Poland: discovering the east

Forget about Warsaw and Cracow. Poland has much more to offer. It’s a country that’s on the rise among tourists, who are also increasingly embracing its lesser-known cities – because Poland is more diverse than you might think. For example, you can combine a city trip to Gdánsk with a beach outing to chic Sopot, or discover Poznań by playing ‘urban games’ and experience the especially lovely floating garden that is Szczecin. And nearby campsites make it easy to plan a comfortable, inexpensive trip. Check out our tips!

Gdánsk: historic Hanseatic city

In the north of Poland you’ll find the former Hanseatic city of Gdánsk. If you had to describe this city in just a few words, you would probably say stately mansions, Gothic churches, original museums and galleries, and a beautiful harbour, where you can see the unique medieval harbour crane, Brama Żuraw. The city centre is made up of three historic districts, with the Capital being particularly worth a visit.

Gdánsk

Sunbathing in Poland? Why not! About ten kilometres from the historic city centre, you’ll find the modern seaside resort of Sopot. Here you can enjoy the sun and take a dip in the sea, stroll along Europe’s longest wooden pedestrian pier, buy something nice on the modern high street, visit the Aquapark Sopot, or relax in one of the many spas.

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Poznań: your destination for active fun

This city was nominated for the title of European Best Destination 2019, and rightly so. In this trendy student hub, located in the west of the country, you can get a taste of culture during the day and dive into the lively cafés and bars at night. The city has developed several ‘urban games’ that you can play in a group or alone to make exploring Poznań more fun. Install the app on your phone and hit the road!

Poznán

Just like Gdánsk, Poznań also has plenty of waterfront fun on offer. In the east of the city, next to the zoo, you will find the large Malta Lake, a hotbed of sunbathers and water lovers in the summer. There’s also a regular schedule of sporting and musical events. Plus, there’s a very convenient train from the city to the lake (which, of course, also passes by the zoo).

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Szczecin: ‘floating garden’

This Northern Polish city of Szczecin is inextricably linked to shipping. You can often see gorgeous sailboats docked in the harbour. And from the Waly Chrobrego Promenade, a long street with several historic buildings, you can enjoy a beautiful view across the water. Because the area around Szczecin consists largely of water and greenery, the city is also called a ‘floating garden’.

Szczecin

The city centre is strikingly green, with parks and squares with trees and plants in abundance. In terms of architecture, the city looks very western, and its street layout closely resembles Paris. We have George Hausmann, the famous urban planner, to thank for that. The city has many amenities and good public transport. There’s also an array of cultural events like art exhibitions and concerts held in the unique Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle.

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Share your experiences

Have you ever been to one of the cities in this blog? Please let us know. Or tip us off to other Polish cities that have surprised you.

Jeroen Timmermans
  • Author: Jeroen Timmermans
  • From Calais to Cannes, and from Nantes to Nancy: Jeroen has definitely done his fair share of exploring in France. With his parents and his brother, he spent weeks at the most beautiful campsites in a trailer tent. Then, the family travelled around the rest of Europe in a motorhome. Now he loves his cultural city breaks. He particularly loves funiculars and cable cars.

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