Going to Poland: 10 reasons not to go!

Gdansk / Danzig in Poland.
Gdansk / Danzig in Poland.

In a few weeks time I’ll be on the road again.

The fact that I live in Germany means that I have pretty easy access to other European countries nearby, and isn’t that a wonderful thing. The fact that I live in Berlin means that you can also get out there and do stuff!

So in order to put that into action I’m going to be on the road to Poland.

Now I really like Poland and so does “The Tall Young Gentleman” since he’s a chip off the old block and all that, but The Music Producer aka my husband, not so much.

However, a lot of people don’t really know a lot about Poland, have stereotypical thoughts of people queuing for bread, or are scared because Poland was a country locked behind the Iron Curtain and is therefore, shock and awe – a card-wearing member of the Eastern Bloc and therefore, Eastern Europe!

Jesus in Warsaw.
Jesus in Warsaw.

Well, if you want to visit Poland you had better brace yourself as I’m going to tell you 10 reasons why you shouldn’t bother!

1.  Poland is a large country: If you’re looking for an island that is small and quaint, then don’t bother.

Poland is one of the largest European countries surrounded by an interesting mix of Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Belarus, the Ukraine and Russia, It’s in the middle of the continent and is rather more Central Europe than Eastern Europe.

The cathedral in Lubin, Poland.
The cathedral in Lubin, Poland.

2.  Poland has too many aspects to it: If you’re looking for just the beach or just the mountains then you’ve come to the wrong place: Poland is a wonderful blend of beaches, lakes, forests, mountains, and interesting cities with lots of history. Quite like Germany in fact!

Lots of interesting stuff in Poland!
Lots of interesting stuff in Poland!

3.  Poland is cheap: If you want the 5-star treatment at 5-star prices then go to Japan. I know that Berlin has modest prices but prices in Poland are even, dare I say it. Cheaper.

If you’re looking for a bit of an adventure and the budget is not as much as you would have liked, then you could do worse than to go to Poland.

Horse-riding is popular in Poland!
Horse-riding is popular in Poland!

4.  Polish food is going to knock you for six or perhaps even for seven: If you’re looking for pizza and chips then stay at home. If you are willing to experiment, then exotic items like zurek (soup made from sour rye flour and pieces of varied meat) and pierogi (a type of dumpling) is there for the taking.

Traditional Polish food.
Traditional Polish food.

5.  Poland is an old country: If you’re looking for clean lines, modern buildings made of glass and skyscrapers every second (2nd) street, then you must have mistaken Poland for Hong Kong!

Poland is an ancient country with over 1,000 years of history so of course, things are going to be old.

The churches and synagogues are old.

The castles are old.

Even the cobbled streets are old.

Rather annoying if you want to zip down the street with the latest sports car!

Myself and
Myself and “The Tall Young Gentleman” in Szczecin / Stettin and some of the Polish 17th century historical houses.

6.  Poland is traditional: Forget the hordes of drunken stag night drinkers. There are kids and senior citizens everywhere, and lots and lots of churches that people actually go to on a Sunday. So please don’t vomit on the church steps!

Tradition and family values are still pretty important in this country and if you can’t deal with a bash on the head and a huge shove by an old woman, don’t go there!

Things are still traditional in Krakow!
Things are still traditional in Krakow!

7.  Be ready and prepared for anything: Poland might be a country that has existed for thousands of years but in modern terms, it’s still pretty “new” and as a result, things can be slightly….

Unpredictable!

If you’re looking for certainty and boredom, then Poland is not the place for you.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed my bus stop or even taken the wrong train, but if you can’t stand taking a chance and working with the outcome, then book the next extremely swift train with excellent service, to Switzerland!

A goat on the train? Ah well, anything can happen. I've seen worse. Swans for example!
A goat on the train? Ah well, anything can happen. I’ve seen worse.
Swans for example!

8.  Tourist friendly: Well not really. Poland has loads of little towns that are not really packed with tourists. Some Americans. Some Germans.

