The Best Things To Do in Poland During A Road Trip

May 21, 2020

A Summer Getaway in Poland- Road Trip Itinerary Through Northern and Central Poland.

Click here for detailed directions

Summary (click the red pins for directions) :

Warsaw to Miko艂ajki- 220 kilometers (140 miles)馃搷  

Miko艂ajki to Malbork– 240 kilometers (150 miles)馃搷  

Malbork to Gda艅sk– 60 kilometers (40 miles)馃搷  

Gda艅sk to Toru艅– 170 kilometers (100 miles)馃搷  30 PLN Highway toll (6.6 EUR)

Toru艅 to 艁贸d藕– 180 kilometers (110 miles)馃搷  

艁贸d藕 to Warsaw– 130 kilometers (80 miles)馃搷  

1000 kilometers (620 miles) in total

Tags: Travel guide, Poland, Summer

When planning a summer road trip in Europe, you probably don鈥檛 think of Poland. In reality, Poland is the perfect under-the-radar tourist destination in this part of Europe. 

Wander around the world鈥檚 biggest castle, admire the Leaning Tower in Torun or party till the morning in Lodz鈥檚 renovated factories. Discover the best of what Poland has to offer in this travel guide!

This travel guide takes you on a road trip through central and northern Poland. Your adventure begins in Warsaw, the country鈥檚 capital.

After spending a night in town, drive across the picturesque Masurian Lake District and relax in Miko艂ajki, a local resort town. Then, head to the Tricity, stopping at the world鈥檚 biggest castle in Malbork on the way.

After a memorable night in Tricity, drive south to the Medieval Town of Torun and explore the historical streets. Make an overnight stop in the trendy city of Lodz before returning to Warsaw.

How long does it take to complete this road trip?

The driving distance is nearly a thousand kilometers in total and the route is divided into shorter segments, each one takes around two hours to complete. Rentalmoose recommends dedicating at least four days for this road trip, with overnight stops in Miko艂ajki, Gda艅sk, and 艁贸d藕. If you have the time, add extra nights in Gda艅sk.

Road Trip Extensions

Berlin

Your journey in this part of Europe doesn鈥檛 have to end! Check out the Berlin to Warsaw travel guide that will take you through southern and western parts of Poland, before finishing off in the capital of Germany.

Discover the underground chambers of a fascinating salt mine, admire the medieval architecture in the Old Towns and find the best Kebap in Berlin. Click here for details.

Summer in the Baltics

Explore the Baltics even further during this perfect road trip around Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Relax on sandy beaches, party your heart out in beach clubs, or wander around the old town of Riga. Click here for the travel guide.

When is the best time to visit Poland?

The weather is the hottest during the summer (late June-August), if you want to swim in the Baltic Sea it鈥檚 best to go during those months. However, keep in mind that it is also the peak of the tourist season.

The beaches around Gda艅sk, as well as the Masurian Lake District, both get very crowded during the summer.

Go in the first weeks of June or the beginning of September, when you can still catch a glimpse of the summer weather without the hordes of tourists.

Why should I book a rental car in Poland?

As the points of interest are all scattered within driving distance of each other, getting a rental car is the most convenient way of getting around during this trip.

The roads in Poland are well-maintained (except for some B-Roads in remote parts of the country), and the route across the Masurian Lakes is quite scenic. What鈥檚 more, the ability to freely alter the itinerary on the go can only be achieved when traveling by car.

For extra peace of mind during your road trip, Rentalmoose recommends adding excess coverage when booking your rental car. Once you鈥檝e picked up the car, don鈥檛 forget to take photos of the car to qualify for a 50% discount from the excess coverage fee.

Can tourists drive in Poland? 

Absolutely! If your driving license was issued in an EU country, you can drive in Poland without any limitations.

Driving licenses issued in countries that are mentioned in the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic (list here) are valid for 6 months, as long as the driver is over 18.

 If your driving license was issued in a different country, you will have to obtain an International Driving Permit before coming.

To learn more about International Driving Permits, check out this blog post.

Poland, is a member of the open-border Schengen zone, meaning crossing the borders is quick and hassle-free shall you extend the trip to other European nations.

