7176
Poland
Poland at the Heart of Europe
Dive into an adventure of music, architecture, natural wonders and traditional folk culture as you discover what makes Poland’s rich social and artistic history so enduring.
Rating (4.89)
Program No. 7176RJ
Length
16 days
Starts at
3,799
Flights start at
925
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
16 days
15 nights
36 meals
14 B 13 L 9 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Gdansk
Gdansk
D
Dom Muzyka (Musician's House)

Activity note: Check-in available from 2:00 PM.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: 5:00 PM - Your Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Enjoy an orientation excursion of Gdansk. From the 15th to the 18th century, Gdansk represented Poland's gateway to the world, with the city holding monopoly on the maritime trade in grain and timber. A stroll around Gdansk provides a vivid testimony to Poland's more recent history, from the heroism of the defenders of Westerplatte in 1939 to the Monument to the Murdered Shipyard Workers, which stands at the gates of the Gdansk Shipyard (birthplace of "Solidarity").

Dinner: Welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Unless otherwise noted, dinners on this program will be three-course meals from a set menu, with plated service. Please note that water is included in the program cost at all meals.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Gdansk
Gdansk
B,L
Dom Muzyka (Musician's House)

Breakfast: Hotel dining room. On this program, breakfasts will offer a typical European style breakfast buffet with breads, cheeses, cold-cuts, yogurt, fruit, cereals, juice, milk, coffee, tea and water.

Morning: Lecture: "Roads to Freedom." Take an expert-led field trip of Gdansk, also known as the City of Freedom. Focus on the transformation of Gdansk and Europe, as we learn how the city's Lenin Shipyard birthed the Solidarity Trade Union, making Lech Walesa a household name. Make a photo stop at the Monument to the Shipyard Workers, and visit the exhibition on the greatest peaceful revolution of our time in the new European Solidarity Center. The European Center of Solidarity Movement is a phenomenal reason to visit Gdansk as it tells a story of global significance. The combined efforts of Solidarity and Pope John Paul II began the process of transformation across the entire region. Then take a stroll through the Old Town with its fine Hanseatic architecture. Enjoy organ music in all its glory at the Oliwa Cathedral which hosts the International Organ Music Festival. The largest instrument in Europe in its day, the monumental Oliwa organ is impressive for its skillfully sculpted Rococo body, and tremendous sound. It possesses 110 voices, over 600 pipes, and is decorated with figures of angels playing cornets, trombones, bugles and bells, and moving suns and stars, and wreathes of flowers and plants. It is said that the sound of the Oliwa organ is so fantastic that it made their constructor faint when he heard it for the first time.

Lunch: Light lunch at a local restaurant. Unless otherwise noted, lunches on this program will be two-course meals from a set menu, with plated service.

Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon to explore or relax on your own. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Malbork, Torun
Warsaw
B,L,D
Polonia Palace Hotel

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Travel to Malbork to explore a classic medieval fortress from the UNESCO list of unique monuments. With its multiple defensive walls, a labyrinth of rooms and chambers, and exquisite architectural detail and decoration, this fortress is one of the largest medieval defensive systems in Europe. Then drive to Torun, birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus. Stroll through its Gothic Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Untouched by World War II, the Old Town constitutes a precious landmark of history and tradition.

Lunch: Light lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Arrive in Warsaw and check-in at the hotel.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Warsaw, Chopin Concert
Warsaw
B,L
Polonia Palace Hotel

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Lecture: "Catholicism, Communism, and Democracy - the unique Polish experience of the second half of the 20th century." Enjoy a coffee break before attending another lecture: "Current Polish Economic and Social Challenges." Depart for an expert-led excursion of Warsaw by bus and on foot. The city has witnessed many events that have influenced the history of Europe. The Round Table Agreement of 1989 paved the way to a free and democratic Poland and the fall of the entire Communist Bloc. Discover the wonders of the Polish capital, including the Royal Route and the Old Town, which was painstakingly restored after World War II and is now included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Our expert-led excursion of Warsaw continues to Lazienki Park, the Monument to the Heroes of the Ghetto Uprising designed by famous sculptor Nathan Rappaport, the Umschlagplatz, where Jews gathered for deportation to the Treblinka extermination camp, and other important historic monuments in Warsaw.

Lunch: Light lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time to explore the area on your own or relax at the hotel. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: Enjoy a memorable piano concert, "Frederic Chopin, a Poet of the Piano." Chopin lived in Warsaw and developed his talent there for almost 20 years. The beauty of his music is an exceptional phenomenon, bordering on the miraculous. His style, rich with lyricism, moods, emotions and their nuances, earned him admiration all over the world.

