Has anyone been to Poland or Ukraine? I have an opportunity to visit Europe again in May. I have been to most of Western Europe and I thought it would be neat to check out some eastern countries. Does anyone have any advice about where to go or what to see/do?
Visit Budapest, Vienna, Prague and Krakow. I think these are the most beutiful cities in eastern europe with many historical buildings. Spend 3-4 days in each city, walk around the famous places and try the local foods and drinks.
HI, I m from Poland and I would advise you to go to Krakow. Thats such a beautiful city, my number one! My second favo town is Zakopane. That's a village in the mountains, south of Krakow (2 hrs by bus). It's SOOO beautiful there!!! So definately go to Krakow and Zakopane. In Ukraine I would suggest Lvov. Very beautiful city! Goodluck
I agree with their advice. My fav was Krakow. It is a beautiful city and there are also many day-trip sites that are worth the visit. If you are going I would so go for there for sure. Since I was there last the number of hostels has increased 10 fold and I hear they are even running golf-cart tours around town for those whom are too lazy to walk and take it all in. This is just my preference, but there is a certain way in which I like to travel. If you're interested you should check out a travel book called Europeanpilgrimage. It's full of great backpacking advice. Other guides are great for general advice but I don't think that one should base thei day around one. I really liked what the authors in the former say about finding activites in your hostel and on bulliten boards and stuff. Everyone knows that hostels run tours and offer advice, but I don't think most people take the time to consider it. They are worth it. You can find that book I was talking about at www.europeanpilgrimage.com check it out if you like, but promise me you'll go to Krakow!
I haven't been to the Ukraine but I spent just over a week in Poland last summer as part of an inter-rail trip round Eastern Europe. Krakow has some beautiful buildings in the old town but beware of the numerous scams that go on, such as con-artists pretending to be officials. Also, ensure you have a (validated) ticket for your backpack if you travel on the trams. We found that many people in Krakow were very unwilling to help us, even those working in the hostel. My friends and I preferred Warsaw to Krakow. Although much of the city has been restored post-war, we felt it had a nicer atmosphere as the people were much friendlier.
I have been to both but things have changed a bit since I went last. Regardless, I would agree with other posters that Krakow and the Tatra mountains around Zakopane are really nice. I haven't been to Lviv recently (only Kiev), but Ukraine is polishing up too, and I always hear good things about Western Ukraine.
I don't know what type of travel you are looking for exactly, but I think a Carpathian focus would be interesting. The Carpathians are in five countries (Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, and Ukraine) and offer many opportunities for a varied trip. Anyhow, it is more rural and possibly a bit harder to get around, but I think it would be well worth it and very interesting. Of course, if you are looking for more urban travel with day trips, then this probably wouldn't be the best option.
Regardless, I have been building a website in preparation for my move to Ukraine next year, and I recently had a blog entry on traveling between Poland and Ukraine that may be helpful if you stick to these two countries. I also have some ecotour and logistcal stuff on the site that may be of interest/use.