Archive for the ‘Discover Poland’ Category
Wednesday, December 21st, 2016
Christmas time is the most magical period of the year in Poland. The omnipresent atmosphere of kindness and happiness created by the presence of both locals and foreign visitors celebrating together is contagious.
The best thing about Christmas in Poland appears to be the combination of Polish traditions and customs together with the hospitality of the local people. Everyone seems to be more friendly, helpful and sociable than at any other time of the year. One can feel this unusual aura, at the main market squares in largest Polish cities like: Warsaw, Kraków, Wrocław, Gdańsk, Olsztyn, Toruń etc.
Christmas market in Wrocław, Lower Silesia region of Poland
Evening at the Christmas market in Krakow, in the Lesser Poland region
Christmas markets are the best places to meet with friends and relatives and have a cup of mulled wine or mead. It must be remembered that Christmas markets, which are set up every year a month before Christmas Eve, are a part of Polish tradition.
That’s why you should definitely consider visiting Poland during that time! Christmas markets offer unforgettable artistic and culinary events. At the markets you can purchase beautiful Christmas decorations such as: hand-made glass Christmas tree ornaments, tinsels and Christmas lights. You can also become a happy owner of a real Christmas tree. The joyful atmosphere at the markets is additionally created by the sound of Christmas carols, played in both Polish and English. However, the main attraction of each and every Christmas market in Poland remains nativity scene. The one in Krakow presents hand-made figures of the Holy Family and some replicas of Krakow’s famous monuments.
People listening to Christmas carols at the Christmas market in Wroclaw
Foreign visitors feel tempted to come to Christmas markets where they can learn about Polish traditions, get original presents, and try some home-made treats and products originating from various regions of Poland, e.g. meads, roasted chestnuts, gingerbread or oscypek – smoked sheep cheese made by highlanders from Podhale region.
Christmas ornaments for sale at the Wroclaw Christmas market
Gingerbread hearts for sale at the Wroclaw Christmas market
“It’s amazing to be here – said Graeme from Ireland. It’s my first time in Cracow (Krakow) and I’m impressed! I wasn’t sure about coming to Poland at winter time because my Polish friends told me that winters here are very cold and severe. But now I realize that the decision I have made was totally right! I’ve just bought some Christmas decorations for my parents and I’m sure that they’ll love it!”
Holiday display at the Main Market Square in Wroclaw
Here are dates for 2016 Christmas Markets – Jarmarki Bozonarodzeniowe in various major cities across Poland:
Warsaw (November 24 – January 6)
Kraków (November 25 – December 26)
Wrocław (November 23 – December 23)
Gdańsk (December 6 – December 23)
Olsztyn (December 13 – December 16)
Toruń (December 15 – December 23)
Merry Christmas – Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia!
Wednesday, February 24th, 2016
The newly opened European Solidarity Center in Gdansk and Emigration Museum in Gdynia, Poland have been added to our sightseeing itinerary during “Coastal Cooking in Pomerania and Gdansk” cultural and culinary vacation in northern Poland, on the Baltic Sea coast.
Emigration Museum in Gdynia, Poland
European Solidarity Center in Gdansk, Poland
View Power Point presentation about both attractions and make sure you visit these special places on your next vacation to Gdansk and Gdynia, Poland.
EmigrationMuseumSolidarityCenter – Power Point Presentation
You can join us on “Coastal Cooking in Pomerania and Gdansk” trip this June 19 – 25, 2016 where we’ll tour the Emigration Museum in Gdynia and European Solidarity in Gdansk on our small group excursion.
See you in Poland this summer!
Monday, November 30th, 2015
Wroclaw, the capital of Lower Silesia, is located in south-western Poland. Sometimes referred to as the Venice of Poland because of its numerous waterways, Wroclaw is uniquely situated on twelve islands interconnected by over one hundred bridges. A multicultural metropolis rich in history and charm has caused many to consider the area to be one of Eastern Europe’s most beautiful cities.
Beautiful Wroclaw Market Square
Wroclaw is one of the oldest cities in Poland, with history dating back all the way to the year 1000. After suffering a substantial damage in 1945 as a result of World War II, Wroclaw was rebuild to become the breathtaking city it is today. Its rich history plays a large role in the cultural diversity seen throughout the area today.
