Best Places to Visit in Poland – Guest post by travel writer and story maker Lauren (trekbible.com).
Being centrally located in Europe, Poland has dealt with numerous invasions and attacks over the course of its history. This has developed a stunning resiliency and beautiful culture within the Polish people. With a plethora of UNESCO world heritage sights, remarkable food, and breathtaking landscapes, Poland is well worth a trip. We’ve put together a list of our favorite fifteen places to visit in Poland.
So, get your list and itinerary ready, because Poland is prepared to give you the adventure of a lifetime!
Best Places to Visit in Poland
Nestled in Western Poland, Wroclaw is the capital of Lower Silesia. Being on a river, this city is a brilliant assortment of city stretched across twelve islands that are connected by numerous bridges. Due to it’s location and the simple placement of Poland, Wroclaw has been majorly influenced by Germany, Poland, Prussia, and Bohemia. This has allowed it to become a mixing pot of culture and life.
Aside from the obvious diversity, highlights of Wroclaw include the Rynek, its central square, St. Elizabeth’s Church, and Afrykarium, a themed aquarium. Of course, being set on the river, this is a spectacular place to take a sunset boat ride with your special someone! So, make sure to keep this exciting and unique city on your must-see of Poland list.
2. Bialowieza Forest
If you want to experience the pre-civilized Europe, take a trip to the Bialowieza Forest.
It is home to over 750 european bison, as well as the other species native to Europe, such as red and roe deer, wild boar, wolves, lynx, and even elk. Along with the wildlife, the old-growth forests intermingle between quaint villages within the space. You’ll enjoy the small towns as you venture over 1150 square miles of forest while checking out the numerous hiking and biking trails.
One of the favorite past times while here is to take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the forest to see the bison.
The magic of this forest has not gone unnoticed, as it is one of Poland’s highly preserved UNESCO World Heritage Sights. That’s just another reason to put it on your itinerary.
Potentially one of the most well-known cities of Poland, Krakow has been the center of much attention for good reason.
Being a former capital, Krakow holds much history, including being the stage for Schindler’s List in the Krakow ghetto during the German invasion during WWII. Krawkow has risen from this with a beautiful resilience which is radiated through the city from the majestic Old Town, which is well worth an evening stroll. Being set on the banks of the Vistula River also gives Krakow a sense of beauty that only a water-side city can.
Sights you don’t want to miss include the Wawel Castle, Sukiennice (Cloth Hall), and a solemn visit to the Plaszow Concentration Camp or the Oskar Schindler Factory. So, as one of the most stunning cities in Poland, do not miss your chance to take in all the beauty held here.
If you’re coming to Poland on a business trip, there is a high likelihood you may end up in Bydgoszcz. With a multitude of universities, colleges, arenas, and businesses, Bydgoszcz is quite the happening place.
This city of younger inhabitants easily made World Travel & Tourism Council’s “Tourism for Tomorrow” list, as it has a bustling culture of music, art, technology, and theatre. A few places you won’t want to miss while here include the Pantheon, Nicolaus Copernicus Square, and the Old Mill by the Brda River. If there are well-known professional sports competitions happening while you’re here, they will be at the Zawisza Sports Complex. Catch a game if you can, it will surely be a once in a lifetime treat.
5. The Masurian Lake District
For a summer resort feelings without a care in the world, spend some time in the Masurian Lake District.
With an overabundance of lakes and rivers, rent a cottage to let your cares slip away. With so many boat tours and relaxing activities to choose from, including amazing cuisine at local villages, the Masurian Lakes will take all your traveling stress away.
Gdansk is a seaport city in Northern Poland, rich in maritime history. While you’re visiting, take a boat ride around the oldest shipyards in Poland along the Baltic Sea. Gdansk is also home to the Solidarity Movement, the Royal Road, and a wonderful market. Learn much of the city’s history in the 14th century Town Hall museum, and afterwards enjoy a unique Polish beer dockside.
So, for a less touristy stop in Poland still rich in history, Gdansk is where to be.
7. Wieliczka Salt Mine (incl. cathedral)
Have you ever dreamed of journeying to the center of the earth? Well, that may not be the safest dream, so let’s settle for a Salt Mine over 140 underground instead.
The Wieliczka Salt Mine, also a UNESCO World Heritage Sight, has a myriad of tours you can take. Whether you want to experience what it was like to mine salt, pray in the underground chapel, or be challenged to explore the cave with just a headlamp, this is a stellar adventure for the whole family. So, put this unique experience at the top of your list of the things to do in Poland.