Check out this blog post to read about tips that will definitely come in handy when driving in Poland, including information about speed limits, penalties for offenses and common roadside scams. You definitely want to read this post before going on a road trip to Poland.

Traffic in Poland is on the right-hand side of the road.

Are highways in Poland free?

Some of the highway segments in Poland are paid. The total toll cost for this trip doesn鈥檛 surpass 30 PLN or 6.6 Euros. Fees can be paid directly at the toll gates scattered along the A1 highway, either in Polish Zloty, Euro or US Dollars. Click here for the current fee calculator on the A1.

Warsaw

Warsaw illuminated castle and zygmunt stary column, castle square and Warsaw's Old Town medieval buildings in the distance. Sunset on a summer day in Poland's capital.

This road trip begins in the capital of Poland, welcome to fascinating Warsaw! This history-rich city is an up-and-coming tourist hotspot in this part of Europe. For maximum convenience, pick up your car directly from the Warsaw Chopin Airport and head into the city.

What is there to do in Warsaw?

Warsaw is a fascinating city with unique art galleries, museums, and trendy nightlife spots. It is the biggest city in Poland, it is most certainly worth a visit! Although not as popular among tourists as Krak贸w.

Wilan贸w Palace

Visiting the Wilan贸w Palace is a must when in Warsaw. The monumental structure is surrounded by a colorful park which is perfect for an afternoon stroll. Travelers can step inside and admire the glamorous interior while learning about local history at a selection of exhibitions.

Purchase your tickets here. Prices vary depending on the exhibition you decide to visit.

Warsaw Rising Museum

Don鈥檛 miss the Warsaw Rising Museum, where you can discover the most devastating parts of the nation鈥檚 history. The interactive exhibition showcases all aspects of life during the uprising, including day-to-day life during the war.

Admission tickets can be purchased either online via the official website or directly upon entrance. Entry tickets cost under 30 PLN per person (6.5 EUR). 

Rental Moose mascot posing with thumbs up at the market square in Warsaw's old town tourist district. Rental Moose is the local guide for road trip itineraries in Poland.

Where to eat out in Warsaw?

Na Lato

Once you get hungry, consider going to Na Lato for lunch. The restaurant offers a wide selection of delicious dishes, including pizza, fish and chips or burgers. Enjoy your meal at the seasonal outdoor terrace.

What鈥檚 more, the trendy restaurant transforms into a club on weekend nights. Open until midnight on weekdays and up to 5 AM on weekend nights.

Rentalmoose order tip: Try Na Lato’s delicious pizzas. Though not a regional dish, it is truly delicious!

The Christmas Market

Are you in Warsaw around Christmas? Be sure to head to the Old Town and attend the charming Christmas Market. Wander around the stalls selling Christmas decorations, mulled wine, juicy grilled sausages, and accessories of all sorts.

Christmas at the Wilan贸w Palace

Alternatively, go to the garden by the Wilan贸w Palace to see a magical light display. Admission to the Warsaw Christmas Market is free, meanwhile the Royal Garden of Light at the Wilan贸w Palace costs around 20z艂 per person (4.4 EUR).

Warsaw is packed with adventures and things to do, including a vibrant nightlife scene, that鈥檚 why Rentalmoose highly recommends spending at least one night in town before departing further.

What are the best hotels in Warsaw?

Bristol Hotel

Luxury seekers should consider checking into the Bristol Hotel, a member of Marriott鈥檚 Luxury Collection. The historic 5-star hotel features elegant rooms and suites, an indoor pool, a spa and wellness center and a perfect location along Krakowskie Przedmie艣cie, just a short walk away from the Old Town.

Hampton by Hilton

Traveling on a tighter budget? Spend the night at the Hampton by Hilton near the center of Warsaw. The 3-star hotel offers well-equipped rooms, a complimentary breakfast, and a convenient location near the heart of Warsaw all at a reasonable price tag.

Looking for more fun attractions in Warsaw? Check out the Berlin to Warsaw travel guide, where you can find more things to see in town, such as the wonderful medieval Old Town or a trendy eatery in the heart of the city.

Next on your Poland road trip: Miko艂ajki, 3 hours

Miko艂ajki

masurian lake district and forest at sunset aerial view poland nature

Photography by Marcin Lewicki.

