DETAILED ITINERARY - LAND ONLY
(Subject to Change)
Depart your home airport for the journey to Krakow! Although this itinerary does NOT include airfare, an "official group flight" will be shared with confirmed passengers, and we can assist you in booking flights to ensure you arrive on time.
Arrive at KRK (John Paul II Kraków - Balice International Airport) by 2:45PM local time. You'll meet Lino, Fr. Darryl, and our tour guide at the airport and hop on the bus to begin our drive to Zakopane, a beautiful
resort town at the base of the Tatras Mountains where John Paul II loved to ski and hike. Along the way we'll stop at Kalwaria Zebrzydowska - known as the Polish Jerusalem - a gorgeous church and a place Karol Wojtyla visited many times in his life. We'll celebrate Mass before continuing on to Zakopane where we'll check into the hotel and finally get a chance to wash off those airplane germs, and head to a great local restaurant for dinner.
We start the day with a short walk on one of John Paul II's favorite walking trails. We then take a cable car ride to the Gubalowka mountaintop for extraordinary views of the area.
After that we'll celebrate Mass at the Church of Our Lady of Fatima which was built by the mountaineers of the area in 1989 in gratitude to the Blessed Mother for saving John Paul II's life from an assassination attempt. You'll then have time for a leisurely lunch on your own in this picturesque village. In the afternoon, we'll take a horse and carriage ride along the base of the mountains and we'll wrap up the day at a traditional mountaineer restaurant and take in a folklore show.
This morning we check out of the hotel and head for Krakow. Along the way we stop in Sromowce for a raft ride along the Dunajec River (don't worry; its not like white water rafting).
We then arrive at Nowa Huta, a unique district complete with steelwork and houses built by the Soviet regime in what was meant to be a communist city. We'll have time for a non-communist lunch and then head to the Church of Our Lady of Poland, a church built brick by brick by volunteers with no assistance from the
communist authorities. We'll celebrate Mass here and then continue on to Krakow. We'll check in to the hotel (our base for the rest of the trip), freshen up, and go out to a fantastic dinner at a local restaurant.
We begin the day with a tour of the city of Krakow. We'll see Wawel Hall, the Royal Chambers, the Royal Cathedral, and the place where Fr. Karol Wojtyla celebrated his first Mass as a priest. For those who want to, you'll have the opportunity to climb the Cathedral belfry to see the largest functioning bell in the world. We'll continue our tour
visiting the place where John Paul II lived for 17 years while in Krakow (now the Archdiocesan Museum), the Mariacki Church which boasts Europe's largest wooden altar, and more. After a leisurely lunch on your own, we'll continue our sightseeing of Krakow and head to the Church of St. Barbara where we'll celebrate Mass. After Mass we'll have an early dinner and head to an evening concert dedicated to one of the most famous Polish composers, Frederic Chopin, and hear his works performed by talented local artists.
Today we head to Wadowice - the birthplace of John Paul II. We'll visit the John Paul II museum which holds lots of cool items from his life; and we'll visit the church where he
was baptized and attended as a child. You'll have time for lunch - making sure to eat the delicious kremovka deserts, which were John Paul II's favorite - and then head to the Divine Mercy Shrine. It was here that Sister Faustina, the Apostle of Divine Mercy, lived and died. This was the place Jesus appeared to her to tell all about His Divine Mercy. We will get a tour of the convent guided by one the sisters, and here we will celebrate Mass at the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy. We'll return to the hotel to freshen up and head to a great Jewish restaurant complete with Klezmer music.
We begin the day with a visit to the "Have No Fear" center where we can also pray by the relic of Saint John Paul II and celebrate Mass at the shrine. From there we'll head to Wieliczka and visit Europe's oldest salt mine, which has been listed by UNESCO as a
World Heritage Site. This mine is a unique place where many generations of Polish miners have created a world of underground chambers and chapels. After a quick lunch we'll head back to Krakow for a free afternoon. You'll have time to do some shopping, rest, return to favorite sites.
You'll also have the option to join a half-day trip to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. We will regroup in the evening for another wonderful meal at a local restaurant with folklore show.
This morning we head to Czestochowa, one of the most important Catholic shrines in all of Poland. Upon arrival, we'll have time for lunch and then begin the tour of the shrine.
John Paul II was a fervent devotee of the Black Madonna, also as the "Queen of Poland" and he made pilgrimages to this site on six different occasions. We'll celebrate Mass at the Shrine and then return to Krakow. After some time to freshen up at the hotel we'll have a farewell dinner at Wierzynek - a restaurant where kings and aristocrats have dined. It's an experience you won't forget!