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Touring Poland by Car & stay B&B: Pre-book or "wing-it"?

RobbityBobbity 1 | 2  
16 Aug 2008 /  #1
Hi. Next March/April my husband and I will be leaving antipodean shores (Australia) for our first European holiday. We plan on arriving in Gdansk (ex CPH) and driving at a leisurely pace to south Poland - taking about 7-10 days using maps and Lonely Planet guides. We are yet to find a local travel agent with in-depth knowledge on Poland so we are reluctant to pre-book, preferring to find our own way. We of course will exercise common sense regarding safety - and will seek out English speaking operators when it comes to car hire & accomm. Although we live in the wide open space of rural Australia I have had experience driving in Kuala Lumpur (crazy drivers) & have driven on the "wrong side" of the road before in the US!. I was wondering if the major Polish cities/towns had easily locatable tourist offices where we could go to arrange accommodation, sightseeing, etc? Or is "winging it" a recipe for disaster?

Thanks too for your informative thread rjrogalla!
Gab - | 133  
16 Aug 2008 /  #2
Yes, they do. Every major Polish city has tourist centers, just google them. - might be of some help

If not, just google the city you're interested in. Major Polish cities have their own websites, e.g. Krakow, Wroclaw and many more.

Good luck
spiritus 68 | 666  
17 Aug 2008 /  #3
Fail to plan, plan to fail.

Then again I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to organising holidays.

You can combine both approaches. Do some research first and draw up a shortlist of places you would like to stay then you will still feel like you have a certain amount of freedom.

I think it's vital to do some planning. You might choose to stay at one location over another and miss out on something wonderful that might only have been a 10 min drive from where you're staying.
HelenaWojtczak 28 | 177  
17 Aug 2008 /  #4
You might choose to stay at one location over another and miss out on something wonderful that might only have been a 10 min drive from where you're staying.

I do agree with spiritus on this one, but at the same time I do not think you need to book any accommodation before you travel, esp in April, before the tourist season.

It can be much more fun and exciting to just go somewhere and see what you find. I've done this in Poland myself, and without a car, which makes it much more a case of "winging it" because, if I didn't find anywhere, I didn't have a car to take me someplace else or to sleep in!

See my story of arriving in Poznan off the train from London.

17 Aug 2008 /  #5
Fail to plan, plan to fail.

Well we're not exactly failing to plan - it is a result of overplanning & over-researching that has put us in the frame of mind that we would prefer to see for ourselves what is offer & make decisions as we go. We don't want to go all that way only to be dissapointed by finding that we limited ourselves to the scope of an ill-informed Aussie travel agent. Hence joining this wonderful forum :-)

Travel brochures & internet pics do quite a bit of "airbrushing" & embellishment of their service offering!
I suppose we'd just like to know if the fundamental concept of booking & hiring "on the spot" rather than booking & paying before we leave will not be more expensive so that we have the option of changing our minds & driving on.

I am gathering a list favourite places mentioned on this forum.
OP RobbityBobbity 1 | 2  
17 Aug 2008 /  #6
"Guest" above is me "RobbityBobbity" still getting a hang of this forum thingy!!!

Thanks too Helena. Is the Poznan thread the one with video on Buffet Car Workers?
I look forward to reading a report on your September travels.

Funny reading the post on Wizzair - we plan on flying from Malmo (Sweden) to Gdansk with WizzAir - I think we'll hang-fire on that booking too!

Anyone stayed at the Gotyk Guest house in Gdansk?
Gab - | 133  
17 Aug 2008 /  #7
Warsaw, Cracow, Wroclaw (=Breslau), Torun, Gdansk, Kazimierz Dolny, Malbork, Zakopane would be my favorites. Maybe not in that order because they are all over Poland :)

I'm originally from Wroclaw, so if you need any pointers about Wroclaw (the capital city of Lower Silesia region), just let me know.
HelenaWojtczak 28 | 177  
18 Aug 2008 /  #8
No it was the one about the taxi driver.

My father and I arrived in Poznan off the train from London one day in 1986 and we had nowhere to stay. We got in a taxi and asked the driver to take us to a hotel, any hotel. But when we arrived there were no rooms, and the taxi driver heard this because he was bringing our luggage into reception, so he took everything back to the taxi and we drove from one hotel to another, all full up. Turned out there was a trade fair in town. By this time it was about 6pm and the taxi driver took us to his flat. He left us outside while he went in and asked his wife if we could stay. We sat in the kitchen while they rearranged all their rooms to provide my father and I with a whole room each. At their request we paid them two pounds a night bed and breakfast and stayed there a week.

Here's a funny thing: their 20-year-old blonde student daughter spoke fluent English, but there was something really strange about her accent: she sounded like an African, not a Pole. I puzzled over this for a few days, until she introduced me to her boyfriend ~ a big, black African student! He was a secret from her parents, who hated black people. But it explained her strange accent!

Anyway, she and I became firm girlfriends and she took me out with her to meet her friends etc while my Dad went about with her parents. Once, we all five went to one of those amazing museums of farm and rural life. While there we met women killing and plucking chickens, and bought one!

It was far more interesting to stay with an ordinary Polish family than at a hotel. I could see how they lived, and speaking with Anna found out so much more about Poles and their way of life than I otherwise would have.

We remained penfriends for a couple of years afterwards, which was very pleasant.

None of this would have happened if we had just booked a hotel before we left London!

Once my Dad and I turned up at Sandomierz with no reservations and we found this lovely little pension that would not have been listed with any international tourist offices. Again, a wonderful, true-Polish experience.

Go for it!

in the UK
18 Aug 2008 /  #9
I personally like to have my plans booked. My wife and I did the same thing last October 07. We arrived in Gdansk. If you go through StayPoland or Poland Life, you can find accommodations very easily. We stayed in an apt in Old City Gdansk for about $55-60 USD per day.

If you can, don't miss staying in the castle (Zamek) in Malbork. It's about $95 USD per night and 40-45 minutes away, but worth every penny.

There is also a castle in Bytow ( about 1 hour from Gdansk) that you can stay in, and a Palace in Klonowo ( near Lubawa) about 3 hrs. away. We stayed in one of four suites in the palace for about $55 USD per night. Fabulous. We also booked a rental car through Ireland that was very reasonable in Gdansk. Try the Hotel Irena in Sopot, also. It is great and jst 2 blocks from the beach.

Good luck and have a great time. You'll love it!

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