DAY 1 Friday
USA - WARSAW
Depart from the USA on an overnight flight to Warsaw, Poland’s dynamic capital.
DAY 2 Saturday
WARSAW [Welcome dinner]
After arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in the heart of the city. The afternoon is free. At 6:00PM, meet your guide and the rest of the group in the hotel lobby. Drive along the beautifully renovated Royal Route with its historical monuments and residences. Stop at Castle Square for a short walk through Old Town, and then join us for welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Your meal will include typical Polish dishes and famous Polish vodka, "Zubrowka".
DAY 3 Sunday
WARSAW [Breakfast, Lunch]
This morning, we introduce you to the highlights of Warsaw. A half-day sightseeing tour includes Old Town, beautifully rebuilt after World War II, with the impressive Royal Castle, seat of the kings of Poland. Here the Constitution of May 3rd was proclaimed in 1791, the second oldest constitution, after the US Constitution, in the world. You will admire some of its 300 rooms and see the Canaletto Room with 23 of his paintings, the Throne Room, the magnificent Knight’s Hall with six large paintings by Marcello Bacciarelli, the Marble room with its 22 portraits of Polish kings and the largest and most impressive of all the castle’s chambers, the Ballroom. After lunch served at a local restaurant in Old Town, we continue our tour with a drive to the area of the former Warsaw Ghetto. En route, you will see the building of the National Opera House and Town Hall. During your tour of Warsaw we invite you to the famous Warsaw chocolate factory "Wedel" to taste the delicious hot chocolate at the "Wedel Old Fashioned Shop". This evening you will take an unforgettable musical journey through the world famous compositions of our greatest composer, Frederic Chopin, at a piano recital. A glass of sparkling wine will be served during intermission.
DAY 4 Monday
WARSAW - CZESTOCHOWA - ZAKOPANE [Breakfast, Lunch]
After breakfast, we leave for Zakopane – one of the most popular vacation resorts in the Tatra Mountains. En route, we stop in Czestochowa to visit the Jasna Gora Monastery and the Black Madonna Shrine with its miraculous icon. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant in Czestochowa. In the evening we arrive in Zakopane beautifully situated at the foot of the Tatra Mountains, in the valley between Gubalowka and Giewont. It is the most popular resort in Poland and one of the most beautiful places in all of Poland, owing to its picturesque location. Once, a small mountain village, Zakopane became a fashionable artist’s retreat at the beginning of the 20th century.
DAY 5 Tuesday
ZAKOPANE [Breakfast, Dinner]
In the morning, you will have a sightseeing tour of Zakopane, whose wooden architecture blends with the natural landscapes. Copied in other parts of Poland, it is known as Zakopianski Style. You will visit the Jaszczurowka Chapel, a great example of the wooden architecture in Zakopane, and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima at Krzeptowki, which was built by the people of Zakopane to thank the Lady of Fatima for saving the Pope’ after an attempt on His life. Admire the breathtaking views of the Tatras from the top of Gubalowka Mountain and shop for souvenirs of arts and crafts of the Highlanders (Gorale) in the local shops. After lunch on your own you will have a free time. Tonight’s dinner will be served at a typical Highlanders’ inn with a folkloric show.
DAY 6 Wednesday
ZAKOPANE - KRAKOW [Breakfast, Lunch]
After breakfast, spend a relaxing day on your own and take a spectacular rafting trip on the Dunajec River in Pieniny National Park. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, we leave for the medieval city of Krakow.
DAY 7 Thursday
KRAKOW [Breakfast, Dinner]
The morning sightseeing tour will feature Wawel the Royal Castle, home to three dynasties of Poland’s monarchs. Its stately halls and exquisite chambers are filled with priceless art, valuable period furniture and rare ancient objects. The collection of monumental 16th century tapestries is matchless. You will also visit Wawel Cathedral, the place of the cult of St. Stanislaw and of St. Jadwiga, Queen of Poland. This 18 chapels are true architectural masterpieces. The giant bell, Zygmunt from 1520 ranks with the world’s largest. This is the place where Polish kings were crowned and buried. Following a short break for coffee and cake at the famous Krakow café, a place designed by local artists with beautiful glass-painted windows and interesting drawings, we drive to Old Town with its restored Main Square of magnificent houses and palaces. There, you will stop at St. Mary’s Basilica to see the magnificent wooden altar by Wit Stwosz. In the middle of the square is Cloth Hall built before 1349, but renovated in the 16th century with many shopping stalls inside. The afternoon is at leisure. Tonight’s dinner will be served at a local restaurant in Old Town.
DAY 8 Friday
KRAKOW – AUSCHWITZ – WADOWICE – KRAKOW [Breakfast, Lunch]
After breakfast, we leave for Auschwitz, the site of the former Nazi Concentration Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the infamous death factory. Today, a Museum, it is a silent witness to human tragedy. In the afternoon, we return to Krakow via Wadowice, the birthplace of John Paul II. After lunch at a local restaurant, we will see the house where He was born and grew up. From the window of His bedroom He used to see a clock with the sign "Time flies, eternity awaits”. In the Basilica of Wadowice, where Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II, was baptized you can still see the special plaque that commemorates this fact as well as a stone font where the Pope prayed during His first pilgrimage to Poland in 1979. From here, we return to Krakow. Upon arrival, you will have free time.
DAY 9 Saturday
KRAKOW – WIELICZKA – LOWICZ – WARSAW [Breakfast, Dinner]
This morning we drive to Wieliczka to see the underground world of the oldest salt mine in Europe. Admire the salt chambers, monuments all carved in salt by many generation of Polish miners. You will be fascinated by the fabulous St. Kinga Chapel with its beautiful chandeliers, a masterpiece of salt work art. After lunch on your own, we depart for Warsaw. On the way, we will stop in Lowicz, a typical Mazovian town famous for folk art: especially noteworthy are the colorful costumes and beautiful paper cut-outs. You will be invited for a home-hosted dinner by a local family, whose charming cottage is located at the foot of the former Lowicz Castle. You will be welcomed in a typical Polish way, with bread & salt, and enjoy your meal served by the young married couple in their lovely house. You will have time to talk about their day to day life and have your dessert in a beautiful garden. After dinner, we continue your drive to Warsaw.
DAY 10 Sunday
After breakfast this morning, we transfer you to the airport for the return flight home.