(Last updated on: 30/07/2022)
Tourism in Poland is booming, and for plenty of good reasons! Poland is one of the most affordable, attractive and accessible destinations to visit in Europe, and there are plenty of things to do here. Additionally, there are many types of tourism to explore, such as medical tourism and dark tourism in Poland. This post will tell you everything you need to know before your trip to this wonderful country in Eastern Europe.
- Tourism in Poland
- Is it safe to travel in Poland?
- Is it cheap to travel in Poland?
- The best time to travel to Poland
- The best things to do in Poland
- Dark tourism in Poland
- Sustainable tourism in Poland
- Medical tourism in Poland
- The best places to stay in Poland
- Tourism in Poland packing list
- Tourism in Poland- further reading
Tourism in Poland
Over the past few years, tourism in Poland has risen drastically. Based on research by Statista, in 2019, there were 35.7 million visitors alone, compared to 2006 when there were 17.5 million. This is a massive increase of 18 million in a very short time, and for plenty of good reasons, that will be explored further in this post.
First, it’s important to know a little bit about the history of tourism in Poland: From 1945 to 1989, Poland was under a communist government, which meant that tourism was limited to Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance)- these countries were under Soviet rule. Due to this, tourism in Poland for inbound tourists was almost non-existent, however, domestic tourism was popular as it was government-founded. Domestic tourism during this time often consisted of a campground with bungalows sometimes, and everything was managed by the state.
After the collapse of communism, Poland started becoming a more attractive destination for tourists, especially after joining the EU in 2004. This has accelerated the development of tourism in Poland due to being able to trade between other countries more accessible for everyone inside and outside of Poland!
The capital of Poland is Warsaw, which has over 1.7 million people living there in 2022 and is also the most visited city in the whole of Poland. It’s a very popular city to live and visit for many reasons such as how accessible it is, the historical aspect of the city and having plenty of things to do there – for instance, there are more than 20 top places to visit in Warsaw to suit every type of traveller. There are two main airports in Warsaw – Warsaw Chopin Airport and Warsaw Modlin Airport. These airports have international and domestic flights from various airlines, including low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and Wizz Air, making tourism in Poland accessible for most people – even if they are on a budget!
Some other famous cities in Poland are:
- Gdansk – most known for its beautiful architecture.
- Krakow – recognised for its medieval history and Jewish quarter.
- Katowice – known for its industrial history and many tourists visit it due to its proximity to Auschwitz.
- Lublin – famous for its high standards of living and for being selected for 2023’s European Youth Capital.
Is it safe to travel in Poland?
Is it safe to travel in Poland? The answer is very simply – YES! Poland was listed as number 24 out of 163 on the Global Peace Index 2021. This means that Poland has low terrorism, is politically stable and has a low level of violent crime, among other ratings.
88.19% of people in Poland feel safe walking alone – meaning Poland ranks 22nd out of 163 countries on Nation Master. This is a very high number, especially when compared to the UK, which ranked 40th and the US who ranked 57th. This makes Poland a great place to visit for all types of tourists – especially if you’re travelling solo!
However, as a tourist, it is always advisable to be aware of pickpockets and scams, which often happen in particularly touristy areas. In Poland, some common scams are:
- The Flower Gift Scam. This is when a young child will approach you and hand you a flower, they will then proceed to tell you a fake story in order for you to give them money. It’s almost always a lie that you should try and avoid as much as possible.
- Street Girl Scam. Often a scam targeted at men, this is when a very attractive woman will approach a man for advice on which bar to visit and then try and make the man accompany them to the bar. However, these women often work for the bar, the prices will be very high, and that’s how they earn money from this scam.
- The Helpful Person Scam. A rare scam but a good one to be aware of is when a person will ask you for any spare change to buy a train/bus ticket. As you get your wallet out, they will grab it and run! Other forms of this scam are when someone is being overly helpful, such as showing you your seat on the train and then demanding payment from you for this ‘service’.