When it comes to things to do in Wroclaw, there certainly is no shortage. While in Wroclaw, visitors can experience the flavors of the world, with excellent cuisine from Poland, Russia, Italy, France, and Germany. The city is sure to please beer lovers as well, since many bars and pubs in the area serve Polish beer alongside independently brewed beers.
The Market Square in Wroclaw offers some of the most wonderful restaurants and bars of the city. Many of the unique and architecturally beautiful hotels in the area are well known specifically for their restaurants and the chefs who create their masterpieces.
Outdoor dining on Wroclaw Market Square
In September there are two exciting events that attract thousands of people every year. Wroclaw’s Kitchens and the World Cookery Book Fair are both amazing culinary festivals that welcome everyone to participate.
Home to Hala Ludowa, or the Centennial Hall, one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, Wroclaw offers an easy way to combine both culinary and cultural wonder so visitors can indulge in amazing food and architectural wonders at the same time.
Waterways of Wroclaw, Poland
A Japanese Garden filled with lush greenery also resides in the city. Set up in 1913 by count Fritz von Hochberg, it is a place of beauty that is well worth the visit. Wroclaw is also home to the Botanical Garden located in the oldest district of the city. Over 7,000 different plant species are featured there.
Nine museums, several theaters and music centers will satisfy your craving for history and culture. In fact, for 2016 Wroclaw has been designated the European Capital of Culture! Wroclaw is definitely a city where one will never be left looking for something to do.
To view 2016 Poland Culinary Vacation to Wroclaw which also includes visit to the annual Polish Pottery Festival in Boleslawiec Click here
See you in beautiful Wroclaw in 2016!
Monday, October 19th, 2015
Krakow was Poland’s capital city until the end of the sixteenth century when Warsaw was deemed the country’s new capital. Krakow’s rich cultural history is on display in Gothic and Baroque architecture visible at every turn. Art galleries, museums, and theatres abound. Its close proximity to neighboring capitals and access to art and entertainment make it Central Europe’s cultural heart. In fact, in 1978, Krakow’s Old Town locals know as the Stare Miasto was inscribed as a World Heritage site by the UN’s Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Beautiful UNESCO Krakow Market Square
Krakow balances an intellectually and visually stimulating environment with a vibrant nightlife, attributable in large measure to the thousands of students and teachers who flock to its 18 universities. Known all over Europe for its trendy spots, hidden hangouts, and sumptuous restaurants, Stare Miasto has the highest density of bars and pubs of any World Heritage Site. Political and historical debate over a couple of glasses of Zywiec, Zubr, or Tyskie, polskie piwo (Polish beer) served in these ubiquitous pubs and cafes might just be the citizenry’s favorite pastime.
Krakow’s visitors can best appreciate Poland’s heart and soul by opening its kitchen door and sampling its cookery. Its easy to see how Krakow earned a well-deserved reputation as Poland’s food capital. Residents earnestly embrace every occasion with fantastic cooking. Since 2004 when Poland joined the European Union, international cuisine offerings have steadily increased in Krakow along with the number of foreigners and tourists. Dining rooms in its one-of-a-kind hotels offer outstanding cuisine.
Polish oscypek cheese available grilled at a festival in Krakow
Can you imagine eating at a restaurant in business passing on the Polish passion for food to countless generations for nearly seven centuries? Krakow has one. Frequent weekend-long outdoor food festivals highlighting food producers and restaurateurs’ favorite dishes delight locals and visitors alike. May’s Soup Festival and the mid-August Pierogi Fest have achieved great popularity. With free samples, displays, markets, cooking contests, joyful Polish music and other entertainment, these exceptional festivals add to the bustling city’s unique charm. Poland Culinary Vacations can plan a travel itinerary that combines festival outings with other visits to Malopolska (Lesser Poland) region UNESCO world heritage sites.
