A few days after I finished my teaching contract in Budapest, five of us (my mother, father, brother, husband, and I) piled in a way-too-small car and drove from Hungary to Poland, via Slovakia.
While this is not a trip I’d attempt again while pregnant/in the summer, it’s never a bad thing to drive through Slovakia. That country always surprises me with its beauty! We took a different route than we had the previous fall, and so for some reason I didn’t expect it to be as stunning.
It was! Rolling hills, tiny towns, hints of giant mountains in the background, green everywhere. It was quite a contrast to Poland, which flattened almost instantly the second we crossed the border–there’s a reason that country has been invaded so many times! It’s too easy to cross with an army! Or in a car.
We only visited three cities in Poland and one in Slovakia–both just a taste enough to leave us wanting more! Poland has gems farther north I’d love to visit–Gdansk and Poznan, for example–and Slovakia is also a giant country full of hidden spots.
Since I already raved about Slovakia here, let me just discuss a little more about Poland. YOU GUYS. You MUST go to Poland. I loved it so much! It’s full of amazing food at amazing prices, the people are so friendly, and there is so much to do in every city we went to. Add in the history and beauty–I’m telling you–it must be on your list!
Here’s where we went–and where you should go, too!
We drove from Budapest to Krakow via Slovakia (the most beautiful part of the whole road trip). It is not a very short trip, but the scenery helps. And Krakow! Wow! Let me say, that city is AWESOME. There is so much to see there, so much history, and it is so pretty. Plus, it’s soooo cheap and seems like such a livable spot. We liked it so much we came back again later on in the trip!
Truthfully, I was least looking forward to going to Warsaw. It was out of the way and a long drive there, and I kept hearing how modern it was, which doesn’t always entice me. Well, I actually really liked Warsaw! It has such a fun vibe, it’s so cheap, and the old town, while “Disney-esque” is still totally charming. If you go, it deserves more than one night!
This was the city I was probably most excited about. I mean, a city where little gnomes are hidden all over? What could be better than exploring with a scavenger hunt in mind?? Wroclaw did not let me down one bit. I think the square is the prettiest we saw in Poland (which is saying a lot!), and you just can’t beat those gnomes.
We went back to Krakow after Wroclaw, partly to split up the trip back to Budapest, and partly because Krakow is just that cool. My brother was also taking a train from Krakow to Lviv, Ukraine, so we dropped him off here as well.
We made a pit stop in pretty little Bratislava on the way back to Budapest from Krakow. It’s the best little town for a break on a road trip, because the old town is so small and compact, you could easily see it all in a few hours. We didn’t do too much there–just wandered around and had dinner–but it was fun to show it to my parents!
AND there you have it! A great road trip with my family. I always love traveling with family, even though sometimes the logistics can be tricky, because it’s like seeing everything through new eyes. And it’s so fun to show off Europe to visitors!
Have you been to Poland? Would you consider road-tripping there?