Leave Warsaw and hop on the S8 expressway up north to the scenic Masurian Lake District. After around three hours, you will reach the cute resort town of Miko艂ajki.

The Sailing Village

As Miko艂ajki is the Polish hotspot for sailing, you should definitely check out the Sailing Village in the harbor. Stroll down the picturesque promenade lined with shops and eateries, step inside one of the restaurants and enjoy fresh fish as you observe sailing boats pulling in and out of the busy harbor.

The public beach

Cross the bridge and go for a dip in the lake at the public beach. Your rental car can be left at the designated on-street parking spots along Micha艂a Kajki street. Alternatively, try this car park.

Watersport and yacht charters

Adrenaline junkies will be happy to hear that there are plenty of jetski, boat and paddleboat rentals available in the Sailing Village.

Experienced sailors can also charter a sailing yacht in advance and sail out on the beautiful lake. Most boats can be rented directly from the jetty, though some may require an upfront reservation. 

Stare Sady- Peaceful Chillout by the lake

Relax at Stare Sady, a calm lakeshore resort a few kilometers north of the busy center of Miko艂ajki. Go for a swim at the sandy beach, grab lunch at the local restaurant or head out onto the lake and try flyboarding or waterskiing.

Where to eat in Miko艂ajki?

For lunch, consider heading to the New Island across next to Miko艂ajki鈥檚 Public Beach. The restaurant is a part of the 5-star Hotel Miko艂ajki and offers a delicious, upscale dining experience with unbeatable views of the lake.

During the summer, guests can dine in the seasonal outdoor area. The New Island is open daily from 1 PM to 11 PM.

masurian lake district poland rural b-road colorful fields and large trees

What are the best hotels in Miko艂ajki?

Hotel Miko艂ajki

Looking for the best luxury accommodation in Miko艂ajki? Check-in at Hotel Miko艂ajki, an elegant hotel next to the heart of town. The 5-star property features well-equipped rooms with lake views, 2 pools, a spa and wellness center and onsite restaurants, as well as a bar with a pool table and bowling alleys.

Hotel Santa Monica

Hotel Santa Monica is a budget-friendly alternative to some of the more expensive hotels in the area. The 3-star hotel offers spacious rooms and an outdoor pool at an affordable price. A car park is available at an extra cost.

Next on your Poland road trip: Malbork, 2 hours 40 minutes

Malbork

malbork castle surrounded by water large palace poland

Photography by Jan Nijman.

Depart Miko艂ajki and drive west along the twists and turns towards Malbork, a city that is home to the largest castle in the world measured by land area.

The largest castle in the world

The Malbork Castle and fortress is considered the largest in the world measured by land area. Its history dates back to the 13th century when it was constructed by the Teutons. Today, the castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and welcomes curious visitors and tourists.

Admire the castle鈥檚 massive facade and the well-preserved fortress. Then, experience a trip back in time as you step inside the authentic medieval interior. Visit tens of historic rooms and magnificent chambers, learn about the castle鈥檚 history at various exhibitions or wander around the terraces.

The self-guided walking tour of the castle takes around 3 hours to complete.

Admission costs below 50 PLN per person (11 EUR), with reduced prices in winter and a 10 PLN discount (2.2 EUR) when entering after 5.15 PM.

During the high season between July and August, travelers can attend a guided tour in English every day at 11:30 AM. Click here for more info about tickets.

Next on your Poland road trip: Gda艅sk, 40 minutes

Gda艅sk

gdansk old town in summer colorful medieval buildings cobblestone road people restaurants poland

Photography by Makalu.

Head north from Malbork for around 45 minutes until you reach the port city of Gda艅sk. The two neighboring cities (Sopot and Gdynia), along with Gda艅sk make up the Tri-City, one of the main tourist hotspots in the country.

Is Gda艅sk worth visiting?

Gdansk is certainly worth visiting! Wander down the cobblestone streets in the Old Town, sunbathe on one of the public beaches or explore some of the other attractions throughout Gda艅sk as well as the rest of the Tri-City.

