This year, I finally made it back to Poland! Earlier in my travel blogging career, I fell in love with Poland for the first time. Having visited only a few places, I now made my way back to these beloved cities and added a few more.
The land of Pierogi, picturesque market squares and super friendly people isn’t on the top of must-visit destinations yet. This means that a) you need to explore it now and b) people are oblivious to what is really just as good as any famous destination in Europe.
Although tourism in Poland is on the rise, it isn’t as crowded as other places in Europe. This somewhat forgotten country has enough to offer and is incredibly easy to travel through, even when it’s your first time visiting the continent!
Below you’ll find a full itinerary for visiting Western and Central Poland, including small bucket lists for each destination as well as specific practical information about each city on the list. Poland is beyond incredible and I hope this itinerary will be the start of many trips to this amazing country!
One of the beautiful streets of Gdansk.
Practical information for this Poland itinerary:
Your trip will not start in Poland, but Berlin. Flying to Berlin (or taking the train from any location in Europe) is much easier than starting off in Poland. When you’re coming from a different direction, make sure to check websites like rome2rio to plan your journey.
This Poland itinerary is meant for using public transportation. On my journey through Poland, I used trains and buses (and the occasional tram in the city center). You could do this entire itinerary by car. Just know there won’t be much information about that in this article.
Another option is to fly one of the cities listed below. Check out affordable flights on Skyscanner.
The Old Market Square of Poznan
How to book your train tickets
I love the idea of traveling by train. It has a certain vintage romance to it. Luckily, Poland has an extensive train network.
The only thing, however, was buying those train tickets. As I remembered from Polskibus, you had to be quite quick to score them. A quick search online taught me there are around 5 websites to buy train tickets from. A little confusing if you ask me.
The smartest way however, is to buy your tickets from intercity.pl. Here’s what you should know about booking train tickets in Poland:
- You can only buy tickets for domestic trains one month upfront. International train tickets can be bought 60 days in advance. Buying them is quite easy when you follow the steps on the website.
- The seat reservation is usually included in the price. You can find your wagon and seat numbers on the ticket.
- You don’t have to buy your train tickets upfront if you don’t want to. Most stations have a desk where you can purchase them on the spot.
- Intercity.pl can be accessed in English. However, some links don’t work, such as their FAQ and regulations and pricing information. Also, some buttons are not translated, which means you have to translate some of the information yourself.
- Tickets for short trips cannot be purchased online, such as the transfer from Lodz Fabryczna to Lodz Widzew. They don’t explain what the limited duration of the trip is.
- You can purchase tickets without registering with intercity.pl if you want. The benefit of your registration is that you can see all your booked trips in one nifty overview. It’s also easier to get service.
- All train tickets are send to your email address as PDF. In general, you don’t need to print them, unless you’re using a sleeper train or when you travel by international train.
Street art in Lodz.
How to book your bus tickets
When I started planning my return to Poland, I stumbled upon the fact that Polskibus has almost vanished. They’re not gone, but they have merged with Flixbus, another affordable bus company. I searched and searched but couldn’t find those insanely cheap tickets like I used to. Also, on most of my travel days, there seemed to be no bus connection at all!
A few things you should know:
- Bus tickets are usually cheaper but taking a bus takes longer to get somewhere. Depending on your preferences, you could choose to take the train instead.
- Most times, Flixbus is not that comfortable. People complain about uncomfortable seats and having no leg room. To be honest, I’ve never experienced that. I might have been lucky though.
- You can purchase tickets approximately 1 month in advance. The sooner you get them, the cheaper they will be.
- There’s no need to print the tickets on national journeys. Having the Flixbus app works just fine!
- Make sure you arrive at the bus platform 15-20 minutes before departure.
Creative communist building in Wroclaw.
Duration of your trip
This Poland itinerary is limited to 2-3 weeks. The estimated time spent in the cities of this Poland itinerary is based on the attractions of the city and the time needed to explore them briefly. If you want to take things slow – which is really the best way to get to know Poland – add a day or two each time you change cities.
Destinations visited in this Poland itinerary
This Poland itinerary is mainly about the west and middle part of the country and will not include famous cities like Cracow and the capital city of Warsaw. If you happen to have more time to spend in this amazing country, make sure you add those too!
