There is a wide range of leisure activities available in Poland. Whatever you enjoy, you’ll probably find it here! Those who like to be active can use one of well-equipped sport facilities or explore beautiful Polish landscapes while cycling, hiking, horse-riding, sailing, canoeing, ballooning or in any other way they want. Those who like sight-seeing should visit the churches, castles, museums and many other attractions. The culture-oriented can choose between many theatres and galleries as well as philharmonics, concerts and music clubs. There are also a number of interesting festivals organised over the year.
And after a whole day of activity you can wind down in one (or a few) of the clubs and enjoy the nightlife. For more ideas on how to spend your free time in Poland check out the website:
Although Poland’s landscape is predominantly made up of lowlands, it is also varied enough to cater to the needs of sea, lake and mountain enthusiasts. If you are the mountaineer type, you should go to the south of Poland, where two large mountain chains rise: the Carpathians and the Sudety Mountains. Both ranges are popular as holiday destinations; not only in the summer among hikers, but also in the winter, when snow-covered slopes wait for skiers and snowboarders. From December till March perfect weather conditions and modern skiing facilities attract both beginners and experienced skiers.
The favorite holiday resort of Poles is Zakopane in the Tatra Mountains (highest mountain range in Poland). The reason for this is not only the town’s multitude of skiing routes and over a hundred ski lifts, but, more importantly, its unique highland atmosphere and an extensive network of cosy guesthouses, luxurious villas as well as rustically- styled restaurants serving typical Polish food.
Other popular destinations of winter sports fans are: Szklarska Poręba, Wisła, and Szczyrk, the last being especially appreciated for its cable railway. If you prefer winter trekking, on the other hand, the Bieszczady range in the very southeast of Poland is where you should go. Beside winter sports, a typical attraction offered to tourists in Poland off the slope are brisk sleigh rides. Be prepared for an exciting adventure if you get a hot-blooded Polish highlander (góral) to drive your sleighs!
For more information, visit:
www.holidays.staypoland.com (sections: Holiday; Polish Mountains; Skiing)
Do you also happen to dream of lying on a sandy beach with your legs stretched out, sun shining on your face and your mind set on nothing but leisure? If the answer is “yes”, you should definitely visit the Polish seaside! Poland has a nearly 780 km long coastline and almost all of it is a beautiful beach with a clean, golden sand and breathtaking dunes rising above it.
The Baltic Sea is far less salty than the Mediterranean Sea, there are no pebbles to hurt your feet and the shore is very rarely steep. So, in the summer, when the water is warm enough to bathe, the conditions are ideal for doing all kinds of water sports: swimming, kite- and windsurfing, riding a banana boat or floating on an air mattress. You can also often see people flying kites, jogging and playing beach sports such as: beach volleyball, soft soccer, Frisbee and beach racket ball.
Besides the attractions that you can find on the beach you will also be amazed by the relaxed atmosphere of Polish seaside resorts, which offer everything you need in terms of accommodation, food and entertainment. Young tourists cannot miss the opportunity to party in one of the renowned clubs in Sopot, Międzyzdroje and Kołobrzeg, where best DJs entertain international audiences till the early morning.
When visiting the Polish seaside it is also crucial to see the amazing shifting dunes (wydmy) located near Łeba. The 44-meter tall dunes are a part of the Slovinski National Park, which was included in the UNESCO list of World Biosphere Reserves in 1976. And as you walk along the Polish coast look out for pieces of a brilliant golden gemstone: the Baltic amber (bursztyn). It is the biggest treasure of the Polish seaside, coveted by many as jewellery both for its beauty and alleged mysterious qualities.
One of the favourite holiday destinations of Poles are the picturesque lakes located in north-eastern Poland in the Masuria and Suwałki regions (Mazury and Suwalszczyzna). It is a perfect place not only for those craving for some peace and quiet, contact with nature and breathtaking views around them. It is also ideal for people who prefer active leisure. Whether it is swimming, windsurfing, sailing, canoeing, rowing, water skiing or skateboarding that you are interested in, you can find it all here. With over nine thousand lakes in whole Poland and an extended network of rivers and canals, the country offers an excellent combination of amazing natural environment and well-developed water sports infrastructure for both extreme sports lovers, as well as fans of calmer sporting entertainment such as fishing.
Lake areas in the north of Poland are also full of forests and generally have a rural character, which makes them a dream destination for hiking, bicycle and horse riding trips. In 2009 the uniqueness of the Polish lake landscape was appreciated by experts and the general public when the Great Masurian Lakes were qualified to the Final round of the contest New7Wonders of Nature (official declaration is planned for November 2011).
