for this August so we are in a time crunch with not much time for research.

Let me first say that we are at a point in our travel lives that we don't want to be running from place-to-place, unpacking/packing, trying to see everything in one trip. We want to relax, explore, relax, explore - see as much of an area as possible before we move on.

So - this is what we are thinking for the number of days in each place. We are open to suggestions.

>> 8/9 - Arrive in Warsaw for 3-days-3-nights. Still working on sites to see. Enough time in Warsaw?? Staying at Marriott – nothing beats free rooms!

>> 8/12 - Fly to Krakow for 5-days/5-nights. Am I correct thinking we need ½ -full day to see each of these (includes travel and tour time) -- Salt mines, Auschwitz and Czestochowa? Use the other 2-days for seeing Krakow? Seems like there is SO much to see/do here and surrounding areas. We found a lovely apartment for low-cost/++ benefit.

>> 8/17 - Drive to Zakopane for 2-days/2-nights. Hike and relax. Big question: Do we stay in town (touristy) or outside (more relaxed). Do we treat ourselves to a stay at the Grand Hotel Kempinski? Has anyone stayed here and is it really worth the price? Or, try our at first-time Airbnb stay at one of the great sounding apartments?

>> 8/19: Krakow to Warsaw for final 1.5 days.

>> 8/21: Fly back to US

If you can let us know if we have the right amount of days in each area, we can figure the rest out. If we are staying too long in a place, let us know that too and alternate suggestions.

Thank you!
Nancy and Stan
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Old Jul 14th, 2017, 02:59 PM
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Can you fly directly into or out of Krakow ("open jaw") instead of doing a round-trip to/from Warsaw? This would save you the time of getting between Warsaw and Krakow twice.

If not, I'd personally try to go directly to Krakow on your first day and have your time in Warsaw all at the end, instead of splitting it up. I know that means extra travel time on day of arrival. Whether this is feasible depends on how early your flight into Warsaw would arrive. It also means one fewer place to check into/out of.

Consider taking the train between Warsaw and Krakow instead of flying. It's about a 3.5 hour train trip I think. Once you factor in extra time to and from each airport, plus extra time needed just to arrive early at the airport, I think flying doesn't save you much time if any.

On a relaxed schedule, it makes sense to visit Auschwitz and the Salt Mines on separate days. I did them both in one day, because I didn't have as much time as you will have. I haven't been to Warsaw, but it sounds like I'd want more time in Krakow than Warsaw if I had to balance my time. I don't think you'd be making a mistake with five nights in Krakow.
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Old Jul 14th, 2017, 03:50 PM
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I’d give a full day for Auschwitz/Birkenow, partly to be sure to have enough time there, and partly because it can be emotionally exhausting. The tour I took left Krakow early in the morning and didn’t return until late afternoon. Normally one to fill every minute of my travel days, I was extremely glad that I planned to spend that particular evening very quietly, as it allowed me time to return to normal slowly while also allowing me time to contemplate what I had seen and experienced without intervening activities and images. (And BTW, I’d definitely encourage taking a tour from Krakow for that same reason – I would not have wanted to try to cope with either public transportation or a car after that very powerful experience. YMMV.)

While in Krakow, consider making time for the Lady with an Ermine -- she is very special.

I haven’t been to Zakpoane, but I think your timing is about right for Warsaw and Krakow. Depending on your interests, you might want to shift one night from Warsaw to Krakow.

Like Andrew, I think it would be worth considering whether you can you put all of your time in Warsaw at the end of your trip to cut out one change of hotels. I know it might not be possible…. And I also agree that if you can’t fly from Warsaw to Krakow more-or-less immediately upon arrival (as in, without leaving the airport), then it would make sense to consider taking the train instead.
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Old Jul 14th, 2017, 04:37 PM
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If taking the train Warsaw-Krakow and back - which makes sense to me over flying -city center to city center - book your tickets ASAP to see if you can get discounted tickets -can always buy full-fare ones once there - check Polish Railways web site -also check www.seat61.com as that site has keen advice on booking trains in every country with an emphasis on discounted tickets. Other sites for general info on trains www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

You may even be able to stop off en route in Czestochawa -main be on or close to the main Warsaw-Krakow mainline.
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Old Jul 15th, 2017, 05:32 AM
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Yeh if you can fly directly from airport to Krakow do it if not take the train.
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Old Jul 15th, 2017, 05:46 AM
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We stayed at a very nice small hotel about a ten minute walk outside the center of Zakopane.