This Poland itinerary is ideal for those who love city trips and want to get to know a few on Poland’s famous cities. For your convenience, I’ve made a small bucket list for each destination. For in-depth information, click the links to full articles provided at each destination.
The full route of this Poland itinerary is:
Berlin – Swiebodzin – Poznan – Gdansk – Torun – Lodz – Wroclaw – Poznan – Berlin
Not exactly the train you’ll be sitting in but maybe a nice tip when you’re visiting Poland in May: In the beginning of the month the steam train races will take place in Wolsztyn. Make sure you visit!
Can you finally take me to the Poland itinerary?
To start, take the train from Berlin Hauptbahnhof to Poznan Glowny. The journey will take just over 3 hours by train. Want to spend a few days in Berlin? Check out this Berlin bucket list!
Swiebodzin – 2 hours
Before you head to Poznan, get out at Swiebodzin first. This small town doesn’t have a lot to offer, except for the giant Jesus statue overlooking the parking lot of Tesco.
You read that right.
Before you think I’ve lost it for good, let the following sink in:
The statue of Jesus resembles the Cristo Redentor statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and can be spotted from many angles near Swiebodzin. The statue is just a few meters taller than the one in Brazil. You can walk all the way up to the statue through a garden of angels.
The view is less spectacular as it is indeed looking out on the parking lot of a supermarket. Still, it’s a must-visit spot in Poland if you like spectacular statues.
You don’t need to spend a lot of time here. Just hop back on the train after you’re done.
Don’t feel like getting out of the train? The statue can be seen from the train, if you pay close attention.
Poznan – 2 full days
Poznan is located close to the German border and is the ideal spot to start your Poland itinerary. This colorful city is known for its compact, vibrant city center and the battle of Poznan in the Second World War.
Poznan’s center is one like many others in Poland: stunning architecture and impressive churches that are gathered around a lively market square.
However, what makes Poznan unique is the head butting of the billy goats that takes place at the town hall every day at noon. Accompanied by live trumpet playing, the goats come out of the tower and bump their horns 12 times. It’s quite the touristic affair but I promise you’ll love it anyway. Make sure you’ve conquered a spot at one of the terraces with view on the tour and enjoy the ‘show’.
Two days are enough to see the highlights of Poznan. You could easily extend your trip if you want to take things slow, just remember that you will be back in the city at the end of this Poland itinerary.
Things to do in Poznan
Having visited Poznan twice, I can tell you there are plenty of things to do in this charming Polish city. I’ve written an article about it, which you can find here, to give you more information (and photos). For now, these are the things you should definitely put on your bucket list:
- Watch the billy goats at the town hall
- Visit Citadel Park and its amazing army museums
- Eat a St. Martin’s Day croissant
- Gawk at the amazing architecture of the market square
- Visit Poznan Castle
Practical information for visiting Poznan
Poznan Glowny is located a 20-minute walk from the city center. Although you can take several trams that’ll take you to the center in minutes, I still prefer to walk. There’s enough to be seen on your way to make it worth the effort.
If you insist on taking public transportation, use the Jakdojade app to plan your journey. Tickets can be bought at the station of at most of the tram stops through ticket machines.
Gdansk – 5 – 7 days
Gdansk is one of the most visited Polish cities as it has a lot to offer. Almost all of the city center has been renovated recently, which makes that the city of dropdown gorgeous! Make sure to whip out your camera and make a part of your day all about snapping photos of this beauty!
When we visited Gdansk, we were way too optimistic about our time management as we tried to see everything there is to see in just 3,5 days. Learn from my mistake and make sure you spend at least 5 days in this beautiful place.
Your Poland itinerary is not complete without seeing the colorful houses and tall brick churches of Gdansk.
But that’s not all!
Gdansk is known for its location by the sea, which means you can enjoy a day on the beach in the nearby towns of Gdynia and Sopot. The Castle of Malbork is also a short train ride away from Gdansk. Make sure you don’t miss it!
Things to do in Gdansk
For a full list of awesome things to do in this city, check out this article. These activities belong on your bucket list for sure:
- Take a stroll over Długi Targ, the long market, to spot architecture, historic sites or to have a beer.
- Discover the city’s many gates
- Marvel at the town hall and the astronomical clock
- Go on a river cruise to Westerplatte Memorial
- Experience the Museum of the Second World War
Practical information for visiting Gdansk
From Poznan Glowny, you take the train to Gdansk. This journey will take just over 3 hours. Polish trains are quite comfortable and although a lot of the landscape will be the same, make sure you watch it pass by carefully as you might spot deer on the way.
