Recommend a 9 day itinerary for Poland

Apr 28th, 2003, 12:20 AM
  #1  
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Recommend a 9 day itinerary for Poland

My husband and I are planning a 9/10 day holiday in Poland in the 2nd week of June 2003. So far we've come up with Warsaw(2days)->Krakow(2days)->Oswiecim(1day)->Zakopane(2days)->Wroclaw(1day)->Torun(1day) or subsititute Wroclaw and Torun for Zamosc and/or Lublin. We'd welcome suggestions and recommendations on other places and changes to our itinerary.
nk_sk is offline  
Apr 28th, 2003, 12:00 PM
  #2  
 
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nk_sk - as most of your trip will be in southern Poland, I suggest that you include Lublin, Zamosc, and perhaps Kazimierz Dolny for Wroclaw and Torun. Though these are wonderful cities and definite must sees. They are a little far flung from your main itinerary- especially Torun which is northwest of Warsaw. Have a wonderful trip!
CharlieB is offline  
Apr 28th, 2003, 02:02 PM
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I agree with CharlieB - although Torun is nice it is bit out of your way and will mess up your sight seeing times (which be wasted on driving). Also include less time for Warsaw... Oswiecim should really be considered a 1/2 day (since guided tour is about 2hrs+) - and basically on the way to Krakow or Zakopane. From Zamosc (www.zamosc.pl).
South of Lublin/Zamosc (about 30km wast on route 98 from Jaroslaw) there is a very nice Palace/Castle in Lancut (www.polmoslancut.com.pl/eng/city.htm)... In Lancut you can stay in the castle or this place (Little Palace) which is right next to the castle (www.palacyk.lancut.pl)
Route 98 West from Lancut will take you to Zakopane. On the way to Wroclaw - there are also few gems like Ksiaz Castle or Bolkow Castle...
Check out my comments on that region here:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34399207

So Definitly skip Torun this time - and do not stay so much in Warsaw use save days in Lancut/Ksiaz and Table Mountain's area Wroclaw area ...

If you drive - remember that Old City areas in Warsaw/Krakow are closed to traffic... In Krakow they will allow you to drive up to your hotel to unload luggage if your hotel is in old part of the town - and then you will need to park outside of old town. 2nd week of June will also be start of the season so make sure you have reservations as well as allow more time for your travel. Road to Zakopane (60km section right before Zakopane) can be very slow - and sometimes it may take few hours. You also may want to decide on skipping or spend less time in Zamosc and Lublin which would give you extra time in Wroclaw area...

Enjoy!
PeterB is offline  
Apr 29th, 2003, 12:42 AM
  #4  
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Thanks CharlieB and PeterB. We don't speak a word of Polish so do you think it's advisable to drive? We did manage to drive around Spain and we didn't speak Spanish either. If we take the bus/train would it still be possible to do places like Kazimierz Dolny and Lancut with Zamosc and Lublin? Also would the time saving be significant if we drove?
nk_sk is offline  
Apr 29th, 2003, 08:52 AM
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As you have mentioned already you drove in Spain and not knowing Spanish did not cause any problems... Same be in Poland...
As for Driving vs Train/Bus ... that is an individual decission since there be no time savings (since you maybe waiting for connections vs traffic) - also since many schools start their vacations around mid June - trains and busses will be packed (since they are very popular) so you need to consider that fact that you may not be able to board specific train/bus... as for driving you need to calculate additional traffic time in large cities and on Road to Zakopane around that time. My prefrance have always been driving - where you are able to stop anywhere not worring about connection, or be able to se places like Lancut, Ksiaz, Bolkow without crazy bus/train connections. Gas stations are also all over the place - many being self serv (with western european pumps) they almost always have toiletes and many times self serv shops where you can buy candy, food, drinks etc... At Full serv just give money - and watch the meter. All stations offer Unleaded many offer disel some also offer natural gas.

When renting a car in Poland - you will need an International Permit or license - One offered by AAA/CAA for $10 is valid and widely used.
PeterB is offline  
May 2nd, 2003, 12:37 AM
  #6  
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Thanks again PeterB. If we drive then does the following itinerary sound ok? Warsaw(1 day)->Lublin(1 day with side trip to Kazimierz Dolny)->Zamosc(1 day)->(stop at Lancut on route)Zakopane(1 day)->Krakow(3days including 1/2 day in Oswiecim)->Wroclaw(2 days)->Warsaw
All days include driving time so I would appreciate knowing how long these drives would take? I do know the distance in km but would still like to know if some routes take longer than expected such as the one from Zakopane to Krakow.
Assuming we rent the car from Warsaw airport and return it there which other places besides Krakow would we not be able to park our car at the hotel(we will be looking for very central hotels)?
If the above sounds too hectic then would you advise skipping Wroclaw and spending more time in the Zakopane area or skipping Lublin/Zamosc and spending more time in the Wroclaw area? This might be the only time we will ever get to visit Poland so what would you recommend?