DAY
6
Kiermusy Manor, Bialowieza
Bialowieza
B,L,D
Best Western Hotel Zubrowka

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Start the day at the Warsaw Rising Museum, an incredible representation of Polish spirit and pride through sounds, words and images. Then take a field trip to Podlasie, the multi-cultural region known as Polish Orient, which was settled by Poles, Belarusians, Ukrainians and Tatars. The area's denominational mosaic, built by the Catholics, Orthodox Church, Islam and Jewish believers, is a unique phenomenon. Visit the Kiermusy Manor, whose owners long to preserve Old Polish hospitality traditions. Taste a real pyramid cake - sekacz. The cake requires an impressive number of eggs and a couple of hours to bake, since it can measure one meter tall!

Lunch: Light lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Continue to Bialowieza, one of the largest areas of virgin lowland woodland on the continent, a UNESCO listed World Cultural Heritage Site. Check-in at your hotel.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Bialowieza National Park, Barbecue
Bialowieza
B,L,D
Best Western Hotel Zubrowka

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Expert-led excursion of the Bialowieza National Park, where human activity is limited to conservation, the upkeep of roads and scientific research. The excursion will be by horse drawn carriages! Visit the Bison Reserve, where we can also observe the zubron, a cross between a bison and a cow, which has been bred in Bialowieza.

Lunch: Light lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time to explore or relax on your own. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Enjoy a barbecue with accordion music and classic Polish food: kielbasa (excellent smoked sausage), bigos (stew with sauerkraut cabbage, a variety of meats, mushrooms and spices), and ogorek kwaszony (pickled cucumber).

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Zamosc
Zamosc
B,L,D
Mercure Zamosc Stare Miasto

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Depart for Zamosc, called Padua of the North. The best preserved Renaissance town in Poland, artist Jan Zamoyski commissioned its design from Benardo Morando of Padua, where he once studied. Full of Renaissance wonders, Zamosc is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

Lunch: Packed lunch.

Afternoon: Expert-led walking field trip in Zamosc. Pass by such sites as the Market Square, Town Hall, and the Zamoyski Monument.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Lancut Castle, Lipnica Murowana
Krakow
B,L,D
Novotel Krakow Centrum

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Depart for Krakow. En-route, see the magnificent Lancut Castle of the Lubomirski family, housing an extensive collection of art. Admire the historic interiors in the Baroque, Rococo, neoclassical, eclectic and Art Nouveau styles, richly decorated with wall paintings and carvings, graceful floors and precious period furniture, sculptures, china, etc. The castle furniture is the work of the most famous French, English and Austrian craftsmen of the 18th and 19th centuries. See objects from medieval times through the work of Antonio Canova in the sculpture gallery. Of particular value are the horse-drawn carriages.

Lunch: Packed lunch.

Afternoon: En-route to Krakow is the small village of Lipnica Murowana, the site of Saint Leonard's church. Built in the late 16th century, this church is one of the six wooden churches of Southern Little Poland listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arrive in Krakow, which retains the largest concentration of historical monuments and cultural treasures in Poland.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Wawel Castle & Cathedral, Old Town
Krakow
B,L,D
Novotel Krakow Centrum

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Lecture: "Jewish Renaissance in Contemporary Poland." Expert-led field trip of Krakow by bus and on foot. Krakow was for centuries the capital of Poland, drawing into its midst great scholars and artists from all over the world. The world's greatest Gothic sculptor, Veit Stoss, lived and worked here for nearly 20 years, a dozen of which he devoted to creating the magnificent 42-foot-high altarpiece in the Basilica of the Virgin Mary. Our exploration will take us to the Wawel Castle and Cathedral, the political and cultural center of Poland until the early 17th century. It boasts an unparalleled collection of magnificent 16th century Flemish tapestries, including works by Michael van Coxcie, the "Flemish Raphael." Then discover the brilliance of the Old Town, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

Lunch: Light lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Enjoy free time to explore or relax on your own. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Dine in the Kazimierz District, the ancient heart of Jewish Krakow. Taste Jewish cooking delicacies and enjoy a nostalgic Klezmer music concert.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Wieliczka Salt Mine
Krakow
B,L
Novotel Krakow Centrum

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Lecture: "Business and Investment Trends in Poland." Then take in another lecture: "The Great Personalities of Poland - People who Changed Poland and the World." Following the lectures, go on an expert-led excursion of Krakow, including a visit to the Collegium Maius. One of Krakow's gems, the Collegium Maius is one of Europe's first universities. The astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who revolutionized European science, remains the most illustrious of Krakow's graduates, along with Pope John Paul II. This museum boasts splendid historic rooms, a great collection of old European art, and unique science instruments. It is also a sort of cultural repository for Poland; famous Poles donate their awards to be displayed here. Enjoy some free time before lunch to see and do more of what interests you most.

