Gdansk Crane

Poland: The Hanseatic League, Teutonic Knights and Copernicus in Gdańsk, Pomerania and Warmia

The picture above exemplifies the resilience of the people and architecture of Northern Poland. Though 95% of Gdańsk was destroyed during the Second World War, the reconstruction has successfully replicated this historic Hanseatic town, famous for its waterways and amber artefacts. Our visit to the Solidarity museum showcases the starting point for the original 1980s movement, featuring one of the world’s most distinctive moustaches.

We explore castles built by the Teutonic Knights, who ruled a substantial area of Prussia and Pomerania for two centuries, until defeated by the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania, once the largest national entity in Europe.

Kudu’s itinerary tours significant sites in the life of Nicholas Copernicus, the man who, in the 16th century, stopped the Sun and moved the Earth, including his baptismal font and the town where he spent his last years and was buried.

Great Brick Gothic churches and cathedrals, original and reconstructed, dominate the landscape of this verdant land and after walking on forest trails and along the Elblag Canal we take an extraordinary boat trip over water and field.

We learn about Kashubia and Warmia, one an ancient culture and the latter an important regional centre during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Kashubian language and its indigenous designs feature throughout this distinctive area, formerly within Prussia.

Carefully chosen and comfortable hotels ensure that this tour meets the high standards of Kudu guests, with excellent local and international food accompanied by wines from around the world.

Gdansk Copernicus
Gdansk Malbork
Gdansk Torun granary
Gdansk Elblag canal boat
Gdansk Westerplatte Memorial
DAY 1 
D included

After meeting at Warsaw airport in the afternoon, we have a two-hours’ road transfer to our 4-star hotel on the Vistula river, the 1,000 km long source of Polish trade and history. Our overnight stop is in Płock, a historic town in the Masovia Voivodeship, a governmental area dating back to mediaeval times.

DAY 2 
B, L, D included

Driving northwest following the Vistula, our destination is the well-preserved historic city of Toruń, an important Hanseatic port, the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus and the home of gingerbread famed throughout Poland. Our resting place for 2 nights is a small 4-star hotel in the city centre.

B, L, D included

Today we explore Toruń’s architectural treasures, ranging through Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque, on a guided city walking tour, starting at the riverside remains of the 13th century Teutonic Knights’ Castle around which the Old Town developed. The Cathedral of John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, the Town Hall and the Church of St. James in the adjacent New Town are fine examples of the Brick Gothic style typical of the Baltic Sea region. In the afternoon, we visit the museum dedicated to Nicolaus Copernicus based in his original home.

B, L, D included

In the morning we follow an easy forest trail (8 km, 2.5 hrs) in a small nature reserve outside Toruń. Further north in Chełmno, we wander through the old town, centred on the market square and the late Renaissance town hall and surrounded by largely intact mediaeval fortifications. After a tavern lunch, we have a 2-hour drive to our overnight stop in Kartuzy, the heart of Kashubia, a minority language area.

B, L, D included

We visit the modest Kashubian museum, perhaps hearing a Kashubian nursery rhyme, before our walk (6 km, 2 hrs) takes us through the lake district of the Kashubian Landscape Park. Some 100 km east (1.5 hrs’s drive) is Elbląg, where we spend 4 nights at a 4 star hotel in the partly rebuilt historic centre while we explore the surrounding area.

B, L, D included

In nearby Frombork, we visit the 14th century Cathedral and learn about the time Copernicus spent here in the services of his uncle, the Bishop of Warmia. Our walk takes us from its starting point on the Vistula Lagoon, past a former summer palace of Emperor Wilhelm II and through the Elbląg Upland Landscape Park (10 km, 3 hrs). In the afternoon, there is some free time to explore Elbląg, once an important port rivalling Gdańsk.

B, L, D included

We spend the day on the Elbląg Canal, built in the late 19th century in order to connect a series of lakes, using an imaginative system of slipways on which barges are hauled overland. We experience first-hand how boats travel on grass during our 4.5-hour tour to Buczyniec, as did Michael Palin in an episode of his BBC travel programme ‘New Europe - From Pole to Pole’. We return to Elbląg by minibus (40 mins) and have an option to stretch our legs on a short walk (5 km, 1.5 hrs) in the popular Bażantarnia forest park outside the city.

B, L, D included

We drive to Malbork to explore the largest mediaeval fortified castle complex in the world, situated on the river Nogat, a branch of the Vistula delta. Established by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century, the fortress later became a Polish royal residence. Our guided tour takes us through the Lower, Middle and High Castles, separated by moats and towers.

