Special Interest Tour
The most fascinating and exceptional feature of Poland's tourist attractions are its numerous castles and palaces scattered over the whole country. Over the centuries, Polish kings and magnates erected numerous defensive castles and stately palaces. Some of them are now romantic and picturesque ruins, cautiously preserved and remaining on its defensive hills or limestone rocks (e.g. the famous group of castles called Eagles' Nests, situated between Czestochowa and Cracow). Some have been thoroughly restored and turned into museums or local culture and historical centres.
Come to Poland and explore an exciting tour of the castles and palaces offering the unforgettable memories and experience. The tour starts in Warsaw on the Royal Route with its numerous palaces and residences as well as the famous Lazienki Royal Park and its Palace on the Water. The Palace on the Water is a must for both art lovers and history buffs. The palace is surrounded by some delightful parks which are dotted here and there with follies and curios.
Continue for Wilanow Palace erected in the late 17th century for the King John III Sobieski and expanded by subsequent owners (wings). It is a typical baroque entre cour et jardin suburban residence. The palace is remarkable for its original architecture, a blend of the European art with the Old Polish building tradition. Heading to the Baltic coast, we stop for a guided visit of the Malbork Castle. In the early 13th century, the Teutonic Order launched its first crusades to the territories around the central stretch of the River Nogat in order to convert the local inhabitants to Christianity. Our cultural tour continue for Gdansk. The city sightseeing includes the Artus Court, an impressive mansion, a symbol of the city's power in the 16th and 17th centuries, served as an exchange and as the seat of St. George and the brotherhoods of rich patricians.
Follow the Golden and Green gates and the famous Long Street. This picturesque street is one of the city's oldest thoroughfares. From the Golden Gate, which protects it, the gently-curving street opens into an array of colourful burgher houses, rococo portals, Gothic mouldings and original porticoes. Continue for Sopot. Its reputation as one of Poland 's premier seaside resorts is justly deserved. A small fishing village owned by the Cistercians in Oliwa existed here from the 13th century. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the baths and spas of this increasingly-fashionable health resort lured a select, affluent and aristocratic set to Sopot as much for its soothing waters as for its vibrant social life. Sopot's pier provides stunning views of the sea by day and night. The pier was built in 1827 by a doctor in Napoleon's army and has been renovated several times. With 645m, it's the longest in the Baltic region. Heading now to the south of Poland, we will overnight in Poznan.
Continue for Kornik and Rogalin. Located in the vicinity of Poznan, is a small town situated 20 km south-east from Poznan. A 14th century castle built by the Gorka family owns its present English Neo-Gothic shape (arch. Karol Schinkel) to Tytus Dzialynski, a great patriot fighting for the independence of Poland in the 18th-19th centuries. At present, the Kornik castle is considered to be a very interesting museum with valuable collections of historical and national mementoes, Polish and foreign arms and armour, precious paintings by Grottger, Norblin, Bacciarelli, copies of the Rubens' works, period furniture representing different epochs and styles. The famous Kornik library contains over 350,000 volumes, books, old prints, manuscripts, among them one by Napoleon Bonaparte. Visit the village of Rogalin with a magnificent park with ancient oaks and a Rococo-Neo-Classical palace which houses a large exhibition of 18th and 19th century interiors. In the palace rooms, you will find lovely 17th and 18th century tapestries, French and Flemish arrases, and Meissen porcelain. Drive for Wroclaw for dinner and overnight. Morning visit in one of the most superb baroque palaces of Central Europe, Kraskow.
Continue for Cracow. Morning visit of the Wawel Royal Castle. From the dawn of Polish history, Wawel Hill in Cracow was a centre of secular and ecclesiastical power. The establishment in 1000 of the bishopric of Cracow was soon followed by the construction on Wawel of the first cathedral. The Cathedral Treasury includes, among other items, monstrance and liturgical vessels, reliquaries, regalia, and insignia of royalty. Among the five bells hung in the belfry is "Zygmunt", one of the largest in Europe. The crypts of the Cathedral contain the tombs of the kings and their families and also of great poets and national heroes. In the afternoon departure for Pieskowa Skala. In the first half of the 14th century, King Casimir the Great ordered here the erection of a castle intended as a part of the whole defence system created by the strongholds guarding the Polish-Silesian border. The castle also protected the important trade route connecting Cracow with Wroclaw. From the end of the 14th century, it was a residence of some Polish aristocratic families. After World War II, the Pieskowa Skala castle was nationalised, restored and in 1970 opened as a museum - a department of the Royal Wawel Castle in Cracow.
Continue for Promnice to visit a unique small palace, a hunting lodge built in 1760-66 by Jan Adam Promnic. He was the last descendant of old Silesian nobility. The lodge was built in Neo-Gothic style under apparent German influence. Nowadays, there is a luxury hotel and a restaurant. Back to Cracow for dinner and overnight. En route to Rzeszow, a guided visit of the Baranow Sandomierski Castle. The former seat of the Leszczynski family, it is one of few so well preserved magnate residences. Built in the late 16th and early 17th centuries to a design by Santi Gucci, and modelled after Wawel castle in Cracow, surrounded by a breath-taking park, the castle fits perfectly into the landscape of the Vistula plains.
After breakfast, continue for Lancut Castle. Very well preserved Lancut Palace was built in the early 17th century and later remodelled a few times. It is surrounded by a system of fortifications with bastions. The palace museum with the interiors from the period between the 17th century and the early 20th century has heaps of paintings, sculptures and objects d'art of all sorts. The annual music festivals are held in the splendid ball room. Continue for Lublin for overnight. Next day departure in the direction of Warsaw. En route a guided visit of the Kozlowka Palace. The palace is in late baroque style with some elements of Rococo and is located "between the courtyard and the garden”.