Poland is very easy to travel to, but despite this, the country in Eastern Europe is still far under the radar of many travelers. We think that’s a shame, of course, because the country is not only beautiful, but also offers many cool cities with fantastic sights.
In addition, Poland is now one of the most modern countries in Europe. Most people still have an outdated image in their mind about a round trip through Poland. But on the streets of the cities you probably won’t see tons of old Soviet cars.
The best way to get rid of such prejudices is, of course, to travel to the country yourself. That’s why we’re going to introduce you the 35 best places to visit in Poland.
The city of Wroclaw is located in southwestern Poland and is the fourth largest city in the country after the three cities of Warsaw, Krakow and Lodz, with a population of just over 630,000. It is also the capital of the Lower Silesia Voivodeship and Wroclaw is also the administrative seat of the county of the same name.
The city is located in the Lower Silesian Plain at an altitude of about 111 meters between the Sudetes Mountains in the south and the Trzebnickie Hills in the north. Four tributaries of the Odra River flow through the city area. In total, the city area is located on twelve islands, which are connected by almost 300 bridges. That is why Wroclaw is also called the Venice of Poland.
Even within the city, nature is not neglected, because there is no large city in the whole of Poland with more green spaces. Wroclaw is not only the capital of the historical region of Silesia, but for many reasons it is also the most important city in the region. Due to numerous research institutes, theaters, museums, companies and universities, Wroclaw is the regional hub for cultural, scientific and economic affairs.
Located on the Odra River, the county seat is also the seat of both a Protestant diocesan bishop and a Roman Catholic archbishop, which underpins its significant role in Christian religious affairs. The city of Wroclaw is known, among other things, for its eventful history between Poland and the neighboring country of Germany. Visitors from all over the world come to Wroclaw year after year to see sights such as the Wroclaw City Hall, the Wroclaw Cathedral or the Wroclaw University with the Aula Leopoldina.
A trip to Lublin takes you to the east of Poland, to one of the oldest settlements in the country. Today it is the capital of the voivodeship of the same name, which presents itself as an “inspiring city”. The large city forms the bustling and cultural center of the region and attracts numerous visitors with its festivals. It is also nationally known for the Old Town with the square Rynek and the Majdanek Memorial.
In the old town, which has remained authentic, part of the town’s history can be virtually read from the houses. More than one hundred monuments stand together in a small area, the oldest of which dates back to the 13th century. The Krakow and Grodzka Gates and the Gothic semicircular tower have been preserved from the medieval city walls.
House facades with Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance style elements line the streets around the Rynek, which is one of the most beautiful market squares in Poland. The stately center of the square is the Old Town Hall, which has been rebuilt several times and was the seat of the Crown Court. This is where the guided tours of underground Lublin begin. The Trinity Tower, the bell tower of the Jesuit College, offers a beautiful view of the Old Town Square (Rynek). You can’t miss it any more than the splendidly decorated basilica of the Dominican Monastery and St. John’s Cathedral.
The city of Katowice in Poland is also called Katowice or Katowicy. It is located in the Silesian Voivodeship in the south of the country, has about 303,000 inhabitants and is the tenth largest city in Poland. Katowice occupies a special economic position in Poland.
There is a rich deposit of coal and ore here, which makes the place a flourishing business location, although the electrical industry and the field of information technology are becoming more and more popular.
The name Katowice appears in history for the first time in 1598, but the districts D?b as early as 1299 and Bogucice as early as 1397. Under Prussian rule, the town grew so rapidly that it was granted city rights in 1865. When the railroad directorate was transferred from Wroc?aw to Katowice, this once again provided for a strong upswing.
Now the city became an important traffic junction between Germany and the neighboring countries in the southeast. In 1924, the adjacent municipalities were assigned to Katowice and the population doubled. Now the city became the capital of the Autonomous Voivodeship of Silesia, the seat of the Silesian Parliament and at the same time the location of banks and industry.
After 1945, the city regained its old position as an economic and administrative center. The history can be traced in detail in the city’s museums. Among the sights is also the Archbishop’s Palace.
Warsaw is the capital of Poland and has about 1.7 million inhabitants. The Eastern European metropolis occupies an important political and cultural position within Europe and remains an important economic and commercial center in Europe.
