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Poland Is Underrated – Here Are 7 Reasons You Should Visit

It was time to tell my friends and family about my next destination, and I told them: I’m going to Poland!

Poland? Why Poland? Yes, my ancestors are from there, but it wasn’t an ancestry type of trip. So why’d I choose Poland?

Well, I thought, why not? Actually, I was inspired by so many of my friends who’d gone to Poland. Mainly they went for Auschwitz and then went to Krakow and Warsaw because, hey, why not? But there was something that drew me to the destination. It looked so beautiful, and I wanted to go someplace in the central-northern Europe region. So even though I had an entire world of a bucket list to choose from, I chose Poland.

I actually ended up really enjoying my time there. And though I know it’s not the hottest destination, it was so weird that I was the only foreigner in so many of the attractions I went to. (Or at least the only one who didn’t speak Polish, so I’ll just assume that means foreigner.) Really, the lack of other non-Polish travellers was quite surprising. I feel Poland is a destination that many people would enjoy but they just haven’t thought about it.

So here are seven different reasons you should put Poland on your bucket list.

It’s Cheap AF

Seriously! Right now the Polish Zloty is about 26 cents in USD. And there’s no inflation of prices – you can get a meal for under 40PLN easily. Yes – roughly $10. Many of the meals I had were about 20-35PLN. And it’s not like you need to find a guidebook of places to go on the cheap; almost every place is super affordable. So find a cheap flight to Poland, get an inexpensive hostel or hotel, and you can rest assured that you won’t spend much per day on food. Easy budget destination.

Also, museums and activities vary in price from 4-25PLN, which is still about $1-6. You can get a lot for your money.

The Food is Amazing

Pierogi

In all honesty, the food I had was either hit or miss. I had some less than great meals, but I also had some amazing food. Pierogi is the staple Polish food and you can try all kinds, including pierogi with fruit. Poles also have a lot of Russian influence in their cuisine and you can get a variety of Russian desserts and entrees. Aside from that, they have cuisines from all over the world.

They’re also huge on vegetarian and vegan cuisine, and I was able to eat a lot. I found a lot of burger places that had different styles of veggie burgers that I hadn’t tasted before so that was really exciting for me. If you go, ask a local where the best places to eat are to ensure you get to eat at the best restaurants.

There’s Lots of History

Warsaw, Poland

Every place has its fair share of history, and Poland is no exception. It’s interesting because it’s had a history of independence as well as being conquered under other regimes, so the most recent centuries have some more complication to them for Poland then say a place like Paris. In turn, there’s a lot of cultural exchange from countries like Germany and Russia. They have a lot of information and museums available to find out more about Poland’s past.

What I find incredible though is how much they’ve held onto their history, and rebuilt it. Warsaw is nicknamed the Phoenix City because the old town was completely rebuilt after WWII. (And very well done, too – the resemblances between Old Town today and a painting from the 1700s are uncanny!) However a lot of cities in Poland are like that. Take for instance Gdansk, which was also completely destroyed. It was also completely rebuilt. I find that so inspiring and touching, that those in Poland held onto their architectural heritage as they did.

There’s a Lot to Do

Baking Gingerbread in Torun
Baking gingerbread in Torun.

If you like cities, Poland has a lot of them. Warsaw is humungous, and Krakow is also fairly large. You can also visit cities like Gdansk, Poznan, Wroclaw, Lodz, Lublin, etc. The cities I went to had a number of museums to visit, excellent food and drinks to try, and of course nightlife. You can also visit gems like Torun, Malbork Castle, and Wieliczka Salt Mine.

There’s also a lot of nature – Sopot has a famous beach, and there are lots of national parks to find in the region you’re heading to.

Poles Are Great

Polish people are very relaxed. Customs and culture can be confusing in another country, but Poles are very kind and understanding if you’re not really sure of what to do. They’re kind and always willing to help out if they can.