Yes alright, but hardly what you would call, the holiday package group. I mean when did you last hear of friends taking a package holiday to Poland?

Exactly!

So if you are into that, Spain is rather pleasant at this time of year.

Tourists and travellers who do venture into Poland take either high standard hotels or decide to live with the locals which, generally means a hostel or living with the family – pension / B&B style.

I wouldn’t recommend a “package.”

This is how they welcome tourists in Szczecin / Stettin, Poland by putting them in stocks!
This is how they welcome tourists in Szczecin / Stettin, Poland by putting them in stocks!

9.  People use public transport: OMG! Get me out of here ‘cos I have to use the scenic train and horror of horrors, the bus! Packed with local people who. Talk. To. You. and Help. You. With. Your. Bags. How can that be?

If you don’t want local interaction and prefer to be on your lonesome, please don’t go to Poland.

It’s insane.

The people are quite friendly. Some even take photographs of you!

Take a photo of me. No meeeee!
Take a photo of me.
No meeeee!

10.  City destinations: With a delicious mix of variety such as Krakow, Wroclaw, Gdansk (Danzig), Lodz, Warsaw or Poznan that include old style flavour and modern interests, Poland is not the place if you’re on the search for the glamour of Vegas or the romance of Paris, and if you’re expecting a pack of howling hounds and beggars with bowls of soup outside your hotel door, you’ll be disappointed.

OK.

Perhaps, just the once!

Hungry people in Krakow. ©praszkiewicz / Shutterstock.com
Hungry people in Krakow.
©praszkiewicz / Shutterstock.com

But what do we know about Poland anyway?

Whenever I say that I’m going to Poland, my German friends look at me as if I’ve gone mad. Let me correct that.

My West German friends look at me as if I’ve lost my marbles.

The most horrifying Jewish concentration camp in the history of Nazi Germany. Auschwitz.
The most horrifying Jewish concentration camp in the history of Nazi Germany.
Auschwitz.

The relationship between Poland and Germany can be quite complicated.

There’s the historical closeness in the first instance and the issue of where the German border ends and the Polish border begins. There is also the awful fact that Poland has the worst and most horrifying Jewish concentration camp in the history of Nazi Germany – Auschwitz.

In fact, my friends advice me to go to Italy instead!

The most horrifying Jewish concentration camp in the history of Nazi Germany. Auschwitz.
The most horrifying Jewish concentration camp in the history of Nazi Germany.
Auschwitz.

Well, Poland is the 9th largest country in Europe and has a population of roughly 38 million people.

Even though Poland is part of the European Union, the country hasn’t yet made the switch to the Euro and uses it’s own currency that is the zloty. As of now, €10.00 is PLN 41.63 (Polish Zloty) and $10.00 is PLN 30.38 (Polish Zloty).

Poland is said to have been in existence from around the year 800 and although the people are of Slavic origins they are also a blend of German, Ukrainian, Russian and Jewish ethnicity.

Territory, boundary and issues of property are still very prickly topics of which there is much unhappiness, anger, development and discussion.

Bellotto Warsaw or Cracow Suburb leading to the Castle Square in Poland. Bernardo Bellotto: a Venetian painter in Warsaw - Musée du Louvre.
Bellotto Warsaw or Cracow Suburb leading to the Castle Square in Poland.
Bernardo Bellotto: a Venetian painter in Warsaw – Musée du Louvre.

Things are however changing in Poland as in 2004, exactly ten years ago, 10 new countries including the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Poland, were welcomed into the fold and enlargement of the European Union (EU).

Since then, the European labour market has opened to Poland and many local people unfortunately, left their homelands to the more economically prosperous countries, like my original homeland of Great Britain, and of course to my new home, Germany.

Economic prosperity in Bydgoszcz.
Economic prosperity in Bydgoszcz.

Poland is in a most important location of Europe surrounded by East and West and the transit route of the Baltic Sea, and that is where I will be going from April 21st.

I will be in Poland for a week and we will be taking the train from Germany.