nk_sk is offline  
May 2nd, 2003, 12:56 PM
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nk_sk - Go for it. You have a few 6+ hour trips, especially Zamosc to Zakopane so you might not have much time for Lancut. I would only consider skipping Wroclaw if you are really into hiking and mountain scenery and if you are rewarded with excellent weather. Remember you are on a schedule and can't possibly see every thing you want to - just enjoy what you do see.
CharlieB is offline  
May 3rd, 2003, 08:33 PM
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Wroclaw is not just mountain and hiking although the area (SouthWest Karpacz or South Kudowa Zdroj, Duszniki Zdroj by Czech border are great for mountains and hiking). Wroclaw just by itself maybe not worth such a long detour, but adding Ksiaz and possibly little break at Bolkow maybe added bonus. But as CharlieB mentioned you be on schedule so you may need to cut out Lublin/Zamosc or Wroclaw and area. So maybe skipping Wroclaw be good idea - then saved time use traveling on route 98 from Lancut to Zakopane and stoping perhaps in between in Pieniny mountains visiting castle like niedzica (which also has hotel area) and one in Czorsztyn...

http://www.niedzica.pl/foto/ang/jezioro.jpg
http://www.zzw-niedzica.com.pl/zamkia.htm

In Pieniny area (detour south from Nowy Sach (route 98) (take raft ride on the Dunajec river between its canyons.
http://www.flisacy.com.pl/

You can then continue to Nowy Targ and then Zakopane.

Driving in cities/reaching Hotel by car: From your list only Krakow is really a problem - since it's old city is rather large - with hotels in old city area and all closed to traffic (unless you trying to reach your hotel in that area to unload). They actualy have Police in area that will stop you if you try to enter (so have your hotel name handy to show - and then they will even show you which way to go instead of giving you a ticket).

As for drive times... Due to quality of roads as well as the fact that 95% of them will be 1 lane each way and many of them going thru cities and villages - your average speed will be about 40-70km/h... From Krakow to Oswiecim take A4 (4/lane highway which should take you to Oswiecim in about 30min with easy exit marked Oswiecim and then signs for camps). Try going early and take the guided tour in english/german/french/polish/etc. with the movie at the end. You can go thru the camps yourself - but it does take longer and you loose all of the history and stories. Oswiecim is really 2 camps Auschwitz-Birkenau - visit Auschwitz first then just drive to Birkenau which is just thousands of barracks.

If you do want to still try Wroclaw (although you really may not have enough time) then route A4 to Katowice then there is a easy switch to route 4 to Wroclaw... (again at some poit you will pickup 4lane highway)... Problem is Wroclaw -> Warsaw which would be by taking route 8 which mostly is very boring and long...(as well as 1 lane each way).

But if you skip it then overnight in Zakopane maybe nice...
www.gorskipalacyk.pl
http://apartamenty.tatrynet.pl/indexan.html
www.czarnypotok.pl

Located in Center of Zakopane (great location - guarded parking across street - and great market next to lift to Gubalowka Mountain 300m behind hotel - hotel has a good restaurant also there are many other restaurants in this area) http://www.orbis.pl/hot_gie.html
Definitly visit this market - prices here are much cheaper then in Krakow. Also try Oscypki (smoked in different ways goat cheese sold all over the place). Make sure you make reservations (hint.in many places in Poland they will allow you to reserve without using your card just your name when you call place direct-using that always specify your latest arrival time)

Enjoy!!!
PeterB is offline  
May 4th, 2003, 08:28 AM
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I had to laugh when I read PeterB's description of the police who will help you find your hotel in Krakow. It was about 8 at night, dark and rainy, and of course the street signs are about 3" by 4". We had already spent at least an hour circling the old part of Krakow trying to figure out how to get to our hotel which was inside the walled old town area. My husband finally thought he had it figured out. He pulled in and turned the only direction we hadn't previously tried. There were immediately 3 police cars with their lights flashing. It turned out we were driving around the main square and going the wrong way on a one way street. We were rather petrified and I think it was about at this point that my husband (who was driving and was already furious about the difficulty we were having finding our hotel) mentioned that we should just drop him off at the airport and he was going to head home. The police didn't speak English, French or German, and we didn't speak Polish. We finally got across that we were trying to find our hotel. They signaled to us to follow them and we had no idea if we were following them to the police station or what. But, sure enough, they took us to our hotel which I don't think we would have ever found on our own.
julies is offline  
May 4th, 2003, 08:48 AM
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Julies> that is so funny!!! - but as you have stated even when they do not not speak your language they will try their best to assist. With you they did a presidential escort ))
Anyway Word Hotel is same in Polish - but best is to have it written down somewhere with the address - this way you can just show and point to it...

