Take a time travel to socialism in milk bars
As an essential part of the trip to Poland, you have to eat at least once in a milk bar, or bar mleczny, whose idea is to have a cheap lunch at the counter itself.
Milk bars were established during socialism as the basic canteens of the common people. The name milk bar dates back to the fact that only milk-based products were initially offered in milk bars.
Decor, service and food offer a kind of time travel to socialism in everyday life. The food is simple and traditional Polish food, and customers range from a wide range of people from young students to businessmen and seniors.
Personal cafes and delicious pastries
Poland also has a long tradition of baking. There are bakeries and cafes serving delicious cakes and other pastries on almost every street corner. Small cafes in particular are often decorated in a distinctive way and with amazing detail.
Of the Polish pastries, the dark spicy gingerbreads or piernikis, the curd cake sernik and the local monks or pączeks are definitely tastable.
Good gifts for sweets are the familiar “cow candies” or krówks and the “bird milk chocolates” or płacie mleczkot, which are sold in boxes in almost every shop.
FLIGHTS, ACCOMMODATION AND MOVEMENT IN POLAND
Wroclaw’s historic buildings impress the tourist.
For direct flights from Helsinki or Turku
Traveling to Poland from Finland is not only easy, but also cheap. Finnair flies direct flights from Helsinki-Vantaa to both Warsaw and Krakow, and British Airways to Warsaw. Flight time to Warsaw is about an hour and 40 minutes and to Krakow about two hours.
Flights are reasonably priced: round-trip fares typically remain at € 200 each way.
At its cheapest, you can get to Poland for a few tens of euros from Turku, from where the low-cost airline Wizzair operates to Gdansk several times a week. You can fly to Gdansk in an hour and a half.
Polish airline Lot flies a lot of cheap domestic flights within Poland. If you want from Warsaw or Krakow, it is easy to take a connecting flight to the rest of Poland.
Accommodation in Poland
Larger Polish cities offer a wide range of accommodation, from cheap hostels and bed and breakfast accommodation to international 5-star hotels.
In the smallest locations, the choice of hotels may be very limited, but simple hostel and bed and breakfast type accommodation is usually available at a good price.
Many accommodation is new or located in renovated buildings. The value for money for accommodation in Poland is generally good. You can expect the service to be available in English at accommodation establishments, and for example, the included WLAN connection is starting to be the rule rather than the exception.
By train and bus from one city to another
In Poland, the easiest way to travel between cities is by train thanks to the comprehensive railway network, but today the bus also runs reliably around the country.
Polish railways are operated by many different companies and different types of trains. Each type of train has its own separate tickets, and you have to be careful to make sure you get on the right train. The fastest trains are Eurocity and Intercity trains with a mandatory Seat Reservation.
An inexpensive but fast train type is the TLK train, the second class of which is sold without reservations. To secure your seat, you should be queuing on the train in time or get a much more expensive first class ticket.
Slow but very cheap osobowy trains should only be used if you are on your way to a small town that cannot be reached by any other type of train. These trains operate practically all over Poland, but represent the most obsolete fleet in terms of fleet.
The easiest way to order tickets for Polish railways online. The station’s numerous ticket offices do not usually speak English, but all major train stations have an international ticket office, PKP Intercity, where the service is certainly available in English as well.
Many tender hawks know the cheap bus company Onnibus from their home Finland, and it is gratifying to be able to travel in Poland on its sister company Polskibus. The red double-decker buses of Polskibus transport cheaply all over Poland and also to other parts of Europe. Tickets for Polskibus flights can be found on the company’s website, where you can also shop in English.
Within cities on foot and by tram
Poland’s larger cities have a comprehensive tram network that makes it easy and efficient to move from one place to another within a city. Tickets can be purchased in many places from vending machines that also serve in English.
Drivers may not sell tickets in all cities. This is the situation in Poznan, for example.
Taxis are quite cheap in Poland, but at peak times it is worth avoiding the use of taxis. When using taxis, it is advisable to check that the car represents an official taxi company and that the driver turns on the meter.