Backpacking Poland

Hello to all seasoned and aspiring backpackers!
Have you already travelled to many distant countries and are looking for a new inspiration? Poland will bring you a breath of fresh air, as you’ll find a vast wealth of culture that can be explored in the different country’s cities. Of course, there’s also a lot to do in the cities’ surroundings – who know Poland could have such breathtaking nature?



We hope you enjoy discovering our ideal backpacking itinerary for Poland.


Important Basics

Official Language

Polish

Basic Vocabulary
EnglishPolish
HelloWitam
GoodbyeDo Widzenia
Thank youDziękuję
YesTak
NoNie
Capital City

Warsaw

Form of government

Semi-presidential system

Phone Country Code

+48

Best Time to Visit

June – September

Fun Facts
  • Poland is home to the second-oldest university in Europe, Jagiellonian University.
  • Locals like to have a second breakfast.
  • The famous physicist Marie Sklodowska Curie was born in Warsaw.

Cities

Warsaw

The old town of Warsaw was completely destroyed in the 2nd World War and was rebuilt in laborious detail work. You can easily stroll through alleys and shop for souvenirs.

If you want to have a really great view over the old town, we recommend the Bell Tower. The entrance fee is just €1.45 and when you’re done walking up the 150 steps to the top, you’ll be rewarded with a really magnificent view. The Wilanow Palace is also incredibly stunning and undoubtedly worth a visit.

If you are looking for relaxation we recommend the Lazienki Park, which is so big that you can spend several hours there. Insider tip: take a small cruise on the lake in front of the palace. Furthermore, there is the Palace of Culture, which is essentially right next to the train station – a gift from Stalin to Warsaw. You can have a guided tour in the interior, but bring enough time with you since there are always a lot of people. You might even get tempted with some fresh fruit and vegetables from the small markets around.

On the banks of the Vistula you will find many small beach bars and you can enjoy a drink and recharge your batteries on a deck chair. You will find a well-developed network of buses and trams that will help you getting around easily. A ticket for 20 minutes is available for as little as €0.80. Night-life is also catered for, e.g. with the Club Room 13, where you can dance until the early hours.

Overnight stay is in a hostel in Warsaw will cost from about €12 in an 8-person dorm.

Krakow

For only about €10 you can reach Krakow by train. Krakow is perfect for shopping tours, as the shopping mall `Galeria Krakowska` really caters to any shopping needs: all brand manufacturers are represented here. The famous Cloth Halls, where souvenirs and jewellery made of amber are for sale, can be found on the Market Square.

Fresh groceries directly from the farmers are best bought from Stary Kleparz, an old market with fresh vegetables and fruit. On top of a hill is the Wawel Castle located, built in the Middle Ages and once used to be the residence of Polish kings. At the market place you will find carriages, which will take you on a brief tour, if you wish.

The best thing is to do a Free Walking Tour with locals, who will show you everything worth seeing; and at the end you get to decide how much the tour was worth to you. For night-life we recommend the Kazimierz district, where you will find small pubs and clubs of all types, regardless whether you just want to have a beer or dance the night away. Krakow is a beautiful city with a lot of historical of places to visit that are fairly close-by, for example the ex-concentration camps Auschwitz or Birkenau.

You can stay overnight at a hostel and get a bed in an 8-person dorm for €6 a night.

Wroclaw

You’ll get to Wroclaw by train for about €10. Wroclaw is one of the 10 largest cities in Poland and is also one of the oldest. It is often described as the Venice of Poland, as the city is located directly on the Oder and was built on 12 islands. In the backdrop, you’ll be able to admire the Sudeten Mountains. All districts of Wroclaw are connected by canals and many bridges mark the image of the city. Alongside the Spanish city Donostia San Sebastian, Wroclaw was named European Capital of Culture in 2016.

Here you can visit the Wroclaw Cathedral, which is built on a sand island. Parts of the largest organ in the world still stand there today. The Wroclaw Sand Church is also worth a visit; it is built on one of the many sand islands and one of the oldest Gothic churches in Poland. The town hall was also built in the same style, which stands pompously above the market place. In the cellar, the oldest tavern in Poland can be found. Also take a look at the panorama of Ractawice, a really huge picture showing the victory of the Poles over the Russians.

