Several international travel agencies offer travel packages that focus exclusively on Poland or offer Polish destinations as part of a "Central European" or "Eastern European" tour. A few of the best are described below.
U.S.-based Kensington Tours (300 Delaware Ave., Suite 1704, Wilmington, DE 19801; tel. 888/903-2001; Fax 866/613-7599; www.kensingtontours.com) offers a signature "Eight Days in Poland" tour that starts in Gdansk and makes its way across the country to Warsaw and Kraków.
U.S. operator Tauck's (tel. 800/788-7885; www.tauck.com) 2-week Eastern European and Poland tour includes Kraków, Auschwitz, and a private Chopin recital in Warsaw on a regional getaway that includes stops in Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. Tauck also offers a 5-day, 4-night extension package to lengthen your stay in Poland.
The Polish operator Almatur-Opole (Ozimska 26/2, 45-058 Opole; tel. 77/423-28-48; Fax 77/423-28-40; www.excitingpoland.com) offers several highly rated Polish packages, including "Poland in One Week," the "Pearls of Northern Poland," and "Polish-Jewish Heritage."
For more information on package tours and for tips on booking your trip, see www.frommers.com/planning.
Academic Trips & Language Classes
Jagiellonian University in Kraków offers 3-, 4-, and 6-week Polish language and culture courses during the summer months at both the beginner and intermediate levels. The courses are administered through the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York (15 E. 65th St., New York, NY 10065; tel. 212/734-2130; www.thekf.org). Fees start at around $2,750 and include dormitory accommodation and weekend sightseeing trips.
Adventure & Wellness Trips
Poland's relatively flat terrain makes for ideal cycling country. Several operators offer trips of 1- or 2-week duration. Fees normally include bike and helmet rentals and guides, as well as accommodation and at least some meals. U.K.-based Cycling Holidays Poland (tel. 44/1536-738-038; www.cyclingpoland.com) offers three separate 7-day tours that focus on the country's UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Baltic coast, and the Mazurian Lakes district. Tours are offered on both road and mountain bikes. Poland also has thousands of kilometers of navigable waterways and a thriving canoeing and kayaking scene. Dozens of companies can help organize short or relatively long canoeing trips, depending on the need. Canoe Kayak Poland (www.canoekayakpoland.com) offers made-to-order canoe trips, can arrange for boat and equipment hire, and will provide guides.
Food & Wine Trips
Poland's culinary reputation is on the rise, having been named recently to several "top new cuisine" lists. Poland Culinary Vacations (1020 Durham Ave., Bozeman, MT 59718; tel. 888/703-8130 or 406/522-7711; www.polandculinaryvacations.com) offers a series of 1-week trips specializing in regional cooking, including the "Flavors of Lower Silesia." The owner, Malgorzata Rose, was born in Wrocaw, and though she's relocated to the U.S., she retains a passion for the cooking she grew up on.
Jewish Heritage Tours
For centuries, Poland was the center of Jewish life in Europe. The best way to uncover this history is through a knowledgeable guided tour. There are many reputable tour groups offering these kinds of services, and the tourist information offices in Lódz, Lublin, and Kraków can suggest local guides and tour operators. U.S.-based Polish Jewish Heritage (tel. 800/354-8320; www.polandjewishheritagetours.com) offers a standard 9-day tour package during the summer months starting at around $2,200 per person, as well as allowing for guided DIY tours, depending on what you want to see. Rates include meals, entrance fees, and accommodation.
Volunteer & Working Trips
Harvard University's WorldTeach (79 John F. Kennedy St., P.O. Box 122, Cambridge, MA 02138; tel. 617/495-5527; www.worldteach.org) operates a Polish program that is open to volunteers of almost any age and nationality. WorldTeach provides a thorough cultural immersion where volunteers teach elementary- to high school-age youth conversational English skills and American culture. Prior teaching experience is not required, though the application process is lengthy. Placements are in both rural and urban settings for 8 weeks during the summer.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.