I'm still laughing - thanks!
PeterB is offline  
May 4th, 2003, 11:43 AM
  #11  
Art
 
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I think that PeterB gave you great advice. I can only add that I found the Polish drivers quite good and courteous. The roads are mostly two lanes, but most drivers will move over into the shoulder when you are trying to pass and the oncoming drivers will also pull over on to the shoulder to give you room. The shoulders are paved and about 2/3 lanes wide. You do have to watch for breakdowns and horse drawn carts. I only speak a few words of Polish and had no trouble driving. Sounds like a great trip.
Art is offline  
May 5th, 2003, 01:00 AM
  #12  
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(Please ignore this message if it appears twice)
Thanks everyone!
We plan now to arrive in Warsaw and take the train next day to Krakow (don't see the point of driving down if we are not going to use the car in Krakow), rent the car in Krakow and do the eastern route Zakopane - Zamosc - Lublin and leave the car in Warsaw. Any idea if car rentals would be ok with that?

Planning to book in advance the hotels in Warsaw and Krakow and there's plenty of info on this forum about them. Also PeterB's suggestion for Giewont hotel in Zakopane looks good. But any ideas where to stay for the 3 days we intend to spend between Zakopane and Lublin. We dont mind staying for example in Lancut. Would that be more interesting? And should we book in advance or can we leave it and allow ourselves the flexibility? We've checked out the sites suggested by PeterB - Niedzica castle etc. Very pretty!
nk_sk is offline  
May 5th, 2003, 10:13 AM
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Lancut Castle as I remember has hotel area. Call them direct inside Poland (017)225-2671 or +48(17)225-2671 for details on room (they only have 5doubles and 2 triple rooms). There is also a restaurant in this place (which usually is the case with castle/hotels).
http://www.poland4u.com/hotel.asp?hotel=Lan_Zam&jezyk=1
http://www.hotelspoland.com/hoteldet...cf5569af9ec228


You can also check Castle/Hotel in Krasiczyn (http://www.hotele.zamkowe.pl/) which is on route 98 right after Przemysl... Second Castle (bit out of your way) in Baranow Sandomierski is also a nice pick - located 30km south east on Wisla river from also very nice Sandomierz.
http://www.sandomierz.pl/html/krzemien.htm
http://www.ga.com.pl/sandspis.htm

but back to route 98... if you will travel from Przemysl to Zakopane stop for a quick stop in Sanok http://www.sanok.pl then maybe an overnight in Niedzica Castle www.niedzica.pl (south/west of Nowy Sacz) - tel./fax +48(18)262-94-89 (http://www.poland4u.com/hotel.asp?hotel=Nie_Zam&jezyk=1)
http://www.hotelspoland.com/hoteldet...125fbcae32a1e7

to enjoy Pieniny area raft ride on the Dunajec river (mentioned in my previous post)
http://www.sl.sinet.sk/pieniny/English/PieninyE.htm
http://www.biega.com/poland-foto1.html
http://www.biega.com/poland-foto2.html

some other info on area you be visiting:
http://www.ciesin.ci.uw.edu.pl/poland/orbis/fold_6.htm

As for reservations - definitly do it - but try the Polish way first (without providing a credit card and calling direct) for extra flexibility.

By reserving you will insure that you will get a place in where you wanted - and not where is room available...

Also if you are looking into more budget accomodations - agrotourist palces maybe another option (sort of B&B places which are dirt cheap).

As for car rentals - you definitly thinking right by taking train to Krakow (but why not fly to Krakow - Krakow has international airport - so instead of choosing Warsaw just fly to Krakow direct price should be similar or same).

There are many car rentals that a local - and have offices in either Warsaw or Krakow and may charge you extra drop off charges for another city - best is to compare final charges between different companies - you can also contact places that deal with more then one rental company in Poland to get you what you want... here are just some (which also have Hertz Poland and some other companies which may not have additional dropoff charges)
www.amta.com
www.orbistravel.com
www.polhotels.com

When renting a car always ask if such things as radio/AC are included (I remember Hertz Poland did not have radios in their cars which I've missed).

Enjoy!!!




