THE FORMATION OF POLAND

Forever sandwiched between powerful neighbours, Poland has defended its freedom and sovereignty on innumerable occasions over the centuries, only to be overrun and subjugated to occupation by foreign powers time and time again. It went in the 18th century from being the biggest state in Europe to completely disappearing off the world map. Yet it is testament to the astounding resilience of the Polish people that Poland has not only bounced back from every crushing blow but has also had the energy to hold strong to its own culture and spirit. We invite you on an unforgettable journey to the country of Fryderyk Chopin, Adam Mickiewicz, John Paul II and many other remarkable Poles who have played an important role in the formation of Polish national identity.

The Polish Kingdom

The Polish Kingdom

For almost eight centuries, Poland was a kingdom. Discover the ancient routes of the Polish kings. Visit the Royal Castle in Warsaw and tour the Royal Route. Starting at the Royal Castle this  broad and prominent artery passes numerous historical buildings including royal mansions and residences and ends at the Royal Lazienki Park with the lovely Castle on the Water. Visit the former capital and royal city of Krakow with the legendary Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral shrouded in secrets and with an abundance of royal splendours.

A Son of Poland

A Son of Poland

Follow in the footsteps of Frederic Chopin, the Polish composer and virtuoso pianist, a superstar of the romantic area. Discover places connected with his life: the Church of the Visitant Nuns where he gave his first concerts, Czapski Palace where he lived, and St. Cross Church where his heart is buried. Venture to Royal Lazienki Park on a lazy Sunday afternoon and attend one of the magnificent concerts there, then travel to Zelazowa Wola outside Warsaw to visit his birthplace and childhood home surrounded by a romantic park – and again enjoy his music.

Follow the Holy Father

Follow the Holy Father

Krakow’s diocese reached a culmination with the election of its host Cardinal Karol Wojtyla to the Holy See as Pope John Paul II. Follow the life of the Holy Father and embark on a day’s excursion to the Archbishop’s Palace with its monument to the Pope, the Archdiocese Museum and St. Florian Church, the first church in Krakow, where the Pope was once a vicar. Also, see the Family Home of the Holy Father in Wadowice, which houses a museum dedicated to his life, and finally the Lagiewniki Sanctuary of Divine Mercy with its Basilica and Lord’s Mercy Icon.

The Roads to Freedom

The Roads to Freedom

Gdańsk. World War II started here, and communism was overthrown here. In 1980, the city was an arena for events that marked the beginning of organized resistance to Communist rule in Eastern Europe. Experience the famous Gdańsk Shipyard where it all started. The Roads to Freedom exhibition at its entrance recreates daily life during Socialist times and the birth of Solidarity, while the newly opened European Solidarity Centre popularizes the legacy of Solidarity in Poland and abroad.

Cuisine Polonaise

Cuisine Polonaise

Visit a fish restaurant in a historical townhouse in Gdansk and try the specialty of the house, delicious fish direct from the Baltic Sea, and sample the exceptional local Gdansk Goldwaser vodka. Drop into one of the many gourmet haunts in Warsaw and savour fusion cuisine, combining the exotic cuisine of the Far East with elaborate Polish dishes. Or attend a pierogi workshop to discover the secrets of traditional Polish cuisine. In Krakow, enjoy chocolate prepared according to a century-old recipe at the Wedel Café and dine at an authentic palace offering top quality traditional Polish food in an elegant setting.

Schindler and the Jews

Schindler and the Jews

Before World War II, Poland's Jewish community was the largest in the world. Book a private Jewish guide and trace Jewish culture back through time. Visit the former Jewish districts in Warsaw and the many memorial sites: the Warsaw Ghetto, the new Polin Museum and the infamous Umschlagplatz. In Krakow, your guide will take you to the Jewish district of Kazimierz where the film “Schindler’s List” was shot, to the former Nazi labour camp in Plaszow and to Schindler's Factory. Top the day with a fine kosher dinner at a genuine Jewish restaurant and listen to the expressive Klezmer music.

Scenic Tatra Mountains

Scenic Tatra Mountains

An undeniable advantage of Krakow is its location a short distance from the stunning Tatras – the most picturesque range in the Polish Carpathians. Take a daytrip to the Tatras and the lovely town of Zakopane. On this scenic journey, you will discover the beauty of the high mountain landscape: glacial valleys and the ridge towering above them. Many guests come here in summer for hiking and mountaineering and in winter for the excellent conditions for winter sports: alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding and ski jumping.

Poland on Horseback

Poland on Horseback

Horseback riding is one of the oldest, most carefully cultivated traditions in Poland. See the Arab horses on auction in Janow Podlaski, where wealthy celebrities are regularly among the bidders. For shorter or longer trips on horseback under the guidance of an experienced instructor, turn to one of the many stud farms in Poland. Advanced riders can conquer Poland on their own, using the country’s growing network of horseback trails. Or indulge in the pleasure of a night’s sledging cavalcade lit by torches, with blankets on your laps and a thermos full of hot tea with vodka.

Shop till you Drop

Shop till you Drop

There is no better place than Poland for a memorable shopping spree, finding any goods you desire: clothes, jewellery, artworks, antiques and rarities. Upmarket shopping malls are mushrooming in all of Poland’s cities, but most especially in Warsaw. Book a chauffeured car and a shopping guide and pick from a wide range of shopping galleries, or fling yourself into art or antique shopping fervour with ‘trophies’ available in numerous art galleries and antique shops, where occasionally you will stumble upon a priceless treasure.