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Poland is a Central European country of rich history, distinctive cuisine, and beautiful scenery. There is something for everyone: stunning architecture, lively and bustling cities, and gorgeous natural landscapes. The country spans over 300,000 square kilometers and is home to more than 38 million people, making it one of the most populated countries in the European Union. With 15 cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites, there is no shortage of culture to take in throughout the country. In this article, you will learn more about tourism in Poland and the Poland ETIAS.
ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorisation System. It is a means of keeping track of all travelers to the Schengen Zone who do not require a visa for entry. ETIAS is an exclusively electronic system that will be implemented within the next couple of years. It will allow visitors from specific countries can travel to Poland without obtaining a visa. They will simply need to acquire an ETIAS travel authorization before entering the country, to present upon arrival. The ETIAS will then be valid for travel to and from Poland for a period of three years. The purpose of the ETIAS is to ensure greater security for both the participating countries and for travelers. Authorities will be able to identify any visitors who may pose a security threat and may thus deny them entry. The knowledge of exactly who is entering and exiting the countries will ensure a safer Europe for all, made possible under the ETIAS.
If you are a fan of historic cities, you may want to pay a visit to Kraków, the second largest city in Poland. Conceived back in the 7th century, it is also one of the country’s oldest cities. It has no shortage of magnificent and well preserved architecture, having managed to escape most of the destruction felt by many other Polish cities from German bombing during World War II. Kraków’s Old Town was one of the first ever UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In the Old Town, you can take in magnificent museums, theaters, religious buildings, and sculptures. It is also a hub of dining and culture, with restaurants, cafes, bars, and music clubs on every corner. Visit some of the many local hawkers of flowers and obwarzanki, twisted bread topped with poppy seeds that are a sure symbol of Kraków. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the Old Town to take in the melting pot of beautiful churches, street performers, and both local and international visitors.
While in Poland, it’s important to remember the relatively recent atrocities throughout the Invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union and the ensuing occupation during World War II. Around 200,000 Polish civilians were killed in the invasion, and many Polish cities were largely destroyed from the bombing. During the German occupation of Poland, Auschwitz I was built near the southern border with Slovakia in 1940 as a concentration camp to accommodate the large number of Poles being arrested en masse. It became a place of systematic extermination of both Poles and Jews sent to the camp. The sites of both Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau are now a dedicated memorial and museum. They have been carefully preserved as a way of remembering the atrocities that happened there not so long ago. Visitors can schedule a guided tour to learn about the incredible horror that was conducted at the camps. It is a good way to pay respect to the victims, understand this important and tragic piece of history, and support the museum.
Nature enthusiasts will love exploring the stunning Tatra Mountains on the Slovakian border. You can travel to the town of Zakopane, located at the base of the mountain range. In the winter, tourists enjoy a wide range of activities, like skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, and ice skating. In the summer, you can go hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and horseback riding. There are plenty of opportunities to buy local artisan clothing, accessories, and treats at the shops and markets in town. With no shortage of hiking trails, the next stunning view can be found just around the corner.
While you’re in Poland, you will have the opportunity to try many delicious local dishes. The cuisine is very filling, often using meat, cabbage, potatoes, and beets. With influences from many of the neighboring countries, there is a nice variety of flavors available. Soup is a heavy feature of Polish cuisine, often to start off a meal. Chlodnik is a classic Polish soup made from beets, cucumbers and dill; it is reminiscent of the popular Ukrainian borscht. While in Poland, you must give cabbage rolls a try. They are a dish of boiled cabbage stuffed with meat and rice and topped with a lovely tomato sauce before baking. They sound simple, but are so very satisfying. Sausage is a popular ingredient in Poland; you can commonly find kiszka at the market, a delicious sausage made of various meats and oftentimes grains or potatoes. Lastly, we can’t forget about dessert! Have a slice of babka with your afternoon tea; it’s a yeast cake made with raisins and a fruit topping, traditionally served at Easter. You may even be able to find some topped with chocolate.
Poland has much to offer in the form of culture, history, architecture, nature, and cuisine. The people are hard working and hospitable, welcoming visitors with open arms and an open table. The classic Polish saying, “A guest in the house is God in the house” perfectly encompasses the Polish nature of hosting and hospitality. You will be sure to meet plenty of wonderful people, see some incredible sites, and come away from you vacation with lots of great stories. Enjoy your trip to Poland!
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