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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » April 25, 2013
TOURISM: Discover Poland at Weekends
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Tempting tourists
April 25, 2013   
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Poland is not just about beautiful historic sites and breathtaking views, but also tourist products constituting a comprehensive and diverse offering that meets the expectations of even the most discerning.

For years, the international image of Poland was that of a gray and cold country. “Luckily European Union entry and increased tourist traffic have contributed to changing the perception of Poland,” says Justyna Jedlińska, director of the regional cooperation department at the Polish Tourism Organization (POT). “Today we have a great many fans all over the world not only declaring they will come here again but also recommending our country to friends and family.” Tourist attractions mentioned the most often include interesting towns, forests, wildernesses and lakes. The British and the French list cultural events held in Poland as another attraction, and Germans mention cycling trails, shopping and bird-watching opportunities. All of them say their stay in Poland was a pleasant surprise.

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“Changes in tourism and increasingly demanding tourists have led to a growing awareness of the need to increase the attractiveness and competitiveness of the tourism offering, which is why we have been certifying tourist products for 10 years, which helps increase their commercial use,” Jedlińska adds. In a competition held by POT for best tourist product, awards are given to places and facilities that not only are a tourist attraction in the everyday sense of the word but are also innovative, tourist-friendly and offer many possibilities for spending leisure time. A POT certificate is also a recommendation to tourists, suggesting services of the highest standard and a guarantee of many unforgettable experiences, while the list of all the certified products offers a whole spectrum of possibilities to plan short and long trips as well as showcasing the extensive range of tourism options in Poland that are worth recommending and boasting about. Every year the POT also hands out a Gold Certificate.

The way the POT increases the commercial use of tourist products is producing results. More tourists perceive Poland as a modern, inspiring and pleasantly surprising country, and the slogan “Polska. Move Your Imagination” aptly expresses all that is attractive about Poland.

More tourists are coming to Poland every year, so recommending selected certified tourist products is sure to help with the never-simple task of planning routes and places worth seeing in Poland.

Trail of the Eagles’ Nests
The route leads along a unique group of limestone castles from the 13th-14th centuries. These fortified castles were built on inaccessible rocks rather like eagles’ nests, hence the name. The hiking Trail of the Eagles’ Nests, marked in red, is 163.9 km long and leads through two provinces: Silos and Małopolska. There is good tourist and related infrastructure along the trail. With many different types of accommodation available as well as a number of eateries, tourists can plan even a longer stay. The trail is uniformly marked along its whole length and walking the whole route, including sightseeing at the main attractions, takes about six to seven days. The end points of the trail are Wawel Castle in Cracow and Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa.

Other sites worth seeing along the trail
- restored castle in Korzkiew
- ruins of the royal castle on Złota (Gold) Hill in Ojców
- royal castle in Pieskowa Skała
- castle ruins in Rabsztyn
- castle ruins in Bydlin
- castle ruins in Smoleń
- castle ruins in Pilica
- ruins of Ogrodzieniec Castle in Podzamcze
- reconstruction of a fortified town on Birów Hill
- ruins of B±kowiec Castle in Morsko
- castle in Bobolice (restored)
- castle ruins in Mirów
- castle ruins in Ostrężnik
- castle ruins in Olsztyn

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Gold Certificate 2012
Category: Trail: Silesia
Certificate 2010

Termy Uniejów Thermal Pool Complex
Uniejów is a place great for treatment, recuperation, rejuvenation, fun and relaxation. The resort’s main attraction is the fact that its operations are based on one of Poland’s few utilized geothermal water sources that are 68 degrees Celsius in temperature and come from a depth of 2,000 meters. Termy Uniejów includes indoor and outdoor pools with thermal water ranging from 25 to 32 degrees Celsius in temperature, a wellness zone and spa and a restaurant. Facilities waiting to welcome guests include the Uniejów Park Spa Institute of Human Health, the Termy Uniejów natural medicine center, and Geotermia Uniejów, offering treatments in dermatology, balneology and psychosomatics as well as physiotherapy and treatment for nervous system disorders. The complex also offers a canoeing route and boat trips on the Warta river, in addition to a beach and swimming area, cycling trails, a soccer field complex with heated pitch and environmental education paths. www.termyuniejow.pl

Tourist Trail at Bochnia Salt Mine complete with an underground multimedia exhibition
The multimedia exhibition at the Bochnia Salt Mine is innovative by Central European standards. This project uses advanced multimedia technology to present the history and development of mining technology as well as the natural elements that miners working underground had to contend with. The trail includes 3D auditory displays, animations, interactive presentations and themed games. The trail, which introduces a new dimension to sightseeing, is a journey in time that begins in the 13th century among the historical features of the Bochnia mine—chapels, unique salt chambers, original mining tools and devices.

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The Trail of the Eagles’ Nests
The Trail of the Eagles’ Nests is a tourist route that received the POT’s Gold Certificate in 2012. The route leads along a unique group of limestone castles from the 13th-14th centuries. These fortified castles were built on inaccessible rocks rather like eagles’ nests, hence the name. This is an extraordinary place for tourists who prefer to spend their leisure time actively: hiking, cycling, horse riding, climbing or exploring caves. The hiking Trail of the Eagles’ Nests is 163.9 km long. It is marked along its whole length and walking the whole route, including sightseeing at the main attractions, takes about six to seven days. The end points of the trail are Wawel Castle in Cracow and Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa.

Bania Thermal & Ski Complex
Located in the heart of Białka Tatrzańska, the winter sports and mountain hiking mecca in Poland’s southern Podhale region, the Bania Thermal & Ski Complex offers guests comprehensive recreation services year round, including accommodation, board, thermal pools and ski slopes. The complex offers plenty of skiing in winter and attractions such as slides and outdoor pools with a view of the Tatra Mountains year round, supplemented with a wide range of spa treatments.
www.termabania.pl, www.hotelbania.pl

Carnival of Magicians
The Carnival of Magicians is a festival of circus, theater and alternative art held in Lublin. The name is a reference to The Magician of Lublin, a novel by Polish-born Jewish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer.

The event sees Lublin transformed into a stage for jugglers, mime artists, acrobats, conjurers, clowns and unicyclists. In 2012, the event was held together with the European Juggling Convention (EJC)—the most prestigious event for conjurers and new circus artists from all over the world.

Underground Tourist Route in Rzeszów
This unique complex, 369 m long, runs under the tenements and central area of Rzeszów’s main market square. It includes 25 cellars and 15 corridors going down as far as 10 m into the ground, with names that invoke their original purpose and the city’s history from the 14th to the 18th centuries. The Underground Tourist Route is a site in Rzeszów that still hides many secrets, including remnants of medieval walls and bricks many centuries old. Adding to the route’s attractiveness is an educational historical exhibition featuring items such as replicas of knight’s armor, weapons and household utensils. The site is also a venue for many cultural events.

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A publication listing the certified tourist products is available at: http://pdf.polska.travel/certyfikaty-pot/en/
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