Festivals in Poland you can’t miss

Poland’s rich history has led to an abundance of festivals across the country. There are many religious celebrations, which are often celebrated by the entire country, but there are also national and historical holidays that showcase Polish culture and traditions. These festivals in Poland can be of any size, from a few families getting together to celebrate Christmas to large-scale citywide events.

Poland – the land of festivals 

In these uncertain pandemic times that we found ourselves in, it’s good to remember the good old days when going out wasn’t so complicated and mass events were marking the summer calendar like holes in Swiss cheese. But even though it got much harder, mass events lovers don’t (and won’t) give up. Festivals in Poland are still alive and well, so it’s good to know where’s the best place to go. If you wanna catch some amazing events that you’ll remember forever, Poland is one of the lesser-known mines of festivals – the amount and diversity of them are astounding. And for a good price too! 

Music festivals in Poland

Music is an important part of every festival, so let’s start with the ones that focus on it as the main attraction. We’d venture to say, that there are at least a few options for every music genre in the book, so everybody should find something perfect for their taste. 

Pol’and’Rock Festival

Undoubtedly the biggest of them all is the famous Pol’and’Rock Festival (previously known as The Woodstock Festival) in Kostrzyn nad Odrą. Its frequency in the years before the pandemic reached over 750 000 people. The festival is totally free of admission, as it is intended to thank the volunteers of The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, a benefit foundation aiming to improve medical care nationwide.

A person crowd surfing at Pol’and’Rock Festival. Festivals in Poland are popular for all ages.
Pol’and’Rock is one of the most popular Poland festivals

Everybody can enter on the condition that they came to make peace, not war. That is why, regardless of the music, which varies from rock, heavy metal or punk all the way up to electronics, the festival’s general vibe is absolutely hippie, explaining its better-known previous name. The artists on Pol’and’Rock are mostly Polish but it doesn’t lack occasional big stars, like The Prodigy or Manu Chao.

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Open’er Festival

Another musical giant, with more of an international and ‘hipster’ vibe, is Open’er Festival in Gdynia. Its record frequency reached 140 000 people in 2018. Organizers of the event pride themselves in being the first to create many solutions that are currently used in most music festivals in Poland, like introducing hand bands, on-festival currency or special buses that are bringing the participants to the event.

People listening to music at Poland festival. Festivals in Poland are a great way to be social
Music festivals in Poland happen every year

Open’er’s lineup is definitely one of the most awaited – it’s known to sell out before they even release the name of the first band. Here is where many artists played for the first (and sometimes the only) time in Poland, including super-stars such as Blur, Prince, Coldplay, Snoop Dogg, The White Stripes, Kanye West, Kings Of Leon or Arctic Monkeys. The main genres of the festival are rock, pop and electronics. 

Sunrise Festival in Kołobrzeg

Speaking of electronics, in recent decades there was a huge surge of festivals that are dedicating themselves entirely to this type of music. The biggest festival of the kind in Poland (and one of the biggest in whole Eastern Europe) is Sunrise Festival in Kołobrzeg. They major in the trance and house genre and host such giants as David Guetta or Fatboy Slim.

The Audioriver Festival

The Audioriver Festival is close on its heels, but except for the music, they pay attention to the educational values as well. The last edition focused on topics surrounding sexual education and responsible fun. Another one worth mentioning is Cracovian Unsound Festival held in a once abandoned Forum hotel, scenically located by the Vistula River.

It explores widely understood contemporary music, the sounds that escape the genre classifications – new, experimental and unobvious. 

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Art festivals in Poland

Festivals in Poland are not only about music and there is many of them where another type of art is put in the spotlight. Literature, photography, cinema, dance, visual effects, performance… Poland certainly doesn’t lack ideas for creating mass events. 

Slot Art Festival

One of the most interesting is Slot Art Festival, held in the second largest sacred facility in the world – Lubiąż Monastery. A huge complex of beautiful baroque buildings makes a great background to the 5 days filled with workshops, lectures, concerts and activities, all held in a very chilled, friendly and respectful atmosphere.

masquerade Mask from festival in Poland
Poland has many great artists who participate in festivals

The classes can vary from African dance, through ceramics or walking on stilts, all the way to playing the musical saw. At the end of the event, there’s a magical show filled with fire dancing, acrobats and mystical music. 

