Suggested Itinerary to Poland, Czech & Slovakia: Warsaw to Kosice

ITINERARY SUMMARY 

(Poland) Warsaw – Lodz – Poznan – Wroclaw – Kłodzko – Kudowa-Zdroj (Czech Republic) – Brno – Olomouc – Ostrava – Cesky Tesin (Poland) – Cieszyn (Slovakia) – Kosice

After a few days in Warsaw, we opted for the Polski Bus to get us to Lodz, but there are plenty of trains also heading in that direction, if that is your preferred option. Poland’s third largest city is a bit of diamond in the rough – not instantly alluring, it is nonetheless a splendid place to visit and remains one of our top destinations in the country. Poznan, on the other hand, oozes charm and has one of the prettiest market squares we have seen anywhere!

Heading further west, look out for dwarfs as you wander around Wroclaw, another terrific city (Poland is full of terrific cities, that’s why we keep going back!) situated on the Odra River. We stopped in Kłodzko to see its huge fortress before taking another bus the short distance (37km) to the spa town of Kudowa-Zdroj. It only took 20 minutes to get from Kudowa-Zdroj to the Czech town of Nachod, from where we travelled via Hradec Králové (where we had to change again) to workaday Brno. We regretted spending only one night in Brno, two would have been better, whereas little-visited Olomouc can be seen in a couple of hours. Definitely stay longer than that though. Olomouc might be small but it packs a hefty punch and the architecture in and around the old town is striking.

Ostrava is home to one of the region’s most unique tourist attractions, the huge and extremely photogenic iron and coal-mining complex known as Dolni Vitkovice. We thought it was one of the best things we had seen in a while and when we did move on, it was to the Czech/Polish border towns of Cesky Tesin and Cieszyn. Linked by a couple of bridges, you are free to come and go as you please between the two places. Cieszyn is the nicer of the two but Cesky Tesin has the better beer! Our final stop was Slovakia’s best kept secret, Kosice, where we stayed a couple of nights before crossing into Ukraine.

Number of countries: 3

Number of UNESCO sites: 3

Best time to travel: May to September

Recommended duration: Two to three weeks

Best places to slow the itinerary down: Poznan, Olomouc and Kosice

Mode of transport: Train and bus

HIGHLIGHTS

Dolni Vitkovice in Ostrava

Finding interesting back alleyways and side streets in Lodz

Getting up early and having Poznan’s market square almost to ourselves

Czech beer – stupidly cheap and very quaffable

Finding a great Nepalese restaurant in Brno (The Annapurna)

Cafe culture in Wroclaw’s main square

Strolling around Cathedral Island in Poznan

The architecture in Olomouc’s superb Upper and Lower Squares

OPTIONS FOR EXTENDING THE ITINERARY

The Carpathian Mountains region of Ukraine is only a few hours away by bus from Slovakia. We have a suggested Uzhhorod to Kiev itinerary

If you want to include a visit to the High Tatras Mountains in Slovakia then do so between Cesky Tesin/Cieszyn and Kosice

There are several daily trains from Kosice to Bratislava, from where it is easy to get to both Hungary and Austria. We have put together a Bucharest to Budapest itinerary that could be followed in reverse if you are heading in that direction

If you are looking for an interesting way to get to Warsaw, take a look at our suggested itinerary: Vilnius (Lithuania) to Warsaw (Poland) via Belarus

OTHER TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES

Getting Around:

Trains in Poland

Polski Bus

Where to Stay:

Depending on our itinerary, often we just find our accommodation as we go, particularly in smaller places. In big cities, we tend to make a reservation in advance using Booking.com. Some of our favourite places we stayed at on this itinerary include:

NWW Apartamenty in Warsaw

Tey Hostel in Poznan

3 Bros Hostel in Ciezyn

Guidebooks:

There are a lot of great guidebooks to Europe available but we’ve always used Lonely Planet and it’s hard to change a habit of a lifetime! Lonely Planet’s Eastern Europe Travel Guide (new edition out October 2017) includes coverage of Poland, Czechia and Slovakia and will be sufficient for most for a short trip such as this one. If you like more detail, a dedicated Poland Travel Guide is also available.

And if you need a few more reasons to follow this itinerary…

Warsaw, Poland

Lodz, Poland

Poznan, Poland

Wroclaw, Poland

Kłodzko Fortress, Poland

Olomouc, Czech Republic

Ostrava, Czech Republic

Cieszyn, Poland

Kosice, Slovakia

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