Introduction to Poland
We invite you to undertake a Pilgrimage to Poland, the homeland of Pope John Paul II and a country with a strong Catholic tradition dating back to the conversion to Christianity of Prince Mieszko and the "Baptism" of the country in 966. Poland's history has been shaped by its position in Europe surrounded by powerful and often aggressive neighbours, and it has been sustained by its strong patriotism and Catholic faith. When Cardinal Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II in 1978, the birth of an organisation called "Solidarity" led by Lech Walesa and supported by the Church, led to eventual fall of Communism and a return to democratic government. Our Pilgrimage programme takes you first to the modern capital Warsaw where you will visit the churches associated with the World War II martyr, Saint Maksymilian Kolbe, and the more recent martyr, Fr Jerzy Popieluszko. You will visit the shrine of Czestochowa, the heart of any pilgrimage to Poland, and celebrate Mass in the Chapel of the Black Madonna. Your pilgrimage takes you finally to the beautiful city of Krakow in the South, with its 14th century Old City Square and famous castle. From here you will visit the birthplace of John Paul II and follow the Stations of the Cross at the Bernadine Monastery of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska - the most popular sanctuary in Poland after Czestochowa. This pilgrimage will be a deeply spiritual experience, as you hear about the heroes of Poland's turbulent history and the strong faith that lead them through their tribulations. We invite group leaders to contact us for tailor made pilgrimages to Poland, travelling on dates of your own choice and following your own programme. There is also the possibility of combining your Pilgrimage to Poland with Prague in the Czech Republic or shorter city breaks to Warsaw, Krakow, Prague and Budapest.
This tour is available for groups of 15 or more pilgrims
Please contact us directly for further details
UK / Warsaw
Arrive at Warsaw International Airport. Panoramic Orientation City tour by coach to finish at your hotel for check in, dinner and overnight stay.
Morning sight-seeing visit with a local guide to the Old Town, completely recreated after the devastation of World War II. Warsaw has many churches to visit including the impressive St. John's Cathedral and St Satnislaus Kostka Curch, once served by Fr Jerzy Pieluszko. We will then continue to the Royal Castle for a visit, which is restored to its original splendour. In the afternoon continue by coach to Niepokalanow to visit the Franciscan Priory founded by St. Maksymilian Kolbe, who gave his life for a fellow prisoner in the Concentration Camp at Aushchwitz and was canonized in 1982. Return to Warsaw for dinner and overnight stay.
Leave Warsaw to travel by coach to Czestochowa to visit Poland's National Shrine, the 14th century Paulite monastery of Jasna Gora ("Bright Mountain", housing the miraculous and widely venerated icon of the "Black Madonna", crowned in 1717 with papal diadems. Here you feel the heartbeat of the nation Czestochowa is said to be the 5th greatest centre of pilgrimage in the world (after Varansi, Mecca, Lourdes and Rome). Mass in the Chapel of the Black Madonna and a visit to the Museum and Treasury. Continue to your hotel in Krakow for dinner and overnight stay.
In the morning we will take a sight-seeing tour of the Old Town Square with its famous 14th century covered market; now a colourful arcade of stalls selling souvenirs, silverware, leatherware, wooden carvings and dolls. Visit the Gothic "Mariacki" Church with the famous Marian altar carved by Wit Stwosz in 1477-89. In the afternoon we will take a guided tour of the Wawel Hill with its Renaissance Royal Palace and the cathedral church of St. Waclaw with its Tower of Silver Bells housing the "Sigismund" weighing 18 tons and historically rung only at times of national emergency. There is also, of course, a legendary dragon. Return to your hotel for dinner & overnight.
Krakow / Wadowice
Full day trip to Wadowice, birthplace of Pope John Paul II, and Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, the Bernadine monastery and Stations of the Cross with the famous Calvary paths along which over 40 churches, chapels, wayside shrines and bridges have been built imitating the layout of Jerusalem. Easter procession and Mystery Plays have taken place there since 1613 and ancestors of the Pope were Calvary pilgrimage guides there. After Czestochowa, this is the most popular sanctuary in Poland. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Free morning or optional excursion to the Wielicka Salt Mine, which is over 700 years old and is where well preserved excavations 60 to 327 meters underground can be visited. Here you see underground chapels hewn out of salt and richly decorated as well as many statues carved from salt and also a museum with old mining artefact. There are 380 steps down - but a lift which brings you back up to the surface! Free afternoon or optional excursion to former Nazi Concentration Camp at Auschwitz. Dinner and overnight in Krakow.
Krakow / UK
Transfer to Krakow Airport for your return flight to the UK.