Due to the city’s long and eventful history, which dates back to the 9th century, it is home to numerous theaters, museums, universities and listed buildings. In the meantime, the metropolis on the Vistula has become a popular vacation destination for tourists and, in addition to the sights and the beautiful nature, the relatively low prices for e.g. hotels, gastronomy and transport also attract tourists.
As a tourist, you cannot miss a visit to the Old Town of Warsaw. The Old Town was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and in the course of this, the Old Town was extensively renovated. Of particular interest are the Royal Castle (Zamek Krolewski), the Market Square (Rynek) and the National Museum, which is the largest museum in Poland.
The Castle Square, which is located on the outskirts of the city, is also worth a visit. From the Castle Square, the Royal Way leads to the Wilanów Castle and further to the street Krakowskie Przedmiescie, which is lined with beautiful baroque buildings. If you want to do some shopping, you can do it in the nearby Nowy Swiat shopping street. Here you will find numerous stores selling souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, as well as restaurants and coffee shops. The classicist palace is also an outstanding sight in Warsaw. By the way, today the president lives in the impressive palace.
The entire inner city center of Warsaw offers many small and large parks to relax from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The venerable hanseatic city of Gdansk with its magnificent patrician houses is the capital of Pomerania. With about 460 000 inhabitants, it is the perfect size to explore on foot. Due to its location on the Motlawa River and the many bridges, it almost seems like a small “Venice of the North”. Gdansk is divided into the Main City and the Old Town, with most of the Gdansk sights being found in the Main City. Typical for the city are the beautiful merchant houses with curved gables in the Dutch-influenced Hanseatic architecture, which can be admired everywhere in the Main City.
The most famous street of the Main City and Gdansk’s promenade. Today, the beautiful patrician houses house cafes, restaurants, galleries, souvenir and amber stores. It runs between the Golden Gate in the west and the Green Gate in the east for about half a kilometer straight ahead. Almost every house here is a sight in itself. The beautiful facades were mostly built in Gdansk’s heyday, the Renaissance.
The beautiful Renaissance building of the Town Hall is often compared to the Doge’s Palace in Venice. It now houses the Museum of City History, and you can climb the 82-meter clock tower on foot and be rewarded at the top with a wonderful view of the city and the adjacent St. Mary’s Church.
Gdansk’s landmark stands directly on the Motlawa River. The largest harbor crane in the world when it was completed in 1444, it was used to load and unload ships, as well as to erect masts for sailing ships, and also to defend the harbor. Today it is part of the National Maritime Museum, which is directly adjacent.
Bydgoszcz is a large industrial city in Poland, founded by Casimir the Great in 1346. Bydgoszcz is located in the Kujawy region, which was originally an independent duchy. Bydgoszcz, after many wars with the Teutonic Order and Sweden, finally belonged to Prussia from 1722. In 1920 Bydgoszcz became Polish again. Today, Bydgoszcz has about 366,000 inhabitants and is the capital of the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship.
Bydgoszcz’s economic importance as an industrial location is partly due to the Bydgoszcz Canal. Via the rivers Vistula and Netze the Brahe can be connected with the Oder.
The Bydgoszcz Warehouse City, which is worth seeing, is the result of this traffic route, which is so important for trade and industry. Not only a series of half-timbered warehouses on the Brahe, all dating from the 18th century, but above all the “Venice of Bydgoszcz”, situated on a small tributary, are cultural witnesses of a lively economic life worth seeing.
On a late Gothic church from the 15th century, one can admire a striking stepped gable. The church of the Poor Clares offers a particularly nice attraction. Every day at 12:00 and at 18:00 a small brass orchestra plays from the tower. Inside the church, besides the high altar, the painted wooden ceiling construction is worth seeing.
From the Church of the Poor Clares you can start your discovery walk along ul. Gdariska, which begins there. This former Gdansk Street represents a glorious past with its Art Nouveau buildings from the end of the 19th century. The Hotel Pod Orlem (To the Eagle) should not be missed on the sightseeing tour. By the way, it is still a hotel today.