The Old Town

You can鈥檛 skip the historical Old Town, the very heart of Gda艅sk. Your rental car can be dropped off nearby at one of the designated on-street spots. On busier days, try this car park instead for around 5 PLN (1.2 EUR) per hour.

Stroll around the vibrant streets lined with colorful medieval buildings, make your way down to the D艂ugi Targ (Long Market), the main walking street in the Old Town. Get a photo with the popular Neptune Fountain, then continue along the marina and admire the historical crane.

Remember to post your photos online using #Rentalmoose for a chance to win a Rentalmoose discount or even a rental car free of charge.

The Pier in Sopot

Drive north along the Tri-City until you reach the famous Pier in Sopot. Stroll down the longest pier in the Baltic Sea (over 500 meters long) and feel the refreshing sea breeze.

Watch the street performers or step inside one of the fish bars, where you can find locally-caught grilled fish. If the weather allows it, you can head to the public beach right by the pier and go for a dip in the sea.

Admission to the pier costs below 10 PLN per person (2.2 EUR).

poland baltic sea sandy beach calm water cruise ship in background
Photo by Aleksander Filip

Bohater贸w Monte Cassino Walking Street

You will find the heart of Sopot right opposite the Pier. Walk down the Bohater贸w Monte Cassino walking street, lined with vivid pubs, clubs, and restaurants of all sorts. Step inside some of the top attractions, such as the Sopot Wax Museum and the picturesque Crooked House.

Visit the area during the evening to experience the best of the local nightlife, it really is the place to be.

Your rental car can be dropped off at designated on-street parking spots. Beware of the 鈥減rivate car parks鈥 in the area, as they might try to scam tourists and ask for crazy amounts of money.

On a busy day, drop your car off at Sheraton鈥檚 underground car park (around 10 PLN per hour, 2.2 EUR).

Where can you find the best food in the Tri-City?

Eliksir

When you get hungry, go for dinner at the Eliksir restaurant and cocktail bar in Gda艅sk. The award-winning restaurant is known for food-pairing its unique dishes with creative cocktails, and is considered one of the best places to dine in the entire Tri-City.

Choose from a tasting menu and pick your favorite from a wide selection of beverages. Open from 4 PM onwards on weekdays and 2 PM and 1 PM on Saturdays and Sundays respectively.

The Tri-City is filled with fun activities and spots worth seeing, that鈥檚 why Rentalmoose highly recommends spending the night in town.

Luxury travelers should check-in to one of the beachfront hotels in Sopot. My personal favorite is the 5-star Sheraton, located in the very heart of Sopot directly by the pier. Admire the sea views from the hotel鈥檚 modern rooms and suites, relax at the indoor pool, book a treatment at the serene spa and wellness center or dine at the restaurant. A private car park is available at an extra cost.

Traveling on a tighter budget? The Smart Hotel in Gda艅sk might just be the perfect choice for you. The affordable property features modern rooms, complimentary Wi-Fi and a restaurant. A car park is available at an extra cost.

Next on your Poland road trip: Toru艅, 1 hour 40 minutes 30 PLN Highway toll (6.6 EUR)

Toru艅

torun old town colorful medieval buildings on a sunny day vistula river in background

E-Gabi/Pixabay.com

Hop on the A1 highway and drive south, leaving the Tricity behind. Keep in mind that on Summer weekends there can be extremely heavy traffic on the highway, resulting in long queues by the toll points. Drive on weekdays to avoid the traffic.

What is Toru艅 famous for?

Toru艅 was the hometown of Copernicus, a famous Polish astronomer who lived in the 1400s. Today, the medieval heart of the city is perfect for a trip back in time, and the historical buildings are often home to museums that showcase local history and culture.

The charming city is often overlooked by international tourists, though it is most certainly worth a visit!

The Medieval Town

When in Toru艅, you can鈥檛 skip the Medieval Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The historical buildings are very well-preserved and the cobblestone streets are perfect to get lost in.

Wander around until you reach the monumental Old Town Hall, which has been turned into a museum after the Second World War. Step inside and walk through the exhibitions located within the wonderful historical interiors.

Travelers can climb the Town Hall tower to get the best view of the city.

Admission tickets cost 15 PLN (3.3 EUR) per person, entry is free of charge on Wednesdays. Tickets to the tower cost an additional 15PLN per person.