Overall, tourism in Poland is very safe as long as common sense is applied and followed. As Poland is considered such a safe country, this is one of the factors that has led to a rise in tourism in Poland. If that hasn’t convinced you to visit just yet, then maybe the next section will…
Is it cheap to travel in Poland?
Is Poland cheap to travel in? Yes, it is! Poland is one of the cheapest countries in Europe to travel in. It’s important to know that the currency is złoty, often abbreviated to Zl, and the Euro is not accepted there.
Based on prices on Numbeo: A meal at an inexpensive restaurant will on average, cost around £5.37. A litre of milk costs £0.50, bread costs £0.67 and 1kg of potatoes costs around £0.46. A one-way ticket on the bus or train costs around £0.72 and a monthly pass costs about £17.89.
Due to these very affordable prices, this makes Poland the perfect destination to travel around in for almost all types of tourists – especially ones on a budget! Don’t believe me? Just take a look at some of the prices below… I’ll take a pint of beer for £1.79 any day!
The best time to travel to Poland
When is the best time to travel to Poland? Luckily, tourism in Poland is great all year round!
The best time to travel to Poland is really up to personal preferences as Poland has lots to offer throughout the seasons! In the winter months (December to March) Poland often looks magical snow all over – even in the cities. This means that it can be too cold and unsuitable for some people, but perfect for tourists who love winter activities such as skiing, ice skating and snowboarding.
Summers in Poland can be very warm, and there are often more tourists soaking up the sun – there’s a very big contrast between the winter and summer months that it’s almost hard to believe!
The low season is from October to April, as this is when it’s the coldest throughout Poland. The lowest average temperature during these months is about -4°C, and the maximum is about 13°C. During low season, most major attractions are still open and may also be cheaper depending on the place! Even in the thickest snow, life still goes on in Poland as the Polish have adapted to living in these conditions, so you don’t need to worry about things such as transport not running.
The peak season in Poland is from May to September, with the busiest months often being July and August. This is also when the weather is the warmest – often the maximum temperature being 25°C and the minimum being around 14°C. This can be a bit too warm for some people, but thankfully most places in Poland have aircon so the temperature will be easier to handle. It’s also important to know that something surprising about Poland in the summer is that there are so many mosquitos! The mosquitos are often more common in the rural areas, however, sometimes they can be in the cities too- don’t forget to stock up on your repellent!
Luckily, there are relatively cheap flights to Poland all throughout the year, even in the peak season so the best time to visit Poland depends on the type of tourism in Poland you are visiting for. In general, the best time to visit Poland is April – May time as this is when there is fewer tourists yet the weather is not too warm yet not too cold!
The best things to do in Poland
What are the best things to do in Poland? There are so many things to do here, it’s guaranteed there will be something that will suit your interests! You can either visit these places yourself or book a tour, like this one. Here are a few of the top things you don’t want to miss out on:
- Wieliczka Salt Mine Tour – Explore miles of this fascinating salt mine and learn all about its history. This is a very unique experience and perfect if you like learning about historic tourism in Poland as the salt mine first opened over 700 years ago. There are even chapels in the mine for weddings and other religious gatherings.
- Masurian Lake District – A visit to the Masurian Lake District is perfect for tourists who want to experience all the nature Poland has to offer. Filled with miles of rolling hills and pristine lakes – you will fall in love with the peacefulness!
- Suntago – is the largest water park in Europe, making it perfect for a fun-filled guaranteed day out! With over 30 water slides, 18 slides and 10 saunas and spas – there’s something for everyone and makes it perfect for leisure tourism in Poland.
- Palace of Culture and Science – Warsaw’s historic landmark gives you an amazing birds-eye view of the whole of the bustling city! There is a great 360° observation deck and often there are interesting events and displays on the inside – there’s a reason it’s the most visited attraction in Warsaw!
- Gdansk Pub Crawl and Free Drinks – Poland is known for its hardcore drinking culture, so what better way to experience it than on a pub crawl with FREE drinks?! This is the perfect opportunity to meet other fellow travellers and have a night out to remember!
