By Shereen Shabnam
Poland is an European treasure that remained off the radar of most intrepid travelers in the past but not anymore. The Poland of today is filled with global influences alongside long-standing local traditions.
Polish culture and history runs deep from medieval times to wars but it is the picturesque natural wonders, the food, the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque architecture plus the natural sites that offer many adventures to remember.
I started my Polish adventure by lunching at the trendy Koszyki Hall. It is Warsaw’s social and culinary center, where you can choose a meal in one of numerous restaurants and pubs sitting on tables laden with different cuisines of the world.
A visit to Vistula, the biggest and longest river in Poland was another highlight. Vistula River in Warsaw runs the entire length of the city and walking along the river or taking a scenic cruise seem to be a favourite past time of the locals so we took an evening cruise on a catamaran enjoying the sites and finishing off the evening with a meal at the famous STIXX Bar and Grill.
STIXX is a highly energetic gastronomy venue offering a diverse selection of exquisite dishes from around the world with the vibe of New Warsaw – elegant and sophisticated, yet stylish and entertaining. The restaurant sits amongst curving walkways, water features, modern art and the ever-impressive Warsaw Spire building.
Another favourite was exploring Warsaw in a vintage Nysa 522, which is a spacious and very retro minivan that once used to drive around Polish streets. A guide can give you a history of the city, take you to the most important monuments of Warsaw and tell you about the key historic events of the city.
If you have time for lunch, stop at the Restaurant Concept 13 located on the 5th floor of DH VITKAC. Its large, glassed interior looks out on a beautiful panorama of the capital which can also be enjoyed from the summer terrace. The dishes are international classics with a polish twist partly prepared on teppanyaki grills or in the open kitchen – their bread is addictive so try and pace yourself before your delightful meal arrives.
Another great place to eat is Zoni Restaurant at Koneser Center perfect for food connoisseurs. Zoni offers creative cuisine of Michał Gniadek, the titled Chef of the young generation whose chef’s signature menu is inspired by international cuisine.
If you love fashion, stop by the Gosia Baczyńska concept store. At the junction of old and new Warsaw Praga, the concept store of Gosia Baczyńska features her own design – both in terms of decor and the fashion presented in it with clothes and accessories of world-famous designers.
Another great place to visit is the Wilanow Palace – the royal summer residence of King Jan III Sobieski. Its joyful to explore this wonderful baroque palace which is a place of great beauty. The original architecture of the palace merges European art with old Polish traditions of construction. I really enjoyed strolling through the beautiful garden and the park which was so relaxing that it was heartbreaking to leave.
My next stop was stopping for lunch at MOD restaurant which serves the best ramen soup in Warsaw. It is a small hidden place at Oleandrów Street where you can try the best Asian and international cuisine and finish your meal with delicious doughnuts. If you still have a craving for sweets later in the afternoon, stop at a Wedel chocolatier and taste different kinds of delicious hot chocolate. Dinner was at Flamimg & Co. which is a place created from passion for travel and unique things and serves Italian, French and American cuisine.
Golf lovers would enjoy a day out at the Sand Valley Golf Course. You can rent a villa, gp for a round of golf, have a casual evening dining with your friends or enjoy a moonlight dip in your private swimming pool. We enjoyed a lovely lunch and a walk around the property.
From the golf resort, we went to the Hotel SPA Dr Irena Eris where I enjoyed a lovely massage, got introduced to great skincare products and strange as it may sound, I found the best one-off artistic pieces of jewellery for everyday wear. The next day I headed back to the airport with a heavy heart making a mental note to get back to Poland with my family and experience more of this amazing country and the many natural attractions it offers travellers and adventure seekers.
From the UAE it is easy to get to Warsaw. I took an Emirates flight to Warsaw and arrived there just in time for a sumptuous lunch. Emirates has daily flights to Warsaw serviced by Boeing 777-300ER departing Dubai at 0810hrs, and arriving in Warsaw at 12:10 local time. Return flight departs Warsaw at 1500hrs and arrives in Dubai at 2245hrs.