Follow my journey as I show you how easy and exciting it is to go to the area of Pomerania where the largest castle in the world resides – Malbork Castle – and where the sand dunes move at the Słowiński National Park. That place in the Slavic language known as the “Land at the Sea.”

Book your hotel here!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

On the beach at the Słowiński National Park in Poland.
On the beach at the Słowiński National Park in Poland.

This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my very own. I’ll also be writing about the transport, activities and food of Poland, so watch this space!

I have been to Poland many times, but what about you? Have you ever considered going to Poland? Would you try it out? Have you ever been to Eastern or Central Europe? How did you travel there?

Myself &
Myself & “The Tall Young Gentleman” laughing on the Baltic Sea in Poland.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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245 thoughts on “Going to Poland: 10 reasons not to go!

  1. I really like to read your blog 🙂 I agree that Poland is great country I could to live there I think. I had only chance to visited in Szczecin few years ago. I saw that someone recommened here Dana Hotel and I can agree with that opinion. I was there because I have business meet there and I spend lovely time, great place to work and live 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love what you wrote. Poland is a beautiful “Old World” country with amazing history, culture, and Citizens. Reading something positive about my homeland puts a smile on my face.

    Thank you,
    Mateusz Zawadzki

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I visit regulary. I must agree with you on all you mentioned. Excellent value, excellent experiences…but you truly missed one, the women have to be the most beautiful of any I have ever seen. For a red hot male Poland cannot be beat.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We have booked to go to Krakow in December..I’m so excited! if you have any tips they would be gratefully received! We lived in Berlin for 3 years too, just after the wall came down. Wish I had appreciated it more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much!

      Krakow will be fantastic. You’ll love it. Poland in the winter is really cosy, and prices are so cheap, you’ll have a feast!
      OMG! I can’t believe you were here just after the Berlin Wall came down! It would have been so cool, but yeah, one never really appreciates a thing until it’s no longer quite close at hand! 😀
      p.s. For Poland in general, check out my other posts here. For anything else in particular, I offer a consulting service. More information about that here!

      Like

  5. Well remember I told you … you convinced me to visit Poland? I went to Poznan and Wroclaw in April / May this year 2017 … I’m going again to Wroclaw in December and I already booked for April / May 2018 to Zakopane and Krakow!!! What did you do to me ??? hahaaaa … I fell in love big time with Poland now!! 4 visits in a couple of months!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much Elinor!

      Indeed I do! I’m enormously pleased that you went to Poznan and Wroclaw and enjoyed it! You’ll love Krakow. And winter in Poland or any other East European country is so lovely. You’ll love it! 😀

      Feel free to use my affilate links (at no cost to yourself) for hotels and travel insurance if you want to! 😉

      Like

  6. Wow, what a nice article about my country 🙂
    I live in Cracow and really recommend that city to you guys 🙂
    Also: Wroclaw, Poznan, Torun (the city of Copernicus – wow, prices there are VERY cheap and the place is famous for gingerbread… uuu you will love it! I love Torun, even though it is a tawn rather than a city), Gdansk, Szczecin, Zamosc (this one is quite interesting), Warsaw, Lublin and Bialystok (to try some delicious cuisine). Ohh.. there are a lot of places to visit 🙂

    Thanks for a nice and funny article!
    R

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Renata!

      I’m glad that you really liked my article. I enjoyed writing it too! 😀
      As for Cracow / Krakow, I’ve been there many times but before I actually had this blog, so I haven’t written about it! 😉 And if you go to this section, you will see that I’ve actually been to many of the places you’ve described already being that Poznan, Warsaw, Gdasnk & Szczecin, are some of my favourite places! However, I can’t wait to visit Wrocław & Łódź.

      Like

  7. There are many beautiful places in Poland. I think that Gdańsk is a city worth mentioning. There is for example impressive old town, a lot of good restaurants and sights. You should also use service visitgdansk.com – you can easily find there good place to stay for night, information about what to do when outside is rainy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much Ivone!