A popular meeting place for tourists is the southern pier in the port of Gdynia, because here you can find many attractions in the immediate vicinity. Visible from afar is the white museum ship Dar Pomorza with its three masts. Also, the Akwarium Gdyńskie (Oceanographic Museum) is located here. Adjacent to the pier is the marina, which is one of the largest on the Polish Baltic coast. Also, excursion boats and ferries dock at the Molo Południowe (South Pier).
At the top of the pier is a monument to the writer Joseph Conrad. A few steps away is a modern new building, which houses the city museum. It presents information about the town’s history and works of art from the region. At the pl. Grunwaldzki is the Teatr Muzyczny, which with its 2000 seats is one of the largest stages in the country.
A promenade leads from the southern pier to the beach in Redłowo and further to the beach in Orłowo. On the pier in Orłowo, an open-air stage hosts performances by the municipal theater in the summer. Orłowo is known for its functionalist villas from the 1930s. Among them is the Willa Lubicz at ul. Orłowska 43, where an exclusive hotel was opened a few years ago. Another sandy beach is located in the Babie Dołe district north of the city center.
Sopot is rightly considered one of the most beautiful seaside resorts on the Polish Baltic Sea. It is picturesquely nestled between the forests of the Tri-City (Gdansk, Sopot, Gdynia) Nature Park and the wide beaches of the Gdansk Bay.
Already in the 16th century, members of wealthy patrician families from Gdansk used to rest here. However, Sopot’s career as a health resort began in the 19th century, when Jean Georges Haffner, a French doctor and officer in the Napoleonic army, who settled in Gdansk, recognized “in the green location of the place and the advantages of the Baltic air” the best conditions for the establishment of a spa.
In 1823, he built a small bathhouse with “royal greenery” on the site where the luxurious Grand Hotel from the 1920s stands today. A year later, the first spa house was built right next to it. In the following years, the spa house was expanded.
Today Sopot has about 40,000 inhabitants. Every year more than 2 million visitors come here to relax. In addition to wide sandy beaches, a long promenade, well-kept green areas and numerous spa houses, restaurants and cafes, the city also offers a special attraction: the longest pier in Europe, 511 meters, which invites you to take long walks.
27. Bialowieza Forest
Białowieża National Park is one of the last primeval forests in Europe and for this reason it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is a pearl among the forests of Europe.
The national park is located about 250 km east of Warsaw. As a part of the Central European lowlands in the eastern part of the Vistula basin, the national park spreads at an altitude between 145 and 202 meters. The border between Poland and Belarus is crossed by a watershed between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea. The Hwoźna, Leśna, Łutownia and Narewka rivers run through the area itself.
The national park was established as a reserve in 1921 and declared a national park in 1932. This makes the Białowieża National Park the second oldest in Poland after the Pieniny National Park and one of the oldest national parks in Europe.
King Wladyslaw Jagiello went hunting in the primeval forest as early as 1409. Also in the following centuries the forest was a favorite hunting ground of the rulers, which also contributed to the fact that the primeval forest has been preserved until today.
The forest extends to Belarus over a total area of 1250 square kilometers. Nature is left to its own devices here.
The oldest trees are already about 500 years old. The largest and probably best known inhabitants of the primeval forest are the bison. About 250 of them still live there in the wild.
Krakow is not only the capital of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship, it is also the seat of the second oldest university in Central Europe. The city has developed into an important economic center and is also considered a well-known cultural center.
Until 1596 Krakow was the capital of Poland. Many old buildings from the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods can still be found in the old city. Still as the second largest city of the country, it is often called the secret capital, here is especially the central point of Polish history.
In the Wawel Castle are the tombs of many Polish kings. Today Krakow has a population of about 760,000 inhabitants.
As a major cultural and artistic as well as scientific hub, the city is considered the most up-and-coming location for investment and innovation in the world. The Royal Castle, some churches in the Old Town and the Royal Way are the attractions for the tourists who travel to Krakow today to get acquainted with the long history of the city.
As the capital of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship, the city of Szczecin is located about 120 kilometers northeast of Berlin. It is located directly on the Odra River and not far from the Szczecin Lagoon. It is one of the largest seaports on the Baltic Sea and also the seventh largest city in Poland.
Most of the city is located on the left bank of the Odra River and is mostly characterized by hilly forests. In the middle of the city area the river divides into the West Odra and the East Odra, exactly between these two branches of the river lie the Szczecin river islands.
