With millennium-long roots and a distinct European centrality, Poland travel reveals a place where East, West, North, and South have all at one point collided to exercise their religion, influence, and authority. And while Poland’s thousand-year history has brought forth spectacular kingships and palaces, it also brought with it an endless series of turbulent twists and turns, as evident in the country’s multicultural style of customs and traditions and its invariable wealth of architectural monuments and ancient relics. Perhaps the most poignant representation of this past, more so than its Gothic castles and spires, is Poland’s plethora of World War II memorials and museums, whose prevailing presence throughout the country speak to both Poland’s central role in and remarkable survival of its own chilling history.
The best place to begin any Poland travel is in its major urban centers, like picturesque Kraków or the modern emerging capital of Warsaw, where architecture has been perfectly preserved to display a record of ever-evolving tastes. Take Kraków, for instance, the treasure of Poland, which boasts the largest medieval urban center in all of Europe, simultaneously overlaid with Renaissance, Baroque, and Art Nouveau structures and additions. From the simple wooden churches hidden within the southern Carpathian Mountains, to the Teutonic Knights’ red brick forests along the North’s Vistula River, and the evocative ruins dotting the Lowlands in between, it’s no wonder why this country holds such intrigue and appeal for its visitors.
Then there is the unmistakable hospitality of its 38.5 million inhabitants. Born out of ancient greeting customs of bread and salt offerings, Poland’s modern social norms have developed into a type of hospitality unmatched anywhere else in the world. Each Pole is determined to be the host with the most, so there’s no use denying their offer of sharing in a centuries old Polish beer or a quintessential vodka and pickle tasting. All that to say, when visiting Poland with Ker & Downey, expect some serious spoiling!