Perhaps you will also spot some of the Wroclaw´s dwarves that are scattered all over the city. Many years ago, Polish citizens protested against the communist regime, dressed in dwarf costumes; however, today it is just a tourist attraction. A ride on the 94-year-old tram will take you back to a different time. Also definitely worth a visit is the botanical garden with an integrated zoo, as well as the Skytower. It’s quite clear that Wroclaw offers a lot for fans of both history and culture.

You can stay overnight for €13 at a hostel and get a bed in a 5-person dorm, where you’ll be able to meet some new people.

Poznan

You’ll reach Poznan by bus. The trip will cost you about €7. If you first select the "Kings and Emperors" route, you will have the most important sights in one tour. It will take you to the oldest cathedral in Poland or the Imperial Residential Palace, which now houses the Zamek Cultural Centre. The old market is the center of the city and is home to many many cafés and shops – it’s particularly worth seeing. At 12 pm, the market place is crowded with people who will be looking spellbound at the town hall clock. There, you’ll see two billy goats meeting each other – a spectacle that magically attracts tourists.

Many parks invite you to take a walk, such as in the Cytadel Park where the Malta Lake is located, one of the best meeting places in summer or the Ježce Park, which is located a little out of town. The beer there is renowned. The best way to enjoy it is on a warm summer day in a beach bar along the Warta River.

Spend the night here right in the centre of Poznan in a hostel and get a bed in a 6-person dorm for €7 a night.

Gdansk

The best comes last: Gdansk! For only €10, you can comfortably reach the Polish city by train. Here you can find great museums, among others the National Museum or the Amber Museum, but there are also many other nice restaurants, as well as small pubs and cafés. In the surrounding area, you’ll find green parks and many beaches where you get a wonderful holiday feeling. It’s great to go on a bike ride here.

The old town is easy to explore, and you’ll find many shops where you’ll find at least one or two souvenirs to take back home. The Amber Eye, based on its big brother, the London Eye, is a Ferris wheel amidst the old town. The Golden House and Neptune's Fountain are further highlights in Gdansk.

St. Mary's Basilica is the second largest hall church in the world. It was built in Gothic style and is really a sight to see.

Relax before your trip back home at one of Gdansk’s hostel, where you’ll get a bed in a 4-person dorm for €15 a night.


Warsaw

Warsaw

The old town of Warsaw was completely destroyed in the 2nd World War and was rebuilt in laborious detail work. You can easily stroll through alleys and shop for souvenirs.

If you want to have a really great view over the old town, we recommend the Bell Tower. The entrance fee is just €1.45 and when you’re done walking up the 150 steps to the top, you’ll be rewarded with a really magnificent view. The Wilanow Palace is also incredibly stunning and undoubtedly worth a visit.

If you are looking for relaxation we recommend the Lazienki Park, which is so big that you can spend several hours there. Insider tip: take a small cruise on the lake in front of the palace. Furthermore, there is the Palace of Culture, which is essentially right next to the train station – a gift from Stalin to Warsaw. You can have a guided tour in the interior, but bring enough time with you since there are always a lot of people. You might even get tempted with some fresh fruit and vegetables from the small markets around.

On the banks of the Vistula you will find many small beach bars and you can enjoy a drink and recharge your batteries on a deck chair. You will find a well-developed network of buses and trams that will help you getting around easily. A ticket for 20 minutes is available for as little as €0.80. Night-life is also catered for, e.g. with the Club Room 13, where you can dance until the early hours.

Overnight stay is in a hostel in Warsaw will cost from about €12 in an 8-person dorm.

Krakow

Krakow

For only about €10 you can reach Krakow by train. Krakow is perfect for shopping tours, as the shopping mall `Galeria Krakowska` really caters to any shopping needs: all brand manufacturers are represented here. The famous Cloth Halls, where souvenirs and jewellery made of amber are for sale, can be found on the Market Square.

