Southern Tour - The Lira Ensemble
Itinerary of Lira's cultural tour of Southern Poland.
Poland, visit, tours
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THE LIRA BOARD OF DIRECTORS invites you to be part of its

2024 TOUR OF CENTRAL & SOUTHERN POLAND
Thursday, June 20th – Wednesday, July 3rd

featuring touring, music, dance, art, architecture, history, great cuisine and lots of fun
personally escorted by LUCYNA MIGALA
Artistic Director/General Manager of the Lira Ensemble & an experienced Tour Director

Lira will show you the Poland of your dreams during this tour of:
WARSAW – KRAKÓW – CZĘSTOCHOWA – JOHN PAUL II’s BIRTHPLACE
ZAKOPANE – CHOPIN’S BIRTHPLACE – AND MORE

We travel in Poland on an ultra-modern, air-conditioned motor coach
with an emergency bathroom on board.

THIS TOUR INCLUDES:
FIRST CLASS HOTELS – ALL TOURS & TRANSPORTATION IN POLAND
ADMISSIONS TO CONCERTS & OTHER PERFORMANCES
ALL BAGGAGE HANDLING – MOST TIPS – THREE MEALS A DAY
(EXCEPT FOR THREE LUNCHES & FOUR DINNERS, AS INDICATED IN THE ITINERARY)
SOFT DRINKS AT MEALS ARE INCLUDED – SOME ALCOHOLIC DRINKS ARE INCLUDED.

The tour price DOES NOT INCLUDE YOUR AIRFARE!
You may choose to fly to Poland as you wish – and perhaps use your United Miles
Lira recommends that you fly non-stop to & from Warsaw on LOT Polish Airlines Boeing Dreamliner jets.
Whatever you choose, Lira can make your reservation/purchase your airline tickets.

IMPORTANT NOTE: All hotel desk personnel and waiters at all restaurants on this tour speak English!

Thursday, June 20th

We depart from O’Hare Airport on a LOT Airlines Boeing Dreamliner or any other flight you may want to choose – just be sure to join the tour in Warsaw early Friday afternoon, June 21st. If you take LOT, you’ll enjoy dinner over the Atlantic. All meals and non-alcoholic drinks onboard are covered by your airfare. Alcoholic beverages are available at reasonable prices. Be sure to bring small bills to pay for them. We nap/sleep or watch a movie or two on your onboard private computer, then have breakfast over Europe. The Dreamliner has lots of electronic “toys” and services, so you may not want to nap. We land at Chopin Airport in Warsaw, Poland’s heroic capital city, on Friday.

Friday, July 21st

Upon arrival in Warsaw, we drive immediately to see the magnificent, restored Royal Castle (because it closes to groups late Friday afternoon). Experts have told us that you will have little or no jet lag if you DO NOT go to sleep upon arrival in Europe, instead spend the day touring and sleep Friday night. We know it works! Plus, you will probably be too excited to sleep. We visit Warsaw’s historic Old Town. We enjoy a light lunch in one of Warsaw’s fine restaurants. We see a short documentary film about the tragic plight of Warsaw during World War II. Then we stop at the Sofitel Victoria Hotel to freshen up for our evening. Our welcoming dinner is at Rozana – one of Warsaw’s finest restaurants. Then we overnight at our hotel. (For those who have visited Warsaw before, Lira offers an alternate itinerary.)

Saturday, June 22nd

We enjoy a breakfast buffet at our hotel, with a large choice of Polish, Continental, and American dishes – which is true of all fine hotels in Poland. After breakfast, we drive down the Royal Route of Warsaw with its many palaces (now often embassies), churches and monuments and see more of the capital city. We visit Wilanow Palace, the summer residence of King Jan III Sobieski, one of Poland’s greatest heroes. Lunch is at another of Warsaw’s excellent restaurants. After lunch, we tour Warsaw’s newest attraction – The Museum of Polish History. Then we tour the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, one of Poland’s most highly praised museums. Next, you will have time to freshen up for dinner at one of Warsaw’s premier restaurants. Then we enjoy a private concert of Chopin music at a historic venue in Warsaw; then back to our hotel. If you’re not too tired, we strongly recommend a short stroll from our hotel to see a bit of Warsaw Saturday night life on Old Town Square.