Lunch: Light lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Field trip to the Wieliczka Salt Mine, a world-class attraction. Over 700 years, many generations of Polish miners created this amazing underground world. Exceptional in its beauty, the mine contains rich interior chapels, galleries, and underground salt lakes. The Wieliczka Salt Mine is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Zakopane
Krakow
B,L
Novotel Krakow Centrum

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Field trip to Zakopane, nestled high up in the Tatra Mountains, where we gain insight into vivid traditions of folk culture and the work of Stanislaw Witkiewicz. A trip through Zakopane by bus will provide a glimpse into its colorful past. Between the two world wars, it became a mecca for Polish thinkers and artists who gave it a special bohemian flavor. Zakopane is home to a rich folk culture and is the center of a proud Polish highlander tradition. This is seen in the highly decorative costumes, the ever-present highland music, the mountainous architectural style, and most of all, in its distinctive cooking. After a panoramic excursion of Zakopane, ride a funicular to the top of Mt. Gubalowka (3685 ft), one of the most spectacular viewing points in Poland. Then have a little free time in Zakopane. We recommend a walk along Krupowki Street to see its local bazaar gathering hundreds of craftsmen.

Lunch: Taste regional delicacies and listen to highland music at a local restaurant in Zakopane. Zakopane is a gourmet paradise, the base for traditional cooking being cabbage and potatoes, with specialties including sauerkraut soup, kwasnica, salty smoked sheep cheese in the shape of a spindle, oscypek, local lamb meat, and tea with vodka. Making sauerkraut is a traditional local custom, with every house producing at least several barrels in preparation for the winter months.

Afternoon: The highlanders are famous for their skill in construction work, and many skilled woodcarvers, violin makers, tailors, and folk artists come from this region. One of the highlights of Zakopane is the Antoni Kenar Complex of Art Schools, whose patron Antoni Kenar was a famous sculptor and teacher. There are many illustrious gradutes of the school, including artists and craftsmen, who contributed greatly to the local culture and tradition. We will meet one of the artists; a representative of the Antoni Kenar School of Fine Arts. On the way back to Krakow take a panoramic bus excursion of Chocholow, a picturesque village with the best-preserved and largest complex of traditional wooden houses in the area. The village has one main street with rows of single-story wooden houses on both sides. They were built with very few nails, if any!

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Auschwitz & Birkenau Museum
Wroclaw
B,L,D
HP Park Plaza

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Depart for Oswiecim with the Auschwitz & Birkenau Museum, the symbol of the holocaust. The site of the camp houses the museum, where documents concerning Nazi crimes are exhibited. A local expert will lead you through the camp and museum.

Lunch: Light lunch at a local restaurant en route.

Afternoon: Continue to Wroclaw. Arrive and check-in at hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Wroclaw, Ostrow Tumski
Wroclaw
B,L
HP Park Plaza

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Visit the Raclawice Panorama Museum, an impressive relic of 19th century mass culture where a large three-dimensional painting wraps around the internal walls of the rotunda, the only example of this genre preserved in Europe.

Lunch: Light lunch at a local restaurant. You are also invited to a lovely dessert, served on famous Boleslawiec Pottery. Made in the Silesia region of Poland, this pottery has been in production since the late 1700s. It is distinguished by its clean lines and captivating designs in cobalt blue, peacock blue, and earth tones, and all of the pieces are hand painted using sponge stamps and brushes. Boleslawiec Pottery is known to be a lovely addition to any home, adding warmth and style.

Afternoon: Enjoy free time to explore or relax on your own. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
Czestochowa, Stanislaw Moniuszko Recital
Warsaw
B,L,D
Hotel Mazurkas

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Travel to Czestochowa where, as Pope John Paul II stated, the "heart of the nation" beats. Visit Jasna Gora with its sacred picture of the Black Madonna.

Lunch: Light lunch at the hotel.

Afternoon: Continue to Lowicz, where we will experience Polish hospitality, taste regional dishes, get to know local people and their talents and passions, and enjoy a warm and enchanting atmosphere.

Dinner: We will be hosted by a young married couple living in a wooden cottage romantically set at the base of the ruins of the former bishop's castle. After a traditional Polish welcome with a loaf of bread and salt, you will be treated to a farewell dinner of regional dishes.

Evening: Enjoy a recital of Stanislaw Moniuszko solo songs, which are considered the heart of Polish folk culture. The traditional Polish house is the perfect setting for these songs, which take on the form of dialogue or ballads, and testify to the composer's originality and melodic inventiveness. Before departing for Warsaw, we will be presented with a hand-made gift, a small memento created by this artistic family.

DAY
16
Departures
In Flight
B

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Transfer to the airport. This concludes our program. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures.