Warsaw – Wroclaw – Cracow

day 1

Arrival at the airport of Warsaw. The guide welcomes you and transfer to the hotel.
We propose here the hotel Polonia Palace **** for its central location and for being one of the few Warsaw hotels with a historical atmosphere; www.poloniapalace.com – 2 nights.

Warsaw is a capital, which literally rose from the ashes of the second world war and the dilapidation and lack of imagination from the communist era. Besides the renovation of the “socialist housing blocks”, especially in the last few years, enormous effort was put in the returning of a dynamic and attractive face to the city. This through the reconstruction and rebuilding of historical sites, but also with modern concepts and architecture.

Exploration of the center with the Old Town square and the old rebuilt royal palace, which used to be the residence of Polish kings after Warsaw became the capital of the country in the 17th century. Also the interiors were rebuilt and house now the magnificent “Lanckoronski” art gallery with works by for instance Rembrandt.
Free time for dinner in the city center and overnight.

day 2

In the morning we pay attention to one of the most famous Warsaw historical figures, namely Chopin. This gives us also the opportunity to travel through the surroundings and suburbs of the city. There’s of course the Chopin museum in Warsaw itself, but we choose to visit the birth house and mseum of the composer at about 20 km outside the capital at the village of Zelazowa WOLA. The nice house including the birth museum is situated in the middle of a peaceful public park. After our return to Warsaw, free time for lunch in the center and a bus tour in the afternoon to pass the most beautiful residences and most interesting sites of the town. Maybe especially worth mentioning is the unique summer palace complex of the last Polish king Poniatowski, the «Lazenski Krolewskie”. We end our day in the only historical quarter of Warsaw, which has survived the war… the lively and more authentic area called “Praga” where many restaurants invite you to have dinner at your own leisure.

– If you prefer to stay at Warsaw for the day, the excursion to Zelazowa Wola can be replaced by a visit at the “Warsaw Uprising Museum” where you are “submerged” in a very modern way into the history and battles of the people here throughout the second world war.
– You could also visit the main Chopin museum or/and the Modern Art museum.
– Interesting for art lovers are also the several old factory buildings, which are now changed into centers for all kinds of art forms.
It’s basically a question of you making a choice….
– A concert with the music of Chopin is also possible
Overnight at Warsaw

day 3

Departure from Warsaw towards Wroclaw, the capital of the Silesia region, which formerly belonged to the Bohemian kingdom, then it became Polish, then Prussian, then again part of Poland, etc… This is the reason why the town is also known as Vratislav or Breslau. It was also the main seat of the «Piast» prince family, who had a beautiful city built during their reign. Arrival around midday at the hotel “Arthotel Wroclaw” ****. Again centrally located; www.arthotel.pl – 2 nights.

After free time for lunch in one of the many restaurants on the main square, time for a guided walk. Wroclaw is situated along the banks of the river Oder and on the river islands we find the main churches, we also have a look at the interiors of the magnificent university hall. The many statues of all kinds of dwarfs that you’ll encounter everywhere in the streets of Wroclaw will certainly bring a smile to your face. They are an allusion to the riches of the region, the ore and coal mines.
Free time for dinner and overnight.

After sunset, for those who would be interested, it is possible to watch the “dancing” fountains (free of charge).

day 4

3/4 day excursion towards the impressive castle of “Ksiaz” which is certainly worth the two hour drive from Wroclaw through the country side of Silesia. We visit the interiors and the garden terraces, but also part of the underground secret tunnel system where the nazi worked on all kinds of experimental weaponry. After having also lunch at the castle, return to Wroclaw.

Back in the city, you’ll have some free afternoon time to spend, for instance by walking towards the enormous covered market hall where you can sample many typical and traditional specialties from Polish cuisine.

Overnight at Wroclaw

day 5

Departure from Wroclaw direction CZESTOCHOWA or where the “Jasna Gora” monastery is located. As Poland and the Catholic faith are indivisibly linked, a visit at the most important pilgrim site simply has to be part of the tour. Believers come here mainly to worship the painting of the “Black Madonna”, but a visit through the monastery complex is also more than impressive.

We take a reserved lunch on the spot and then continue our way towards CRACOW, where we’ll arrive by the end of the afternoon. Here we propose for a change the small scale “Ambre Design” Hotel ****. Absolutely centrally located, this accommodation opened its doors only in 2013; www.hotel-amber.pl – 3 nights.

If you are not too tired, we recommend to go for a short first discovery walk through the illuminated old town and as in the center of Cracow you’ll find one restaurant next to the other: free time to have dinner at own leisure.

Overnight at Cracow

day 6

A whole day dedicated to what for many Polish people will always remain the real capital of the country.

First the Wawel hill with the old royal palace, but mainly the most important church of the country with the tombs of all great Polish kings and queens. We can also have a look at the famous Da Vinci painting, “The Lady with the Hermine”. After stopping at the dragon which lives in a cave just under the hill, we continue on foot, passing the many monasteries and other religious buildings whoch are situated in the center of Cracow. Of course we also pay attention to the former official residence and working place of the Polish pope Karol Wojtyla , before he became better known as the newly sainted John-Paul II.

Then we arrive at “Rynek Glowny” with the famous Sukiennice cloth hall and the church of Our Lady, where we’ll also go inside to admre the interiors and the worldwide unique wood carved altar by Vit Stosz. We can’t forget to also pass by the “Collegium Maius”, the second oldest university in Central Europe and the working place of no one less than Copernicus. And we finish with our Old Town tour at the Barbican and the “Planty” park, which surrounds the town where the old fortifications used to be. During the tour there will be some free time to have lunch. In the afternoon the bus will take us for a short transfer (or about 30 minutes on foot) towards Kazimierz, the traditional Jewish quarter of Cracow, where we visit one of the oldest synagogues called “Remuh ” and the cemetery next to it.

It’s also possible to spend a free evening in this pleasant quarter or to have a reserved “folklore” dinner accompanied by life “klezmer” music in one of the Polish-Jewish restaurants.
Overnight at Cracow

day 7

From Cracow it’s just a small drive to arrive at the salt mines of WIELIZSKA. This visit is a special experience for anybody. These mines were throughout the centuries decorated and literally filled with salt rock sculptures by the miners and if only the underground church is worth the trouble getting down in the mine by means of the somewhat claustrophobic miner’s lift. Lunch can be easily found at leisure in the town of Wielizska itself or can be reserved.

In the afternoon we drie for about 1h40 minutes to reach Zakopane at the foot of the impressive jagged peaks of the Tatra mountains. The small mountain town is full of wood carved houses and churches, there’s a pleasant market with artisan products as for instance woolen socks, goat and sheep cheeses, etc… To really have a good view on the mountains, we take a short ride in the local funicular train towards the top of the Gubalowka hill, situated in the center of Zakopane, but of course we have to hope for good weather conditions…

For you to decide: a dinner at own leisure can be taken here or a reserved dinner including a Polish folklore show.

After dinner return to Cracow for the night.

If you would prefer more time at Cracow itself in place of the excursion to Zakopane, we could certainly recommend a visit at the famous Schindler factory. Or a visit to the extermination camps of Ausschwitz and Birkenau. Or the museum of Contemporary Art at Cracow (MOCAK) is worthwhile, or maybe you would like, out of curiosity or from an interesting historical point of view, to have a look at the “socialist example city” of “Nowa Huta”, nowadays a suburb of Cracow.

day 8

Some last free time at Cracow before transfer to the airport.