Sunday, June 23rd

We attend Mass (if you like) at Holy Cross Church where Chopin’s heart is buried, then enjoy breakfast at the hotel before our drive to Lazienki Park to see the famous Palace on the Water for a photo opportunity, as well as the famous Chopin Monument. Then we lunch at a darling restaurant, followed by a drive into the countryside to visit Zelazowa Wola, the birthplace of Frederic Chopin. Afterwards, we drive to Lowicz, the Mazovian region known for its colorful paper cutouts and excellent embroidery. We enjoy a folk-art presentation and entertainment at the unusual, artistic cottage home of Kasia and Wojtek Gronecki. We tour the ruins of the ancient castle they are restoring. They serve us a homemade, mostly home-grown, dinner in their charming cottage. We drive back to our hotel for the night.

Monday, June 24th

Breakfast is at the hotel, then we drive southwest to the city of Lodz, Poland’s second largest city, once an important industrial center and the home of three cultures: Polish-Catholic, Polish-Jewish and German. We do a tour of Lodz to see the process of Poland’s post-communist recovery and visit the lovely Poznanski Palace. Lunch will feature local specialties, then on to the city of Wroclaw, one of Poland’s most beautiful cities. We see Wroclaw’s charming Town Square. We have a group dinner reservation at one of the best spots in town, where you have your first chance to make your own menu choices and pay individually in cash or by credit card. We will help with menu explanations. Then we overnight at the Wroclaw AC Hotel by Marriott.

Tuesday, June 25th

Our breakfast at the hotel is also a buffet, which is customary in Poland. Then we tour the city of Wroclaw with its Gothic architecture and Silesian style – different than in other parts of Poland. We visit the unbelievable Aula Leopoldina at the University of Wroclaw, decorated in the ultimate Baroque Rococo style. We see the Raclawicka Panorama, the 360-degree painting of the Battle of Raclawice at which Tadeusz Kosciuszko led Polish troops against the Russians – and won the battle. Lunch is on your own and the rest of the day is free time – yours for shopping, strolling or resting. Dinner is also on your own at the restaurant of your choice, and there are many choices in charming Wroclaw. You return to the hotel after a lovely evening.

Wednesday, June 26th

After breakfast at the hotel, we head southeast into the mountains. We stop at the Astoria Vineyard to sample some Polish wine. Vineyards did not exist in Poland before recent climate change in Europe. We stop at the town of Swidnica to see an UNESCO Site, the Church of Peace – one the biggest timber-framed sacred buildings in Europe – with very unusual architecture. Lunch is at a charming restaurant in Swidnica. We continue our drive south through the gorgeous scenery of the foothills and the beautiful Tatra Mountains, part of the Carpathian chain. We arrive at Zakopane for dinner at a wonderful highland restaurant with lots of atmosphere. After dinner, we check into the remodeled Bachleda Mercure Kasprowy Hotel. Our rooms will have a scenic view of the mountains.

Thursday, June 27th

Breakfast is at our hotel, then we tour Zakopane with its distinctive mountaineer architectural style with intricate wood carvings. Zakopane is Poland’s most popular ski resort town, so we go up into the High Tatras in a cable car to see the picturesque panorama of the mountains. Then we visit the Orski Gallery of works by Polish-American artist Ryszard Orski. Lunch is on your own today (however, you may want to skip a big lunch to save room for a big dinner). Now free time – for resting or shopping in the afternoon. There is much to buy here especially unique mountaineer folk artifacts. Be sure to take a stroll down Zakopane’s main street which is closed to traffic – it is the thing to do! Our hearty dinner is at a Highlanders’ Inn with mountaineer decor and folk entertainment. We overnight at the Kasprowy.

Friday, June 28th

After a good rest in the clean mountain air, we breakfast at the hotel. We drive to a national park for a restful – totally not dangerous – raft ride down the Dunajec River Gorge at the very southern border of Poland. Slovakia is on the other side of the river and we actually enter Slovakian territory – a second country at no extra charge! We enjoy Polish country dishes for lunch at a local inn, then head for Krakow, the beloved capital of southern Poland. We check into the elegant Holiday Inn, which is walking distance from Old Town Square. Since we have had a long bus ride, our superb dinner is at our hotel.

