Poland’s Precious Preserves

Europe’s undiscovered country

By: Lauren Baratti

A thousand years of cultural history is being re-discovered by tourists worldwide in what may seem an unlikely locale.
Once the largest country in Europe, Poland’s cultural value has been overlooked by many travelers. For Americans, the memory of a Cold War division of Central and Eastern Europe may still linger even though the Berlin Wall fell 17 years ago this November.
Now recognized as a long-hidden treasure trove of

centuries-old European arts and architecture, Poland is enjoying unparalleled popularity among tourists. According to Jan W. Rudomina, director for the Polish National Tourist Office in New York, Poland became a more popular destination in Europe during the last year, with a 21 percent increase in travel from the United States alone.

Officials attribute the tourism boost to Poland’s unique history and culture and well preserved countryside, for prices that other European countries can’t match. Poland offers diversity in terms of its national heritage showcasing customs and traditions from civilizations across the continent. For the past 1,000 years, Poland has been the point of contact between Eastern and Western European cultures with Russian and Mongol influences also making their bid for attention.

Having joined the European Union two years ago, Poland now has access to the funds for building a tourism infrastructure and can offer the same standards of service as other European destinations.

However, the country has not yet adopted the euro as its national currency, which as Rudomina said, “is a major benefit for travelers.”

As the high cost of travel continues across Europe, Poland is able to offer Americans a comparable experience for a better value. Travelers should take note that Poland is likely to make the euro changeover in the next few years.

Railways
The best way to get around in Poland is by train. Major cities are connected via express trains, serviced by the Polish State Railways. Train travel is designed to make Poland an easy addition to any European tour, and a popular connection among tourists runs from Prague to Wroclaw.

Local flights are also available from LOT Polish Airlines, the country’s national carrier, as well as from other local carriers and budget airlines within Europe. Motorcoach transportation operated by either state or private companies is another option. While some smaller roads are still under construction thanks to EU funds national roads and highways are in top shape.

Poland-bound clients looking for resources can check out the Polish Tourist Organization and its sponsored tour operator, Orbis Travel.

CONTACT

Tour Operators:
American Travel Abroad
www.amta.com

Jan-Pol
www.incoming.janpol.com

Orbis Travel
www.orbistravel.com

Transportation:
LOT Polish Airlines
www.lot.com

Polish State Railways
www.pkp.com.pl/english/
index.php

Polish Tourist Organization
www.poland-tourism.pl

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