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Poland: What should I look forward to or avoid? Is it fun to visit?


jasony0423 1 | 11  
6 Apr 2009 /  #1
Hi,
I'm looking to visit Poland for vacation sometime in the next year. My questions are, what should I look forward to, what should I avoid, and basically, is Poland a fun place to visit?

I'll be coming alone, as I'm single. I'm 30 years old, but my family is FROM Poland, albeit a couple of generations back... My grandpa used to always tell me to hold out for a nice polish girl, but that's not the reason for my vacation. ;)

Anyone offer me any suggestions, etc?

Thanks.
gumishu 11 | 5,319  
6 Apr 2009 /  #2
Kraków Wieliczka Trójmiasto haven't been to Warsaw for years so can't really advocate going there
Shawn_H  
6 Apr 2009 /  #3
Anyone offer me any suggestions, etc?

What are some of your interests? Clubbing? Fishing? Nature? Arts?
OP jasony0423 1 | 11  
6 Apr 2009 /  #4
I'd like to see some of the history. Not really big on clubs here in the States, though I don't know how they differ in Poland... Not a big fisherman, though... I'd say nature and history, mainly.
Shawn_H  
6 Apr 2009 /  #5
Bialowieza is nice from a nature standpoint. Horse drawn carriage ride through some of the oldest forests in Europe.

Malbork is a place that was busy throughout history. I took a night time tour that was quite creative, and followed up with a day time tour as well.

Mikolajki is scenic and laid back.

There are tons of threads on 3M (Gdansk, Gdynia, Sopot), Krakow and Wieliczka as gumishu pointed out. (I see gumishu has joined us officially!!)

Almost any major city has some sort of appeal.

Don't forget to check out the mountains as well!
pgtx 29 | 3,159  
6 Apr 2009 /  #6
What should I look forward to or avoid? Is it fun to visit?

visit Krakow, avoid naked Brits in the city centre... :D
OP jasony0423 1 | 11  
6 Apr 2009 /  #7
POssibly a dumb question, but is it a safe place to visit? Especially considering I"m coming by myself? I"ve seen plenty of movies where Americans are not well loved, so I don't want to end up that way...

Also, I'm new to this site, so I don't know the lingo... What is 3M?

Thanks.
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
6 Apr 2009 /  #8
What is 3M?

3
M - stands for miasto (city)

Troj Miasto (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tricity,_Poland): Gdansk-Gdynia-Sopot. Basically hard to tell where one starts and the ohter ends. Kind like Northen NJ, ' cept nicer ;)
McCoy 27 | 1,275  
6 Apr 2009 /  #9
avoid naked Brits in the city centre... :D

billions of them since zloty went down

is it a safe place to visit?

extremely dangerous.
Lir  
6 Apr 2009 /  #10
extremaly dangerous.

Too many Polish people smoking , all those fumes lol :)
frd 7 | 1,399  
6 Apr 2009 /  #11
It might be dangerous in the city's border districts just like in every other city, also in suburban trains and at trainstations.. intercity trains and night trains with couchettes are totally safe.
OP jasony0423 1 | 11  
6 Apr 2009 /  #12
OK, that makes sense.

How many of you actually live in Poland, and how many have just visited?
gumishu 11 | 5,319  
7 Apr 2009 /  #13
if you are into nature, definitely go to the Tatra mountains as well - my opinion is the most beautiful part is the Dolina Pięciu Stawów (The Valley of Five Lakes) (can be a one day trip from Kraków but it is much more convenient to stay in Zakopane for a while, a night or two - but then Zakopane is quite expensive)
OP jasony0423 1 | 11  
7 Apr 2009 /  #14
alrioght, I googled the mountains. Looks like a place I'd definitely want to visit.
frd 7 | 1,399  
7 Apr 2009 /  #15
If you're are not into history of industry, post Prussian architecture, lot's of post communism "blocks of flats" then don't go anywhere near Silesia ; )
Softsong 5 | 495  
8 Apr 2009 /  #16
I've been to Poland twice, the last time this past fall and I went alone. I am a lady, and felt entirely safe. Of course, I noted the above safety precautions.

If you have a Polish background, you'll enjoy seeing the country of your ancestors. If you don't know where in Poland they are from, might be more interesting to do a bit of research.

Have fun!
adam9999  
15 Apr 2009 /  #17
I returned to Poland after 13 years. There are a few things you should know.

1. Anywhere but the big cities you are marked as a foreigner
2. People will stare at you and not smile, get used to it
3. Most likely you will be robbed - be prepared for that
4. The locals rarely speak English

Some nature spots are nice in Poland, especially the mountains. However, the Czech and Slovak sides tend to be less developed, so you might want to check them out. Service and lodging mountain lodges is decent, but nothing fancy.

Transport infrastructure is that of a third world country, trains and buses are tolerable at best (with the exception of few business class Eurocity trains).

Many cities are not worth visiting, in the west you will see somewhat ruined German architecture. Krakow is a gem, but expensive. It is also one the few places where you can get a decent mix of historical tourist attractions and bar/club fun. Basically your standard tourist destination. Warsaw can easily be avoided, the only thing worth seeing is the Stalinist Palace of Culture, and only from the outside.

In general prepare yourself for a second world country, take the usual precautions as if you were traveling to a country say like Albania, but with a difference that it has benefited from some EU funding.

Have fun!
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
15 Apr 2009 /  #18
going to the loo without small change!

In general prepare yourself for a second world country, take the usual precautions as if you were traveling to a country say like Albania, but with a difference that it has benefited from some EU funding.

