With a history as large and complex as its size, Poland epitomizes “East meets West.” And “rural meets urban,” “modern meets traditional”… you get the idea. And while Poland certainly has the soaring medieval castles and deep primeval forests that fill your fantasies, it’s also got modern cities embracing the 21st century with eager arms. Now a member of the EU, Poland’s rush to modernize and internationalize can be best felt in the hip clubs and buzzing restaurants of vibrant capital Warsaw. You can get more than just a glimpse into the traditional side of Poland as you head to the small towns that dot the tree-filled countryside, where horse-drawn carts rattle down rustic roads. History buffs have no shortage of fascinating, if somber, museums and sites, everything from Gothic castles of Teutonic Knights to the political prisons of WWII. But don’t stop there—hike amid the sand dunes and bogs of Slowinski National Park, kayak the clean waters of Great Masurian Lakes, or laze about the summer sun along Baltic coast beaches. Just be sure to sip some of the famous Vodka along the way.