Poland Itinerary: Experience the Liberation Route

Experience the Liberation Route in Poland for yourself with Rough Guides tailor-made trips. The itinerary below has been prepared to give you an idea of what we could arrange, but each trip is completely built around you. So if there is a particular location that you wish to visit or that is important to you or your family, let your Local Expert know and we'll do our best to incorporate it.

Day 1: Gdansk

After arriving in Gdansk, you'll be transferred to your centrally located hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.

Day 2: Gdansk / Gdynia / Sopot

Once you finish breakfast, you'll head out on your first tour - a city tour of Gdansk. You'll visit Westerplatte, the location of the first battle of World War II. You'll also see the Old Town, St Mary's Church, City Hall, Golden and Green Gates, Neptune Fountain, Long Street and more. Afterwards, you'll visit the Polish Post Museum, which was not only the home of the postal service, but also the Polish government's intelligence centre. It was damaged in the war but was reconstructed afterwards and now holds a museum dedicated to the events. In the afternoon you'll also visit the Museum of the Second World War. Overnight in Gdansk.

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Gdansk's Museum of the Second World War © Liberation Route Europe

Day 3: Gdansk / Sztutowo / Ketrzyn

After breakfast you'll be transferred to Sztutowo and visit Stutthof Museum, which is located in the former Stutthof concentration camp. It was the first concentration camp to be built in Poland by the Nazis, and also the last to be liberated on 9 May 1945. It's estimated that between 63-65,000 prisoners died here as a result of murder, epidemics, extreme labour conditions and more. The history and significance of these tragic events are portrayed at the museum onsite through exhibitions and documentaries.

Afterwards, you'll be transferred to Ketrzyn, where you'll stay overnight.

Day 4: Ketrzyn / Warsaw

Today you'll head to a little-known or visited site from World War II - Wolfsschanze, or Wolf's Lair, otherwise known as Hitler's war headquarters. A hidden town in the woods consisting of 200 buildings - such as shelters, barracks, two airports, a power station, a railway station, heat-generating plants - more than 2,000 people lived here in 1944.

After this fascinating but eerie tour, you'll be transferred to Warsaw. Overnight in Warsaw.

Wolfsschanze, or Wolf's Lair, Hitler's war headquarters © Artenex / Shutterstock

Day 5: Warsaw

After breakfast, you'll go on a guided tour of Warsaw, introducing the highlights of the city, such as the Old Town with the Market Square, the Barbican and the Royal Castle, the Royal Route, Presidential Palace, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and more.

In the afternoon you'll visit Warsaw Rising Museum - an interactive museum that is a must-see for anyone to understand Warsaw, and Poland's, tragic history during World War II. Overnight in Warsaw.

Day 6: Warsaw

In the morning, enjoy breakfast at the hotel. Afterwards, you'll be taken on a Jewish Warsaw City Tour to the Memorial Route of Jewish Martyrdom and Struggle, located in the Muranów district. Among the historical sites you'll see are the remnants of the ghetto walls, the monument to heroes of Warsaw ghetto, Umschlagplatz Memorial. This memorial stands on the former muster point for Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto - in 1942 and 1943, more than 300,000 were taken here to the death camp at Treblinka. The tour also includes Mila 18, Nozyk Synagogue, the only one that survived World War II, and Janusz Korczak Monument Jewish Cemetery, the largest Jewish cemetery in the world.

Afterwards, visit the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which opened in 2013 in an impressive postmodern building in the prewar Jewish quarter and former Warsaw ghetto. It's a touching restoration of the rich culture and heritage that was so impacted during World War II. Overnight in Warsaw.

Day 7: Lublin

After breakfast at your Warsaw hotel, you'll be transferred to Lublin. We visit the best-preserved Nazi concentration camps of the Holocaust, Majdanek Camp. It operated from October 1941 to July 1944, and was surrounded by electric barbed wire fences and 19 watchtowers. An estimated 78,000 people died here. On this sobering visit, you'll see the block houses, gas chamber and crematory.

Next, you'll do some sightseeing in Lublin, the ninth largest city in Poland and only 15 minutes from the Majdanek Camp. Highlights are the Old Town, former Jewish quarter, Old Kirkut, the oldest Jewish cemetery in Poland and more. Spend the rest of your day wandering around or relaxing at your leisure. Overnight in Lublin.

Majdanek Camp, the best-preserved concentration camp © majicphotos / Shutterstock

Day 8: Lublin / Kazimierz Dolny / Krakow

Enjoy breakfast in Lublin before your transfer to Krakow. On the way, you'll stop at the charming little town of Kazimierz Dolny, located in central eastern Poland on the Vistula River, its picturesque setting attracting many artists and summer visitors. It was partially destroyed during World War II, but was rebuilt. You'll also visit the Synagogue at Maly Rynek and the market square.

Once in Krakow, enjoy some leisure time. Overnight in Krakow.

Day 9: Krakow

After breakfast, you'll learn more about Krakow on a City Tour, discovering the rich history of this former capital of Poland. Visit the Unesco-listed monuments of Krakow's oldest district, such as The Royal Route and the Wawel Castle, St Peter and Paul's Church and St Mary's Basilica. You'll also visit Kazimierz Jewish Quarter and the sites within it, like the Altschul, the oldest synagogue in Poland, the Remuh Synogague and Jewish Cemetery, Adler's Pharmacy and Oskar Schindler Factory Museum.

Afterwards, you'll visit Plaszow Camp, a former Nazi labour camp from 1942, which was extended to become a concentration camp in 1944. Poles and Jews were segregated in the camp, with the largest number held at one time at 20,000. Thousands were killed, mainly by shooting, with many transferred by the SS to Auschwitz-Birkenau when the Soviet army was approaching in the summer of 1944. Transfer back and overnight in Krakow.

Altschul, the oldest synagogue in Poland © trabantos / Shutterstock

Day 10: Krakow / Auschwitz

Leave Krakow after breakfast and visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine. It's one of the only mine constructions in the world that has worked steadily since Neolithic times to the the present era - it only stopped running in 2007. A visit here includes a look around the shafts and labyrinthine passageways, historic salt-mining technology, an underground lake, four chapels and numerous statues carved by rock salt. So unique is it that it was listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Next, you'll visit the most well-known concentration and extermination camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau. Also listed as a World Heritage Site, it sees a constant stream of visitors from around the world, who come to learn about the atrocities that happened in this huge complex during German occupation, where of the estimated 1.3 million sent there, 1.1 million died. It's an extremely distressing but moving experience which shows the full impact of Nazi rule.

Overnight in Krakow.

Day 11: Return home

After breakfast, you'll be transferred to Krakow Airport.

Important details:

Prices start from €1,480 per person based on two travellers sharing a room. This includes accommodation, transfers as mentioned in itinerary, all entrance fees, English-speaking guide/driver, tours with local guides and some meals. Flights, personal expenses, visa fees, tips and travel insurance are not covered.

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author photo
Kirsten Powley
6/10/2019
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