Like many European nations, Poland has had its fair share of warfares in the past centuries. But it has managed to emerge from the bloodshed to take her high position in the modern world. All countries with a long history are rich in culture and extraordinary historical sites. Poland, with its ancient architecture and Jewish heritage, is not left behind. The nation is also endowed with spectacular landscapes, forests, lakes and vibrant cities. The cities bustle with nightlife and great shopping centers that can easily lure you into a shopping spree.
If you are traveling to Poland, you should not fail to tour the following sites:
Slowinski Sand Dunes And Beaches
This is a great place to visit. You will much enjoy the beautiful beaches and the mind-blowing dunes made of white sand. If you are up to it, you can take the 5 KM hike through this Polish Sahara which also goes in a forest. Alternatively, you can opt for an electric car or rent a bike at an hourly fee.
Located on the Baltic Sea coastline, the dunes and the beaches are part of the Slowinski National Park. The dunes get formed when the sea-sands are carried offshore by the waves and the wind. The dunes can reach as high as 30 meters. They are sometimes called the “moving dunes” because they change forms with every seasonal change.
To arrive here from Warsaw, it is better to travel by train to Bialystok and then here by bus. The Arriva bus can get you here directly from Warsaw but it operates only once a day, and it is easy to miss it for it runs at odd hours. Plus, it is active mainly in the summer season.
This forest between Poland and the Republic of Belarus is one of the vast remnants of the old-time forests that once covered much of Europe. Wisent, an endangered species of European bison, is found here within a protected, fenced area. You can take a guided tour in a horse-drawn carriage or, if you are on a budget, on foot. The guides will tell you a lot of interesting facts about the forest, the vegetation and the animals living there. There are so many birds to watch. You can as well enjoy a long, fascinating walk away from the protected area and still come across so much to learn.
You can rent a bike to explore the vast forest for the whole day. There are many cycling paths to guide you through silently. If you are going to cycle into Belarus, you will need medical insurance and a permit that expires after three days. This only applies to people entering on foot or bikes, not cars.
Sobibor Death Camp Museum
Hello, have you watched the movie Escape From Sobibor? If not, you should. In the final years of Nazi Germany when Adolf Hitler was conquering Europe, millions of Jews were exterminated. Concentration camps were built, and thousands of Jews transported there to be gassed to death. Poland had been invaded and captured by Germany.
In Poland, in the remote outskirts of a village called Sobibor, was one of the extermination centers, hidden in the woods from potential eyewitnesses. The first batch arrived in March or April, transporting foreign jews from Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Germany.
Not less than 170,000 Jews were gassed in the Sobibór death camp. Then on October 14, 1943, the Jews awaiting death at Sobibor revolted, resulting in a mass escape of prisoners. Running through landmines, many died in the act of, but 46 managed to survive.
Death Camp Museum (Sobibor) was built in honor of the Jews who lost their lives at the hands of cruel Nazi Germany. There are much to see at the museum. In 2014, the archeologists managed to dig out what is believed to be the exact spot where the gas chambers were erected.
Although Poland is in the European Union, it doesn’t use euros. They stick to their national currency, which is Zloty. Fortunately, there are several exchange agencies to convert your foreign money into Zloty. The polish are very proud people. For instance, they are in Europe, not Eastern Europe since there is no official line indicating where eastern or central Europe begins or ends.