From my trip report covering SE Poland:

We drove on to Zakopane and looked for our hotel, the Willa Orla ($108 for two nights), found through Bedandbreakfastworld.com. This was one of the three reservations we made for our stay in Poland, thinking that Zakopane might present problems since it is a big resort town. We need not have worried because we were between seasons, but Zakopane is somewhat disorienting when arriving by car, so that it might be best to have reservations just to know where to go. I highly recommend the Willa Orla which is located on the Koscieliska Street which is described thus by the Green Guide: “This very long street is Zakopane’s architectural masterpiece”. Willa Orla is a 15 to 20 minute walk from downtown Zakopane, and is located next to a restored farmhouse which is now a museum. It is more than a B&B in that it has about ten rooms, clearly set up for guests coming for winter sports. We were given a room in the back that covered the width of that wing, with a brand new bathroom, and a small refrigerator in the room. The establishment provided the best buffet breakfast we had in the whole trip. The one negative was that our good umbrella was stolen from where we had left it in the vestibule so as not to drip water on the wooden floors.

Here's the trip report:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...d-may-2012.cfm
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Old Jul 15th, 2017, 06:42 AM
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I think the salt mines should only take half a day. I agree with kja about Auschwitz, although it took me several days to recover, possibly because I went solo.

I stayed right in the center of Zakopane at http://www.sabala.zakopane.pl/en/cor...?_PageID=31632 My room looked out on the main pedestrian/shopping street, so I got to enjoy the activity without having to participate (I'm not a shopper). Loved the mountains.

From my TR: "I rode a funicular up into the western range, and while there were yet more stalls where the ride ended, it didn't take me long to leave them behind. With crystal clear air, easy walking along the ridge line road, and breathtaking views of the snowcapped mountains across the valley, I couldn't have been happier.

Later, I took a local bus to Kuznice, where two cable cars took me up to the top of Kasprowy Wierch. Here, higher up (6,519 feet), the air struck cold, and snow turned the scenery stark black and white. An unguarded border with Slovakia was close, but I would be taking a longer route there the next day."
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Old Jul 15th, 2017, 03:27 PM
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Thank you everyone for your guidance. Our flights in/out of Warsaw are booked and were the best flights/rates available for us, so that cannot change.

I hope I can change our Marriott stay using points to the end of the trip per your recommendations and book flights directly from Warsaw to Krakow upon arrival into Poland to start our trip in Krakow.

We will extend Krakow to 6 days/nights vs. 5. We already planned to give Czestochowa, Auschwitz full days, salt mines 1/2 day. That gives us hopefully, plenty of time to see the rest of Krakow.

This leaves us with 2 nights in Zakopane and 4 nights in Warsaw.

We think this will work perfectly!

Thank you for your help. Now, time to take a crash course in Polish!
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Old Jul 15th, 2017, 04:19 PM
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We think this will work perfectly!

Looks really really nice to me.

Check out Nowa Huta in Krakow! To me was a fascinating place - read Wiki- they say I heard "Rome wasn't built in a day but Nowa Huta was!"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nowa_Huta
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Old Jul 15th, 2017, 05:23 PM
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Good plan -- enjoy!
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Old Jul 17th, 2017, 03:58 AM
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We were in Krakow in May and loved it. One comment though - we went to the salt mine via our own car (about a 20 minute drive) and got into the first tour of the day with barely any waiting and drove back in 20 minutes and it was still more than half a day. Adding in train or bus travel and I think it will take longer. We felt we could have skipped it - for us it was a bit of a one trick pony - after the first 45 minutes "you get it". And then there's still almost 2 hours to go. Perhaps we would have felt different if we hadn't done other underground tours. YMMV.

One thing we really enjoyed in Krakow (of many!) was the golf cart tour we took of the Old Town and Jewish Quarter. We did it first thing and it really gave us a great perspective of what we wanted to return to. There are many of them around the main square.
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