Following the entry of a number of eastern European countries into the EU, tourism in these countries is naturally on the increase. Poland is at the forefront of this growth. This multi-faceted country really does have something to offer for every visitor – wonderful mountain landscapes, the relaxing sounds of ocean waves on the Baltic coast and breath-taking flora and fauna. Poland has the highest number of animal and plant species compared to other EU countries. Some of the animals living here have already died out in broad swathes of Europe. If you want to make sure you have the perfect holiday visiting our Eastern neighbour Poland, here are five insider tips that you should bear in mind.
The Polish Desert
Who would have believed that there could be a desert in Poland? The Błędów Desert lies between the towns of Błędów and Klucze, covering an area of 32km², making it the largest sandy area in land-locked Central Europe. At dusk and dawn particularly, the Błędów has an unforgettable atmosphere that should not be missed.
The Racławice Panorama in Wrocław
The Racławice Panorama certainly is one of the largest paintings in the world. On 1710m², it depicts the historical battle near Racławice in 1794, showing the victory of the Polish Army over the Russians. Nine painters worked side by side for nine months to complete this extraordinary painting, which can now be viewed from a number of platforms in a purpose-built circular building. The painting has been viewed by numerous visitors, amongst them Pope John Paul II and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
Beach Holidays in Brzeżno, Gdańsk
Poland has wonderful stretches of beach on offer and certainly holds its own against southern European holiday destinations. The best-known bathing resort in Poland is perhaps Sopot, a favourite with sunbathers. The beach in the Brzeżno area of Gdańsk seems a lot quieter, nearly empty by comparison, with sand as far as the eye can see, the calm Baltic Sea at your feet and one thing above all, peace and quiet. This is exactly the right place for people wanting to really relax without having to share the same patch of beach with other tourists. It's the perfect place for a combined city and beach holiday!
Kraków is known as one of the most beautiful cities in Poland. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978 with 140 churches, 70 palaces and 5000 surviving burgher houses, and as such has historical monument protection. Without a doubt, the most important place in the city is the Old Town Market, home to the monument of the Polish national poet, Adam Mickiewicz. But underneath the city itself there is a lot more to discover. Beneath Kraków Old Town Market, there is a unique 6000m² archaeological museum, offering a glimpse of life here in the Middle Ages.
View Warsaw from atop “Stalin's Syringe”
In recent years, Warsaw has turned into a modern metropolis. It's a good idea to get an overview of this city of more than 1.7 million inhabitants. The best way to do this is from the viewing platform of the Palace of Culture and Science, a gift from Stalin to the city – and one which it only accepted grudgingly. Even now, the people of Warsaw haven't completely warmed to the building. Nevertheless, a trip to the top is well worth it for the sheer expanse of the breath-taking view it provides.