Saturday, June 29th

Breakfast is at the hotel, then we tour scenic Krakow, the capital of Malopolska (Little Poland – the heartland). Conde Nast Traveler Magazine calls it “the most European of all cities.” We see Wawel Castle and Cathedral, St. Mary’s Church, Old Town Square, the Sukiennice (an historic shopping mall) and much more. Lunch is on your own, followed by lots of free time for shopping or anything you want to do. Krakow is the best city to shop in. Dinner is on your own, however we have made a reservation at the Wentzl Restaurant – one of the most elegant in town – if you would like to join Lucyna there. Be sure to spend some time in the Old Town Square after dinner. It is fun on a Saturday night. Then we overnight at the Holiday Inn.

Sunday, June 30th

Breakfast at the hotel, then we drive to Wadowice, the birthplace of St. Pope John Paul II. We attend Mass (if you like) at the church, now a basilica, where he was baptized and served as an altar boy, then tour the excellent new museum dedicated to his life and accomplishments. After a country lunch, we drive to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi German concentration camp – an unforgettable experience – a must see. It is an extremely tragic but important part of Polish history. Back in Krakow, dinner is on your own – and Krakow is known for its wonderful food in many price ranges. We can make recommendations and reservations for you. You may want to eat under an umbrella in Krakow’s Old Town Square – you’ve not been to Krakow unless you’ve done so! Also, don’t be afraid of the street food and the street venders; they are perfectly safe. We overnight at the Holiday Inn.

Monday, July 1st

We rise early for breakfast at the hotel before our drive west to Czestochowa, the spiritual capital of Poland. We see the miraculous, historic icon of Our Lady and tour the monastery on the Mount of Light. We will have the opportunity to request Masses for your loved ones to be celebrated at the foot of the icon, and a chance to buy religious souvenirs at Czestochowa. Lunch is in Chestochowa before we drive back to Krakow to visit Lagiewniki, the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy, founded by one of Poland’s newer saints, Sister Faustina. We see the acclaimed St. John Paul II Center where you can see his relics. We drive back to Krakow to see the Underground Route under Old Town Square – a great way to learn about the history of this fantastic city. Our dinner is at one of the oldest restaurants in the world – the famous Wierzynek – which is a Krakow tradition. We overnight at our hotel.

Tuesday, July 2nd

Since you have been very good travelers and very busy, we offer you all the morning off. You can sleep in and have a leisurely late breakfast, do some final shopping, or pack, or do anything else that makes you happy. Lunch is on your own. After lunch, we visit the Sukiennice Gallery of spectacular, 19th century Polish art, after which we visit the famous. unusual church in Nowa Huta that launched St. John Paul II’s career. In the early evening, we tour the remarkable and famous Wieliczka Salt Mine – which has to be seen to be believed. Our elegant farewell dinner is in one of the salt chambers – a very unusual, enjoyable experience. We enjoy Cracovian folk song and dance and then return to the Holiday Inn.

Wednesday, July 3rd

Do have a big breakfast, because this will be one of the longest days of your life, due to your trans-Atlantic flight. If you return with the group, we fly directly from Krakow’s St. John Paul II Airport to Chicago. Be sure to do a bit of duty-free airport shopping at Krakow Airport, which is recommended. On our flight home, lunch and a snack will be served on board, as are soft drinks, coffee and tea. Alcoholic drinks may be purchased in US or Polish small bills. Our flight will take about 10 hours, but when we arrive in Chicago, it will be Wednesday afternoon.

Tour prices and important notes

$5,366.00 base charge per person, two to a room, departing from Chicago.
This price is for a group of 26.
If fewer than twenty-six people sign up for this tour, the price will be significantly higher, so do encourage family and friends to join you on the tour. Believe me – they will thank you for doing so.

Lira prices are closely tied to the value of the dollar abroad; if it falls steeply, there may be an additional charge.
$1,100.00 extra charge for a single room.

We will purchase your airline ticket if you like, but not before we have a group of 26.
The sooner we have 26, the better, because airfares are higher closer to the departure date.
Register for this tour as soon as possible; you will save considerably on your airfare.

You may also upgrade your seat from Economy Class to Premium Economy or Business Class (the LOT equivalent of First Class). Please ask us about the rates.

The first deposit of $2,000.00 is due as soon as possible upon registration.
A second payment of $2,500.00 on April 1, 2024.
The balance is due on May 1, 2024.

Tour payments must be made by check only. Sorry, no credit cards.

Once you’ve decided to join us, be certain to discuss TRAVEL INSURANCE with the Lira Office. The Lira Ensemble recommends that, despite the cost, you DO purchase travel insurance. You have a choice of which company, but Lira will need some information from you about what every plan you purchase before departure – just in case.

