With the opening of the new flight connecting Warsaw, the capital of Poland with Narita Airport in Japan during January 2016, the distance between the two countries reduced significantly. Traveling to Warsaw become easier and thus, with the direct flight service between the two cities, more Japanese tourists began to take interest in Poland.
However, if we compare the tourism statistics of Poland with popular Asian countries, the United States, and other European countries, it would not appear as a popular tourist destination. The reason is largely due to the unavailability of helpful travel information for foreigners and a higher cost to establish a travel plan for a visit. Therefore if you are visiting Poland for the first time, we have put together this guide to help you plan a wonderful and relaxing holiday in Warsaw.
Note: The itinerary introduced here is based on the journey using the Polish Airlines Narita – Warsaw direct flight from Tokyo to Warsaw!
Day 1: From Narita to Warsaw
The first day involves flying from Narita to Warsaw. As at September 2017, the direct flight scheduled from Narita to Warsaw is as follows:
- Four flights per week operating every Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
- Depart from Narita Airport at 10:20 a.m. and arrive at Warsaw Airport at 2:25 p.m. on the same day.
- The totalduration of the flight: 11 hours 05 minutes
According to this schedule, you will arrive at Warsaw Airport at 2:25 p.m. on the same day that you depart from Narita. Considering the immigration checks and the travel time to the city, it can be any time between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. when you finally check into your accommodation. The distance from the airport to Warsaw city centre is about 10km, which can be covered using the comfortable rail link service.
It is quite natural that you would like to catch some sleep as soon as you arrive at the accommodation. However, it is not recommended to sleep immediately in order to overcome the jetlag. The time difference between Japan and Poland is seven hours (eight hours during winters) therefore the time zone tiredness has to be adjusted for the body to cope easily. So, it is a good idea to go out and enjoy the view of the city from the observation deck of the Palace of Culture and Science before dinner. After which, you can try the delicious polish cuisines at a local restaurant. If you still feel active after all these and want to explore more, you can take a stroll through the Old Town at night. Finally you can return to your accommodation for a good rest which would be required for the following day.
- Observation Deck of Palace of Culture and Science
Opening hours: Daily from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
※Open until 11:00 p.m. between May 1st – October 30th on Fridays & Saturdays
Day 2: Warsaw City Tour
Take your breakfast between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. on the second day before you embark on your first sightseeing trip at Warsaw. For today, you will visit the sprawling Warsaw city central and its surroundings.
Amid the Second World War, the city of Warsaw suffered massively due to the Nazis’ destruction; 80 percent of the city was destroyed due to the war. However, the Polish people reconstructed the cityscape of Warsaw and it is now registered as a World Heritage Site.
During the 16th and 17th century, Warsaw was also referred to as “the Paris of the North”. It is a good idea to enjoy the day mainly in the Old Town, but if you are a fan of classical music, you may want to visit the place connected with Chopin. There are also many modern museums that you cannot miss, especially for history lovers there are sightseeing spots that are not enough for two days.
Main tourist spots to visit for the day:
- The Royal Castle in Warsaw
- The Central Square and the Castle Square
- Churches in the Old Town (Holy Cross Church, St. Anne’s Church, St. John’s Archcathedral)
- Łazienki Park
- The Warsaw Rising Museum
- The Fryderyk Chopin Museum
- The WilanówPalace
Day 3: From Warsaw to Kraków
Travel from Warsaw Central Station to Kraków Central Station using the Polish high-speed train Pendolino, which takes you to your destination in about 2.5 hours. From Kraków Central Station, it takes about 10 minutes on foot to reach the Old Town district. You can leave your luggage at the station if your accommodation is far away.
Kraków was compared as Kyoto in Poland and it prospered as the capital for over 500 years centuries ago. In the medieval Old Town, you can still notice that the buildings remain the way as it was. The Kraków Old Town is also registered as a World Heritage Site. Several events are held frequently in the central square of the Old Town, which provides tourists with marvelousopportunities to get acquainted with Polish culture and tradition.
Main tourist spots to visit for the day:
- Stary Kleparz
- The Kraków Barbican
- Mary’s Basilica
- The Kraków Cloth Hall
- Jagiellonian University’s old buildings
- The Rynek Underground museum
- Kraków National Museum
- Kazimierz The Former Jewish District
Day 4: Visit the Auschwitz – Birkenau Concentration Camp
The Auschwitz – Birkenau concentration camp in Poland is a place of tragedy as one of the largest mass murder sites during the Second World War.
Duringwartime, the German Nazis built a number of camps on Nazi-occupiedPoland to hold war prisoners. Among all of them, Auschwitz was the largest concentration camp. It is located in a small town called Oświęcim located about 54kmwest of Kraków.
Traveling by bus takes about 1.5 hours to reach Oświęcim from Kraków. A total of about 3.5 hours is required to visit the two principal camps of Auschwitz. However, visitors usually take the entire day and only get back to Kraków during the evening. Since Auschwitz is a really popular site, you must remember to book the guided tour in advance.
Day 5: Visit Wieliczka Salt Mine and Wawel Castle
The Wieliczka Salt Mine is a World Heritage Site that was registered in 1978 alongside the Old Town of Kraków. Located 14km southeast of Kraków in Wieliczka, it is known as the oldest salt producing company in the world. The tourist route lasts for about 2 to 2.5 hours, so it is advisable to book tours around 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. in consideration of the travelingtime from Kraków.
After finishing the tour of the marvellous underground salt mine, you can enjoy your lunch and then head over to The Wawel Castle. From the rock salt pit, you can reach the other side of the castle by bus. On your arrival, take a tour of the Wawel Cathedral as well as other structures in the royal palace.
Day 6: Warsaw to Narita
The Polish trip now comes to an end as you enjoy the last few exotic moments in this delightful country. As at September 2017, the schedule of the Warsaw – Narita flight is as below:
- Four flights per week operating every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
- Depart Warsaw at 3:10 p.m. and arrive in Narita at 8:45 a.m. on the next morning
- Total duration: 10 hours 35 minutes
According to the above-mentioned schedule, it is recommended to head for the airport at 12:00 p.m. so as to give an allowance of at least 2 hours for check in. Due to the availability of meals on the flight, we also advise to have a lightmeal at noon before boarding.
In the morning, you can visit the places that you missed out on the second day of sightseeing. Just deposit your luggage in the coach locker or at central station or leave them at the accommodation reception.
Do you like this travel itinerary in Poland? A total of four Heritage Sites were recommended in the four days schedule, filling it with a considerablenumber of attractions as well. So, if you like to visit Poland during the next holiday, this guide will certainly serve you well.
Although the recent European situation has resulted in less people travelingabroad, Poland remains one of the safest countries inEurope. This charming country has so much to offer in terms of its rich culture and history that deserves your attention. Don’t hesitate and take a peek into Poland now!