Poland on UNESCO Heritage list
DAY 1 ARRIVAL - WARSAW
Arrival in Warsaw. Airport transfer to the hotel. Welcome dinner in a traditional Polish restaurant in the Old Town.
DAY 2 WARSAW
Breakfast. Guided tour of Warsaw. The capital of Poland was severely damaged during the Second World War and most of the architecture represents the post-war period. Our tour starts in the Old Town (since 1980 on UNESCO list as “an exceptional example of the comprehensive reconstruction of a city that had been deliberately and totally destroyed”). You’ll see the Royal Castle, St. John’s Cathedral, Old Market Square and Barbican. Next we move to one of the most beautiful parks in Warsaw – Lazienki Park (with Palace on The Water and Federic Chopin Monument).
After lunch break we visit Wilanow Residence built in 17th century for one of the Polish king. It consists of an impressing Baroque palace and gardens, sculptures and numerous buildings located in the park. As a nice ending of a day full of impressions we enjoy a Chopin music concert in one of the Warsaw palaces. Dinner and overnight in Warsaw.
DAY 3 WARSAW – WROCLAW
Breakfast. Departure for Wroclaw. The city, located on 12 islands on Odra river and having about 200 bridges is often called the Polish Venice. During our guided tour you’ll see all the highlights of the stunning architecture of the city: the Polish second largest (after Krakow) Market Square with a beautiful Gothic Town Hall, the University with impressing Baroque Aula Leopoldina Hall and Ostrow Tumski – the oldest part of the city with St. John’s Cathedral. We’ll finish the tour with visit to the Centennial Hall (UNESCO). As the justification for the inscription states, “the Centennial Hall is a pioneering work of modern engineering and architecture, which exhibits an important interchange of influences in the early 20th century, becoming a key reference in the later development of reinforced concrete structures”. Dinner and overnight in Wroclaw. During the summer season, in the evening – we’ll see the impressive show at the fountain in the Cennential Hall area.
DAY 4 CHURCHES OF PEACE IN SWIDNICA AND JAWOR – AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU – KRAKOW
Breakfast. Departure for Jawor and Swidnica, where we’ll visit the Churches of Peace (UNESCO). The churches are the largest timber-framed religious building of its kind in Europe. Both were built after the Thirty Years War (17th century). The Protestants, who failed the war were deprived of all their churches and allowed to build only 3 new – two of them survived till present times. As a result of conditions imposed by the Emperor the Churches of Peace required the builders, to implement pioneering constructional and architectural solutions of a scale and complexity unknown ever before or since in wooden architecture (justification for the inscription).
We continue the tour travelling to Auschitz-Birkenau Museum (UNESCO). Located about 70 km from Krakow, this former Nazi concentration camp is one of the best known places of genocide in the world. About 1,3 million people lost their life there. Nowadays the preserved Memorial consists of two parts Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II – Birkenau. The site is a key place of memory for the whole of humankind for the holocaust, racist policies and barbarism; it is a place of our collective memory of this dark chapter in the history of humanity, of transmission to younger generations and a sign of warning of the many threats and tragic consequences of extreme ideologies and denial of human dignity. In the evening, on the way to Krakow – visit to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska (UNESCO). The sanctuary (established in 17the century) is one of the most famous pilgrimage places in Poland. Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is an exceptional cultural monument in which the natural landscape was used as the setting for a symbolic representation in the form of chapels and avenues of the events of the Passion of Christ (justification for inscription). Late arrival in Krakow. Dinner and overnight.
DAY 5 KRAKOW – WIELICZKA
Breakfast. Walking tour of the Old Town (UNESCO)– discovering the treasures of the former capital of Poland. Starting with the Wawel hill with an impressive castle (which used to be the seat of the Polish kings) and the cathedral, you’ll follow the Royal Way to admire the beautiful tenement houses and churches and reach the Market Square – the largest medieval market place in Europe! Here we’ll stop for a while to listen to the bugle call played by a trumpeter from St. Mary’s Church tower, visit the church (with the famous wooden altar) and the Cloth Hall – a perfect place to buy some souvenirs from Krakow. During the tour you’ll also visit the university quarter with Collegium Maius – the oldest building of the Jagiellonian University.
After lunch visit Kazimierz – the former Jewish district. Next we attend a guided tour of the Wieliczka Salt Mine (UNESCO). The mine, one of the oldest in the world, is visited every year by over one million of tourist from all over the world. During the tour you’ll admire 20 salt rock chambers (with a magnificent St. King’s chapel), underground saline lakes, numerous salt sculptures and impressive timber constructions. There will be also a chance to try some specialties of an underground restaurant! Dinner with Klezmer music concert, overnight in Krakow.