8. Tatra National Park
While Poland has a near limitless amount of cities to steal your attention, the natural beauty of Poland should not go unnoticed. In south central Poland, stop in Tatra National Park for a few days to take in the abundance of natural wonders.
With over 650 caves, 170 miles of hiking trails, a brilliant waterfall over 230 feet high, Poland’s only mountain range, and over thirty alpine lakes, there is endless possibilities for you to explore. You can see all these wonders on a mountain bike, by rock climbing, or even paragliding. So, even for the nature lovers, Poland has a place for you to explore!
If you’ve always dreamed of living in a castle, Malbork may be your favorite spot on this list.
Home to the world’s largest brick castle, it is a spectacle to take in. Built by the Knights of the Teutonic Order in the 13th century, it has survived and been restored beautifully. So, for all you Disney Princesses, architects hoping to brings castles back, or anyone who simply loves history, check out the castles of Malbork.
One could say that Bialystok is Poland’s architecture capital. With an abundance of historic buildings, Bialystok is for any history or art lover.
Between the baroque gardens of Branicki Palace and the neo-gothic Holy Mary Cathedral, you will be in awe of this place. This city is also a great base to branch out and see Bialowieski National Park, Narwianski National Park, and the Biebrza Valley Marshes. Other small towns to take a day trip to from here are Knyszyn and Choroszcz, the latter being where an Branicki aristocratic summer home is located.
For another wonderfully family friendly destination, whisk away to the forty four islands that make up Swinoujscie.
Situated on the Baltic Sea, the beaches and 170-year-old Spa Park will give you a chance to enjoy the water and endless amounts of gorgeous vegetation.
The Museum of Sea Fishing, Karsibor Island bird reserve, and the Wolin Island lighthouse will all call to you the bird watchers, fishermen, and photographers. The latter being the tallest structure on the Baltic Sea, giving you a stunning 360 degree view of the islands.
12. Isle of Usedom
Another of Poland’s popular summer destinations, the Isle of Usedom has a little different flavor to it.
It still has the spectacular resorts, hotels, and houses to stay in on the water, but the nightlife is filled with other possibilities. Home to many fashion events, theatre performances, and concerts, this is a wonderful place for teens and young adults. The Isle of Usedom is also home to Trassenheide, Europe’s biggest butterfly farm. Between the water, culture, and butterflies, the Isle of Usedom easily made our list of the best places to visit in Poland.
Zakopane is an extension of our Tatra Mountain suggestion.
A small mountain town near the park, Zakopane is a small, artsy town that is the home-base for many outdoor adventures. So, take day trips of skiing, hiking, and climbing here. When you need a rest day, enjoy the art galleries and local vibe, while enjoying the wooden buildings giving you an old-time feeling.
Leba is home to Slowinski National Park, where you can see nature change the landscape before your very eyes. As the strong winds blow across this beautiful sandy land, you can see the sand dunes twist and turn into new shapes.
Leba’s beaches are known for having the clearest water and softest sand.
So, if you’re in Poland for a honeymoon, babymoon, or anything in between, Leba will provide the perfect escape. With local fish markets, you can also enjoy the fresh wonders of the sea.
Last but not least is the wonderful city of Warsaw. Having been nearly fully destroyed during WWII, the city is now a delicately beautiful blend of restored history and modern elegance. Whether you want to explore the Presidential Palace, some of Europe’s best nightclubs, or see over thirty castles and palaces, there is something for everyone here.
Highlights of Warsaw include Lazienki Park, where you can watch peacock’s stroll about the lake and free Chopin concerts on Sunday evenings in the summer. People of all ages will love the Copernicus Science Center. This city is truly one of Europe’s best, showing off the mixture of history, culture, and Polish pride.
If you’re escaping to Poland for a rich architecture and history tour or a brilliant few weeks a beach, you will not be let down. Having risen from much adversity during World War II, Poland is now a bustling and beautiful country. With a high standard of living, countrywide healthcare, and overwhelming natural beauty, it will be hard to leave this wonderful destination.
Lauren is a trekbible writer and story maker from Pine Valley, California. She and her husband work in the recreation department at a camp. In their free time, they enjoy mountain biking, building out their Sprinter van, and adventuring with their new puppy, Shadow.
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Featured photo: via Pexels.
Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.