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Euro 2012 Travel Guide – Part 1

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warsaw city breaksPart 1 – Poland
It’s been a wait of 8 long years for England fans but the European championships finally comes round again in 2012 and is hosted jointly by both Ukraine & Poland.

If you are one of the lucky few to have grabbed a ticket – or perhaps you’ll just be heading out there for the atmosphere – then you may have already stated planning your trip to Poland & Ukraine this summer.
So rather than look at the football aspect of the tournament – we’ll leave that to the experts – we’re going to look at the feasibility of travelling out to Poland this summer. This post will be focused on Poland but look out for our Ukraine focused post later in the week.

Poland lies on the Baltic Sea in the central part of Europe. It borders with Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia. The Baltic Sea borders the north, whilst the Tatra Mountains are to the south.

During the summer Poland will host the tournament in 4 different venues; Poznan Gdansk, Wroclaw & Warsaw:

Gdansk
Gdansk is a city with a population of almost half a million people. It is the maritime capital of Poland, a large economic and cultural centre and is also a popular tourist destination. Gdansk is full of charming winding streets and historic buildings. Located on the coast, it will give visitors in the summer the chance to relax on the coast and take full advantage of its number of comfortable hotels, restaurants and distinctive cafes.

Stadium: The Stadion PGE Arena in Gdansk.

Poznan
Poznan is Poland’s fifth largest city and is located in the most developed part of the country. The city itself is made up of a mix of both historic monuments and modern architecture. As well as this there are a number of attractive recreational areas, elegant coffee shops and restaurants.

Stadium: The City Stadium in Poznan.

Warsaw
Warsaw is Poland’s largest city with 1.7 million residents. It is also the fastest growing metropolis and houses a number of the countries central administration offices, being the centre of business, finance and trade. Warsaw can be a little shocking to first-time visitors with its bleak postwar architecture. Yet look beyond this and you’ll find architectural attractions, such as the historic Old Town which was rebuilt brick by brick following the war according to old photographs, and paintings.

Stadium: The City Stadium in Wroclaw.

PGE Arena stadiumWroclaw
Wroclaw is one of Poland’s oldest cities and also the fourth-largest city in terms of population. Dubbed the “Venice of the North”, it stands out with its enormous concentration of bridges crossing the dominating presence of the Odrer River.

Stadium: The National Stadium in Warsaw.

Accommodation
It can be difficult at this stage to find accommodation during the tournament. Even 2-3 months ago, many hotels had started to become fully booked up. However, there is another option – hostels.

Hostels have the added benefit of offering cheaper stays, whilst also giving you the chance to meet other travellers. And when you’re attending a tournament like Euro 2012, surely there is no better way to experience the whole atmosphere and meet travellers and fans from across Europe than to stay in a hostel populated by them all!

Additionally, there are a number of hostels in Poland that are situated in really central locations of the city. Where else can you be that close to all the amenities without having to spend silly amounts of money? Finally, many people working at the hostel are locals themselves, and will be more than happy to help you out with itineraries, restaurant recommendations or even discounts on sightseeing or other activities.

Flights
Fortunately, there are still an number of flights available – even at this late stage – and Poland is served by a number of low cost airlines, meaning that this part of your trip at least, can be of minimal expense.

Tickets
Unless you were one of the few to win the ‘ticket lottery’, it is going to be relatively hard to find tickets to your chosen match now. However, there are a number of on-going ticket releases available via the official UEFA Euro 2012 website (www.uefa.com).

Read part 2 here.


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