Gourmet pierogi made at the Culinary Studio in Krakow
Poland Culinary Vacations is Poland’s premier choice for custom-tailored, personally guided gastronomic tours. From Wesele’s restaurant regional and traditional offerings to Trzy Rybki innovative nouvelle preparations. Poland Culinary Vacations is your best introduction to this country’s varied culture and marvelous cuisine. PCV also lends a hand to its clients in registering for one-day Polish cooking classes. Participating in a cooking course at Krakow’s Culinary Studio is an excellent way to recapture the smells and tastes of Poland in your own home.
To view 2016 Poland Culinary Vacations to Krakow please Click here
See you in Krakow in 2016!
Sunday, May 31st, 2015
Our cultural and culinary vacation on Poland’s Baltic Sea coast, “Coastal Cooking in Pomerania and Gdansk” is full of exciting activities an entire family can enjoy. This summer, especially, we’re thrilled to add two more cultural attractions to our itinerary while touring Gdansk and Gdynia: The European Solidarity Center in Gdansk and Emigration Museum in Gdynia.
Lech Walesa, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient and Leader of Solidarity Movement in Gdansk, Poland
To learn more about these newly opened places please click on the links below:
European Solidarity Center in Gdansk, Poland
Emigration Museum in Gdynia, Poland
To view day-by-day itinerary for September 2015 “Coastal Cooking in Pomerania and Gdansk” please CLICK HERE
See you in Poland in 2015!
Thursday, February 26th, 2015
Many unique and interesting attractions await visitors to Poznan, the capital of Greater Poland region in the west of Poland. Those who will travel with Poland Culinary Vacations on our NEW in 2015 “Culinary & Cultural Adventure in Greater Poland & Poznan” will discover the history and beauty of the following top five spots and more, starting with:
Old Market Square – the Heart of the City – undoubtedly, the Renaissance Town Hall has been the most prominent structure in the Old Market Square, having served in the past as an office for the municipal authorities. Most probably, the first town hall had been built in the second half of the 13th century. The fire that consumed it in 1536 prompted the construction of the current structure that garners the wide admiration for its unique beauty. It is the only one like that in Poland thanks to the work of an Italian artist Giovanni Battista di Quadro from Lugano. He gave the Poznan Town Hall the most original shape and Renaissance styling. The head-bucking goats atop the tower which emerge every day at noon to mark the middle of the day, have added an entertaining aspect to the building have charmed Poznan citizens and visitors since the time of it’s construction. Delightful cafes, restaurants and pubs can be enjoyed today when visiting Poznan’s Market Square.
Poznan Old Market Square with the Renaissance Town Hall
Royal and Imperial Route – follows Poznan’s history. The first rulers of the Piast dynasty resided in Ostrow Tumski. Later, the castle erected on the Przemysl Hill frequently hosted royalty. Poznan was visited by emperors several times. The German emperor Otto II was first of them and visited in the year 1000. In 1806, Napoleon Bonaparte made Poznan the capital city of Europe just for a few days. Another castle, erected in 1910, was built for Wilhelm II. This Royal and Imperial Route begins in the Srodka district and ends in the so-called “castle district”.
Church of Saint John of Jerusalem – it is one of the first Romanesque churches built in Poland at the turn of the 12th and 13th centuries by the order of the Saint John of Jerusalem. Inside the church are four items worthy of interest: a late Gothic triptych depicting the conversation between the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist, a 16th century sandstone baptismal font, a 15th century lattice in the Chapel of the Holy Cross, and within this chapel a miracle cross that once used to mark the road to Srodka.
Poznan Parish Church
Ostrow Tumski – is where visitors can admire the beauty of the Saints Peter and Paul of the Apostles cathedral with a 15th century three-nave basilica plan, an ambulatory surrounding the presbytery and a series of chapels around its perimeter. On the ground floor is the Chapel of the First Polish Rulers – Duke Mieszko I and King Boleslaw Chrobry – also known as the Golden Chapel. Surrounding the cathedral visitors can visit: a 13th century Church of the Blessed Mary, a late Gothic psalterium and several 19th century canonries and the Archbishop’s palace.
