POLAND – CRACOW:WAWEL ROYAL CASTLE AND CATHEDRAL, OLD TOWN, ST. MARYS CHURCH- SANCTUARY OF DIVINE MERCY IN LAGIEWNIKI – WIELICZKA SALT MINE – ZAKOPANE: CABLE CAR TO CASPROWY WIERCH- KRUPÓWKI – WADOWICE – AUSCHWITZ: BIRKENAU MEMORIAL MUSEUM – CZESTOCHOWA – WARSAW: OLD TOWN, ROYAL CASTLE – TORUN CITY – MALBORK – EUROPE’S LARGEST GOTHIC CASTLE – GDAŃSK – SOPOT
Culture and history
We will begin our journey with the meeting of the group at ORD airport in Chicago. After passport and baggage check-in, we will fly to Poland – Cracow.
Pilgrimage to Poland.
Day of arrival. A day to rest after a long trip.
After breakfast, we start exploring Kazimierz, which is a special place shaped by the several centuries-old Christian-Jewish neighborhood. Next we have lunch and we go for a walk along the narrow, cobblestone streets which have retained their former names: Szeroka, Wąska, Izaak, or Estera. We see some synagogues that have changed their purpose – the High Synagogue is a place of concerts, promotional meetings, and exhibitions, and you can learn about the history and culture of Cracow’s Jews at the Museum in the Old Synagogue. The church and the museum’s functions are combined in the church on Skalka which, according to a legend, is the sanctuary of the martyrdom of St. Stanislaw and plays the role of the National Pantheon with the crypts of distinguished Poles. Check-in at the hotel. Dinner at the local restaurant. Free time.
KRAKOW (Wawel, Old Town, St. Mary’s Church)
Morning visit to the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Łagiewniki for Holy Mass in front of the image of the Merciful Christ or at the grave of St. Faustina Kowalska. City tour of Poland’s historic capital, including Wawel Royal Castle and Cathedral – the venue of the coronations and burials of the Polish kings, and the site of the relics of St. Stanislaus the bishop, the patron saint of Poland. Lunch at a local restaurant. Then, we will explore the Old Town with Europe’s largest market square, St. Mary’s Church with its famous altarpiece, the Gothic masterpiece by Veit Stoss, the medieval Jagiellonian University, and the charming streets of the Old Town. Dinner at a local restaurant. Free time.
WIELICZKA – WADOWICE - ZAKOPANE
Transfer to the Wieliczka Salt Mine, situated on the outskirts of Cracow, for a tour of this unique UNESCO-listed relic of European medieval technology. Explore several kilometers of chambers and chapels hollowed out from rock salt, with the world-famous St. Kinga’s Chapel being foremost in terms of its ornate beauty and size. Lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, we will depart for the city of Wadowice, the birthplace of Pope John Paul II, where a Holy Mass will be held. Transfer to the so-called winter capital of Poland – Zakopane. Dinner at the hotel and free time.
ZAKOPANE (Kasprowy Wierch, Krzeptówki Sanctuary, Krupówki, Old Town)
Morning trip by cable car to Kasprowy Wierch, one of the highest peaks in the Tatra Mountains situated on the border with Slovakia. Lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon sightseeing of Zakopane, the winter capital of Poland. First, we will visit the Krzeptówki Sanctuary dedicated to Fatima Mother of Good – holy mass. Then, we will explore the Old Town and the main street – Krupówki. Dinner at the hotel. Free time.
AUSCHWITZ – CZĘSTOCHOWA
After breakfast, we will go to the Auschwitz–Birkenau Memorial Museum for the tour of the former concentration camp Auschwitz I, including the starvation cell where St. Maksymilian Kolbe died a martyr’s death. The Nazis murdered over a million people in the gas chambers, most of them Jews. Among them was the Christian-Jewish patron saint of Europe, Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross). Lunch at a local restaurant, and then transfer to Częstochowa, where at 9 pm, we will join the famous “Closing of the Black Madonna Icon.” Dinner at the hotel before visiting Jasna Góra. Free time.
