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  #1  
Old 29 May 2011
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Poland. What to see?

In August, I plan to ride south from Tallinn and meet my Dad somewhere in Poland as he travels east from Blightey.

We will be on a budget so campsites or wildcamping will be order of the day when ever possible.

We want nice roads (twistier the better), nice scenery (mountains are always a favourite), nature, culture but also some civilisation!!

So what should we head for during our 10 day foray?
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  #2  
Old 29 May 2011
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I ride or drive London-Moscow a couple of times each year (the latest was last week). I take the straightest/fastest route via Frankfurt-Oder to Warsaw and turn left to avoid Belarus.

After a long day (I reach Poland the same day as leaving London) I feel I deserve a hot shower and so use small hotels costing about 100 -120PLN (about GBP 20-25). Alternatively along the road after the German border I saw many B&B signs - some with the price of 40PLN (about GBP 9).

The main route from the border to Warsaw is pleasant but mostly fairly boring grassland.

I know nothing of southern or costal Poland but do find the area between Warsaw and Lithuania to be interesting to go through and I always promise myself longer there next time.
Gentle hills, forests, lakes and older towns. It is a holiday area so there are facilities for all levels of tourism including camping sites - or at least I saw signs for them.
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Old 30 May 2011
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Flat with lots of Forrestry and Farm Land

I would recommend Gdansk on the coast or Torun (about 185km further south), I have been living and working in the latter for the last year. North and Central Poland are relatively flat and are either forrestry or tillage, have not seen a mountain or even a decent hill.
Both Gdansk and Torun are equally beautiful and have nice old town centres (Torun is going for european capital of culture 2016). The coast can be quite busy in summer time. There are some decent lakes in the region for camping and that.

Dave
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Old 31 May 2011
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A Land of Two Halves

I find the North and South of Poland most interesting and the centre portion a bit bland. Highlights in the North are:- Zagan (the site of the Great Escape), Swinoujse (a Baltic sea side resort and port), the Hel peninsular (with a name like that you've just got to go), Gdansk, Elblag (the canal), Malbork (the brick castle), Wolfsschanze near Ketrzyn (the Wolf's Lair) and the Masurian Lake District. In the South try:- Krakow, Wieliczka (salt mines), Oswiecim (Auschwitz), Zakopane (the High Tatras) and the Dukla Pass (WW1 and 2 battle fields)

Last edited by Tourider; 31 May 2011 at 13:52. Reason: Spelling mistake
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Old 31 May 2011
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+1 for Krakow, Wieliczka (salt mines) if you are in the south and also Auschwitz.......not an enjoyable experience but has to be done.
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Last edited by Desert Ways; 31 May 2011 at 10:20. Reason: spelling
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  #6  
Old 1 Jun 2011
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Originally Posted by Desert Ways View Post
+1 for Krakow, Wieliczka (salt mines) if you are in the south and also Auschwitz.......not an enjoyable experience but has to be done.


I echo.

I and my girl rode Poland in 2009 on our way to Russia and we found Krakow a really pleasant town with an "A" class historical center.
Good food, and really friendly people.

Auschwitz-Birkenau is a must see, we found it really interesting even if sad (of course).
Plan one full day for a complete visit to both of the camps.

We did not visit Wieliczka Salt Mine, but everybody told us we made a mistake in skipping it.
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Old 1 Jun 2011
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+1 on Krakow and Wieliczka Salt Mine.

Just to the south is Zakopane and the High Tatras on the Slovakian border - it's a nice area that will give you some forest with twisty roads and mountain scenery
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Old 5 Jun 2011
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Got to go South

Got to be Southern Poland.
Dont miss the salt mines.
Auschwitz / Birkenau is another must see.
The Slovakian/Polish border has some great roads.
Altho you are on a budget don't rule out the odd night in a hotel - they are very reasonable in Poland.
I hope you have a great trip and get the kind of reception we got from you and your lovely wife when we visited Tallin last year.
Rory
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Old 5 Jun 2011
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I like Torun a lot,I have been there twice already & I plan to visit there again next year on the bike while on my way to my wedding in Bialystok!
The border area near Belarus is nice with plenty of forest & some herds of wild Bison(hard to find the Bison though).
The North East lake area of Mazury is very scenic for travelling through,the Wolfs Lair is an interesting place to visit.
Malbork (marienberg) was the HQ of the Teutonic Knights & the castle is very impressive & just down the road from Gdansk which is a good place to visit with lots of history.
To be honest most of the Polish roads are not very exciting, there are plenty of nice back roads/tracks in most areas that I have visited but If you want twisty then head for the Tatra Mountains on the border with Slovakia.
As already mentioned Krakow is well worth a visit,apparently a new museum has opened under the main square with the original mediaeval street plan on show.
The camps at Oswiecim are worthy of a visit, very sobering but something you will forever carry with you afterwards,words are not adequate to describe the experience.
Enjoy your Trip, Andy
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Old 12 Jun 2011
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When in Krakow, visit Wawel Castle with its museum of armors. It will cost you very little and it's really worth seeing.

As for Tatra mountains - it is my favourite place in my country and I love the town of Zakopane with its specific architecture. Although in the summer you will come across loads of tourists, you will find some quiet places there.

There are various attractions in Poland, but Auschwitz is a must see. A thrilling and horryfying experience, but works like katharsis...

When in Torun, try its specialty old as Torun itself: pierniki. Nicolaus Copernicus (Mikolaj Kopernik) was born there. And view the city panorama from the boulevard by the river Vistula (Wisla).

In the Silesian voivoideship you can find Bledow Desert covering 32 square kilometers, the only natural desert in Europe.

In Warsaw in museum of Culture and Science, an ugly relict of socialism, there is a Motorisation Museum, if you're interested.
Bialowieza Forest has already been mentioned. It is an UNESCO world Heritage Site, one of the last and largest remaining parts of the primeval forest that spread accross the great European Plain ages ago.

Another UNESCO Heritage site in Poland is Old City in Zamosc, Lublin voivoideship.

Biskupin near the city of Bydgoszcz is a life-size reconstructed fortified town from Iron Age. You can see how the houses looked from the inside at that time, there even are some dummies there



Hel peninsula is nothing special - me and my boyfriend went to the end of it once. Traffic on the only road there will drive you mad, it will take you hours to get to the end of the peninsula (moving 10km/h, there will be lots of little shops with tacky beach stuff there and only for a couple of minutes you will be able to see the Baltic sea both on your left and rght. Conclusion? Waste of time.

And about Warsaw - it is a city like any other, it has it's charm, but it is a city like any other if you are only driving through.

If you make up your mind on where to go, I can help you with some further information about my country

What else can I say? Almost 30% of my country is covered with forests and they are public property, not private forests, so you can practically drive in anywhere you like. Wildcamping at a lakeside in the forest? No problem, you will find lots of wild beaches, not always sandy, but quiet. In especially forested areas watch out for boars
In the summer you will come accross people selling fruits of the forest and mushrooms by the road. I recommend you stop at some inns by the roads and try one of the following dishes: bigos, pierogi, golabki, flaki, kotlet mielony, kaszanka... too many to enumerate Polish cuisine is world-famous!

Most of the young Polish people speak English, as for those middle-aged, you must use Russian or German (German especially in the west). You shouldn't have any communicational problems in city centres and restaurants, hotels. Owners and staff are used to foreign customers. This is one of the ways my country was hurt by the socialism. English language was considered a part of 'rotten, capitalistic West' and socialists wanted to keep us as far from the western world as possible.

If you need any hints, help (useful Polish phrases, local info, etc.), just send me a PM, I will do my best to help you
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