      I totally agree! I’ve been to Gdańsk many times, and usually mention it in my articles about Poland. There’s no need to go on any other website as I’m an expert on Poland! 😉 In fact, if you read this, and this, you will see that we I pretty much mention Danzig / Gdańsk all the time! 😀

      Like

  8. I can recommend you to visit Gdańsk: http://visitgdansk.com/en/weekends-in-gdansk and the Second World War Museum. Despite a lot of controversy the Museum of the Second World War has been drawing the crowds since its opening earlier this year so we recommend you visit the museum’s website and reserve tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. With a maximum number of visitors allowed in at any one time, it’s advisable to book ahead.
    To be honest, it is one of the most interesting places, which you can find in Poland. To be honest, it is hard part of history, but worth checking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much Aquaja!

      I have been to Gdańsk many times, but I haven’t heard the Museum of the Second World War. Go here or here, for my view on Gdansk. WWII was a terrible event, but it’s very much worth leraning about and contemplating over, so that such a crime doesn’t happen again.

      Like

  9. We are very excited to visit Poland, and have been searching for any information, such as safety, areas to stay in, and what not to miss. Information is just not as readily available as other European nations. Thanks for the information posted, I will be checking your other links.
    Thanks!
    Nikki

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for reading Nikki! It’s always a delight to be told how useful and helpful my articles are, especially for a country that I very much enjoy visiting! 😀

      You’ll find that Poland is more popular among Anglo-American nations, either because we have no initial pre-conceptions about how Poland would be and therefore no biases, or because Poland is connected historically in some way. Sadly, Germany’s history is too close to be completely free of prejudice, and for other West European nations, Poland is still very much “East European” and therefore, not really worth writing about, hence the popularity of my articles. 😉

      If you’d like to see the links in one place, please go here or here.

      And of course, if you require further detailed help, I am available via consultancy here.

      Like

  10. What did they make of a Black woman in Poland, a beautiful one at at that and a rather handsome tall young man ?

    There are thousands of Poles living in my area of West London and the question I would love to ask
    each and everyone of them is how they would react if hundreds of thousands of English, Irish, Chinese, Somali, West Indian, Pakistani, Indian etc turned up in their towns and villages taking all the available jobs because they will work cheap, living 20 in one house, drinking on every street corner.. I wonder how tolerant they would be ?

    Sadly I suspect that I already know the answer to my question… If I turned up in some small town in Poland demanding housing, a job, free medical treatment, driving around in a Merc as if I was drug Baron, drinking, pissing and shitting in the streets (I’ve seen it with my own eyes and not only the men) I rather fancy that someone would take me to the edge of town and my days on this earth would end in a ditch… I once asked someone from Ukraine how many Black people lived in the town where he came from, he laughed and said none and then told me if one turned he would be killed…

    So far as I can tell most of the decent Poles are staying put in Poland leaving the dregs to migrate in their thousands to places such as the UK. Sorry, but I can think of not one single thing we has enriched my country since their arrival. Britain has a rich history of accepting people from all over the world under many differing circumstances, but this most recent invasion of fiscal migrants is most alarming. I can only suspect that the places they have migrated from must have been so bad that fleeing to the UK was their only option, but why they would then choose to turn their new home into the slum they have escaped from is quite beyond me….

    Like

    1. Thanks for your comment Blake!

      Well, in my experience they were extremely surprised, in some places visibly shocked, but very polite and pretty pleased! In the early days, I had people asking to take photographs with us, and every time we went into a small shop at the Polish seaside, suddenly a 100 people would be queuing up behind us, which I found quite endearing! I’ve been going to that fishing village for more than 20 years…!

      As an economic nation, Poland’s prospects are not as enticing as Western European nations, which is why many Polish people migrate to the UK, Germany, the US, etc. Having said that, they’re obviously taking their money home as in 2015, we met a few people who had previously lived in the UK, and had decided to return, and I was amazed at the new house-building industry, and how fancy some of those homes were!

      Whether we like it or not, the beauty of the EU has been freedom of movement, labour and resources. And if I have the right to move wherever I want (still) in the EU in order to offer my services, why should I begrudge other Europeans from doing the same?

      Like

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