Tag Archives: travel

Ten best museums in Poland

Booking.com describes Krakow's Polish Aviation Museum as "one of the best Aircraft Museums on the planet".
Booking.com describes Krakow’s Polish Aviation Museum as “one of the best Aircraft Museums on this planet”.

Booking.com published a top 10 list of the best Polish museums as voted for by the website’s users.

There are not that many surprises there, the entire list – maybe just with a couple of exceptions – is what you would normally find in each decent guide to Poland.

I’m not exactly sure how the list was compiled (I suspect algorithmically, based on the ratings), but it’s still a great overview of what people visit in Poland – from the well-known places like Auschwitz or Malbork Castle, to less-known gems like Galicia Jewish Museum or Polish Aviation Museum.

Some usual suspects are missing though and some less traditional museums have also been skipped, but that’s why you have me to bring you the rest, no?

Here’s the entire Booking.com Top 10:

1. Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Oswiecim

2. Warsaw Uprising Museum, Warsaw

3. Polish Aviation Museum, Krakow

4. Rynek Underground, Krakow

5. Majdanek National Museum, Lublin

6. Malbork Castle (Muzeum Zamkowe w Malborku), Malbork

7. Cracow Saltworks Museum, Wieliczka

8. Galicia Jewish Museum, Krakow

9. Jewish Museum and Synagogue Auschwitz, Oswiecim

10. Museum at Market Square (Muzeum Mista Krakowa), Krakow

Poland is beautiful

This video turned out to be very popular when I posted it on my Facebook page yesterday, so I thought  I’d add it here too for those of you not on Facebook. (But if you ARE on Facebook, have you liked our page?)

This film is almost a by-product of several campaigns done by a Polish ad agency for their clients. They combined the unused footage into a 4-minute video, which so far has attracted over 1.4 million views on You Tube.

The film shows beautifully shot aerial views of many picturesque corners of Poland: from the wide sandy beaches of the Baltic Sea to the greenery of the Polish mountains in the south.

Can you name them? Can you name the cities featured? Go on, impress me… (TIP: The clues are there if you watch to the end…)

Travel Tip: Szlak Orlich Gniazd (Trail of the Eagles’ Nests)

The Orgodzieniec Castle ruins by Mariusz Kucharczyk (Flickr, CC Licence)
The Orgodzieniec Castle ruins by Mariusz Kucharczyk (Flickr, CC Licence)

1.What is it?

A protected area  with 25 Medieval castles, often built on tall white rocks, by Kazimierz the Great, the Polish king. The trail itself is over 160 kilometres long and passes through all 25 castle sites, including the most famous Polish castle, the Wawel Castle in the heart of Kraków. Many of the castles were destroyed or damaged during the Swedish Invasion of Poland in the 17th century.

2. Where is it?

In the south of Poland, between Częstochowa and Kraków.

Pieskowa Skała Castle by Francisco Manzano (Flickr, CC licence)
Pieskowa Skała Castle by Francisco Manzano (Flickr, CC licence)

3.  Why bother?

The Trail of the Eagles’ Nests is one of Poland’s best and most picturesque trails. You don’t need to follow the entire trail, of course, you can just pick a castle and go there. The Pieskowa Skała Castle, for example (see above), is easily accessible by car and bicycle. It’s a stunning location, perched high on a tall rock, with lovely views and garden.

4. And you don’t want to miss…

… the Maczuga Herculesa (‘Hercules’s bludgeon’) rock. Called that thanks to its distinctive shape resembling a bludgeon. It’s located just a few minutes down from Pieskowa Skała.

5. Want to know more?

Watch the lovely promotional video (no, I wasn’t paid to show it, I just came across it on YouTube), created  to promote the region. Oh, and when you visit, go in the summer or early autumn…

Travel tip: Trzęsacz, the church swallowed by the sea

Trzęsacz by Tomek Witan via Flickr, used under Creative Commons licence
No, I haven’t chosen today’s destination only because of its tongue-twisting nature. Trzęsacz is also a very unique place which shows the destructive power of the Baltic Sea.

1. What is it?

Trzęsacz is a tiny village on the Polish coast famous for its disappearing church (see below).

2. Where is it?

North-west Poland, on the coast, sandwiched between other (bigger) holiday resorts like Rewal or Pobierowo. It’s easy to get there by car, local narrow-gauge train or, if you’re adventurous, you can also go for a very long walk along the beach if you’re staying in any of the nearby resorts.

3. Why bother?

Several centuries ago the village of Trzęsacz had a church which was built right in the middle of it – some 2 kilometers from the sea. Over the centuries though the unstoppable process of coastal erosion has ‘swallowed’ much of the land separating Trzęsacz from the sea and by late 19th century the church was emptied of its fittings and artwork and was left to its own devices. The first part of the church collapsed into the sea at the beginning of the 20th century. Now only the southern wall survives – but it’s become a major tourist attraction in the area.

4. And you don’t want to miss…

The recently-built long viewing platform rises above the beach and allows you to admire the ruins from an elevated perspective, but hey, it’s a beach too! Jump into the sea or admire the sunset. It can be as spectacular as in the Med (the sunset, that is, not the sea itself). The whole area is also a heaven for extreme sports enthusiasts.

5. Want to know more?

You can find tourist information about Trzęsacz on Google, but if you want a detailed scientific analysis of the coastal processes in the area, have a look at the Messina Project which also contains very old images of the church before it collapsed into the sea.


Travel tip: rafting on the Dunajec

Feeling adventurous? Fancy a bit of whitewater rafting minus the whitewater? Want some stunning views and possibly some equally amazing stories thrown in? Well, hop on a plane to the south of Poland, where you can go rafting and explore the fantastic Dunajec River Gorge.

1. What is it

The Dunajec river runs through a very picturesque gorge (Przełom Dunajca), whose peaks rise over hundreds of metres above the water. The rafting is organised by local flisaks (“flisak” is an old Polish word used to refer to those who transport people or goods on rivers). They have special boats, or canoes, which take up to 20 people and travel almost 20 kilometers downstream to the town of Szczawnica. On the way you pass through the Pieniny National Park with its mind-blowing views and lush nature.

2. Where is it?

The gorge runs through the Pieniny Mountains which are in the south of Poland, near the Slovak border. In fact, part the river itself forms the border between the two countries.

3. Why bother?

It’s stunningly beautiful and unique. The flisaks have been doing it for well over a hundred years and they have plenty of stories to tell and, if you’re lucky, songs to sing. The views of the gorge are breath-taking and it’s definitely at its best in the summer or in early autumn, when the colours of the trees begin to change.

4. And you don’t want to miss…

The most famous peak, Trzy Korony (The Three Crowns), a distinctive mountain rising over 900 metres above the river.

5. Want to know more?

The season usually starts in April and ends in October. You can find out more from the official Pieniny website.

Image of The Gorge © Leszek Kozlowski, Flickr, used under the Creative Commons licence
Image of the river © Thomas Ritz, Flickr, used under the Creative Commons licence