Royal Castle – in the 13th century, two Piasts, Duke Przemysl I and later his son King Przemysl II built a massive castle on the Pzemysl Hill. It was used to tower over the Market Square. To this day, only the Gothic basement remains of what used to be the oldest royal residence in Poland. What is standing today is the 18th century version of the castle rebuilt after WWII. Currently, it houses the Museum of Applied Art.
Poznan Old Market Square restaurants
For more information about Greater Poland and Poznan please visit our website and the NEW trip “Culinary & Cultural Adventure in Greater Poland & Poznan” scheduled for June 21 – 27, 2015.
See you in Poznan this June!
Thursday, January 1st, 2015
Since we’ve launched a NEW trip for 2015 to Greater Poland, “Culinary & Cultural Adventure in Greater Poland and Poznan” we would like to tell you more about this off-the-beaten path western region in several blog posts to encourage you to travel with us to Greater Poland and discover for yourself the natural beauty, history, adventure and delicious regional cuisine that awaits travelers to the region.
Poznan, Poland Market Square
Greater Poland region – in Polish called “Wielkopolska” – is located in basin of Warta river. It is situated on the crossroads of the main European East-West track leading from Berlin to Moscow. As a result, the region has very favorable location and can be easily reached by car, train or plane from other European destinations as well as the rest of the world.
Palace in the beautiful Greater Poland countryside
Greater Poland occupies the area of 11,516 sq. miles which is around 10% of the Polish territory. Approximately 3.4 million people, which is 8.7% of the whole population of Poland live in Greater Poland. The people of Greater Poland are famous for being among the most industrious and hospitable in Poland.
Regional food made in Greater Poland
The capital of the region is Poznan, a city with population of about 600,000 people and growing. Due to its cultural, tourist, economic, commercial and scientific significance, the city is considered the center of western Poland. Poznan can be reach via Lawica Airport which offers both domestic and international flights.
Greater Poland’s restaurants offer both traditional Polish and regional fare
Other important cities in Greater Poland are: Gniezno, Kalisz, Konin, Leszno, Ostrow Wielkopolski and Pila.
For more information about Greater Poland and Poznan please visit our website and the NEW trip “Culinary & Cultural Adventure in Greater Poland and Poznan” scheduled for June 21 – 27, 2015.
See you in Greater Poland in 2015!
Saturday, October 11th, 2014
During our new trip in 2015 “SPA & Wine Vacation in Southern Poland & Krakow” we’ll spend four days in the beautiful Polish town, located south-east of Krakow – Krynica-Zdroj. Krynica-Zdroj is the biggest SPA town in Poland and often called “The Pearl of Polish Spas”.
Historic pump house in Krynica-Zdroj, Poland
Krynica-Zdroj is a very popular destination for both domestic and international visitors at any time of the year. Most visit Krynica-Zdroj to take advantage of health benefits of the mineral water coming from twenty native springs at various pump rooms and relax and rejuvenate in local spas. During winter Krynica-Zdroj is popular with skiers and provides Poland’s longest cable-car ski lift to Mt. Jaworzyna Krynicka for scenic area view.
Historic downtown Krynica-Zdrój, Poland
Krynica also offers vibrant concert niche which includes the Jan Kiepura Festival of Arias and Songs held here every August. The historic downtown with a central pedestrian promenade is enjoyed by many people and offers unique cafes and restaurants.
Krynica -Zdroj ready for Jan Kiepura Music Festival
To view our NEW June 7 – 13, 2015 “SPA & Wine Vacation in Southern Poland & Krakow” click here
See you in Krynica-Zdroj, Poland in 2015!
Saturday, May 31st, 2014
One of the many exciting excursions we’re planning to include on our new 2015 trip “A SPA & Wine Vacation in Southern Poland and Krakow” will be touring of the Krosno Glass City and Heritage Center.
Unique Krosno Glass Pieces
Krosno, a small town in south-eastern Poland is the glass industry center of Poland and Krosnienskie Huty Szkla “KROSNO” S.A., founded back in 1923, is the largest glass manufacturer in Poland and major glass exporter to over 60 countries around the world.
Since the manufacturer has it’s own design center, many unique pieces of glass artwork is produced here by hand and decorated by many Polish artists. Some pieces are also made on automatic production lines. Krosno is renowned for high quality glassware and timeless designs.
