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Top 5 Day Trips from Warsaw, Poland 

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4 months ago

Poland’s capital, Warsaw is an ideal starting point for exploring the rest of the country. From exploring Polish artist villages in the countryside to learning about the tragic history of Polish Jews – these are my top 5 best day trips from Warsaw.

Over the last few years Warsaw has seen a dramatic transformation. Hip restaurants, speakeasy bars and new museums embody Warsaw’s constant retransformation.  

Iconic Landmark Tower of Warsaw, Poland, Europe
The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, Poland. The tower was given as a gift by Stalin to Poland as a sign of ‘friendship’ and is today one of Warsaw’s most iconic landmarks.

In my opinion, Warsaw’s charm rests on the city’s ability to combine a forward-facing character with immense respect for history. And for budget-conscious travelers looking for a cheap European getaway, look no further than Poland. Here, your dollar, euro or zloty gets you further than most places on the continent.  

The POLIN Jewish museum architecture
The magnificent POLIN Museum in Warsaw

If you are looking for a 3-day itinerary in Warsaw, I recommend combining two days of activities in Warsaw with one of these day trips. The ideal Poland vacation itinerary!  

When planning your day trips, be aware that renting a car is certainly the best way to travel in Poland.

1. Treblinka

Treblinka is 1 hour, 20 mins by car from Warsaw

memorial stones in the place of train tracks at Treblinka
The former train tracks at Treblinka

Treblinka holds a haunting history as the second-deadliest extermination camp after Auschwitz. Tragically, it’s estimated that over 800,000 Jews were brutally gassed to death here.  

I’ll be honest, the museum at Treblinka is the ‘old-style’ museum – which take more of a ‘shock and awe’ approach. I prefer the newer style Holocaust museums which seek to personalize the experience of the Holocaust. Overall, I find the museum at Treblinka a lot more sterile than, say, the extermination camps of Sobibor and Belzec

treblinka memorial - one of the best day trips from warsaw
The stones at the memorial contain names of those killed and towns which had their communities destroyed

Regardless, the main memorial at Treblinka is an immensely powerful site to visit – with jagged stones abutting from the earth above the mass graves of gassed Jews. For those looking for a Poland Holocaust tour, Treblinka is a crucial additional stop after visiting the POLIN museum in Warsaw.

stone memorial at treblinka camp in poland - a great option for day trips from warsaw

For those without a rental car, you can take a train from Warsaw Gdanska station to the small town of Małkinia (1 hour). From here, you will need to find a local taxi to take you to Treblinka (about a 10-minute drive).  

survivor account recored by Rachela Auerbach from Treblinka
A powerful piece of survivor testimony from Treblinka

2. Kazimierz Dolny

Kazimierz Dolny is 2 hours by car from Warsaw.

Poland’s very own artist town, Kazimierz Dolny is a true gem. In my opinion, this small town is one of Poland’s most underrated destinations.  

The main square in Kazimierz Dolny is a hub of activity

Set on the Vistula River, Kazimierz Dolny is best known for its colorful houses, small art galleries and historic synagogue.  

art gallery in kazimierz dolny, poland
Small art galleries are all over the town

If you are searching for a piece of Polish art, I would try and visit Kazimierz Dolny (or even spend the night here!). For those staying overnight in Kazimierz Dolny, Poland – I highly recommend the centrally located Hotel Dawna Synagoga Beitenu.

Travel tip: Don’t miss out on the Jewish Cemetery in Kazimierz Dolny (Cmentarz Żydowski). Here, the destroyed gravestones from the Holocaust were transformed into a haunting piece of public art – a Polish ‘Wailing Wall’.

The ‘Wailing Wall’ at Kazimierz Dolny reminded me of the newer, but equally powerful, memorial at Babi Yar in Ukraine.

3. Lublin

Lublin is 2 hours by car, bus or train from Warsaw

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: Lublin may well be Europe’s cheapest weekend getaway. Ideally, you want to spend a few days in Lublin – the perfect base for exploring the rich history of southeast Poland.

lublin old town - a great option for day trips from warsaw
The colorful heart of Lublin Old Town

However, if you only have one day in Lublin you can certainly squeeze a lot in! Lublin has something for everyone, from Lublin’s picturesque cobblestone Old Town, to the moving museum at Majdanek extermination camp and the views over the iconic Trinitarian Tower.

majdanek extermination camp
Majdanek extermination camp is one of the most powerful things to see in Lublin.

For everything you need to know about getting to Lublin, the top things to see in Lublin and the best hotels in Lublin, check out my ultimate guide to Lublin.  

4. Łódź

Łódź is 1 hour, 40 mins by car, bus or train from Warsaw

Łódź is Poland’s third-largest city. Despite being overlooked by travelers for the more apparent charm of Krakow or Lublin, Łódź is a hub of creativity, culture and history.  

Vibrant street art in creative capital of Łódź
Vibrant street art in Łódź

Once an industrial powerhouse, the city has reinvented itself as a vibrant center for arts and entertainment.  

the famous Piotrkowska street in Lodz - one of the top day trips from Warsaw

You will not want to miss out on walking along Piotrkowska Street, one of the longest commercial streets in Europe, lined with shops, cafes, and impressive architecture. 

the radegast train station holocaust memorial in lodz
The Radegast Train Station Memorial

While Łódź’s Jewish history may not come under the most ‘fun things to do in Łódź’, I always recommend taking some time to learn about the Jews of Łódź. In my opinion, the Radegast Train station is Łódź’s most powerful site: a memorial and museum to the hundreds of thousands of Jews shuttled to their death from this station – including hundreds of members of my own family.  

the radegast train station memorial with concentration camp names on tombstones
The Radegast Train Station memorial

For the best accommodation in Łódź, Poland, I have put together the below list of centrally located hotels for your convenience.

Łódź also has a small airport with direct (and often very cheap) flights to London, Dublin and Milan. This makes Łódź a cheap gateway for a more extended Poland vacation itinerary.

5. Bialystok

Białystok is 2 hour, 15 minutes by car, train or bus from Warsaw

clocktower of bialystok  - a great option for day trips from warsaw

Another often overlooked city, Białystok is a major hub in Poland’s east. Białystok’s Old Town is walkable, filled with vibrant cafes and colorful architecture.  

Branicki Palace

Out of all the palaces in Poland, I find the Branicki Palace the most beautiful. Branicki Palace is a Baroque masterpiece with some of the most charming gardens in the country. Bring a book (or a friend) and bask in the glory of Poland’s yesteryear.  

gardens at branicki palace in bialystok with statue  - a great option for day trips from warsaw
The gardens at Branicki Palace

While Białystok was one almost 80% Jewish, today there are 0 Jews left and much of the city’s Jewish character has been demolished.

For those interested in learning more about the Jewish history of eastern Poland, I highly recommend stopping in the town of Tykocin (about 30 minutes from Białystok). Tkyocin is home to one of the last surviving pre-Holocaust synagogues, full of rare and magnificent centuries-old frescoes and artwork.  

the interior frescoes of Tykocin Synagogue
The magnificent Tycokin Synagogue

Travel Tip: If you are staying overnight in Białystok, consider a little side trip to the Białowieża National Park. This is of the few places left in Europe to see European bison!  

european bison in bialowieza national park in poland - a great option for day trips from warsaw
The extremely rare European bison

For the best hotels in Białystok, I recommend these hotels located right in the center:

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