For centuries, Poland has been a bridge between the East and West. Set in the heart of Europe, Poland is a multifaceted country where the capital and medieval towns are trawled by contemporary city slickers, and where horse-drawn carts negotiate country lanes, untouched by progress.


Poland remains reasonably cheap and safe, with hospitable people who welcome visitors. Over the past decade, it has developed into a modern, vibrant and progressive state, yet at the same time it maintains its traditional culture. It's a fascinating destination and now is a good time to go.


The tourist season runs roughly from May to September, peaking in July and August. At this time the Baltic beaches are taken over by swarms of humanity, resorts and spas are invaded by tourists, Masurian lakes are crowded with thousands of sailboats and mountains can hardly be seen for walkers. Perhaps the best time to come is either late spring (mid-May to June) or the turn of summer and autumn (September to mid-October). These are pleasantly warm periods and there are plenty of cultural activities going on. During winter it's cold and dark (as you'd expect) and many camp sites and hostels are closed, but its still a good time for visiting Poland's cities.


The ski season runs from December to March. The Polish mountains are spectacular, but the infrastructure (hotels and chalets, lifts and tows, cable cars, transport etc) is still not well developed. Zakopane, Poland's winter capital, and the nearby Tatra Mountains have some of the best ski facilities.


Emerging like a phoenix from the ashes of WWII, Warsaw is essentially a post-war city. Its handful of historic precincts have been meticulously reconstructed, but most of its urban landscape is modern, from the dull products of the Stalin era to the more creative efforts of recent years.


A decade after the fall of communism, Warsaw has turned into a thrilling, busy city swiftly catching up with the West. It's Poland's most cosmopolitan, dynamic and progressive urban center, dotted with luxury hotels, elegant shops and a diverse range of services.


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