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Best of Poland in 10 Days Tour
Starting in the colorful port city of Gdańsk, you'll escape the crowds and embrace the understated elegance of ready-for-prime-time Poland on this 10-day tour. With an expert Rick Steves guide at your side, you'll experience mighty Malbork castle, the cobbly-cute village of Toruń, Poland's contemporary capital of Warsaw, the spiritual Jasna Góra Monastery, and charming Kraków — Poland's finest city. In this land of surprises — so trendy and hip, yet steeped in history — there's so much to discover. Join us for the Best of Poland in 10 Days!
Dates & Prices
Out of an abundance of caution we've made the decision to hold off on running any of our 2021 tours through September. We don't generally operate this itinerary between October and December. If you'd like to receive updates about our tour program, please subscribe to our monthly Tour News email.
You'll get at least 20 group sightseeing events — at no extra cost!
Here's what you'll see and do on our Best of Poland tour:
- Historic Gdańsk walking tour
- Gdańsk Shipyard
- European Solidarity Center
- Vodka tasting
- Malbork Castle
- Toruń Gingerbread Museum
- Polish open-air museum
- Warsaw's Palace of Culture and Science
- Chopin music concert
- Historic Warsaw walking tour
- Warsaw Ghetto walk
- Museum of the History of Polish Jews
- Jasna Góra monastery
- Kazimierz klezmer concert
- Historic Kraków walking tour
- Wawel Castle and Cathedral
- St. Mary's Church
- Pierogi-making class
- Nova Huta
- Schindler's Factory museum
Plus you'll get all this, too.
- A small, friendly group of 24 people — half the size of most tour groups
- The services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art, and culture of Poland come alive for you
- All group transportation from Gdańsk to Kraków
- 9 nights' accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels
- All breakfasts and half your dinners
- All tips for guides and driver
- A tour kit including a guidebook (or books) and a moneybelt
- Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
- Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2021
- 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
- Flexibility should you need to transfer or cancel your tour
Group sightseeing events subject to change.
Day 1: Welcome to Poland
We'll meet at our hotel in delightful Gdańsk at 5 p.m. for a preview of our upcoming adventure. Then we'll take an orientation walk through our neighborhood and get acquainted over a "Welcome to Poland" dinner together.
Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. No bus. Sleep in Gdańsk.
Day 2: Gdańsk's Golden Age and Solidarity
This morning we'll take a walking tour of the beautiful city once called "Danzig" — Poland's historic main port and gateway to the Baltic, still slathered in handsome Hanseatic architecture. We'll finish at the Gdańsk Shipyard, where Lech Wałęsa's Solidarity movement took hold in 1980, challenging the communist regime for the first time — a stirring story that we'll hear inside the European Solidarity Center. Your afternoon is free to wander more of Gdańsk's charming back streets, dip into its many museums, or side-trip to the sandy beaches of Sopot before we enjoy a spirited vodka tasting together.
Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in Gdańsk.
Day 3: Red Brick and Gingerbread
Today we'll drive through Pomerania to tour the Teutonic Knights' Malbork Castle, one of Poland's Gothic jewels and the largest brick castle on Earth. After lunch, we'll continue to Toruń, a town so cobbly-cute you'll think you've stepped into a storybook — right down to the heavenly scent of its gingerbread bakeries. This afternoon we'll roll up our sleeves at the Toruń Gingerbread Museum to experience this sweet souvenir up close. The evening is yours to wander the traffic-free old town and soak in the atmosphere that was, for a time, the center of Copernicus' universe.
Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 3 hours. Sleep in Toruń.
Day 4: Poland's Countryside and Capital
This morning we'll drive through the Polish countryside and stop at an open-air folk museum to learn about traditional life in rural Poland. After lunch, we'll leave the farm fields behind and head for the heart of contemporary Poland: Warsaw. On a walk around our neighborhood, we'll begin to explore Poland's sprawling capital, including the towering, communist-style Palace of Culture and Science (a "gift" from the USSR that Poland couldn't refuse). We'll end our evening with a traditional Polish dinner together, followed by a concert featuring the music of Warsaw native Frédéric Chopin, whose melodies stoke national pride in Poles of all ages.
Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 3 hours. Sleep in Warsaw.
