8 awesome places to visit while EFL teaching in Poland
Posted on 11-01-2018 by Joseph Francis
So, you’re heading to do some EFL teaching in Poland, eh? Smoky blood sausages and powdered ski pistes, soaring Gothic spires and elegant churches, mountains and rolling plains where bison-spotted forests lurk all await. You’ve made a cracking choice. Here are just some of the top places you can visit on those days away from the classroom.
There’s really no other city that could top this list. Krakow isn’t only Poland’s cultural piece de resistance, it’s also a lived-in, lovable city in its own right. Yes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site covers the whole Old Town area. Yes, there are enthralling mine systems at Wieliczka. Yes, there’s more Baroque and Gothic than you can shake a plate of pierogi at. But it’s not all about that. It’s also about the hedonistic Krakow nightlife; times spent smashing vodkas in underground bars. It’s about the Viennese-style café culture. It’s about the youthful energy that permeates its streets and student joints.
Wroclaw is a slightly more off-the-beaten-track spot to visit while EFL teaching in Poland. Those who do end up passing its way often fall head over heels for the place. It’s easy to see why. A medieval core of the city quickly filters out to small clusters of churches and cobblestone streets that sit on islets on the Oder River. There are loads of hidden squares where craft beer bars and traditional Polish taverns bustle with chatter and life. There are striking art galleries with Slavic panoramas that are sure to get the cultural juices flowing.
Warsaw is the beating epicentre of modern Poland. It’s actually quite unlike most of the other historic cities that pepper the rest of the country. The reason: It’s only medieval area was virtually entirely reconstructed after being razed by the Nazi’s in WWII. These days that part of town is a tad more like a museum piece and a testimony to Polish determination in the face of German invasion post war. It’s around that where the action flows, in the new town and its gorgeous parks, in hip and happening Praga and its boho bars.
Krakow done and dusted? Wroclaw and Warsaw done? Gdansk too far away? Consider Poznan for that weekend break while EFL teaching in Poland. It’s as historically rich as many of the above, flaunting an Old Town area with rows of centuries-old mansions that in glow ice cream colors against the sombre cobbles. It’s also home to an outlet of the National Museum and all the world-class art and Slavic relics that go with that.
Zakopane is often introduced by its other moniker: The Winter Capital of Poland. And while this town of snow-dusted fir trees and jagged mountains in the deep southern reaches of the country certainly comes alive when the colder months swing around, and while there’s the undisputed best skiing in Poland to get stuck into on the surrounding pistes, it’s also something of a misnomer. The summer is also pumping here, with all the hiking trails of the gorgeous Tatra range opening up, loads of open-air festivals and art displays. This one’s really not to be missed if you’re EFL teaching in Poland and find yourself based close to the Slovak border.
This onetime German trading city of the Baltic Coast is now one of the top cities to visit while EFL teaching in Poland. A hipster hub, it’s got oodles of artsy cafes and student dives, wild beer bars and buzzing independent design galleries. It’s also close to the coast, which brings the opportunity of exploring long, shimmering beaches, and the chance to see the old industrial docklands where tales of Poland’s 20th-century plight against Communism still coalesce.
It might be tempting to tack on a visit to much-loved Sopot while your wallowing away your days in the boho bars of Gdansk. But this little resort town of opulent hotels and chichi cocktail bars is actually worthy of a little more time than that. It can easily be reached on the transport networks that connect the so-called Tri-City of the north (that’s Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot), faces up to a long line of glimmering sand, and has some of the most thumping parties during the summer months.
Okay, so let’s get one thing straight: It’s likely to be one hefty roadtrip from the town your school’s based in to the wild lands of Masuria. It’s just that these rolling grasslands that fill the gap between central Poland and Russian and Belarussian borderlands in the east are so far-flung and distant. Therein lies the real charm though. You can drive for miles through alandscape of lakes and rustic hamlets of timber-built cottages and hardly see any sign of modernity. And talking of the lakes, this region is known for its thousands of small spots of water, perfect for that summertime dip or sail or stroll.
If you can think of anywhere else to add to this list of the top places to visit while your EFL teaching in Poland, we’d sure love to hear about them in the comments below. Alternatively, if Poland’s taken your fancy and your thinking of teaching in this corner of Europe, you can find lots more info over on our destinations page.