Fresh groceries directly from the farmers are best bought from Stary Kleparz, an old market with fresh vegetables and fruit. On top of a hill is the Wawel Castle located, built in the Middle Ages and once used to be the residence of Polish kings. At the market place you will find carriages, which will take you on a brief tour, if you wish.

The best thing is to do a Free Walking Tour with locals, who will show you everything worth seeing; and at the end you get to decide how much the tour was worth to you. For night-life we recommend the Kazimierz district, where you will find small pubs and clubs of all types, regardless whether you just want to have a beer or dance the night away. Krakow is a beautiful city with a lot of historical of places to visit that are fairly close-by, for example the ex-concentration camps Auschwitz or Birkenau.

You can stay overnight at a hostel and get a bed in an 8-person dorm for €6 a night.

Wroclaw

Wroclaw

You’ll get to Wroclaw by train for about €10. Wroclaw is one of the 10 largest cities in Poland and is also one of the oldest. It is often described as the Venice of Poland, as the city is located directly on the Oder and was built on 12 islands. In the backdrop, you’ll be able to admire the Sudeten Mountains. All districts of Wroclaw are connected by canals and many bridges mark the image of the city. Alongside the Spanish city Donostia San Sebastian, Wroclaw was named European Capital of Culture in 2016.

Here you can visit the Wroclaw Cathedral, which is built on a sand island. Parts of the largest organ in the world still stand there today. The Wroclaw Sand Church is also worth a visit; it is built on one of the many sand islands and one of the oldest Gothic churches in Poland. The town hall was also built in the same style, which stands pompously above the market place. In the cellar, the oldest tavern in Poland can be found. Also take a look at the panorama of Ractawice, a really huge picture showing the victory of the Poles over the Russians.

Perhaps you will also spot some of the Wroclaw´s dwarves that are scattered all over the city. Many years ago, Polish citizens protested against the communist regime, dressed in dwarf costumes; however, today it is just a tourist attraction. A ride on the 94-year-old tram will take you back to a different time. Also definitely worth a visit is the botanical garden with an integrated zoo, as well as the Skytower. It’s quite clear that Wroclaw offers a lot for fans of both history and culture.

You can stay overnight for €13 at a hostel and get a bed in a 5-person dorm, where you’ll be able to meet some new people.

Poznan

Poznan

You’ll reach Poznan by bus. The trip will cost you about €7. If you first select the "Kings and Emperors" route, you will have the most important sights in one tour. It will take you to the oldest cathedral in Poland or the Imperial Residential Palace, which now houses the Zamek Cultural Centre. The old market is the center of the city and is home to many many cafés and shops – it’s particularly worth seeing. At 12 pm, the market place is crowded with people who will be looking spellbound at the town hall clock. There, you’ll see two billy goats meeting each other – a spectacle that magically attracts tourists.

Many parks invite you to take a walk, such as in the Cytadel Park where the Malta Lake is located, one of the best meeting places in summer or the Ježce Park, which is located a little out of town. The beer there is renowned. The best way to enjoy it is on a warm summer day in a beach bar along the Warta River.

Spend the night here right in the centre of Poznan in a hostel and get a bed in a 6-person dorm for €7 a night.

Gdansk

Gdansk

The best comes last: Gdansk! For only €10, you can comfortably reach the Polish city by train. Here you can find great museums, among others the National Museum or the Amber Museum, but there are also many other nice restaurants, as well as small pubs and cafés. In the surrounding area, you’ll find green parks and many beaches where you get a wonderful holiday feeling. It’s great to go on a bike ride here.

The old town is easy to explore, and you’ll find many shops where you’ll find at least one or two souvenirs to take back home. The Amber Eye, based on its big brother, the London Eye, is a Ferris wheel amidst the old town. The Golden House and Neptune's Fountain are further highlights in Gdansk.

St. Mary's Basilica is the second largest hall church in the world. It was built in Gothic style and is really a sight to see.

Relax before your trip back home at one of Gdansk’s hostel, where you’ll get a bed in a 4-person dorm for €15 a night.