- Zakopane and Thermal Springs – This is the perfect place to visit, especially if you’re visiting Poland in the winter and want some warming up! Zakopane is known for being the ‘Winter capital of Poland’ – and it’s understandable why. It’s beautifully decorated with picturesque wooden cabins, beautiful forests and plenty of winter activities to do. After exploring, the perfect way to relax is in the serene thermal springs.
Dark tourism in Poland
Dark tourism in Poland is very common too, as it is infamous for its history regarding WW2. It is important to be as respectful as possible when visiting the following sites in Poland as unfortunately, these atrocities are real things that happened to real people.
- Auschwitz Concentration Camp – Auschwitz is one of the most well-known concentration camps in Poland. There are endless stories about the victims and survivors to educate yourself on and understand the unfortunate realities that happened here. It is free to visit and there are guided tours available too. There are a limited amount of tickets sold per day so I strongly recommend booking in advance- you can do that here.
- Oskar Schindler’s Factory Tour – Learn about the man and the factory that saved hundreds of Jewish people’s lives. This tour is ideal for tourists who are interested in dark history and especially if you are familiar with the award-winning Speilberg film, Schindlers List. Tours are around 1.5 hours long and are in very small groups so you can learn about it more personally.
- Majdanek Concentration Camp – Majdanek is a lesser-known concentration camp, located in Lublin. This is a must-see for anyone wanting to learn more about dark tourism in Poland. As it is a lesser-known camp, that means there are often not very many tourists which could be suitable for tourists who want to educate themselves more but in a less busy environment.
Sustainable tourism in Poland
Sustainable tourism in Poland is something that is slowly but surely being adopted throughout the country. Poland has for a long time relied on the coal and steel industry due to the communist regime and ranked number 112 on the World Economic Forum due to sustainable tourism and development in 2015. Luckily, the potential for sustainable tourism in Poland is endless as more businesses are adapting to more sustainable goals. Here are some of the sustainable development goals that Poland’s Government want to fulfil by 2023:
It’s very important that sustainable tourism in Poland is growing as many tourists are becoming more aware of their own impact on the environment, especially as travel can often be very unsustainable in this aspect. If you want to understand why sustainable tourism in Poland is important in more detail, then read my post all about sustainable tourism here.
Medical tourism in Poland
Medical tourism in Poland is becoming a very popular reason for some tourists to visit! Poland has excellent medical staff and high-quality medical centres. It can also be very cheap compared to other prices in Europe, depending on the procedure taking place. In fact, Poland was ranked 29th in the top 44 destinations in the medical tourism index! Here are some fascinating facts about medical tourism in Poland:
- Poland has attracted over 600 thousand tourists traveling for medical tourism.
- Liposuction is the most popular cosmetic surgery to get in Poland.
- There are over 1,200 medical centres in Poland – and the number is set to increase!
- Medical centres are accredited by the EU and NATO, as well as often having international accreditation too.
- Thermal springs and spas are one of the main attractions for medical tourism in Poland.
Dental tourism in Poland is another sector of the medical tourism industry that is also increasing rapidly. In a lot of places over the world, dental care can be very expensive whether it be for vital reasons or cosmetic reasons. Poland offers great rates for dental treatment for all types of procedures, which attract visitors globally. For example, the average cost of an implant and crown in the UK is around £2900, where as in Poland, the average cost is about £900 for both – that’s 70% cheaper!
The best places to stay in Poland
When staying in Poland, you will be spoilt for accommodation choices! There will be something for all types of wants and needs – and at great prices too, which makes it another reason why tourism in Poland is vastly increasing!
-Budget accommodation in Poland
- Apartment Nearto Old Town Sebastiana street – Krakow. This beautiful apartment located in the Old Town of Krakow has lots to offer. It costs £14 per night for 2 adults, has a free washing machine and WiFi, shower and even its own kitchen to cook your meals in!