Krosno Glass Art Gallery
Poland’s Krosno makes beautiful vases, decanters, bowls, pitchers, serveware and more. Wine connoiseurs will be able to purchase a new set of six meticulously crafted and high quality wine glasses after touring Krosno glass factory to take back home from their VINOTECA KROSNO line. We’ll also watch a live glass-blowing show and have a hands-on experience in glass making and decorating while touring the Center of Glass Heritage – Krosno!
Krosno Glass Factory
To learn more about this unique and worth visiting place in south-eastern Poland, please follow these links: Center of Glass Heritage – Krosno and Krosno Company Website
We hope you’ll tour Krosno with us in 2015!
You may also like our earlier post about Upcoming in 2015 – A SPA and Wine Vacation in Southern Poland & Krakow!
Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
Poland is one of the largest, most diverse countries in Europe. Many regions, despite Poland’s rich history, have not yet been fully discovered. Even though Poland’s largest and capital city of Warsaw, with a population over 2.5 million, is located in Mazovia, this region can still be considered an agricultural one, its agricultural land consists of about 65% of the region’s total area.
Mazovia is very often categorized as a horticulture and fruit farming region. More than half of the apples and 25% of strawberries produced in Poland are grown in the Mazowieckie Voivodeship. Mazovia is also a leading producer of vegetables and the second largest grain producer in Poland, as well as being the leader in milk and meat production.
This is probably the most diverse region in terms of culinary exploration. Here we can observe not only the influence of Polish regions such as Kurpie or Kujawy, but also an impact that international (not only European) cuisine has on Mazovie. This is visible especially in Warsaw – the capital city. Since the XVI century, when Warsaw became the capital city of Poland, the quality of local cuisine has significantly improved. The city that has been so often destroyed and each time risen from the ashes, had to fight to remain Polish even pertaining to food. For this reason, Mazovian cuisine is considered to be the most traditional one in Poland.
The most traditional and most characteristic ingredients in Mazovian cuisine are czarnina, cooked groats, baked duck (stuffed with offal, parsley and bread), mushroom soup and sour soup, and traditional Warsawian beef tripe. The capital city of the region has always concentrated different tastes from all over the world.
Agriculture – The Best Getaway From the Hustle and Bustle of the City
Farming has always been very important in Mazovia and healthy eating habits are promoted through agrotourism farms. There are many farms where one can find plenty of interesting flavors: traditional regional dishes, homemade cheeses, jams, meats, homemade roast and smoked sausage. What’s more, in some restaurants and most of the agrotourism farms tourists can get involved in the process of jam or cheese making.
Sierpc – the Museum of the Mazovian Countryside
While in Mazovia, it is worth visiting Sierpc, where the Museum of the Mazovian Village is located. The Museum of Mazovian Village in Sierpc is a detailed reconstruction of a little village lost in the plains of Mazovia sometime in the second half of the 19th century.
The beauty of the museum has captivated not only the tourists, but the skansen provided backdrops to such films as With Fire and Sword [Ogniem i Mieczem] and Master Thaddeus [Pan Tadeusz], as well as numerous advertisements and video clips.
The museum was established in 1971. Presently, its exhibition covers the cultural heritage of north-western Mazovia, a region inhabited largely by peasants and minor gentry.
Many vodka connoisseurs from around the world consider Polish vodka to be the best! Many special occasions and holidays are celebrated with vodka as the traditional drink of the country. Very famous culinary attraction worth seeing in Mazovia is the Chopin vodka distillery in Krzesk. Chopin Potato Vodka has became one of the most iconic of Polish vodkas. The Chopin Vodka distillery dates back to 1896 and is owned by Tad J. Dorda, who has converted a restored country house into a hospitality center for visitors who can watch the distilling process from a series of catwalks constructed on the exterior of the distillery. While speaking about alcohol, also worth mentioning are Mazovian honey beer, beer from Ciechanow, as well as Zakroczyn cherry liquor, made primarily from cherries grown in home-garden orchards.