Poland Route Map

Itinerary and Stops.

Tag
Route/Station
Transport
Unterkunft
1. Home-Warsaw
Home-Warsaw
Flight
50
8-person dorm
12
2. Warsaw
Warsaw
-
8-person dorm
12
3. Warsaw
Warsaw
-
8-person dorm
12
4. Warsaw – Krakow
Warsaw – Krakow
train
10
8-person dorm
6
5. Krakow
Krakow
-
8-person dorm
6
6. Krakow
Krakow
-
8-person dorm
6
7. Krakow – Wroclaw
Krakow – Wroclaw
train
10
5-person dorm
13
8. Wroclaw
Wroclaw
-
5-person dorm
13
9. Wroclaw – Poznan
Wroclaw – Poznan
train
7
6-person dorm
7
10. Poznan
Poznan
-
6-person dorm
7
11. Poznan – Gdansk
Poznan – Gdansk
train
10
4-person dorm
15
12. Gdansk
Gdansk
-
4-person dorm
15
13. Gdansk
Gdansk
-
4-person dorm
15
14. Gdansk – Home
Gdansk – Home
Flight
50

Total price.

Flights 100,00
Transportation 37,00
Tours 35,00
Accommodation 139,00
Total311,00

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Dos and Donts, Food & Drinks, Costs.

Breakfast

Egg and bread:  Locals swear by a boiled egg and a ham sandwich in the morning. They usually drink tea with it.

Soups

Rosól: this noodle soup is usually made with chicken and leek and is considered a classic Sunday meal.

Zurek: this soup is served in a loaf of bread and usually consists of boiled egg and garlic.

Main Courses

Pierogi:  this Polish speciality is widely known. The stuffed dumplings are mainly made with a potato or meat filling.

Golabki: for this, cabbage leaves are filled and then cooked. The filling can be potatoes or meat, depending on your taste. Mushrooms are also a huge favorite. It’s served with a hot paprika sauce..

Bigos: a pan-fried dish made from cabbage and meat. It is usually cooked and fried for several days and is therefore a real feast.

Mizeria: do you love salad? Mizeria is a cold cucumber salad often served with minced meat or fish.

Lazanki z kapusta: for this dish, noodles are mixed with cabbage and prepared in a pan. It is often served with fried meat or potatoes.

Zapienkanki: a great snack for in between are these sandwiches. The topping usually consists of mushrooms and cheese. A good substitute for pizza. 

Drinks

Vodka: Polish vodka is a speciality of the country.  

Beer: Polish beer also has a good reputation..

Poland

The exchange rate for 1 Polish Zloty is around €0.21 (as of June 2022). See prices for certain products and the cost of living below:

Cost of living

Food

Free time

Personal Hygiene

Dos

Paying attention to traffic lights: Don’t jaywalk in Poland, as it is punishable by law and no exceptions are made for tourists.

Gift for hostess: if you are invited in Poland, it is appropriate and sometimes even expected that you bring a little something for the women.

Name day: the name day has a great importance in Poland and even ranks higher than the birthday. So you should respect this and always wish it to people.

Don'ts

Drinking alcohol in public: In Poland , it’s illegal to drink in public. Keep it to your hotel room or bar.

Jokes about Poles: they may be funny but in Poland most people don't consider them to be. So you better refrain from saying such comments if you don't want to get into trouble.

Thanking when paying: if you pay in a restaurant and hand over the money to the waiter, you should not say thank you in any case. Because this way you signal that you don't want the money back and he can keep the rest. It’s better to say “please” or smile.

Visa, Visa, Passport & Vaccinations

Passport

Yes

Temporary passport

Yes

National ID

Yes

Temporary national ID

Yes

Child’s pass

Yes

Visa

(Not necessary)

Vaccine

Masern, Tetanus & Hepatitis A

Additional Remarks.

We recommend making sure that your travel documents are valid for 6 months beyond the intended duration of your stay. Current information about this can be found at your country’s Foreign Office.

The team at Backpacker Trail wishes you lots of fun and an unforgettable trip!

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