- Dream Aparts – Lodz. If you are visiting Lodz, then this is the perfect budget place to stay! It costs only £12 per night for a double room – that’s better than lots of hostel prices for solo travellers! It’s also located close to the airport so is perfect if you need to catch an early flight or if you’re arriving late.
- Kwadrat B&B Spiechowicza – Rzeszow. This B&B will be sure to make you feel right at home whilst in Poland as it’s just such a cozy yet budget place to rest. It costs £13 per night and is equipped with a kitchenette, shared shower and free WiFi.
-Mid-priced accommodation in Poland
- Hotel NYX Hotel Warsaw by Leonardo Hotels – Warsaw. This comfy hotel offers luxury but for the great price of £85 per night! They even offer a complimentary airport shuttle service which means that’s one less thing to worry about!
- Hotel Moris Boutique Beach Hotel – Gdansk. Located right by the beachfront, it’s highly likely you’ll have a seafront view of the breathtaking Gulf of Gdansk. It costs £63 for a one night stay and has an onsite restaurant which means that you won’t need to walk far for amazing food!
- Trybunalska – Lublin. This guest house is located in the heart of Lublin’s Old Town. There is an amazing buffet breakfast that they offer every morning, as well as a bakery selling delightful smelling pastries in the building. It costs £50 per night at this hidden gem!
-Luxury accommodation in Poland
- Hotel Raffles Europejski – Warsaw. As soon as you visit this hotel, you can see why it is rated 5*! It has spacious, clean, high quality rooms with free amenities such as a sauna, gym and pool for you to use to your hearts content. It is also rated as a sustainable hotel, meaning that it is taking steps to make your stay as sustainable as possible. One nights stay at this beautiful hotel will cost £226.
- City Park Hotel & Residence – Poznan. Every room at this stunning hotel comes with a 40-inch LCD TV, desk, comfortable seating area and an elegant bathroom with a bath. You will feel at ease here and never want to leave when the time comes. One night costs £205 for an executive suite.
- Hotel Monopol – Katowice. Spacious, air-conditioned rooms and free wellness facilities, such as a swimming pool, and dry sauna are all on offer for you to take advantage of at Hotel Monopol. Set in the middle of Katowice, you wont have to venture far to be entertained as Katowice is filled full of high quality shops, restaurants and things to do!
Tourism in Poland packing list
What you pack for Poland all depends on what your type of tourism you are undertaking in Poland is for of course. However, here are some must-have items that you should consider bringing to Poland whatever your type of tourism in Poland may be for!
- Lonely Planet – Poland – This is the perfect guide to take around with you in Poland as it covers so many sections and general knowledge that is tested and tried!
- Europe Adapter – Don’t forget your travel adapter – you’re phone will definitely be dead at the end of the day because of all the photos you take of the amazing things you do in Poland! This one even has 2 USB ports, meaning you can charge multiple things at once – how handy!
- Mosquito Repellent Bands – Very useful if you’re traveling in Poland during the hot summer months as the mosquitos in Poland are ruthless! You will definitely regret not taking these – they look very trendy too!
- RIIQIICHY Shawl – Poland is one of the most religious countries in Europe, so if you are visiting then there’s a high chance that you may want to visit one of the astonishing churches and cathedrals. This simple black shawl goes with any outfit and is light to carry around with you, as some churches have a dress code.
- Vacuum Compressing Bags – This is a lifesaver if you’re traveling to Poland in the winter months and your warmer clothes take up lots of precious space in your luggage. Simply fold the clothes in the bag, suck the air out with a vacuum and watch it shrink in size – allowing you to fit more in your luggage!
Tourism in Poland- further reading
Hopefully this post has covered everything you need to know about tourism in Poland and that you’ve learnt something new that you may not have known about before. I hope that you’re now inspired to go and visit this magnificent country! What was the most interesting thing you learnt about tourism in Poland? Do you have any tips on visiting Poland? If you want to read more helpful posts just like this one, why not try some of these-