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Poland, a captivating land of diverse landscapes and rich history, has earned recognition as 2023's USA Today 10Best Readers' Choice travel award for Best International Destination on a Budget. More than just an award, it's a testament to Poland's surprising affordability, underlined by its magnetic charm, deep-rooted traditions, and hearty cuisine.

Poland's currency, the Polish złoty (PLN), is a key component of its allure for budget travelers. Contrary to other European nations, Poland does not use the Euro. Instead, it maintains the złoty, a currency with an advantageous exchange rate for Americans—approximately 4.20 PLN to one US dollar as of May 2023. This ratio allows the dollar to stretch further and enhance the traveler's experience.

Accommodations in Poland appeal to a broad spectrum of budgets. At the budget end, comfortable and tidy hotels average between $30 and $50 per night. Mid-range establishments range from $50 to $100 per night for those seeking more amenities. Luxury hotels in cosmopolitan centers like Warsaw and Kraków command between $100 and $200 per night—prices significantly more affordable than comparable accommodations in other Western countries.

Eating in Poland can be as much a journey through the country's rich culinary heritage as it is an exercise in budget dining. You can savor a complete meal at traditional "milk bars" for less than $5. A fine dining experience seldom surpasses $20-$30 per person. Meanwhile, Poland's thriving street food scene offers delicious treats like zapiekanka (open-faced toast), grilled kielbasa, burgers, and kebabs for around $3 to $8, presenting yet another wallet-friendly way to indulge in Poland's rich culinary culture.

Poland's budget-friendly nature extends to its public transportation. City trams and buses offer single-ride tickets for approximately $1, while daily passes are available between $2 and $5. This accessibility makes traversing cities like Wrocław or Gdańsk both economical and convenient. For longer distances, trains provide a comfortable and scenic journey. A standard second-class ticket for an intercity trip, say from Warsaw to Kraków, costs around $15 to $20.

Cultural enrichment through museum visits in Poland will keep the bank intact. Many museums, like the Warsaw Uprising Museum or Kraków's Wawel Royal Castle, offer less than $10 admission. Certain locations, such as the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, do not charge entry fees, although guided tours are available for a modest fee.

Despite the country's affordability, Poland offers a rich tapestry of experiences. Stroll through the ancient, cobblestone streets of Kraków's Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or experience the vibrant energy of Warsaw. Relish the tranquility of the Białowieża Forest, or be enthralled by the breathtaking Tatra Mountains in Zakopane. Each location exudes a unique charm, weaving a narrative of unforgettable experiences.

Yet, the charm of Poland extends beyond its pocket-friendly appeal. Its compelling history, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality provide an enriching journey where your dollars stretch further, your experiences are richer, and your memories are priceless.

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Polish National Tourist Office
980 N. Michigan Ave, Ste. 1550
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 1 (551) 344-3057
e-mail: info.na@poland.travel