From coniferous forests to snow-covered mountains; from cosmopolitan hotels and resorts to healing hot springs, Poland is a world-class wellness destination with a diverse range of attractions that hold amazing beauty, charm, and history.
Here’s what I did and where I stayed during a funded study tour in Busko:
Day 1, Wednesday 31 August
On the day of departure, I took a morning flight from London Luton Airport and arrived at Warsaw Chopin Airport in the afternoon.
Chopin is an international airport in the Włochy district of Warsaw, Poland. It’s the country’s busiest airport, with 18.9 million passengers passing through it in 2019; it handles approximately 40% of Poland’s total air passenger traffic.
On arrival, I was pleasantly greeted and enjoyed a sumptuous dinner at Grand Hotel Kielce; together with other programme participants, as a way of welcoming us to the mission.
The Grand Hotel Kielce is a great destination that caters equally well to those travelling for business or pleasure. This fantastic location provided me and the other members of the trip with a great introduction to what was to come over the next few days in the stunning country of Poland.
Day 2, Thursday 01 September
Poland is known for its romantic small towns and picturesque cities, and boasts a beautiful selection of luxury hotels which allow visitors to appreciate the country’s best qualities.
On our first full day, we participated in a mini-conference, where I learned an incredible amount from some of the leading thinkers and innovators in the wellness sector in Poland.
After the conference, we loaded up into a bus to head about 90 minutes away, where we visited a construction site in Kazimierza Wielka where thermal pools are being built. While there, we also had a lovely lunch at a local restaurant called Lacon, which provided us with a great introduction to some of the delicious local cuisines.
Kazimierza Wielka is located about 45 kilometres from the country’s capital, Krakow. Its thermal pools, which contain iodine and sulphur compounds, can be used both in therapeutics and cosmetology. The town also harnesses geothermal energy to heat public buildings, in place of traditional methods.
After visiting the thermal pools in Kazimierza Wielka, we then visited Sanatorium Jasna, which is just one of many historical buildings dotted within the Solec-Zdrój health resort.
Flowing out of a few 170-metre-deep boreholes are medicinal waters such as sulphide brine; which contains sulphide and polysulphide ions. They are the greatest treasures of the Solec-Zdrój spa. These waters also contain chloride, bromide, iodide, and boride ions; as well as other elements including calcium, magnesium, lithium, iron, strontium, selenium, and manganese.
All of these give the local medicinal waters a characteristic salty taste and distinctive hydrogen sulphide odour. The sulphide ion content in brine used in medical treatment amounts to 103mg per litre. The health resort was world-class and one of the greatest highlights of the trip.
On our first full evening, we had a delicious four-course meal at the Słoneczny Zdrój Hotel, where we also stayed for the night.
One of the best parts of the day, before we wrapped up our evening, was a chance to indulge in some of the luxurious spa treatments offered by the hotel before winding down.
Day 3, Friday 02 September
We kicked off the day with a tour of the Busko graduation tower. Occasionally referred to as a ‘thorn house’, a graduation tower is a structure used in the production of salt which removes water from a saline solution through evaporation, increasing the concentration of mineral salts in the solution. The tower consists of a wooden wall-like frame stuffed with bundles of brushwood (typically blackthorn – hence the name) which have to be changed about every 15–20 years as they become encrusted with mineral deposits over time.
After that, we had lunch at the Słowacki Sanatorium. This building, and the natural history of the surrounding area, were gorgeous – and the meal was divine as well. The Slowacki Sanatorium is known for its healing abilities through its spa programmes and for featuring its park complex which visitors can enjoy.
The afternoon mini-conference sessions that we participated in were highly informative. After being immersed in the culture of the area and developing a deeper understanding of the wellness sector in Poland, all the sessions truly started to come to life in connection to the deeper mission we were all here for. This was then followed by a visit to the Polish Chamber of Regional Products and the local Swietokrzyski event to top things off.
After a busy day, we then wrapped up the evening with a flavourful dinner of duck at the Bristol Hotel. That evening we had the opportunity to reflect on everything we had experienced up to our final night of the trip. It was a chance to truly tie all of our experiences together in a beautiful setting surrounded by other participants before we had to say our goodbyes.
Day 4, Saturday 03 September
After waking up feeling rejuvenated from the past few days, I packed my bags and was driven by the programme organiser to Warsaw Chopin Airport. I can confidently say that I returned to Britain feeling completely revitalised and rejuvenated after this incredible trip.
Looking back, one of the most striking memories from the trip is the sensation of being immersed in the sulphur baths. From the ambience that the spa had created to the minerals soaking into my skin, I was able to truly reach moments of relaxation.
The sulphur springs are known to transport people back in time; just as they were used in ancient times for tranquillity and healing. To be a medicinal spring, the waters must contain at least one gram of sulphur for each litre of water – the more sulphur the better. The springs in Poland have a remarkably high concentration of sulphur which can create a transformative experience.
Overall, visiting Poland’s wellness spas and resorts was a wonderful experience that introduced me to its rich culture from many perspectives. It also brought to the forefront the power of gaining knowledge through the wellness space that has been cultivated throughout the area.
I highly recommend this trip to anyone who wants to experience wonderful hospitality, spectacular natural settings, and a uniquely restorative experience.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.
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