Best Places to Visit in Poland

Posted by Kornelija Kadyte  |  April 18, 2019

For those planning a holiday in Poland, this beautiful country offers an abundance of attractions. From medieval cities to pristine forests, stunning mountain vistas, modern museums, ancient castles, scenic beaches, and so much more. Poland’s vastness may leave you struggling to explore it all in a single vacation.

To help you make the most of your trip, let’s delve into the top 25 places to visit in Poland.

1. Tricity: Gdansk, Gdynia, Sopot

Up in northern Poland along the Baltic Sea coast, you’ll find the captivating Tricity. Gdansk, a lively city with a rich history, boasts long and pristine beaches, medieval architecture, and vibrant cultural activities. Gdynia, a bustling seaport, offers lovely beaches and hosts the renowned Polish film festival. Sopot, a spa city, lures visitors with its natural beauty, lively nightlife, and the famous European song contest. These three cities are so close to each other that exploring all of them is a breeze.

2. Krakow

Krakow, a city of charm and history, is a must-visit. Explore the Wawel Royal Castle, the magnificent old town, St. Mary Basilica, and Schindler’s Factory. For a unique experience, check out Forum Przestrzenie, a contemporary cultural center, or Tytano bars, which are housed in an old tobacco factory. Krakow is a haven for religious travelers, offering numerous holy sites. It’s also budget-friendly, making it an excellent destination for a European short break.

3. Ojcowski National Park

A mere 24 kilometers from Krakow lies Ojcowski National Park. This compact gem is known for its rare flora, biodiversity, and extraordinary landscapes. Whether you visit in spring to witness blooming flowers, hike through the lush summer scenery, or admire the red and golden hues of autumn, Ojcowski has something for everyone.

4. Auschwitz-Birkenau

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, a former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, is a somber but essential stop for history enthusiasts. It offers a profoundly educational and eye-opening experience.

5. Malbork

Malbork Castle, one of Europe’s largest medieval castles, is an architectural marvel. This red-brick Teutonic Order castle and its museum are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Each July, they stage re-enactments of historic battles, immersing you in the Middle Ages.

Malbork, Poland

6. Tatra Mountains and Zakopane

Whether you visit during summer or winter, the Tatra Mountains and Zakopane offer unforgettable natural beauty. Hike in the warmer months or hit the slopes for winter sports. The Tatra National Park boasts awe-inspiring sites, including Morskie Oko and Gubalowka. Zakopane, primarily known for winter sports, also features attractions like the Ice Labyrinth and Exotic Papugarnia.

7. Pieninski National Park

Not far from the Tatra National Park, Pieninski National Park enchants with rafting and kayaking down the Dunajec River, surrounded by picturesque crags and cliffs. The park’s eastern end houses Czorsztyn Castle, a stunning hilltop gem surrounded by lush mountains.

8. Bieszczady National Park

In the southernmost part of Poland, Bieszczady National Park offers breathtaking landscapes and serves as a home to various wildlife, including bears, wolves, bison, and numerous bird species. Tarnica, its highest point, delivers unforgettable views.

9. Wroclaw

Wroclaw is a renowned Polish city, celebrated for its University Quarter’s secret gardens, colorful market square, and the iconic Centennial Hall. Take a leisurely stroll around Cathedral Island (Ostrów Tumski) and enjoy a relaxing river cruise. Wroclaw is a city of rich history and laid-back charm.

10. Chelmno

While not as famous as some other destinations, Chelmno is a city of love, attracting visitors on Valentine’s Day. The city’s church houses a relic – small bits of St. Valentine’s skull. Shaped like a heart, Chelmno is a lovely place for special occasions, with its Gothic architecture and scenic surroundings.

Chelmno, Poland

11. Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region

The Wooden Tserkvas are a testament to extraordinary wooden architecture. Eight Orthodox churches, spread across North West Poland, boast unique designs and craftsmanship. Some continue to serve as active churches, while others have been transformed into museums.

12. Torun

Torun is a magical city, untouched by World War II, making its old quarter a historic treasure that has remained unchanged since the Middle Ages. The city exudes authenticity, taking visitors on a journey back in time.

13. Zamosc

The Renaissance town of Zamosc is an architectural marvel, and a visit here promises to fill your camera with hundreds of captivating photos. Its picturesque old city is a true gem waiting to be explored.