OFF Camera

Another type of art festival is OFF Camera – the biggest movie festival in Poland. Quoting the organizers of the event: “it centres on the independent cinema, brave both in terms of content and formal structure, which relies on gripping, fascinating stories.” Once a year, Cracow transforms into a huge cinema complex and movies are screened everywhere, including many open-air locations, such as the banks of the River Vistula.

Even though independent, the festival is known for hosting some of the most famous big-screen actors among its guests, including Wentworth Miller, a star of the famous Prison Break series. 

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Culture festivals of Poland

Let’s not forget about the festivals that concentrate on promoting different cultures. Even though Poland might not be the most diverse country in the world, they do take great pride in the cultural influences that made them what they are today. 

Jewish Culture Festival

Poland has a very rich and long history of Jewish presence in the country and there are many events referring to it, spread across its borders. Probably the most special is the Jewish Culture Festival in Cracow. Born as a small, local project, it quickly grew to be the biggest showcase of Jewish culture in the world and one of the best known and appreciated by both artists and visitors cultural events in Poland.

Krakow jewish festival
The annual Kraków Jewish Cultural centre draws large crowds

Every year for 10 summer days 150 artists, lecturers and instructors share their work and achievements in developing Jewish culture with their audience. The event attracts around 30 000 people yearly, with its unique concerts, lectures and art displays. 

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Carnaval Sztukmistrzów

Another extraordinary festival, that has no equal in its kind worldwide is Carnaval Sztukmistrzów, being a part of the Urban Highline Festival. Every year in the last week of July, the city of Lublin becomes a playground for magicians, jugglers, fire dancers and street artists coming from across the globe and showing the arcane of what is commonly known as the gipsy culture.

Lublin Urban Highline Festival
By Piotr Jaruga – Zbiory Urzędu Miasta Lublin, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Meanwhile, the air above the dumbfounded audience is crowded with the Highliners, strolling casually on the slacklines extended in between the buildings. It’s the biggest festival of this type in the world. 

Christmas festivals in Poland

In most European destinations at Christmas, you will find a plethora of Christmas festivals and the same goes for Christmas festivals in Poland. Most cities, towns and rural villages will have their own festival and while we can’t cover them all there are a few Christmas festivals in Poland that can’t be missed.

poland christmas
Christmas traditions are popular in Poland

These are just a few drops of water in the sea of festival possibilities that one can choose from in Poland. What is sure, is that everybody can find something interesting and fitting their definition of “fun” while visiting this Eastern European country.

Frequently asked questions about travel in Poland

Poland is an emerging travel destination in Europe. For many travellers, Poland has not been on their radar so there are a few frequently asked questions about Poland we can answer for you.

Is Poland safe for travel?

Violent crime is rare in Poland, but like most countries petty crime, such as pickpocketing, is common. Thieves often work in small groups, so be aware in tourist areas and near hotels, markets, ATMs, currency exchange bureaus and public transport.

What currency do I need for my trip to Poland?

The official currency you need to use in Poland is the Zloty. We recommend that you get a Revolut travel money card, that can be loaded with multiple currencies and has nearly non-existent withdrawal fees to save you money on your trip to Poland

Do I need travel insurance for my holiday in Poland?

Poland has a high quality of healthcare but in saying that travel insurance is still recommended for all travellers entering the country. The last thing you want is a huge bill for medical expenses should you require care on your family holiday in Poland

We recommend using Travel Insurance Master, their website will compare the best deals from a number of providers and present you with the best value for money policy on the market. Click through to Insurance Masters to get a free quote.

Using your phone in Poland

Relying on Wi-fi when you are travelling and sightseeing in Poland can be difficult. Making calls and staying in contact is a top priority when you are travelling in Europe. Plan your trip to Poland and order your sim before you leave home to stop any stress about travelling, data and calls on your vacation in Poland.

Pocket Wi-Fi for your

You will be able to access free Wi-Fi at certain spots in Poland. The best solution for your vacation in Poland and staying connected to the internet is to rent a 4G Pocket Wi-Fi hotspot. These small devices can be ordered and delivered to your hotel for your stay in Poland.

Alternatively, you can purchase a mobile hotspot device to keep and use on all your travel. You can choose the length of time you want and the amount of daily data you will need. Order your pocket Wi-Fi today for your Poland trip.

We hope this article from us here at Poland Travel Expert has inspired you to visit some of the festivals in Poland.

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