As my name states, you would assume I am Polish and you, my friend, would be correct. However, I live in Canada. This summer I visited Poland for a little over 2 weeks with my Canadian husband. I’ve been there many times, but it was his second Polish experience (me being the first, he he he).
Like many Westerners, he wasn’t sure what to expect visiting Poland. What’s it going to be like? Is it ghetto? Am I going to come back with all my organs? It’s not a major tourist destination for North Americans unless you are Polish or have Polish roots. But to all you uncultured people, let me tell you that Poland is the shit to visit. Don’t believe me? Well let me give you seven reasons to chew on.
Poland is Beautiful
Poland has everything you could want in a vacation spot. Do you want to visit some old historical sites and castles? Poland’s got it. You want check out some cool cities? Poland’s got it. You want to slow things down and visit some countryside? Poland’s got it. You want to be all athletic and visit some picturesque mountains for hiking or skiing? Poland’s got it. You wanna be a lazy beached whale and catch some rays in a beach resort town? Poland’s got it. You want to do some killer shopping at some beautiful shops and malls? Well you get the point. Poland has a lot to offer anyone who’s interested in a good time. If you prefer a shittier place, I suggest Russia…. jk…I never recommend going there 😛
Poland is Cheap
Everything that a tourist would care about – food, booze, transportation, accommodations – is cheap. Although it’s part of the EU, Poland never bothered to change from it’s OG currency, the złoty, because that’s how Poland rolls. The good thing about this for Canadians and Americans is that the exchange is in your favour. For me, it’s around 3:1, where $1 CAD is 3zł.
Prices are similar to Canada, where a beer might be 5-10zł, a meal might be 20zł and a hotel room can be 150zł, but divide that by 3 and you’ve got quite the deal! Oh and tax is included in the price so when you see a badass pair of shoes are 200zł, that is what you pay. There is no added 13% HST like here in Ontario. And you better believe those shoes weren’t made in China.
My husband and I decided to treat ourselves to a fancy meal. He ordered steak, I got the best tatar of my life and a bottle of wine. It cost $41 CAD. Like what?! Oh and Poland doesn’t have a big tipping culture. In most instances, you just round up your bill i.e. it’s 17zł, so you leave a 20. It’s about 10%, but if the service/meal was exceptional, then 15-20% is considered generous.
We also went on a speed boat ride on the Baltic Sea and it was $15 per person. If we did that at a resort in Canada, it would be like $60-80/person. It was awesome, minus some of the speed, lol.
Poland is Safe
Poland used to have a problem with pickpockets and gypsies but it’s really outgrown that over the past few years. We were out past midnight in Kraków, Warsaw, and Gdańsk. We had drinks and walked home in complete safety. In the tourist areas, there is nothing to worry about. Not to say the other cities are worse off, but it’s where most non-native people would visit.
Poland also hasn’t had any issues with terrorism or any attacks in crowds, which unfortunately, cannot be said for most countries in Europe.
I will say, some of the homeless people are a bit haggard looking, but they’re usually drunk/passed out and won’t bother you.
It’s Easy to Get Around
Yes, lots of people are DTF….jk! That’s not what I meant. Travel between cities whether by plane, train or bus is really inexpensive. I personally don’t drive in Poland because people drive like maniacs there and I’ve been in so many (or what I thought were) close calls. I’m also not 100% on the rules of the road. I do know the highway speed limit is 140 km/h — yikes!
My preferred method of travel is train. It’s cheap, around 50-150zł, depending on how far you travel. There are trains in basically every major and medium sized city with frequent routes. Some even have wifi. Plus I hate flying and there aren’t any baggage limits, so it works best for me.
Polish Peeps Speak English
Basically everyone speaks English in Poland — at least in the tourist cities. There was a time where no one really spoke English so I could see it being a bit overwhelming for non-Polish peeps. It’s a difficult language. But now, everywhere you turn, people are greeting you and letting you know that you’ve been pronouncing Żywiec incorrectly 🙂
But if you think Polish peeps are only bilingual, you’re very incorrect. Many know multiple languages including German, Russian, French or Italian. Learning multiple languages. And don’t forget, Poland was taken over a bunch of times so Polish people learned different languages.
Poland has a Rich History
Oh Canada is like a century old? How cute. It’s basically a toddler in comparison to Poland which is over 1,000 years old. There is so much stuff to see and experience in that extra 800 years. Poland has a rich history with palaces, castles, kings and queens, old churches, wars, and monuments so I urge you to get off your butt and see it for yourself (in real life, not google images).
Poland has great food
Not only can you go out for food quite inexpensively, but there is a lot of good food to try. Delicious foods you should try include:
- Potato pancakes with gulasz (beef or pork stew)
- Kotlet schabowy (schnitzel)
- Pierogi (try multiple flavours including fruit)
- Tatar (steak tartare which is raw beef)
- Naleśniki (crepes that can be savoury or sweet)
- Bigos (hunter’s stew which is a mix of cabbage, sausage, mushrooms)
- Gołąpki (cabbage rolls)
- Barszcz (beet soup)
There are so many things to try. But also, there are lots of desserts because Polish people loved baked goods. Szarlotka or jabłecznik is my favourite. It’s Polish apple pie but it’s so much better than the dried out crusts you see here at the store.
So there you go. My list of why you should visit Poland. It’s a great time and if you don’t think so maybe fun vacations just aren’t for you. In that case, I recommend Russia,… Siberia maybe?