For more information and views, visit:
www.polandforall.com (section: Cities and Cultural Heritage)
www.poland.gov.pl (section: Tourism; Active leisure)
THE GDYNIA FILM FESTIVAL (Festiwal Polskich Filmów Fabularnych w Gdyni), organised since 1974, is an annual film festival, one of the biggest film events in Poland. It is primarily the showcase of Polish cinema – the best films of the year, the most influential filmmakers, vital topics. The newest Polish films compete in Gdynia for the Golden Lions award.
THE PLUS CAMERIMAGE The International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography Plus Camerimage is the greatest and most recognized festival dedicated to the art of cinematography and its creators – cinematographers. Initially held in Toruń, then in Łódź, and since 2010 – in Bydgoszcz. It takes place at the end of November every year. Golden, Silver and Bronze Frogs are awarded in various categories such as Best Cinematography, Best Student Work, Short Documentary Film, Best Polish Film, Best Music Video and other.
THE ETIUDA & ANIMA International Film Festival Etiuda & Anima organized in Kraków since 1994, is the oldest film festival in Poland which presents the achievements of students of film and art school students from all over the world, as well as works of fine-art animation films creators. The main events of every annual festival are the two contests which give the festival its name.
THE WARSAW FILM FESTIVAL (Warszawski Festiwal Filmowy) is a major film festival held every October in Warsaw (since 1985). The festival is host to the International Federation of Film Critics awards for enterprising filmmaking in Central and Eastern Europe. In 2009 it became one of 14 events recognized by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations as international film festivals.
THE NEW HORIZONS FESTIVAL in Wrocław presents uncompromising, innovative and original cinema from all over the world that explores new horizons in film language, expression and storytelling. the festival has 4 competitive sections: International Competition, Polish Short Film Competition, European Shorts Competition, Films On Art International Competition.
THE KRAKOW FILM FESTIVAL is one of the oldest film events dedicated to documentary, animation and short fiction films in Europe. During 7 festival days viewers have an opportunity to watch about 250 films from Poland and abroad. Films are presented in competitions and in special sections like retrospectives, thematic cycles, archive screenings. The films awarded at Krakow are automatically eligible for the European Film Awards and the Oscars in the short films categories.
THE JAROCIN FESTIVAL was the biggest rock music festival in the Warsaw Pact countries in the 1980s. Its format was based on the American Woodstock Festival. The event, however, was not only about music. Many people felt that it was the only place and time when the communist authorities allowed citizens some freedom. It is considered a cradle of the Polish rock, heavy metal, punk and reggae music scenes and the place where many great Polish bands, such as Dżem or Kult made their debuts.
THE JAZZ JAMBOREE FESTIVAL one of Europe’s largest and oldest jazz festivals, organized in Warsaw since 1958. The Festival has hosted almost all of the world’s greatest jazz artists, including Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Ornette Coleman, Ray Charles, Keith Jarrett, Wynton Marsalis, Joe Henderson, Kenny Garrett, Joe Williams, Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, US3, Diana Krall and others.
THE OPEN ’ER FESTIVAL is an open-air music and performing arts festival which takes place in Gdynia (every year in June-July). The first edition of the festival was organized in Warsaw in 2002 as Open Air Festival. During the festival alternative and pop music fans from more than 30 countries are meeting, enjoying the best performances of artists.
THE MALTA FESTIVAL is one of the most important artistic festivals in Europe. The festival is held in Poznań in June-July every year. It is named after Malta lake in Poznan, where the first outdoor performances took place. The programme involves among others outdoor stage performances, ballet performances, film projections, concerts and meetings with artists. World-class artists perform in a small halls, as well as on market squares, in parks, factories and halls.
One of the kind event… WOŚP There is one of the kind event which take place in January and it is called The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy - WOŚP). It is a nongovernmental charity organisation, whose main objective is to protect the health and save children’s lives by providing medical equipment to public hospitals. It is run by a charismatic radio and TV journalist Jurek Owsiak.
The Organisation is best known for the biggest, annual fund-raising campaign in Poland: the Great Finale, which has been taking place in January since 1993. During the spectacular one-day Finale, hundreds of volunteers across Poland collect money from Poles, who get a heart-shaped red sticker in return for throwing a coin to a red tin.
Each year funds are raised for a different purpose, e.g. early cancer diagnosis in children. This initiative increasingly enjoys support among Poles and from private companies, which participate in auctions of specially made gold hearts. In cities and towns across Poland artists give charity concerts, which are broadcast on Polish national TV.
For more information, visit: www.wosp.org.pl
Source: Academic Planner for Erasmus+ students in Poland, Foundation for the Development of the Education System (FRSE), Warsaw 2014