We had planned to be in Poland earlier this year but that wasn't to be. We are however very pleased to be able to offer an 8 night visit to Warsaw & Kraków in late May 2021 which will include a concert conducted by Liverpool Philharmonic's incoming Chief Conductor Domingo Hindoyan and a performance of Kenneth MacMillan's ballet Mayerling.
We start our holiday with four nights in Warsaw, considered one of the most vibrant and fastest developing cities of the old East, with modern skyscrapers replacing 1950's slums, complementing the historic heart of the city which was rebuilt, literally from rubble, between 1971 & 1984.
We return to the 5* Sofitel Victoria which was extremely popular with our guests on our last visit to the Polish capital. The hotel has an excellent location overlooking the historic 'Saxon Garden' of the city (which dates from 1727) and the National Theatre beyond. Just one block behind the hotel is Krakowskie Przedmieście, the 'Royal Way', which leads to the Royal Castle and Old Town; just ten minutes' walk away.
During our visit we will see the superb POLIN Museum of the history of the Polish Jews which opened in 2014 and the haunting, but unmissable, Warsaw Uprising Museum which opened in 2004 and is considered one of Poland's best museums. We will also follow the life of Chopin in Warsaw with a recital in the city and a visit to his birthplace in Żelazowa Wola.
One of our evenings will be spent at the National Theatre for the Polosh National Ballet performance of Kenneth MacMillan's masterpiece Mayerling. We await next year's programme from the Warsaw Philharmonic but hope to include one of their concerts.
On Friday we have a relaxed morning and depart from the hotel around 11am for the short transfer to Warsaw Railway Station to join our Inter City Express service (1st class) to Kraków, which takes just 2 hours 30 minutes.
Kraków, the former capital of Poland, is situated at the foot of the Wawel Royal Castle. The 13th-century merchants' town has Europe's largest market square and numerous historical houses, palaces and churches with magnificent interiors.
On arrival we transfer to the 4* Radisson Blu Hotel for the next four nights. The hotel has an ideal position overlooking the green belt of Planty Park which surrounds the historic centre. It's just 5 minutes' walk through the historic centre to the Cloth Hall and St Mary's Basilica and also 5 minutes' walk to the entrance of the historic Royal Palace on Wawel Hill. The historic Jewish district of Kazimierz is 20 minutes' walk (but we also include a visit here with our tour bus). An excellent breakfast is included each morning.
We will have two mornings of sightseeing in and around Kraków, part of which will be on foot and part by coach. One day is left free for your own plans and there will be the option (at no additional cost) of a visit to Auschwitz for those who wish to do so.
On Sunday morning we travel some 80km to the city of Katowice. Throughout the years, the life of Katowice was synonymous with the coal mines of Silesia. They were closed after the fall of communism leaving emptiness behind. Today, this post-industrial area is vibrant with life again, this time the cultural life, with the new Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra Concert Hall and the adjacent Silesian Museum. Our concert at noon today is under the baton of Domingo Hindoyan, Principal Guest Conductor of the 'NOSPR' and this will be his first concert with the orchestra in 2021.
The programme includes:
Samuel Barber - Medea’s Dance of Vengeance, Op. 23a
Edouard Lalo - Cello Concerto in D minor (soloist: Adam Krzeszowiec)
Manuel de Falla - Suite No. 2 from the ballet The Three-Cornered Hat
After the concert we will have lunch in Katowice before returning to Kraków for the evening.
The tour has a fair amount of walking involved, although almost all is on the flat.
Flights for this tour will be with Lufthansa from Manchester (Heathrow, Birmingham and Edinburgh departures are also available). Provisional flight times are:
Manchester – Frankfurt 1110 - 1350 LH 943
Frankfurt – Warsaw 1630 - 1805 LH 1350
Krakow – Frankfurt 1240 - 1415 LH 1385
Frankfurt – Manchester 1640 - 1720 LH 946