The Leaning Tower… Of Toru艅

Did you know that Poland has its own equivalent of the Leaning Tower of Pisa? It may not be as large or as famous as the one in Italy, though the Leaning Tower of Toru艅 is a landmark worth visiting nonetheless.

Admire the medieval tower from the outside, sadly the interior is not accessible to the public. From the tower, you can follow the large defensive walls that protected the city in medieval times.

The Planetarium

Travelers who wish to learn more about astronomy should pay a visit to the Planetarium. The attraction offers astronomical shows along with two interactive exhibitions.

Check the official website for the daily show schedule. An admission ticket costs below 15 PLN (3.3 EUR) per person.

Next on your Poland road trip: 艁贸d藕,1 hour 50 minutes

艁贸d藕

lodz piotrkowska walking street in the summer shops city center poland

Photography by Marcin Polak.

Hop back on the A1 highway and continue south. In around 2 hours, you will reach the city of 艁贸d藕 (or Lodz in English), the last stop on the journey before making your way back to Warsaw.

What can you do in Lodz?

艁贸d藕 isn鈥檛 a popular tourist destination in Poland, despite being one of the largest cities in the country and just an hour and a half west of Warsaw. The times when 艁贸d藕 was just an industrial town are long gone, and the city鈥檚 countless trendy hangouts and cultural venues prove it.

Piotrkowska Street

When in 艁贸d藕, you should definitely stroll down Piotrkowska Street, the longest commercial street in the entire country and the cultural heart of the city.

Some travelers may not be willing to walk down the whole street, as it is over four kilometers long. In that case, be sure to at least visit the northern part of the street as that鈥檚 where all the busy bars, restaurants and shops are situated.

Visit the street after dusk falls and experience Lodz鈥檚 vibrant nightlife in one of the numerous clubs or bars.

Off Piotrkowska Center

When you鈥檙e exploring Piotrkowska, be sure to turn into the Off Piotrkowska Center. The trendy venue is home to unique shops and exotic restaurants all located in and around a renovated industrial factory. Even if you鈥檙e not in the mood for dining, the spot is worth visiting solely for its cool industrial vibe.

Manufaktura

Be sure to drop by Manufaktura, another factory-turned-cultural spot in 艁贸d藕. Guests can satisfy their shopping needs at the local shopping gallery, dine at one of the restaurants, learn about the city鈥檚 history in the museums or wander around the outdoor area and simply enjoy the architecture.

Your rental car can be dropped off at the car park off Drewnowska Street, there are over 3500 complimentary parking spots.

What is the best restaurant in 艁贸d藕?

Anatewka

For dinner, consider going to Anatewka. The unique restaurant just off Piotrkowska Street serves traditional Jewish cuisine. 艁贸d藕 has historically been a melting pot of four cultures, and the eatery focuses on the Jewish culture and its delicious dishes. Open daily between 11 AM and 11 PM.

Which hotel should you pick in 艁贸d藕?

Vienna House Andel’s

Spend the night at the Vienna House Andel鈥檚 Lodz, an elegant 4-star hotel near the heart of the city. The property features modern rooms, an indoor pool, a fitness center, a spa and wellness center, and a stylish interior design. A private underground car park is available at an extra cost.

Boss Hotel

A good budget-friendly alternative in 艁贸d藕 is the Boss Hotel. The hotel features well-equipped rooms, complimentary Wi-Fi and a bar and restaurant. Guests can relax at the seasonal outdoor terrace. A car park is available at no extra cost.

Next on your Poland road trip: Warsaw, 1 hour 30 minutes

Drop-off

Your Polish adventure doesn鈥檛 have to end here! Click here for our travel guide that will take you through Krak贸w, Wroc艂aw, and Pozna艅 before finishing in Berlin.

If you choose to end the trip here, drop off your rental car directly at Warsaw Chopin Airport before leaving. Car rental companies that support airport drop-off can be found via Rentalmoose.

Don’t have a car you can take on one of the best road trip in Poland? No problem!

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next Polish road trips. On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!

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Post your pictures from your next road trip in Poland online using #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.

Rentalmoose O脺 2020