Gdansk Glowny is only a short walking distance away from the city center, no need to take public transportation. Other places, like Sopot or Gdynia are easily reached with the SKM kolejka, or commuter train which runs between 5:00 and 19:00. Tickets for public transportation can be bought at the stations as well as at some tram stops. Look for a sign that says “Kasa Biletowa” to purchase them.
Torun – 2 – 3 days
Torun is known for Copernicus and ginger bread and I honestly can’t tell you which one is cooler. This incredibly pretty city is lesser known than Gdansk yet still amazingly interesting.
Whenever you visit Torun, the first thing you’ll notice is that the city smells of gingerbread. Everywhere you go, there will be a whiff of sugar and spice.
And if that isn’t enough, Torun is filled to the brim with charming streets, beautiful churches and cool museums. Although the city center is quite small, Torun has a lot to offer!
Things to do in Torun
There are a few things to put on your Torun bucket list:
- Visit the gingerbread museum (and engage is baking your own piece of gingerbread). In fact, taste all things gingerbread! There’s beer, ice cream, liquor and so much more!
- Climb the town hall for the best view on Torun
- Visit Torun’s own Central Perk where they serve amazing coffee and play Friends episodes all day long
- Visit Torun Castle
- Learn all about Copernicus.
Practical information for visiting Torun
Take the train at Gdansk Glowny to get to Torun Glowny in about 2,5 hours. From the main station, you have a few ways to get into the city center.
The best thing to do is to take a bus to the city center from Torun Glowny. On this website you can find timetables and fares for using a tram or bus in the city.
On foot it will take you up to 45 minutes to reach the city center. The scenic walk will give you plenty of photo opportunities as it provides excellent views on the town center from the other side of the river.
Lodz – 2 – 3 days
When you’ve visited a few of the cuter town in Poland, Lodz can be very refreshing. The city is much more raw and urban than the other places we’ve visited so far and has many attractions for you to discover.
One of the major highlights is the amount of street art you can find in this city. Poland is already a gold mine when it comes to murals and Lodz is just a gorgeous example of that.
Other than that, the city is known for its textile and movie industry. Throughout the city you can find many remnants of these booming industries, from old factories to a Polish walk of fame.
Things to do in Lodz
- Go on a street art frenzy
- Visit the Jewish cemetery
- Walk the endless Piotrkowska Street
- Visit OFF Piotrkowska for art studios, coffee bars and unique shops
Practical information for visiting Lodz
When you arrive by train, you’ll end up on the Lodz Widzew station which is located outside of the city center. From here you can take a bus to the center. Walking is really not an option.
A second option is to take a bus instead of a train to the city of Lodz. From Torun you can book Flixbus to the you to the Fabryczna station in the city center. Not only is it much closer to the city center, the bus is just as fast as the train.
Wroclaw – 2 – 5 days
Wroclaw is the ultimate student town and my absolute favorite city to visit in Poland! Whether you’re into architecture, fun bars or street art, Wroclaw has something to offer to everybody!
Wroclaw (pronounced Vrots-wahf) is the fourth largest city in Poland and home to picturesque squares, vibrant buildings and an actual cathedral island.
The possibilities of exploring the city are endless: get to know Wroclaw through the gnomes scattered all over the city or go on a street art frenzy. Either way, Wroclaw will exceed all expectations!
What to do in Wroclaw
- Explore the old market square or Stary Rynek.
- Meet the man who lights the lanterns at cathedral island.
- Visit the neon signs of communism.
- Search for the gnomes portraying history throughout the entire city center.
- Check out the 114m long painting of the battle of Raclawice.
Practical information for visiting Wroclaw
There are many trams heading to the city center from Wroclaw Glowny. Although there are many ways to get into the center, stepping off at Park Staromiejski is probably the easiest way.
From Wroclaw, you’ll finally make your way back to Poznan or Berlin, depending on your travel time and preference. Wroclaw is also the ideal location to extend your Poland itinerary to famous Cracow!
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Ready to follow this Poland itinerary?
Let me know if you’ve followed (part of) this itinerary! If you happen to have any questions or suggestions, feel free to get in touch via email or by leaving a comment below! As always, tag me in your travel photos on social media. I love traveling with you!