CZĘSTOCHOWA – TORUŃ
Morning visit to the Pauline Monastery at Jasna Góra in Częstochowa with the miraculous image of Our Lady of Częstochowa (the Black Madonna). It is one of the foremost Marian sanctuaries in the world and Poland’s national sanctuary. Tour of the monastery, prayer in front of the icon, and a Holy Mass in one of the chapels. Lunch at a local restaurant and transfer to Toruń. After checking in at the hotel, we offer you a walk through the ancient part of the city. During that short walk, we will see The Old Town in Toruń, with its historic buildings from several different eras, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Of particular interest are its Gothic churches of St John and the Assumption, the Town Hall, the surviving sections of the town’s defensive walls, and the house where the famous astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was born. We will also visit the Museum of Toruń Gingerbread – a historical factory built in 1885 by a well-known family of Toruń gingerbread-makers. Dinner at the hotel. Free time.
TORUŃ – MALBORK - GDAŃSK
Transfer to Malbork. Tour of Europe’s largest Gothic castle, the former seat of the Teutonic Order enlisted on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Lunch at a local restaurant. Transfer to Gdańsk. Dinner at a local restaurant. Free time.
GDAŃSK - SOPOT
We will start our day with the Holy Mass. Tour to Gdańsk. For several hundred years, Gdańsk was the biggest port and the richest city on the Baltic Sea. It was in Gdańsk, too, that the first shots of World War II were fired, and it was here that Solidarity, the mass movement under Lech Wałęsa that fought the Communist dictatorship in Eastern Europe, was born. Sites in our program include the Old Town, with its Renaissance and Baroque townhouses, town hall, Artus Court, former quay, and the Gothic Basilica of Our Lady, Europe’s largest brick church, all reconstructed after the destruction of World War II. Lunch at a local restaurant. Then we will enjoy the river cruise that will take us from the center of Gdańsk to the Westerplatte Monument, a war memorial located on the Westerplatte Peninsula in the Gdansk harbor channel constructed between 1964-1966 to commemorate the Polish defenders of the Military Transit Depot in the Battle of Westerplatte, one of the first battles in Germany’s invasion of Poland, which marked the outbreak of World War II in Europe. Free time in Sopot, a well-known seaside resort. Time for a stroll along the Baltic’s longest pier. Dinner at the hotel.
GDAŃSK - WARSAW
After breakfast, check out, followed by an approximately 4-5 hour drive to Warsaw. Upon arrival, we will have lunch at a local restaurant and then check in at the hotel. Free time for the rest of the day – we encourage you to enjoy the hotel spa, stroll along the Old City streets, spend your time shopping in the nearby shopping malls, or rest at the hotel. Dinner at a local restaurant.
After breakfast, we will visit Wilanow Palace – the former summer palace of the kings and its gardens, as well as Łazienki Park – the most beautiful one in Warsaw. After lunch at a local restaurant, we will continue our day with a walk around the Old Town, which has been rebuilt from the ruins left at the end of World War II. Sites on our route will include the reconstructed Royal Castle, the Sigismund Column, St. John’s Metropolitan Cathedral, the Old Town Square, the Barbican, and the imposing Krakowskie Przedmiescie Street. Dinner at a local restaurant.
WARSZAW - CHICAGO
Breakfast at the hotel, check out. Transfer to the Warsaw airport, check-in and return to the USA.
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The company is not responsible for client’s lost property due to burglary, theft, loss, etc. we are also not responsible for client’s losses in motels. Rek Travel Company reserves the right to change the program, dictated by circumstances beyond its control. The client is obliged to comply with the tour regulations. Tour participants are insured as required by the U.S. Department of Transportation for a total of $5,000,000 (policy available for review upon request). For an additional fee, participants may be insured for in-patient and out-patient treatment of medical conditions acquired during the tour, as well as for accidents at sightseeing facilities (all information at the office).