The big Poland Catholic Pilgrimage Tour. Shrines of Poland from the Baltic Sea to the Carpathian Mountains.
Nine days tour through the famous catholic places in Poland. Pilgrimage to Warsaw, Gdansk, Poznan and Krakow.
Day 1. Warsaw - Torun - Gdansk
Flight to Warsaw and transfer to Gdansk, with a stop in Torun en route.
The Old Town in Torun, with its historic buildings from several different eras, is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Of particular interest are its Gothic churches of St John and the Assumption, the Town Hall, the surviving sections of the town’s defensive walls, and the museum in the house where the famous astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was born.
Dinner and night in your hotel in Gdańsk.
(Possibility of attending Mass at one of the churches in Toruń)
Day 2. Gdansk
Tour of Gdańsk. For several hundred years Gdansk was the biggest port and the richest city on the Baltic Sea. It was in Gdańsk, too, that the first shots of World War II were fired, and it was here that Solidarity, the mass movement under Lech Wałęsa that fought the Communist dictatorship in Eastern Europe, was born. Sites on the programme include the Old Town, with its Renaissance and Baroque townhouses, town hall, Artus Court, former quay, and the Gothic Basilica of Our Lady, Europe’s largest brick church, all reconstructed after the destruction of World War II. In the afternoon a trip to the cathedral in Oliwa for an organ music concert. Free time in Sopot, a well-known seaside resort. Time for a stroll along the Baltic’s longest pier.
Dinner and night in your hotel in Gdansk.
(Possibility of attending Mass at one of the churches in Gdańsk)
Day 3. Gdansk - Malbork - Gniezno - Poznan
Trip out to the site of memory at Westerplatte. On 1 September 1939 shots fired from the armoured carrier the Schleswig-Holstein at Polish soldiers in the Westerplatte garrison signalled the start of World War II.
Journey on to Malbork. Tour of Europe’s largest Gothic castle, the former seat of the Teutonic Order. From here we travel on to Gniezno, the first historic capital of Poland. Tour of the Gothic metropolitan cathedral, venue of the coronations of Poland’s first Christian rulers.
Evening journey on to Poznań. Check-in and dinner at your hotel.
(Possibility of attending Mass at the Gniezno Cathedral)
Day 4. Poznan - Lichen - Warsaw
Poznan is one of the largest and oldest Polish cities, and the cradle of Christianity in Poland. It was here that archaeologists unearthed the foundations of the country’s first Christian place of worship, built for Duke Mieszko I, Poland’s first Christian ruler. Poznan Cathedral, sited in a picturesque location on an island in the river Warta, houses the graves of the first Polish rulers. We take a tour of the cathedral itself, and then a stroll through the pretty Old Town, with the gem that is the Town Hall, one of Poland’s most beautiful Renaissance buildings, and the magnificent Baroque Church of St Stanislaus.
Transfer to Warsaw, stopping off at Lichen Stary en route. This is Poland’s second centre of pilgrimage after Czestochowa. The basilica, constructed in 2004 as a home for the much venerated image of Our Lady of Sorrows, is the eighth-largest church in the world.
Evening arrival in Warsaw. Check-in and dinner at your hotel.
(Possibility of attending Mass in either Poznań or Licheń Stary)
Day 5. Warsaw
Mass in the Church of St Stanisław Kostka, site of the grave of Blessed Fr Jerzy Popiełuszko, a priest involved in the resistance movement against the Communist dictatorship who was murdered by the political police in 1984. His grave is now the foremost destination of pilgrimage in Warsaw. We will also tour the Old Town, rebuilt from the ruins in which it was left at the end of World War II. Sites on our route will include the reconstructed Royal Castle, the Sigismund Column, St John’s Metropolitan Cathedral, the Old Town Square, and the Barbican, and we will take a walk along the imposing Krakowskie Przedmieście Street.
In the afternoon we will take a trip to the Warsaw Rising Museum, which commemorates the struggle of Warsaw’s residents to liberate the city from the Nazi and Communist occupants in an insurgency in August 1944.
Dinner and night in your hotel in Warsaw.
Day 6. Warsaw – Czestochowa – Auschwitz – Krakow
Early-morning departure for Częstochowa. The Pauline Monastery at Jasna Gora in Częstochowa, with the miraculous image of Our Lady of Częstochowa (the Black Madonna) is one of the foremost Marian sanctuaries in the world, and the Poles’ national sanctuary. Tour of the monastery, prayer before the icon, and Mass in the basilica, the main monastery church.
We travel on to Auschwitz – Birkenau Memorial Museum for a tour of the former concentration camp Auschwitz I, including the starvation cell where St Maksymilian Kolbe died a martyr’s death, and the death camp of Auschwitz II – Birkenau, where the Nazis murdered over a million people in the gas chambers, most of them Jews. Among them was the Christian-Jewish patron saint of Europe, Edith Stein (St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross).
Evening arrival in Krakow. Check-in and dinner at the hotel.
Day 7. Krakow - Wieliczka
Tour of Poland’s historic capital, to include: Wawel Royal Castle and Cathedral – venue of the coronations and burials of the Polish kings, and site of the relics of St Stanislaus the bishop, patron saint of Poland; the Old Town, with Europe’s largest market square; St Mary’s Church, with its famous altarpiece, a Gothic masterpiece by Veit Stoss; the medieval Jagiellonian University; and the streets of the Old Town.
In the afternoon a trip out to the town of Wieliczka, on the outskirts of Krakow, for a tour of its salt mine, a unique, UNESCO-listed relic of European medieval technology.Several kilometre walk through the chambers and chapels hollowed out from the rock salt, foremost among them in terms of its ornate beauty and size is the world famous St Kinga’s Chapel. From here we go on to the church known as the “Ark of the Lord” in the working-class district of Nowa Huta – a church wrung out of the Communist authorities by the residents of Nowa Huta in bloody struggle, a testimony to the resistance of the people of Krakow to the forced atheization of the period of Communist dictatorship.
(Possibility of attending Mass at one of the churches in Krakow or in an underground chapel in the Wieliczka Salt Mine)
Second night in Krakow.
Day 8. Krakow - Wadowice – Łagiewniki - Krakow
Excursion to Wadowice, the town where Pope John Paul II was born. Time to pray in the church in which the soon-to-be saint was baptised, and a visit to the John Paul II biographic museum in his family home. From here we return to Krakow, to the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in the Łagiewniki district of the city, for Holy Mass before the image of the Merciful Christ or the grave of St Faustina Kowalska.
(Possibility of attending Mass in Wadowice or Łagiewniki)
Third night in Krakow.
Check-out from your hotel, transfer to the airport, and return flight home.