Poland is a low-key travel destination in central Europe. It’s known for being cheap, under-the-radar, and beautiful.
Here are 10 reasons I think autumn is the ideal time to check out Poland.
1. Golden Polish Autumn
During fall, Poland’s landscape changes dramatically. The deep greens of summertime give way to crispy, yellow foliage that looks like something out of a painting. If you’re an autumn enjoyer, then I can’t think of a better place to be during the fall months than in Poland.
There are lots of places to witness the jaw-dropping display of golden, crunchy leaves, which define Poland’s legendary Golden Autumns. If you’re in Warsaw, I highly recommend a day trip to Wilanow Palace in Poland’s upscale Wilanow neighborhood.
For a small fee, you can walk the grounds of the palace and take a stroll along the lake. When I visited in October, you could still rent small kayaks or take a row boat excursion around the man-made body of water. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning, and there are tons of comfy cafes nearby where you can sip tea and soak in the fall vibes.
2. Cozy Fall Weather
Polish weather can be hit or miss, but Fall in Poland is unusually mild and predictable. Autumn in Poland is dry with sunny days and cool evenings. You’ll definitely want to pack a winter coat, just in case temperatures drop, but you should expect comfortable temperatures in October and most of November.
With the great weather come amazing opportunities for visiting Poland’s natural attractions without having to deal with the heat and humidity. It’s a great time of year to stroll through one of Poland’s ancient forests or rent a bike in the city for a spin around the park.
Bikes are widely available for rent throughout Warsaw, but keep in mind you’ll need a Polish phone number in order to use the service. Once registered, you can rent a bike from any of Warsaw’s bike terminals for less than a dollar per hour.
3. Delicious Mushrooms
While staying in Warsaw this fall, each day I noticed old ladies in the subway with baskets full of freshly picked mushrooms. The whole country loves mushrooms, and enjoying mushrooms picked freshly from the wild is something of a pastime for Poles.
If you visit Poland during autumn, you have to try one of these dishes:
- Meatballs in cream of mushroom (klopsy w sosie borowikowym)
- Mushroom-filled pierogi (pierogi z prawdziwkami)
- Mushroom soup (zupa grzybowa)
There are lots of places to enjoy the delicious flavors of autumn, but I’ve always had the best luck at milk bars (bar mleczny). These are cozy cafes that serve up comfort food for cheap in a cafeteria setting.
Not all milk bars are equal, though. Some are geared towards tourists and serve mediocre food, so you’ll want to be choosey about where you eat.
My favorite authentic milk bar in Warsaw is Bar Mleczny Lindleya 14. Be sure to wash down your meal with a warm glass of kompot, which is a seasonal beverage made by boiling dried fruit.
4. All Saints Day
Every first of November, Catholics around the world celebrate All Saints Day. It’s a day of remembrance and a time to remember your family who have passed away.
In Poland, All Saints Day is a widely celebrated. Poles from the country who live in the cities frequently make the journey home to their village to spend time with family and honor their ancestors.
On the day of the holiday (Nov 1), it’s tradition to visit the cemeteries of your deceased relatives and leave candles and religious items on their graves. Families pray around the gravesites of their ancestors and Mass is celebrated in the cemetery.
I spent All Saints Day in the mountain towns and villages where my ancestors lived. As an American with Polish heritage, it was a meaningful experience to commemorate my ancestors in this way and it was amazing to see how the small cemeteries lit up at night with votive candles.
5. Serene Countryside
Poles love to visit the countryside and stay in cabins in Poland’s mountains during summer and winter. Autumn, however, is a low season, and many rentals are available at a steep discount.
If you plan a cabin stay in Poland for the fall, you can expect to pay 60% of what you might typically pay during winter or summer. This makes it a great time to visit more remote regions of Poland or stay in a cabin in an isolated mountain town.
Not only are rentals widely available during this time, but the villages are teeming with local life and harvest-related activities.
6. Fewer Crowds
Fall is one of the best times to travel, especially if you’re not too fond of crowds. While Poland is a relatively low-key travel destination, its tourist hubs can still get pretty busy.
Cities like Krakow and Zakopane fill up with tourists in the summer time. But, with the arrival of autumn, the crowds begin to subside.