What’s more is you can feel that you and your belongings are safe in Poland, moreso than a more aggressive country. They also don’t catcall, which is great for us ladies.

You Can Learn a New Language

One downside of visiting Poland is that not many people speak English conversationally. The upside is that you get immersed into their language. Polish isn’t the most useful language but it’s always nice to learn something new. Without even trying, I was able to learn a few new words such as lody (ice cream), rynek (marketplace), and szekolade (chocolate – of course!). If you really put in the effort, you could probably learn a lot more and have conversations with people.

(Also, you can of course come across Poles and other travellers who speak English well.)

It’s a Beautiful Country

Gdansk, Poland

Poland is gorgeous! The cities I visited are so beautiful and Polish architecture and design is very humble but lovely. Of course, when you visit a country and the people are great, the food is good, and you’re able to learn a lot, it becomes all the more enchanting.

I enjoyed my time in Poland and I truly think it’s an underrated destination. If you’re looking for a great European escape without all the tourists, it’s a fantastic choice.

Have you ever been to Poland? What did you think?

Posted on Monday, June 24, 2019 in Destinations
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51+ Things to Do in Berlin

Berlin is a huge city that has a tonne to offer. When I was researching for my trip, I was astounded by how many museums Berlin has, nevermind all the places to eat, hang out, and shop. So it was easy to compile a list of 51+ things to do in the German capital.

Note that many museums cost money – and a decent amount of money. I highly recommend looking into the Berlin Welcome Card and the Berlin Museum Pass, and calculate which one will give you the most savings. Be sure to read the inclusions and exclusions carefully!

Places to See

Museums

Museum Island Museums:

History Museums:

Art Museums:

Misc Museums:

Activities

I usually put a section here about the different areas in each city to see, but honestly Berlin is so spread out and aside from some places I mentioned above, I wasn’t able to grasp an area/neighbourhood in the amount of time I was there.

So that’s an exhaustive list of 51+ things to do in Berlin, Germany. How many have you done?

Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in Destinations
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A Tale of Two Free Cities: London and Paris

A lot of people like to experience London and Paris in the same trip due to the proximity of the capital cities, and both cities are known for being quite expensive. However, that’s not always the case. Both cities also have a tonne of things to do that are absolutely free, so you can enjoy your vacation on a budget and not sacrifice the quality of your visit.

Please note that the lists below include free entry fees, not anything that you would walk by and see. Walking around a city and seeing its sights are great ways to explore and get to know a place, but there’d be way too much to list if this article included those walk-bys.

London

Even though London is considered one of the most expensive cities in the world, there’s a sizable amount to do for free, and a lot of the great attractions don’t have a charge. You can easily make your vacation completely free of event charges by visiting the places below.

Get your tour fix with a free* walking tour group, many of which have fun themes such as Harry Potter and Jack the Ripper tours. *Free tours usually expect a little bit of payment so as not to be rude. Expect to donate about £4 per person, which is still much cheaper than any other tour you would get.

Get your art fix with one of London’s many free art museums:

Get your museum fix with one of London’s many free museums on other topics:

Get your culture fix with different free activities the city has to offer:

Paris

Paris is filled with lots of things to do, and many are available at no cost to you if you know when to go. Though it may be less free than London, many of Paris’s main attractions are on the list below. Of course, the biggest appeal to Paris is its several sights, which can all be seen by walking by.

Get your tour fix with a free* tour of Paris. *Note that many free tours expect a tip so as not to be rude, and 2€ per person should be enough. This is still drastically cheaper than other tours.

The city is absolutely filled with art museums that are always or often free.

Sounds like a good time to get your calendars out and plan your trip accordingly!

You can also get in more of Paris by visiting these free sights:

There is also a page on Paris’s tourist website dedicated to free cultural events in Paris, which was very helpful when I studied abroad there.

I hope this guide helped you discover the free things to do in two of Europe’s top cities, and it makes your vacation budget a lot.

What’s your favourite free thing to do in London/Paris?

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019 in Destinations
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