PeterB is offline  
May 5th, 2003, 05:52 PM
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One more place - which is definitly do not miss is Wieliczka Salt Mines located right next to Krakow... http://www.salt-mine.com/english/
it's a 1/2 day or less but definitly worth a visit - it's so amasing what can be done from a block of salt - and this place has it all. From Krakow there are many tours that will take you to Oswiecim and Wieliczka just ask at your hotel to see which will pick you up from your hotel... Another option is to do it on your own by driving to it or taking a LUX-BUS minibus from Krakow Main Railway Station (Dworzec Glowny).
PeterB is offline  
May 6th, 2003, 11:08 PM
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Thanks PeterB!
What do you think of Sandomierz and Ujazd. Are they worth a stopover? How should we do it if we are driving from Zakopane to Zamosc. If we leave early morning from Zakopane about how long will it take to Sandomierz? Would the route from Sandomierz to Zamosc require me to trace backwards? Basically I am trying to figure out how to get from Zakopane to Warsaw and visit Lancut, Sandomierz, Zamosc, Lublin, Kazimierz Dolny on the way in 3 days and 2 nights. If I cannot what should I leave out?
nk_sk is offline  
May 11th, 2003, 09:02 PM
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Sandomierz is really out of your way and 3day is really not much for all you want to see...
You may also need to skip Sanok if you get tight on time... but visiting Lancut is a must.

Anyway let look at this in couple of segments...

1.Zakopane->17km(45min)->Nowy Targ->25km(45min)->Czorsztyn->10km(30min)->Niedzica->10km(30min)->Kroscienko/Trzy Korony Mtn Peak->43km(1hr)->Nowy Sacz->73km(1hr)->Krosno (See Niedzica and Czorsztyn Castles as well as take a raft trip on Dunajec River)

Depending on your available Time you may continue to Sanok or go north thru Rzeszow to Lancut.

2a. Krosno->34km(45min)->Sanok->62km(1hr)->Krasiczyn Castle/Przemysl->34km(45min)->Jaroslaw->35km(45min)->Lancut->20km(30min)->Przeworsk->17km(30min)->Sieniawa->43km(1hr)->Bilgoraj->20km(30min)->Zwierzyniec->31km(45min)->Zamosc->89km(1.5hr)->Lublin->47km(45min)->Pulawy->10km(15min)->Kazimierz Dolny->10km(15km)->Pulawy->12km(15min->Zyczyn->100km(1.5hr)->Warsaw

2b. Krosno->63km(1hr)->Rzeszow->17km(15min)->Lancut->20km(30min)->Przeworsk->17km(30min)->Sieniawa->43km(1hr)->Bilgoraj->20km(30min)->Zwierzyniec->31km(45min)->Zamosc->89km(1.5hr)->Lublin->47km(45min)->Pulawy->10km(15min)->Kazimierz Dolny->10km(15km)->Pulawy->12km(15min->Zyczyn->100km(1.5hr)->Warsaw

Adding raft trip on Dunajec 3hrs - Lancut (min.2hours) or adding any extra stop overs and attractions on the way - with above driving times you can see that your time will be bit tight. To get some flexibility try calling hotels direct to get reservations without using your card (ask for when is the latest they will hold your reservation - since you may need to call back from road to confirm with credit card). Buy telephone card (since almost every gas station will have a working phone).

Enjoy!!!
PeterB is offline  
May 11th, 2003, 10:34 PM
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THANKS PeterB for that breakup! It will help us ALOT!
nk_sk is offline  
May 12th, 2003, 09:33 AM
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I'm not sure if at this point I should mention any additional attractions ;-) but will do so anyway... Not to far East from Zakopane/Nowy Targ there is also a nice little town called Zywiec - it is famous for what is considered the best Polish Beer (Zywiec). http://www.zywiec.com.pl/

When driving from Lancut to Zamosc - you will also go thru some nice little towns like Bilgoraj (http://www.bilgoraj.pl/)

Also note that Bieszczady Mountains (Krosno, Sanok area) is bit on the wild side (this is home for Wolfs and Bears) so try not to go too deep off marked trails...

Enjoy!!!
PeterB is offline  
May 12th, 2003, 09:49 AM
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Thanks nk_sk for asking the right questions. The answers provided us with most of what we need to do this area. We don't leave until 7/23, so, we would be interested in your observations when you return. Have a great trip.
joegri is offline  
May 12th, 2003, 09:56 AM
  #20  
 
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At this rate you'll need to move to Poland to see everything.

So one more: stop if you can at Zelazowa Wola outside Warsaw for one of the many open-air recitals conducted from Chopin's original home. You sit in the garden, bees buzzing, while the pianist (always top-notch) performs in the house with the windows and doors open, the music wafting through the air. Magic.
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