Come on! I've lived all my life in the UK and visited Poland 3 times and would never say it was a second world country, that's harsh!
adam9999  
15 Apr 2009 /  #19
Depends on where you go. There are places that certainly do not qualify as first world and yet you might want to go there as a tourist. Since I do not know where he intends to go, I told him what is the worst that can meet him.

BTW. What second world countries have you been to? Or are you comparing to the UK?
bolek 6 | 330  
15 Apr 2009 /  #20
1. Anywhere but the big cities you are marked as a foreigner

not really, unless your wearing a t shirt displaying I'm British etc

quote=adam9999]
2. People will stare at you and not smile, get used to it[/quote]
True

3. Most likely you will be robbed - be prepared for that

Depends where you go ie nightclubs, no different to visiting a US city

4. The locals rarely speak English

True
pawian 171 | 12,081  
15 Apr 2009 /  #21
3. Most likely you will be robbed - be prepared for that

Warsaw can easily be avoided, the only thing worth seeing is the Stalinist Palace of Culture, and only from the outside.

I find these comments very shallow, I am afraid. Being a Krakowian by birth, I appreciate Warsaw very much. As for robbing, the only time I was robbed in my life (pickpocketed actually) was in NYC, US.
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,098  
15 Apr 2009 /  #22
3. Most likely you will be robbed - be prepared for that

It's hard to believe, especially when you are 30 years old. As distinct from UK, Polish teenagers don't attack old guys. They may ask you for mobile phone if you are 16 yo but no 30yo. Pickpocketing yes but robbery I don't think so.
adam9999  
17 Apr 2009 /  #23
Dear bolek, Pawian Peter,

I am not clear why you feel that my opinions are some sort of attack. I am sharing my opinion of Poland as a person who has spent many years in the US and has returned here for a while. Feel free to feel about our country as you wish, but the truth is you are not coming from a foreigner's perspective.

A few points of clarification:

- a foreigner does stand out everywhere but the big cities, just by the virtue of clothes, ipods, etc. In fact, people from Warsaw stand out in rural areas.

- The fact that someone was robbed in the US and not Poland does not mean anything, since we are talking about precautions of being a tourist/foreigner in Poland and not discussing life in general. Just recently a Canadian student was beaten up and robbed in Warsaw because he had an Apple laptop and was foreign. That is the reality one has to deal with, not crime in general.

- being 'asked' for a mobile is robbery, so is pickpocketing.

Anyway, I hope he has a good time.
pola_bella 2 | 12  
17 Apr 2009 /  #24
Most likely you will be robbed, and u expect that ppl arent going to react to that, are u kidding me. Your not going to get beat down or anything like that, so u can relax. Pickpoketing is robbery but its not like everyone is a target, you just have to be smart with ur surroundings and personal items. If u have a dollar bills hanging hanging out of ur pocket then ya it will be stolen and u wont even know when it happened.

I traveled Poland from one end to the other many times taking trains buses and other forms of publc transportation and i have never ever had a problem. Although pickpocketing does happen and those who do it are really good. IF UR SMART ABOUT UR SURROUNDINGS AND PERSONAL ITEMS NOOOOOO U WONT GET ROBBED..

and Adam999 if i was ignorant i would say to someone visiting the States "You'll prolly get shot walking the streets or in a drive by.
danielle1 3 | 12  
17 Apr 2009 /  #25
expect to be looked at very strange and look out for masive pizza places becasue they are soooooooooo nice
adam9999  
17 Apr 2009 /  #26
Dear Pola_B,

I would not get too emotional, I was giving advice. I did not say that one gets beaten up in Poland on a regular basis. However, theft is a problem in Poland and it is well known that foreign tourists are a target. Not sure if you are a foreigner, so I am not clear what your personal experience tells us.

You don't like the word robbed. Fine.

"Your items will be taken from you, and maybe you will not even notice it until its too late".

And I agree you should take precautions, I think that was the idea of me mentioning this. Not only precautions against being robbed, but also preparing for the aftermath - having your credit card numbers, knowing where to report this to the Police, etc.

As far as your comment about the US - you are right you would be very ignorant to say that since crime in the US is, compared to previous years, relatively low. Obviously, at least you are not ignorant about the US. However, I fail to see how that makes you think that I am wrong about Poland.

Also, may I suggest taking a deep breath, and not using all caps = yelling.
Lori 4 | 118  
20 Apr 2009 /  #27
Is Poland safe? Oh heavens! I'm a U.S grandmother, speak a bit of Polish, but far from fluent. I wander around Poland using the same street smarts I would use at home and have never found anything but kindness and courtesy.
Davey 13 | 388  
20 Apr 2009 /  #28
If you're are not into history of industry, post Prussian architecture, lot's of post communism "blocks of flats" then don't go anywhere near Silesia ; )

The country side is gorgeous though, Bielsko-Biała especially
temporary  
25 Apr 2009 /  #29
nearly all young polish people speak more then 3 languages! very polite ,very well educated country.
Krakow, Tatry, Zakopane, Gdansk are a must, Great food there is no such thing as organic food as basally everything is fresh with out preservatives .

adam9999 from your response i take it ur over 50 and still have your mind set of the communist russian era that effected poland.

Take care
southern 75 | 7,096  
25 Apr 2009 /  #30
what should I look forward to

You should look forward to learning polish.

what should I avoid

PKP.

is Poland a fun place to visit?

Yes,if you don't wear a skirt.

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