Poland, located in the plains between Germany and Russia (today Belarus, Ukraine and Lithuania as well), bordered in the south by Slovakia and the Czech Republic, has suffered severely from the ravages of war.
After the fall of the Berlin wall, Poland opened up immensely becoming a very attractive destination for travelers. The many historic towns and cities testify of the long history of the Polish state, great natural beauty and a unique coast. The present capital Warsaw, rose like a phoenix from the ashes of total destruction in World War II, and the ancient capital Krakow, untouched by war, an exquisite treasure of Gothic and Renaissance architecture.
Poland is too large to be properly appreciated in one visit there is too much to see. Discover central Poland, with its numerous national parks easily reached from Warsaw, or the north and the Baltic coast with the ancient port of Gdansk. The cradle of the nation, Wielkopolska, in the West and Malopolska in the south and the Tatry mountains are easily reachable from Krakow. In the southwest Silesia with its many old castles and mountains is worth a visit.
Krakow, was originally the home of the Polish royalty (between 1038 and 1596), before the capital was moved to Warsaw. Visiting Krakow is a refreshing break from much of European travel, with similar cities blending together and the dominance of English might make you wonder if you ever left North America. Cobble-stoned streets, majestic churches (almost 100 historical churches!), and old world charm make Krakow an unforgettable destination.
Add to it the former Jewish district with its 7 synagogues, 3 gigantic Gothic churches and more than 800 pubs huddled in nooks and alleyways where time slows down; youd be coming back as often as you can.
Krakow, located in the south of Poland, situated about halfway between Warsaw and Prague, is a good place to break up your trip if traveling from one to the other. Krakow is now the third most popular tourist destination in central and Eastern Europe, following Prague and Budapest.
Warsaw may be disappointing for the tourists at first glance especially for Okecie airport arrivals. The city appears as long rows of anonymous residence buildings rather grey and gloomy. Bear in mind that Warsaw, which was one of the liveliest and cosmopolite cities in Europe before the 2nd World War, was destroyed in 1944 and 90% of it was completely dilapidated. The deep respect and great admiration for its surviving citizens who have been able to make Warsaw rise again can be felt.
Warsaw which is the national centre of culture and learning is host to the Polish Academy of Science, 13 higher education institutions, about 27 museums and 20 theatres, the national philharmonic, and opera and operetta companies.