Updated 2016

Poland is one of the countries that is really thriving in the post-Soviet era. Germany’s next-door neighbor is booming in many ways, but there are still old world charms nearly everywhere you go. It’s a great time to visit this formerly Eastern country and enjoy its modest prices before they catch up with the far more expensive countries nearby. The cities offer fascinating history, architecture, and culture while the coastline, mountains, and lakes offer plenty in the way of natural beauty.

What To Do

Warsaw is the capital and most common entry point, but much of it didn’t survive World War II in tact so this is the best place to see modern architecture and the cosmopolitan culture that is taking hold so quickly in Poland. The city has a fascinating history and a charming and compact old town that is worth a long stroll. The outer districts are mostly new and can be dull, but there is plenty to see in the country’s largest city.

Krakow is a better choice to see historic Poland. Having survived WWII nearly intact, the city is filled with historic churches and exceptional architecture. There are plenty of museums to see in Krakow and the central Old City is like a living museum itself. The main square in its center is one of the largest medieval squares in the world. Wawel Castle is the former home of Polish kings and is now open for tours.

Read: Planning an Extended Trip to Central Europe.

Getting There

Warsaw being the largest city, it’s also the best entry point for long distance travelers. You can book a flight into Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport (code: WAW). You can get from the airport on local buses, but many hotels offer shuttle services. Krakow is also reachable from many European countries and sometimes further away. You can book a flight into Krakow’s Balice Airport (code: KRK), and new service from the budget airlines helps keep competition up and prices reasonable.

Read: 6 Places in Poland You've Never Heard Of.

Where To Stay

There are plenty of hostels in Warsaw as well as hotels in Warsaw in all price ranges. If you are looking for more charm than luxury it’s best to book a place near the center. Krakow also has several hostels and many hotels to choose from. The better and cheaper places tend to book up well in advance so plan ahead if you are looking for a desirable place.

Read: Warsaw's Missing Beauty.