MALOPOLSKO, the historical heart of Poland

day 1

Arrival at Cracow in the early afternoon, transfer to the center and lunch.
After lunch a first exploration of the main square Rynek Glowny with entrance in the Our Lady church, where the famous Vit Stwosz altar can be admired.

Accommodation in for instance the Sheraton hotel Cracow, with its exclusive location at the foot of the Wawel hill and at the embankments of Wisla river. 10 minutes on foot from Rynek Glowny but still one of the more quiet areas of the city center. http://www.sheraton.pl/krakow/en/gallery

Another possibility is the Vienna International Andel Hotel. This is a modern design hotel with excellent references. The location is on the opposite side of the Old Town, near to the largest shopping mall in Poland and only 5 minutes on foot from Rynek Glowny …http://www.vi-hotels.com/andels-cracow/the-hotel/

After having dinner at the hotel, we offer to those persons who would be interested, an evening stroll in the PLANTY, a green park that goes all around the Old Town of Cracow.

day 2

This day starts with a journey into the socialist past of Poland. Right next to the historical town of Cracow, the communists built a “new modern city” called Nowa Huta. It’s an example of the urbanistic ideas of that time, living quarters around vast metal works. To be completely submerged in the atmosphere of that era, we make our tour in the typical communist cars and vans. Every vehicle is driven by a local guide and therefore it’s also the perfect moment to learn about the life and personal experiences of a local.

Lunch on main square Rynek Glowny and in the afternoon visit of the Wawel with the cathedral and the royal tombs, but also the symbol of Cracow: the dragon.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel, possibility to reserve concert tickets or for the lovers of Jazz and Blues, live concert in one of the many bars.

day 3

You can’t stay in Cracow without paying attention to the Jewish influences and one of the dark pages in modern history: the extermination camps.

This day starts with a visit at the Schindler factory in Podgorze district, nowadays with a renewed exhibition. After that we enter the historical Jewish town of Kazimierz with its synagogues and original winding, narrow streets (we visit in particular Remuh synagogue) where you’ll recognize the scenes from the Spielberg movie. We have a lunch here in one of the many picturesque restaurants.

In the afternoon we are taken to Auschwitz – Birkenau (66 km) for a guided visit of the largest of the extermination camps.
Dinner and overnight in Cracow

day 4

This day is dedicated to one of the most important aspects of Polish culture: religion. For that purpose, we visit the most sacred place in the country, namely the monastery of Jasna Gora at Czestochowa (145 km) where the «Black Virgin» is worshiped.

After our visit, we stay in the small town for lunch and take the time to have a look at its historical center. At about 4:00 PM we return to Cracow where we will be back in good time to have a little rest before dinner. This day isn’t so demanding, so we could propose to have dinner tonight in a typical Polish “Karczma” where meals are accompanied by folklore dances and music.

Overnight at the hotel in Cracow

day 5 

Today we leave Cracow towards the South and in the morning we first of all go for a visit in the UNESCO protected salt mines of Wielizska (25km).

We descend by means of the old lift used by the former miners and find ourselves inside an incredible labyrinth of chambers and corridors which were dug out during many centuries. Who thinks that it’s “just” a mine like any other will be very surprised: there’s an underground church, an enormous amount of sculpted salt rock blocks, a concert hall, restaurant, medical treatments center and even a unique underground postal office…

So to have a look also at the nice little town of Wielizska itself, we have lunch there.
In the afternoon we’ll continue towards ZAKOPANE (111 km), the only real mountain resort of Poland at the foot of the Tatra range. After arriving at the hotel , we go for a discovery walk through this picturesque little town and it’s market with local, traditional products. From the market, a short funicular trainride takes us to the top of Gubalowka hill to have a first nice view on the mountains.

We propose here to stay at Sabala Hotel, situated on the pedestrian central street but still easily accessed by bus. The building is in the typical “mountain style” of the area and includes a swimming pool and sauna. http://www.sabala.zakopane.pl/galeria
Dinner and overnight

day 6 

We’re in the mountains so we should also take the chance to have a closer look at them. In the morning we take the cabin cable lift at Kuznice which will take us up to the top of the KASPROVY mountain (1987m above sea level) offering us a breathtaking view on the High Tatra range. The highest peak of the range is at 2655m, which maybe doesn’t seem that extreme, but the steep and jagged ridges could even make you forget about the Alps. Return down and bustransfer into the natural reserve of the Polish Tatra. We can take lunch in a small mountain village and in the afternoon we continue to the point where the bus is not allowed any further, then we take horse drawn carriages end the last few kilometers we have to do on foot… all this to be awarded by the scenery of the largest mountain lake of the Tatra, Morskie Oko and a typical local mountaineer’s tea (very sweet herbal tea).

The pure air of the mountains will do its work and we arrive back at Zakopane for dinner and a healthy night’s rest. However, this said: The pedestrian street invites you for a drink on one of the many terraces or in one of the pubs.

day 7 

The PIENINI region, situated at about one hour drive East from Zakopane you’ll find one of the most beautiful landscapes of Poland. We travel towards the drainage basin of Czorsztyn (51 km)and at the foot of the dam we board large wooden rafts. Pushed along by experienced local strong guys, we navigate the Dunajec river passing through the most beautiful canyon valley of the country. At the end we arrive in a small town with plenty of possibilities for a lunch and in the afternoon, during our return journey, we stop at Niedzica to visit this impressive fortress.

After arriving back at Zakopane, there will be still some time to fill at your own leisure and in the evening the group is treated to a stylish farewell dinner.

day 8 

Check Out and return journey towards Cracow where we should arrive around 10:30AM. According to your flight there might still be some time for a last stroll in the city and even to buy some last souvenirs. For flights in the afternoon, lunch is organized in the center.

Transfer to the airport