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WARSAW – MODERN CITY WITH RICH HISTORY
Warsaw is a city of rich history, proudly looking ahead to the future. There are interesting antiques, colourful parks, modern museums, fantastic modern architecture and delicious tastes.
The Old Town, placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, is the heart of the city. This is where you should start your walk along the Royal Route, its name derived from the three nearby former residences of Polish rulers.
Relax at the Vistula
After the walk along the Royal Route, in order to rest from the noise of the city, come over to the Vistula, relax on one of the urban beaches or stroll along boulevards. There are culture cafes, discos, outdoor concerts and colourful shows in the Multimedia Fountain Park available. The other side of the river maintained its natural, wild character, which is unheard of even on the European scale. Go there if you want to see a stunning view over the whole capital. Over the red rooftops of the old architecture it is possible to see the elegant tower blocks, among them the Palace of Culture and Science.
Vege-city with Michelin stars
Equally interesting and diversified as the city is its culinary image. There are luxurious and elegant restaurants – including two with a Michelin star each, as well as milk bars and street food. Warsaw is in the Top 10 on the Happy Cow’s list of the vege-cities.
Warsaw cuisine in a modern release
Your culinary adventure should start with the traditional dishes of Warsaw cuisine. Its unique taste stems from the influence of many cultures and nations. Following modern trends, chefs use local products and alter traditional tripe, dumplings or pickled herrings into genuinely modern dishes. For the dessert you have to try the Wuzetka cake, donuts and hot coffee. It is advisable to go on the culinary trip with a guide, in order to try the best local delicacies and learn more about their history.
If you like worldwide cuisine, you should visit one of the antique market halls. Their interior hosts fancy restaurants and bars as well as stalls with regional products. During summer weekends you can taste food at the Breakfast Fairs (Targi Sniadaniowe), the Night Market or at the Vistula Boulevards, where a multicultural culinary market is held. In the evening visit one of the 50 cosy craft bars, e.g. on Oleandrow street. Don’t forget to visit one of the two museums dedicated to Polish vodka, in order to learn how great it is.
Should you be interested to explore further Warsaw culinary paths we strongly recommend you to have a look at Warsaw’s Culinary Scene
You can also explore Warsaw with Map of Decalogue by Krzysztof Kieślowski.
KRAKOW – EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF GASTRONOMIC CULTURE 2019
It is not possible to describe the history of Krakow – the former capital of Poland – in a few words, especially when it comes to the abundance of the culinary delights available in this beautiful city for tourists.
The unique architecture of the most famous Polish city was already recognised in 1978, when the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list was created. The historic centre of Krakow was placed on the list, including the Old Town with its main square, the Cloth Hall and the St. Mary’s Basilica, the buildings of the oldest university in Poland, churches, monasteries, tenements and palaces, as well as the Wawel Hill, the Wawel Castle and the cathedral, along with the adjacent Stradom and Kazimierz districts.
Culinary legacy in a modern outfit
Forty years later, the culinary of Krakow was also appreciated, as the city was chosen the European Capital of Gastronomic Culture 2019. As a result, multiple events showcasing the local culinary legacy in various ways are organised. In order to prepare traditional dishes, chefs use not only local products of great quality, such as suska sechlonska (smoked plum), jablka lackie (Lacko apples), brown trouts, sliwowica lacka (Lacko plum brandy), oscypek or bryndza, but also historical recipes. The latter are transformed into the art of modern cuisine, simultaneously showcasing that the old street food, such as the maczanka po krakowsku (Krakow’s meat-stuffed pastry) can even be located in the best restaurants. You will also find out that bublik, loved by the residents, is not only served as a quick snack, but also as the base for an exquisite dish. While planning a stay in Krakow, it is advisable to check the CULINARY KRAKOW (culinary.krakow.pl) website and visit one of the twenty-one restaurants that take part in the project.
The Jewish and Austro-Hungarian culinary influences are the most visible in modern Krakow. You can buy a fragrant challah at the traditional bakeries, while at the Market you can taste a juicy schnitzel, and finish your meal with an Apfelstrudel or a Sachertorte. In this city, which is both open to new inventions, while also preserving its ethnic customs, you can find great locations with food from almost any part of the world: from the Italian or French cuisine, through the Georgian and Ukrainian ones, up to the quite recently popularised Israeli, Korean or Japanese delights. And, since the residents of Krakow enjoy eating outdoors, there will be a number of opportunities to try some of the most fabulous food outdoors, especially due to the portable Krakow picnic.
At the Krakow Fair
Ever since the medieval times, the rhythm of Krakow was set by fairs. Due to the location of the city, that is, on the most important trading routes, fairs were visited not only by the residents but also by the traders from all around the world. Shopping on market squares was done every day. The largest choice of merchandise was available at the Main Market Square. Popular were also, among others, the Szczepanski Square, Wolnica and the Kleparski square.
Currently, these trading customs are preserved by such places as the Old Kleparz, New Kleparz, the Na Stawach square, Unitarg market or the Imbramowski square. Shopping at these locations constitutes a return to these old customs, and its atmosphere is an immersive experience for international tourists. The variety of the merchandise here can make your head spin. This should not come as a surprise: the capital of Lesser Poland can be proud of its twelve certificated regional products and over two-hundred customs. If you are looking for regional and eco products, you should visit not only the Pietruszkowy Fair, where you will find fruit and vegetables from ecological farms, as well as multiple traditional preserves, smoked meat and cheese, but also the Ekosfera Mateczny fair and – since September 2019 – the Ekosfera North fair.
THE PEARL OF BALTIC SEA – GDANSK
Gdansk is breathtaking. Narrow alleys, on which one can find local amber artists, old tenements, illuminated quay of Spichrzow Island (Island of granaries) by the Motlawa river – those are the most romantic locations. Additionally, Gdansk is famous for its delicious regional cuisine.
Gdansk is a city of freedom, located in northern Poland at the Baltic Sea. Together with modern Gdynia and lively Sopot these create a metropolitan area of the three cities called Tricity. Gdansk is the oldest one of them, and as a result stands out due to its interesting architecture. There are antiques, renovated granaries, statues and modern shopping centres. This diversity is also reflected in the culinary aspects.
Fish and seafood
Gdansk is renowned for its great fish. Have a taste of the Baltic herring served in different ways, e.g. in a butter-wine sauce or with an apple mousse. If you are looking for something more specific, some of the great choices include cod, flounder and zander. Very often recommended are cod fried on butter and regional zander with fried cabbage and baked potatoes. You can find it in a restaurant by the Targ Rybny street. On the other hand, Wartka street should be visited if you are looking for a good fish soup.
Meat dishes and vegetarian cuisine
In the centre, on the quay of Spichrzow Island, there is an elegant food hall. Some of the food served there includes not only Polish cuisine dishes based on fresh fish and meat, but also international dishes – sushi, shrimps, burgers, pizza or pad thai. Vegetarians will also enjoy dishes full of fresh vegetables and pods.
Regional beer or liqueur with pieces of gold?
Old Gdansk was famous for lots of things, one of them being the beer brewed in the city. Brewery traditions are still cultivated: multiple locations still offer regional beer. Some even brew this amber-coloured beverage by themselves. The liqueur of Gdansk, made using a traditional, 16th century recipe, is also very popular. Its name, Goldwasser, comes from the little flakes of genuine gold it contains.
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The article was written in cooperation with Polish Tourism Organisation.