U.S. and Canadian citizens need only a valid passport to visit Poland; no visa is required. If you do not have a valid passport, please apply for one as soon as possible – the closer to summer, the longer the lines at the passport office and the longer it takes to get your passport.

IMPORANT: Your passport expiration date must be at least six months after your return to the United States.

A portion of the tour price is deductible from your federal taxes. A tax receipt will be issued after the tour, once all bills are paid.

You can arrive in Poland before the tour, and/or remain in Poland after the tour. Lira can help arrange HOTELS, TRANSPORTATION and TOURS for your extended stay. If you want to find your family, your ancestral city, town or village in Poland, Lira can suggest a trusted specialist in Poland with excellent English.

Many people want to stay in Krakow on their own, after the end of the tour. Please let us know if you care to do this because we may be able to save you some money by extending your stay at our Krakow hotel.
If you are traveling on LOT with the tour, you must let us know your return date to the US when you register.
Changing your return date on LOT (or any airline) incurs a fee, which may be large.

2024 Southern Tour – Terms and Conditions

HOTELS: Twin-bedded or double-bedded rooms with bath or shower in first class or deluxe hotels. A limited number of single rooms are available at the supplementary charge. Hotels are subject to change.

TIPS & TAXES: Service charges, as imposed by hotels and taxes by local administrations and government authorities on accommodations, meals, and transportation, are included. Tips to local guides and baggage handlers at the airport and at hotels are included. It is customary for tour members to tip the tour guide (“pilot”) and bus driver who travel with the tour, on the last day of the tour. These tips are not included.

SIGHTSEEING & TRANSFERS: Sightseeing is as specified in the itinerary, including entrance fees, and subject to change. Transfer upon arrival and departure overseas by motor coach between airport and hotel and vice versa if traveling with the tour group.

RESERVATIONS & PAYMENT: A deposit of $2,000.00 per person is required at the time of booking. A second installment of $2,500.00 is due April 1, 2024 and the balance is due on May 1, 2024. Reservations and payments are accepted with personal or bank checks only. Sorry, credit cards are not accepted for tour deposits or payments.

TRIP CANCELLATION, BAGGAGE AND MEDICAL INSURANCE: It is advisable to purchase insurance coverage for cancellation or emergency evacuation due to illness or accident. Applications for suggested insurance as well as baggage and travel insurance will be provided once tour deposits are received.

CANCELLATION AND REFUNDS: Cancellations must be in writing. Cancellation charges will apply: Within 90 days prior to departure – 30% of the cost; within 60 days prior to departure – 50% of the cost; within 30 days prior to departure – no refunds.

YOUR RATE DOES NOT INCLUDE: Passport fees, taxes or tips on services not included in the itinerary; laundry or valet service; excess baggage charges; insurance of any kind; wines, beers, liquors or any food or beverages not on regular menus of included meals.

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS: A valid passport is required for all U.S. and Canadian citizens traveling to Poland. Your passport expiration date must be at least six months after your return date to the US.

RESPONSIBILITY: The Lira Ensemble acts only as an agent for the hotels, airlines, bus companies or owners, operators or contractors providing accommodations, transportation, meals, tours, or other services. All vouchers, coupons, contracts and tickets issued are subject to any and all tariffs, terms and conditions under which the foregoing or any services whatsoever are provided by such hotels, airlines, bus companies or owners, operators or contractors. By the acceptance of the above, the tour member agrees to the foregoing and also agrees that the Lira Ensemble shall not be or become liable or responsible for any loss, injury or damage to person, property or otherwise in connection with any transportation, accommodation, meals, tour or other services referred to herein, or resulting from neglect or default of any person, corporation or other entity engaged to supply the same. The tour operator reserves the right to make changes in the itinerary, whenever, in their sole judgment, conditions warrant; or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience or safety of the passengers. They can accept no responsibility for losses of additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, quarantine or other causes. All such losses must be borne by the passenger as tour rate provides for arrangement only for the specified. All alterations may be made without penalty to the tour operator. The airline concerned is not to be held responsible for any act, omission or event during the time passengers are not aboard their planes or conveyance. The passenger contract in use by the airline concerned, when issued, shall constitute the sole contract between the airlines and purchaser of this tour and/or passage.

If you’d like to join Lucyna Migala and the Lira Ensemble on this amazing Southern Tour

CLICK HERE to Download the Registration Form