FestivalsPoland-wide summertime festivals include Juwenalia, a students’ festival, and Wianki, a midsummer Polish tradition. Juwenalia occurs in late May or early June and is an excuse for students to party off the stress accumulated from a year’s worth of study. Wianki takes place along riverbanks, such as the Vistula in Krakow, and wreaths are floated downstream in a continuance of a summer solstice practice dating from pagan times.
Besides country-wide festivals, individual cities fill their own programs of events with annual festivals. In Krakow, for example, the International Festival of Jewish Culture draws thousands of visitors to Poland’s cultural capital in the early part of summer, while later visitors can enjoy a Folk Art Fair and a Summer Jazz Festival. In the official capital, the annual program of outdoor concerts in Warsaw’s parks and gardens is a requisite part of summer. August visitors can participate in the Summer Festival of New Town or listen to performances of the Bach Organ Festival.
Summer Activities in PolandWhen you have had enough of sightseeing and eating and drinking under the shade of restaurant patio tents, look elsewhere for summer activities. Consider, as suggested above, seeking out park musical performances, such as those dedicated to Chopin in Warsaw’s Lazienki Park. Or try a river cruise to see your destination city from the waterway that fed its development over the course of centuries. In coastal cities such as Gdansk, it’s possible to sunbathe or look for amber nuggets on the beach. If you are traveling in the western part of Poland, be sure to go on a hunting expedition for dwarfs in Wroclaw.
Summertime ExcursionsWhen you have exhausted your options within major cities, take to the countryside to visit attractions that are especially appealing when the weather is warm and tours are plentiful. For example, from Krakow, it’s possible to visit the cool, underground chambers of the Wieliczka Salt Mine or the hallowed Black Madonna of Czestochowa. From Gdansk, , Malbork Castle is a short train ride, but many other Polish Castles and Polish World Heritage sites can be accessed from destination cities.
You can also use summer to visit some of Poland’s regions. For example, Silesia is known for its eye-catching natural landscapes and for notable sites like the Peace Churches of Swidnica and Jawor. Malopolska is rich with castles and history.
Tips for Summer Travel to PolandJune, July, and August are the most popular times to visit Poland. Tourist centers will be packed with visitors from all over the world sightseeing, snapping photos, shopping, and eating. These crowded areas attract pickpockets, so be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings close to your body at all times.
Summer travel to Poland requires advance planning, especially if you will arrive at a destination city prior to or during a major annual festival like Wianki. Check events calendars to determine what’s on during the time of your planned stay and either work the event into your schedule or create a travel plan that helps you avoid the time when the numbers of visitors for that event are expected to peak.