B, L, D included

We head for the Vistula Spit, using small country roads through the maze of rivers and channels forming the Vistula delta (1 hr). We take a forest trail walk (6 km, 2 hrs) on the spit before learning about the local fishing and shipbuilding traditions in the Vistula Lagoon Museum. In the afternoon, we visit the Westerplatte Memorial, where Germany launched their attack on Poland, thus starting WWII on 1 September 1939. In Gdańsk, we settle into our home for the next 4 nights, a 4-star hotel on the River Motława.

DAY 10
B, L, D included

We start our exploration of Gdańsk, fittingly for this important Baltic port and trading place, at the emblematic 15th century Crane. Across the river is the Maritime Museum, housed in three adjacent mediaeval granaries. This extensive collection covers Poland’s and the Poles’ maritime history from the Middle Ages until now. In the afternoon, we visit the vast Brick Gothic St. Mary’s Basilica and later walk along the Royal Way, lined with fine Renaissance and Baroque houses. All these historic buildings have been meticulously restored after the city was largely destroyed at the end of WWII.

DAY 11
B, L, D included

This morning, we walk to the state-of-the-art European Solidarity Centre. It is dedicated to the history of the Solidarity Movement and located next to Gdańsk shipyards, where the movement was founded in 1980 following the shipyard workers’ strike. In complete contrast, we travel out of the city to the leafy suburb of Oliwa to visit the three nave 14th century Cathedral, formerly part of a Cistercian monastery complex. 

DAY 12
B, L included

Our journey concludes today with a transfer to Warsaw airport (4 hrs). En route, we visit the remarkable Cistercian Abbey in Pelplin. You may also consider spending a few additional nights in Warsaw.

Trip Price, per person sharing:
£3,043.25 until 19th November 2023
£3,125.50 until 19th February 2024
£3,207.75 until 19th May 2024
£3,290 after 19th May 2024

£500 deposit per person
£480 single supplement

Please note that the single room supplement is imposed by the hotels and not by Kudu Travel. If you are willing to share but no other suitable guest books on the trip, we regret that the supplement will be payable. We endeavour to obtain double rooms for single occupancy, whenever possible.

Price Includes

  • Accommodation for Days 1 through 12, on a twin shared basis
  • Meals, with wine and beer at dinners and restaurant lunches, as listed in the daily notation
  • Land transportation in a private vehicle as described, except during free periods
  • A boat trip on the Elbląg Canal, as described
  • Entrance and sightseeing fees as described, except during free periods
  • Gratuities for hotel and restaurant staff and the driver (appreciation for your Kudu tour guides is at your discretion)
Price does not Include

  • Flights to and from Warsaw airport
  • Trip cancellation, medical or other insurance
  • Immunisations, prescriptions or other medical requirements
  • Passport, visa and health documentation
  • Personal expenses (laundry, alcohol besides wine and beer with group meals, free time activities, etc.)
  • Transport and transfer of excess baggage
  • Poland departure taxes, if any

On Kudu trips, you will only need money for postcards, presents to take home, the odd G & T or an irresistible ice cream. Festival and opera tickets, museum and gallery entrances, National Park fees, all meals (with a very few exceptions specified in individual itineraries), wine with lunch and dinner, access to specialist books carried by the guides, gratuities for porters and hotel and restaurant staff, boat rides, train trips, internal flights, wine tastings, 4WDs with drivers, the services of skilled local guides and trackers etc are ALL INCLUDED in the cost of your holiday.

We are confident that, like previous very satisfied guests, you will discover that our tours give you excellent value for money.

  •  1 night in Płock, in a 4-star hotel on the river Vistula
  •  2 nights in Toruń, in a small 4-star hotel in the city centre
  •  1 night in Kartuzy, in a modern 3-star hotel
  •  4 nights in Elbląg, in a 4-star hotel in the historic centre
  •  3 nights in Gdańsk, in a 4-star hotel on the River Motława
Visa and Health Requirements

Visitors from the UK, EU, USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand currently require a valid passport, but not a visa, for entry to Poland. If you are a national of any other country, please check visa regulations with your nearest Embassy of Poland.

Normally there are no specific and compulsory health requirements for entry to Poland. You may wish to check the advice given to travellers by the Department of Health and the FCO

It is essential, and a condition of booking, that you protect yourself with a suitable travel insurance policy as soon as you book a trip. We can arrange comprehensive cover for UK residents. Follow this link for a quote for a policy available to UK residents.

If you are already insured or a non-UK resident, please inform us of your policy at the time of booking.

Size of Party
This trip will run with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 14 guests.