14. Wilanow

Wilanow Palace, a splendid Baroque royal residence near Warsaw, beckons visitors to explore its royal apartments, art galleries, and stunning gardens. When the weather is pleasant, the palace gardens are a delight to wander through.

15. Solina

The southern part of Poland unveils the picturesque Solina area. This region features an artificial lake popular among boaters and a host of attractions. The best time to visit is in the fall, when the landscape comes alive with vibrant autumn colors.

Solina, Poland

16. Łeba

Northern Poland is a summertime haven for beach lovers. The wild and scenic beach in Leba stands out. Surrounding national parks, such as Woliński and Słowiński, offer opportunities for exploration and adventure.

17. Wieliczka Salt Mines

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Wieliczka Salt Mines are a must-visit with over a million annual visitors. With a history spanning over 700 years, this underground world is an informative and unique experience. Explore the fascinating salt formations deep underground.

18. Bialowieza National Park

For those seeking rare and pristine natural beauty, Bialowieza National Park is a must. It’s home to the last remaining primeval forest in Europe, untouched by human interaction. Bison, the continent’s largest mammals, roam freely in this exceptional ecosystem.

19. Poznan

Poznan’s history dates back to the 10th century, making it an early center of royal power. The city surprises with street art, affordable high-quality restaurants, charming cafes, and a lovely old market square. Don’t leave without trying the St. Martin’s Croissant, a regional delight.

20. Ksiaz Castle

Ksiaz Castle, nestled near Wroclaw, is one of the most beautiful and intriguing castles in Poland. Surrounded by lush forests, it offers a blend of history and natural beauty. It has even been linked to legends of hidden Nazi gold.

Ksiaz Castle, Poland

21. Moszna Castle

Moszna Castle, located between Wroclaw and Krakow, frequently ranks among the world’s most beautiful castles. Open to visitors, the old baroque castle serves as a gallery, featuring various artist exhibitions.

22. Scesin and the Crooked Forest

Scesin is a picturesque city on the shores of a lake in southeastern Poland. Just south, you’ll find the enigmatic Crooked Forest, where pine trees grow in bizarre shapes. The mystery surrounding these trees has intrigued scientists and visitors alike for years.

23. Bridges of Stanczyki

For offbeat explorations, consider visiting the historic bridges of Stanczyki. Built in the early 20th century, these remarkable architectural wonders stand in the northwest of Poland, near the Kaliningrad and Lithuania borders. Although no longer in use as a railway, they remain a fascinating tourist attraction surrounded by scenic natural beauty.

24. Krzyztopor Castle

Krzyztopor Castle is another intriguing destination. Although much of the castle has crumbled, it once boasted a design based on the calendar, featuring 365 windows, 52 chambers, 12 rooms, and 4 towers, symbolizing the days, weeks, months, and seasons of the year.

25. Warsaw

Warsaw, Poland’s capital, harmoniously blends history with modernity. Its striking architecture, trendy cafes, vibrant nightlife, panoramic vistas, and captivating museums create a city full of exciting places to explore.

Key attractions include the historic Old Town, the Warsaw Rising Museum, Lazienki Park, the Palace of Culture and Science, and the Copernicus Science Museum. While December’s Christmas fairs add festive charm, Warsaw’s year-round calendar features cultural events like Easter celebrations, the Warsaw Book Fair in May, the Mozart Festival in June, the International Street Arts Festival in July, the Warsaw Autumn Festival in September, and the Warsaw Film Festival in October.

Warsaw, Poland

Summing it up, here’s a concise list of must-visit places in Poland that promises a delightful mix of history, natural beauty, and vibrant culture:

Cities: Explore the charm of Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw, Poznan, Torun, Zamość, Gdańsk, Sopot, and Scesin.

Historical Sites: Pay your respects at Auschwitz-Birkenau and admire the Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region.

Castles: Embark on a journey through history at Malbork, Krzyztopor, Moszna, and Ksiaz castles.

National Parks: Immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Tatra, Białowieża, Pieniński, Ojcowski, and Bieszczady national parks.

Offbeat Gems: Discover unique and cool places like the bridges of Stanczyki, the mysterious crooked forest near Scesin, the whimsical crooked house in Sopot, and the striking Maczuga Herkulesa in Ojcowski National Park.

Most Popular: Don’t miss the historic center of Krakow, the breathtaking Morskie Oko in Tatra National Park, the enchanting Wieliczka Salt Mines, and, of course, the vibrant city of Warsaw.