The way we perceive distances depends on our knowledge about countries.
Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom seem very close to us; everyday we can hear about events which take place in these countries.
On the opposite side, Czech Republic and Poland stayed isolated during almost 50 years. Many people are even unable to place these countries on a map.
However, did you know that:
* Strasbourg is as close from Czech Republic as from Paris, closer from Poland than from Brest.
* The whole Poland is closer from Lille than Lisbon, Sicilia.
* Even better... France is 300 kilometers far from Czech Republic, 400 kilometers from Poland.
The biggest part of Poland belongs to the North European plain which stretches from north of France to Ukraine. Excepted in it's eastern part, Polish landscapes, climate, animal life and flora are the same as in west Europa.
From north to south, 6 elements can be distinguished:
The north coastal plain.
It stretches along the Baltic sea over a region called Pomerania (Pomorskie). It is limited in the west by the Pomeranian Bay where the Oder discharges its waters, and by the Gulf of Gdansk in the east. Typical landscapes are long sand beaches bordered with dunes and coniferous forests.
The lake region.
There are more than 9300 lakes with a larger surface than 1 hectare (2 1/2 acres) in this region, and their total area is 1 percent of the national territory.
You can practice there yachting and aquatic sports. The longest canoe course is 91 kilometers long !
This region extends in the west through Pomerania close from the coast and Great Poland (Wielkopolska) around Poznan, and in the east through Mazurie (Mazurskie).
Typical landscapes are wooden and thinly populated hills, a large variety of species and well-known natural parcs.
The central lowlands.
It extends over the south of Great Poland (south of Poznan), Silesia (Ślaskie) around Wrocław and Mazovia around Warszaw. Landcape is often flat and monotonous. You can find there many important agriculture areas, and industrial centers.
The Little Poland (Małopolska) uplands.
This part of territory is older geologically. It extends over Silesia in west and Little Poland in east. There are coal,zinc and lead deposits.
Landscape is undulating, karstic. Perfect for many medieval castles (eagle nests around Krakow).
These mountains, which reach 1602 meters, offer many resorts, spas and impressive natural parcs, as the "table mountains". (Góry stołowy). There are many granite quarries.
These mountains embrace the Tatra (Tatry) , the Beskids (Beskidy) and the Bieszczady mountains. The Tatra mountains, south from Krakow, reach 2499 meters. There are salt and sulfur deposits, natural gas and even petrol. There are many resorts like Zakopane and 6 natural parcs protected. Typical landscape is alpine.