The Land of Blossoming Apple Trees
Mazovia, often called the land of blossoming apple trees, has a lot to offer from the beautiful landscapes to tasty fresh fruits from organic farms. The beginnings of “Europe’s largest orchard” date back to the times of Queen Bona, who was famous for her passion for gardening (especially fruit-farming). After receiving large areas of land in Grójec poviat, she strongly supported gardening and farming by establishing many privileges for garden owners. Today, the Grójec area is known for apple tree farming, which provides around 40% of domestic apple production.
The Five Most Famous Mazovian DishesWorth Trying While Visiting The Region
1. Szlachcice – Polish dumplings with potatoes.
A traditional dish from Eastern Mazovia and Southern Podlasie regions. These are large, boiled dumplings with a filling made from grated fried potatoes with addition of diced bacon and onion, fried on lard, seasoned with salt, pepper and marjoram. The characteristic feature of “Szlachcice” is their size, as they are at least twice as large as typical Polish dumplings or pierogi.
2. Kogutki from Radziwiłłów (Roosters of ”green-legged partridge” hens)
”Green-legged partridge” hen is a Polish breed adapted for natural raising, very characteristic for Mazovia.
3. Baba Cake From Rye Bread
The baba cake is made of rye bread that is dried and ground with addition of eggs and spices: cinnamon and clove. It is served with a chocolate topping and sprinkled with walnuts.
4. Pańska Skórka
It is a soft, white and pink, rectangular candy. It has a very sweet, milky, slightly almond and caramel taste.
It is especially liked by children and sold mainly in Warsaw in city parks.
5. Sójki Mazowieckie Dumplings
A well-known dish made in the eastern parts of Mazovia are dumplings made of thinly rolled dough and filled with sauerkraut, bacon or fatback, millet and mushrooms, and then fried.
Warsaw – Famous Polish/Regional Restaurants Worth Visiting While In The Capital City
1. Atelier Amaro
Atelier Amaro is a new restaurant concept that combines a culinary studio, deli and the scene. The Restaurant is run by Wojciech Modest Amaro, the most outstanding Polish cook, who amazes his guests with original compositions of flavors. It is very elegant, for people who are constantly looking for new taste sensations, located right next to Agricola. There are thirty seats and it is necessary to book a table a few days before the visit. Atelier Amaro is the first restaurant in Poland which received the Michelin star – the most prestigious awards in the culinary world.
2. Folk Gospoda
The inside of the restaurant is designed in a way so that you feel you have gone back a century or two, surrounded by waitresses in traditional dress and thick wooden interiors and furniture. The music is traditional Polish and the food on offer is very traditional Polish as well.
3. Dawne Smaki
It’s a traditional Polish restaurant amongst the endless string of international eateries on Nowy Świat. Dawne Smaki thrives on old style Polish cooking, where you can sample a comprehensive range of home-grown specialties.
Bazyliszek is everything that a tourist could want in a restaurant on the Main Square: costumed staff, kegs used as part of the décor and a beer menu with reasonably priced Tyskie. On the menu we can find for example the pierogi variety plate (meat, cabbage, and cheese and potato). It’s a great way to sample your way through a staple.
5. Chłopskie Jadło
It’s a nationwide chain devoted to serving rustic Polish food from the countryside. The décor is country farm kitsch, with strings of hams and ancient machinery dangling from the walls.
Famous Warsaw Based Polish Chefs Worth Knowing About
It’s also worth mentioning that in Warsaw we can find many restaurants run by the most famous Polish chefs. Some examples are:
1. Robert Sowa and his Sowa & Przyjaciele Restaurant.
2. Karol Okrasa and his restaurant Platter. One of the most exclusive restaurants in Poland.
3. Magdalena Gessler – U Fukiera & Ale Gloria Restaurants to name a few.
4. Wojciech Modest Amaro and Atelier Amaro Restaurant. Already mentioned above.
There is plenty to see, do and taste in Mazovia and we hope you’ll visit this amazing region of Poland soon. You are welcomed to join us on our “Taste of Poland in Mazovia and Warsaw” week-long culinary vacation in the region or “A Three-Day Culinary Adventure Around Warsaw” if your time is limited. Please visit our website www.polandculinaryvacations.com for dates and details. See you in beautiful Mazovia!