When people say they are going to Europe, the countries that come to mind are usually France, Spain or Italy. And all of those places are great, no question about that, full of thousands of years of history and fantastic wine. But with overtourism becoming a real problem in the most popular European countries, why not look a little further and visit a place you never have before.
Need ideas? How about Poland? Because it turns out that pretty much anything you could be after, Poland has. Like…
Impressive historic castles and churches
Most estimates put the number of castles in Poland at well over 400, and the number of churches at over 10,000. Among them are some truly gorgeous structures, such as the St. Mary’ Basilica in Krakow, home to the amazing wood sculptures of Veit Stoss, and Krzeszów Abbey, often called “The Pearl of the Baroque” for its enchanting frescos.
And if it’s castles you fancy, the 1.5 million-square foot, all brick medieval Malbork Castle is sure to fascinate you.
Rugged mountains and white sandy beaches
If your idea of a vacation is being far away from the hustle and bustle of cities, Poland has got you covered. The Bieszczady Mountains are loved by Polish for their remoteness and rugged beauty, offering scenic hikes that can go on for days. With peaks of up to almost 4,500 feet and large populations of wild animals such as lynx, wolves, wild boars, bison, eagles, and even bears, a hiking trip here is sure to be an exhilarating one.
Polish beaches, on the other hand, offer a serene, relaxed atmosphere, the grey-blue waves of the Baltic lapping at the gold-to-white sand.
Delicious, hearty food
Originally a nation of farmers and hunters, Poland has a cuisine high in both calories and flavor. Dumplings of varying sizes, filled with everything from meat to farmer’s cheese to blueberries are sure to fill your comfort food craving, and the hearty, sour soups are unlike anything you have ever tasted.
Poles are also great lovers of mushroom picking. Every weekend from September to November, whole families head to the forest in droves to pick a wide variety of the wild mushrooms growing in the forests. So don’t pass up the chance to feast on pork roast smothered in a thick, earthy mushroom sauce. Yum!
Liquor for any palette
Poland produces lots, and we do mean lots of tasty drinks, from craft beers to spirits to tasty homegrown wines. Polish vodka is considered to be among the best in the world, but vodka is by no means all Poland has to offer.
In recent years, breweries all over the country have begun producing a wide range of unique and distinct craft Polish beer, some flavored with honey or seasonal fruits. It may also come as a surprise that there is a growing number of vineyards in the country producing deliciously flowery Rieslings and Cabernet Cortis.
So when you sit down to plan your next vacation, imagine yourself sitting in a mountain lodge after a day in the woods, sipping a hot mulled beer…and then buy your tickets to Poland!