Shopping – Retail Therapy
From the vast shopping malls, local markets and exclusive boutiques to the more traditional family-owned shops which are now open at most times during the day where tourists can browse at their leisure on weekdays or at the weekend.
Every high street, square and promenade in all major cities is crammed with art galleries, antique shops, designer boutiques, bookshops, cafeterias, confectioneries and traditional old bakeries like the famous Blikle Patisserie in Warsaw, Café Wentzel in Krakow or Poznan's Elite Bistro.
Warsaw's "Arkadia", "Galeria Dominikanski" near Wroclaw's Old Town and "Galeria Krakowska" that overshadows Krakow's main train station are vast complexes where visitors can loose themselves for a whole day at a time. Shop, dine or see a movie while your children enjoy the ice rink.
Shopping can be coupled with sightseeing. A visit to Krakow's "Sukiennice" (Cloth Market), to the "Barasch Brothers'" secessionist department store in Wroclaw or Neo-Romanesque "Hala Mirowska" in Warsaw, which used to be called the heart of the capital, can turn into a lesson in architecture.
Tourists are encouraged to pay a visit to one of the many flea markets and fairs which can be found everywhere. Warsaw's antique fair in the "Kolo" district attracts visitors from every part of the country. Poznan hosts the "Swietojanski" Fair in June and Gdansk lures travelers with the allure of amber artifacts.
Daily shopping has also its own tradition in Poland. Residents of Krakow buy their fruit and vegetables at the city's oldest town market in "Stary Kleparz", where formerly meat and grain were traded. Inhabitants of Gdynia get their fresh fish and meat from the market hall at "Jana z Kolno" Street and the citizens of Wroclaw can pick their flowers on Solny Square where trading goes on through the night.
Times passes more calmly in smaller cities and trades there are recognized by the names of the respective merchants. On a stall at a Saturday fair in "Milanowek", visitors can still buy the freshest strawberries that have been celebrated in songs, traditional cottage cheese wrapped in gauze with a knot or a loaf of bread baked on horseradish leaves.