Day 5: Historic and Contemporary Warsaw
Today we'll start with a walking tour through Warsaw's historic center and revisit the city's prewar grandeur and its risen-from-the-ashes postwar reconstruction. Together with our local guide, we'll explore grand boulevards, communist relics, and bustling squares, tracing the ebb and flow of a city that remembers a tragic past while looking ahead to an optimistic future. The rest of the afternoon and evening are yours to explore more of modern-day Warsaw, from its top-notch museums (art, science, history, Chopin) to its trendy food and nightlife scene.
Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. No bus. Sleep in Warsaw.
Day 6: Polish Pride and Jewish Culture
This morning is dedicated to the resilient spirit of a city that was, by the end of World War II, destroyed to its foundations. Our local guide will start with a sobering look at Warsaw's Ghetto Uprising, a valiant Jewish resistance against the Nazis. Then we'll tour the world-class Museum of the History of Polish Jews, spanning the complex and fascinating Jewish experience from the Middle Ages through today. We'll set you free for an afternoon stroll through the idyllic Łazienki Park, sprinkled with elegant gardens, royal palaces, and proud peacocks. Tonight we’ll gather for dinner at a nearby restaurant to bid farewell to Warsaw.
Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in Warsaw.
Day 7: Pilgrims' Path to Kraków
We'll leave Warsaw behind this morning and trace the path of pilgrims to the Jasna Góra monastery in Częstochowa — home to the revered icon of the Black Madonna, the most important symbol of Polish Catholicism. Then we'll set our sights on colorful, charming Kraków — Poland's finest city — where we'll get our first look at the majestic main square (one of Europe's best) on our way to the once-thriving Jewish quarter, Kazimierz, for a klezmer concert and dinner together.
Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 5 hours. Sleep in Kraków.
Day 8: Historic Kraków
This morning we'll meet a local guide and wind our way through the story of Kraków, from its prestigious university to the landmark St. Mary's Church. We'll follow traffic-free streets to Wawel Hill, home of Poland's historic royal residence and national cathedral. Along the way, we'll learn about the life and legacy of Pope John Paul II, who began his career as a Kraków parish priest. After a break for lunch, we'll meet some locals for a trip to the farmer's market to gather ingredients for making pierogi. We'll put your cooking skills to the test, then sit down to enjoy our homemade Polish dumplings. Your evening is free to discover more of Kraków on your own.
Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in Kraków.
Day 9: Schindler's Factory and a Taste of Communism
Today we'll visit Nowa Huta, a planned steelworkers' town that exemplifies the socialist aesthetic of the People's Republic of Poland (and is now a desirable suburb). On our way back into Kraków, we'll visit Oskar Schindler's factory, the place where a compassionate businessman saved the lives of his Jewish workers during the Holocaust — and now home to a museum of Kraków's WWII experience. The afternoon is yours to enjoy the modern side of Kazimierz — with its food trucks, artsy boutiques, and student vitality — or to catch up on any sightseeing you missed in Kraków. Tonight, we'll share travel memories and toast to new friends over our farewell dinner together.
Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in Kraków.
Day 10: Tour Over After Breakfast
Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. John Paul II Kraków-Balice airport and Kraków Główny ("main") train station can connect you to practically anywhere in Europe or to your return home. Whatever your plans, your guide will help you get on the right track. Na zdrowie!
This tour does not include Auschwitz-Birkenau. If you want to visit the memorial site and museum, we recommend extending your trip one night and booking a day trip in advance with one of the companies recommended in the Rick Steves guidebook.
Itinerary specifics subject to change.
Our tours are physically active! It's an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of Poland in 10 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily…
- Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (possibly several blocks) and up stairways to reach your hotel, then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
- Be on your feet, walking and standing, for up to four hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
- Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
- After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.
When To Go & Weather
Any time between April and October is a good time to visit Poland. However, the months of April, May, September, and October are best for combining the convenience of peak season with mild weather. In general, Poland has lighter crowds than other parts of Europe, even during summer months.
Poland / Kraków
Hotels & Flights
In case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations, the contact information for the tour's first and last hotels is included in your tour confirmation email, as well as in the Itinerary section of your tour account. One month prior to the tour departure, you'll find the directions to your first tour hotel and a complete list of hotels where we'll be staying in the Documents section of your tour account.
Our tours don't include airfare, so your flight arrangements are completely up to you. Most tour members arrange to fly into Gdańsk (GDN) and out of Kraków (KRK) — choose "multicity" on flight-booking websites. Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in Europe. We suggest arriving a day or two before your tour begins to allow ample time to get over jet lag and be well-rested for the first few days of your tour. For more information about transportation options for getting to and from your tour, see your Rick Steves Kraków, Warsaw & Gdańsk guidebook.