The must-try activities in Poland

Hello everyone,

Moving to Poland is an exciting opportunity to discover a new culture and try things you might not even have heard of before. To make sure other expats and expats-to-be do not miss a thing, would you be able to answer the following questions on activities not-to-be-missed in Poland?

What are the activities everyone must try at least once in Poland?

What are the activities that one should partake in if they want to discover the local culture?

Are there any activities that are characteristic of Poland?

Do you have an anecdote to share about any of the activities listed above?

Please share your experience,


I live 2 hours south of Warsaw in a town of about 50k.

I have travelled in Poland and suggest the following:

Go see Krakow, which is the most charming city I've visited in Poland, hands down. Amazing history and because WWII did not destroy it (like it did Warsaw),  you can see a truly old city that still functions.

Auschwitz is a must see. Though it's a somber experience, we felt it was mandatory.  I don't think I need to elaborate on that much.  But understand that it is referred to as a "Nazi death camp", NOT a "Polish death camp", by law.   Poland was uniquely devastated by WWII and they suffered the worst, by far.  The subsequent  Soviet occupation is very recent in their collective memory. 

The Salt Mines (also near Krakow) are a must see for sheer fascination and history. Who knew a salt mine tour could be super interesting?  It was!

See Gdansk b/c it's an old, colorful port city on the Baltic Sea (and I love port cities.) It's still a happening place too, with an artsy progressive vibe to it.

Zakopane is at the foot of the Tetras Mountains in the south of Poland and is like a small Aspen.  Very charming and beautiful.

Go to a Mass even if you're not Catholic.  It's like a history lesson & you'll see how deeply rooted faith is in this country.

Lodging is cheap by American standards, but usually modern enough.  Anything from a Motel 6 type place, to a Ritz Carlton type is available in the large cities.  I paid  about $100 USD for the nicest hotel in Warsaw, (near the airport.)

Food is good and inexpensive, except in the nicest hotels.  But even at a nice restaurant,  it's unusual to spend more than $30-$40 for an amazing dinner with appetizer, entrees & wine, and dessert.   Most dinners are usually under $20.   

Customer service is NOT what most Americans are used to.  Waits can be long and servers can often be stand offish.  I once had a waitress who did not know what the soup of the day was, did not go check, and then waited for me to decide if I wanted it. (It actually made me laugh).   I think this  is a lingering affect of communism, so don't take it personally.