If you’re looking to see all that Poland has to offer, then traveling here in the fall is a great way to beat the crowds and long lines. Even popular destinations, like the National Museum in Warsaw, can be seen without waiting in long lines or battling hoards of tourists.
Be careful, however, because some destinations will also have reduced operating hours during the low season. If you plan on visiting sights like Auschwitz or the Wieliczka Salt Mines, then you should check their sites ahead of time to make sure they’ll be open during your visit.
7. Polish Independence Day
If you’re interested in Polish history and politics, then you’ll be thrilled to witness Poland’s National Independence Day. Celebrated each year on November 11, Poland’s National Independence Day holiday is an occasion for patriotic marches, parades, and celebrations throughout the country.
The holiday itself is a commemoration of Poland’s emergence as a formal nation in 1918. Prior to this, Poland existed in three partitions and was split between Prussia, Germany, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
On this day, you’ll find a variety of patriotic activities going on in the big cities. Warsaw, in particular, is known for its somewhat-controversial march that occurs every year on this day.
During the Independence Day march in Warsaw, patriotic Poles take to the streets wearing red and white, the colors of the Polish flag. Red flares are lit in the streets that fill the city air with a thick smoke.
While some reports have alleged Independence Day marches aren’t safe for foreigners, I have not found this to be the case.
During Warsaw’s Independence Day march in 2022, I witnessed all kinds of people participating in the march, including non-Polish foreigners. It was a cool way to spend the day and made for some impressive photos.
8. Indoor Pools
Poland is a gloomy country and the weather is frequently gray and overcast. As the weather begins to cool in autumn, families start visiting indoor pools and aquatics facilities to get some relief from the dreary atmosphere of fall and winter.
No matter where you’re at in Poland, you’ll be sure to find indoor pools stocked with nice amenities like lap pools, hydromassage pools, cold plunges, and dry saunas.
These facilities cater to locals, so the prices are extremely affordable. Most pools charge less than $5 for admission!
In Warsaw, these recreational facilities are seemingly in every neighborhood. Visiting one is a great way to spend the cool fall evenings, soaking in warm water and eating pizza from the pool’s café.
9. Cheap Airfare
If you live outside of continental Europe, then airfare is typically the most expensive part of a European vacation. In summertime, airfare balloons, and it’s not uncommon to pay upwards of $1,000 for a roundtrip ticket to Poland.
During the fall, however, airfare becomes far more affordable. If you live near a major airport, such as LAX or JFK, you can snag plane tickets to Poland for under $400.
Recently, LOT Airlines started operating direct flights from the continental US to Warsaw. On a recent trip to Poland in November, I booked tickets for me and three family members with LOT.
We spent under $400 per person for economy tickets from LAX to Warsaw. If you’d like to travel to Poland, but are dreading the high cost of air travel, then consider booking a trip during the fall. Air travel, and everything else for that matter, will be much cheaper.
10. Great Cafes
If you’re a book worm, introvert, or generally cozy person, then you know how relaxing it can be to sit in a warm cafe on a gloomy fall day.
As it turns out, Poland has a vibrant tea and coffee culture, with some excellent cafes to boot. Every street has at least one cafe, and cities like Warsaw have cafes on every corner.
Cafes in Polish cities are more than just places to grab coffee or tea, however. In cafes, you’ll find all kinds of locals relaxing, socializing, studying, and working.
Cafes in Poland put a lot of effort into their cozy factor, too. Most cafes have ample seating, couches, comfy chairs, and ambient lighting. If you’re a café junky, you’ll be blown away by Poland in the fall.
Should You Visit Poland In Autumn?
Autumn is one of the best times of year to visit Poland. During autumn, the weather is generally pleasant and dry. The leaves turn a dramatic golden color and the atmosphere is warm and cozy. Many tourists enjoy traveling Poland in fall because there are fewer crowds and prices are vastly more affordable.
In my opinion, fall is one of the best times of year to visit Poland. Finding affordable airfare and accommodation is a breeze, and the country exudes cozy autumn vibes.
So, if you’re looking for your next fall vacation destination, consider Poland.
Happy fall-themed travels, stay cozy friends 🙂