DAY 6 LIPNICA MUROWANA – BINAROWA – LANCUT – ZAMOSC
Breakfast. We’ll start the day with visiting another wonders of architecture – wooden churches in Lipnica Murowana and Binarowa (UNESCO). “The churches are the most representative examples of surviving Gothic churches built in horizontal log technique, particularly impressive in their artistic and technical execution, and sponsored by noble families and rulers as symbols of social and political prestige” (Justification for inscription). The Church of St Leonard was built in 15th century. It was located outside of the defensive walls and had a function of a cemetery church (which is kept till nowadays). Although the renovations made several times, its form and special arrangements remain almost unchanged. The Church of the Archangel Michael in Binarowa was built in the beginning of 16th century, one of the oldest in the region is also famous for unique decorations – numerous sculptures and paintings of angels.
In the afternoon we visit another unforgettable place – Lancut Castle. The Castle, built in 17th century, is one of the most beautiful aristocratic residences in Poland. Nowadays the castle houses a museum, where it is possible to see the excellent interiors and impressing collection of horse-drawn carriages. The palace complex is surrounded by picturesque English style park. Dinner and overnight in Zamosc.
DAY 7 ZAMOSC – GRABARKA - BIALOWIEZA
Breakfast. Walking tour of the Old City of Zamosc (UNESCO). The city, founded in 16th century by the chancellor Jan Zamoyski, “is a unique example of a Renaissance town in Central Europe, consistently designed and built in accordance with the Italian theories of the “ideal town” (Statement of Significance). During the tour we’ll see all the highlights of the city – the Old Market Square, the Town hall, tenement houses, the cathedral, the synagogue, the Zamoyski palace and the most important churches.
In the afternoon – transfer to Bialowieza. On the way – short stop in Grabarka – the most important pilgrimage place for orthodox church members in Poland. The pilgrims bring here every year thousands of votive crosses and leave them on the Penitents' Hill. Dinner and overnight in Bialowieza.
DAY 8 BIALOWIEZA – OLSZTYN
Breakfast. Today we visit Bialowieza Forest (the only Polish nature site on the UNESCO list, together with Belovezhskaya Pushcha in Belarus – creating a trans-border World Heritage Site). The forest dates back to 8000 BC and is the only remaining example of the original forests, which once covered much of Europe. During the tour we’ll visit the Bialowieza National Park Museum and the European Bison Reserve (a chance to see in the conditions similar to the natural ones, bison, Polish “konik” - tarpan like, elk, deer, roe deer, wild bore, zubron - a hybrid of bison and cattle, and wolves).
Departure for Olsztyn. Dinner and Overnight.
DAY 9 ELBLAG CANAL – MALBORK – GDANSK
Breakfast. Today we’ll start with an unusual experience – have you ever sailed over grass? We’ll try this way of travelling during the cruise on Elblag canal - unique monument to the art of hydro-engineering. The difference in water levels is almost 100 m, so a system of slipways, locks, dams and safety gates was built to enable to get from one end of the canal to another. There are also five slipways to carry boats across dry land on rail-mounted trolleys.
After lunch we travel to Malbork (UNESCO). In 13th century the Order of Teutonic Knights started to build a large fortress. The Gothic building is considered to be the world’s biggest brick castle. It consists of 3 parts: the Lower Castle, the Middle Castle and the high castle and is surrounded by a system of defensive walls with gates and towers. During the guided tour you’ll not only see the fine Gothic interiors and details of design, but also a collection of amber artifacts, works of artistic handicraft, porcelain and faience, Gothic sculptures and historic weapons. Dinner and overnight in Gdansk.
DAY 10 GDANSK
In the morning – sightseeing of Gdansk (currently at UNESCO Tentative List)– the city of 1000-years history, attracting tourist by numerous gems of architecture. Strolling around the town you’ll see the beautiful merchant’s houses, St. Mary’s church (believed to be the largest brick church in the world),the Long street with the Gothic Main Town Hall, Artus Court and the Neptune’s fountain in the Long Market – the city’s most important square, Motlava river and the Crane.
After lunch we’ll see the part of the city retracing more recent times – when visiting the “Roads of freedom” exhibition in the Gdansk Shipyard, we’ll get to know the city as the birthplace of the Solidarity movement, which played a significant role in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.
A relaxing ending of the day will be a visit to Sopot – the town that can boast of a longest wooden pier in Europe. Romantic views of the cost are guaranteed! Dinner in Kashubian restaurant, overnight in Gdansk.
DAY 11 TORUN - WARSAW
Breakfast. Departure from Gdansk. Guided visit of Torun (UNESCO) – one of the oldest cities in Poland, birthplace of a famous astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. Torun is a small historic trading city that preserves to a remarkable extent its original street pattern and outstanding early buildings, and which provides an exceptionally complete picture of the medieval way of life (Justification for Inscription). The layout of the city has remained unchanged since the Middle Ages and today we can admire its impressing medieval brick Gothic architecture. During the tour you’ll see the most important sites of Torun: the Old City Town Hall, the Copernicus House), monumental churches (including the cathedral with the largest medieval bell in Poland), the city walls with gates and towers (including the famous Leaning Tower) and the ruins of the Teutonic Castle. Don’t forget to buy a local specialty here – gingerbread!
Departure for Warsaw. Festive good-bye dinner and overnight.
DAY 12 WARSAW - DEPARTURE
Airport transfer and departure from Warsaw.