The town hall should be seen in any case, also the medieval churches and especially the old town are very interesting. It was heavily destroyed during the war and could only be partially rebuilt. The New Town has the flair of a Parisian-style city dating from the 1870s. If you want to shop, you can find a bargain or two. There are many markets and small and large stores. For the evening, the numerous clubs of the city attract, each of which has a different atmosphere.
It is one of the oldest cities in Poland, the first settlements have been recorded as early as 12,000 years ago. The Warta River, on which Poznan is located, was the reason for its settlement, and the trade routes between Eastern and Western Europe also developed from it. In the 16th century, Poznan was a flourishing city and was considered one of the most important trade centers in the country. After 1945, Poznan was rebuilt. Especially the Town Hall and the historic Market Square were among the first reconstructions, they are still a major tourist attraction today. The Cathedral on the so-called Cathedral Island – St. Peter and Paul – is a popular sight today.
The National Museum, where valuable and famous works are exhibited, is also one of the highlights. On the Route of Kings and Emperors the most important sights can be admired, which are furthermore the Eastern Market Square and the Poznan Cathedral. Poznan also has universities in the technical, medical and musical fields, and is considered an important location for industry, services and trade in Poland. Likewise, the city is considered an important trade fair location in the region.
The beautiful town of Karpacz is located in the Powiat Jeleniogórski in Lower Silesia (Dolny Śląsk) in Poland in the Giant Mountains and lies at an altitude between 480 and 885 meters. One of the highlights of the village is the Snow Mountain, which is located south of the village on the border with the Czech Republic. It is the highest mountain in the Krkonoše Mountains.
One of the sights in Karpacz is the court lime tree. Next to the tree, since 1602, the sheriff’s courts were held. A table, a judge’s bench and a pillory stand next to the lime tree until today. A lime tree symbolizes innocence, hope and virginity. At that time people planted a lime tree in a central place in a settlement. From time immemorial, court sessions, ritual dances and war deliberations took place under the lime trees. The court lime tree in Karpacz has a circumference of over five meters. It is one of the natural monuments of the region.
For lovers, a visit to the Love Mill is a highlight in Karpacz. It was built to commemorate the love of a miller’s daughter for a mountain spirit. The folk legend says that at this place the mill transform human destinies, like that of the miller’s daughter. She became a princess. Miraculous forces surround the mill, which make it possible to return love.
The medieval Norwegian Stave Church Wang, built in the village of Vang in Norway was built by King Frederick William IV in 1841in the town of Karpacz in the Polish Krkonoše Mountains. The unique carvings, windows and aisles of the church delight many visitors every year.
22. Isle of Usedom
Poland’s share of Usedom is limited to a narrow strip of land bordered by the Baltic Sea, the Swine River and the Szczecin Lagoon. It belongs to the state-approved spa town of Świnoujście. This district houses the historic spa quarter with restored spa villas, spa facilities and Spa Park.
In general, this spot of Usedom in Poland forms an interesting destination at any time of the year. Thanks to numerous attractions, the stay can be varied. For example, in the Karsiborskie Paprocie (Kaseburg Ferns) reserve, located to the south, you can marvel at two-meter tall royal ferns. The geographical location allows for several water sports such as kite surfing, sailing and fishing. Then there is the harbor with moorings for excursion boats, oceanarium, cinema, fishing museum, the old fortress buildings and the seagull beacon. Everything is located close to each other.
21. Wieliczka Salt Mine
The Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow is visited by over 1 million visitors annually, making it one of the most popular and most visited tourist attractions in Poland. The salt mine has been in operation since the 13th century and is one of the oldest economic operations in Europe. The more than 2000 shafts and tunnels of the mine now reach a length of 350 km.
Since 1978, the mine, which is still in operation, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tourists can visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine on a 2 km long tourist route, which leads through several levels through old tunnels and 22 chambers.
Shimmering crystal grottos, emerald green lakes and chapels and cathedrals artfully laid out in salt enchant every visitor. For centuries, miners created the infrastructure. The oldest chapels date back to the Middle Ages, they were carved into the salt so that miners could pray on the spot and did not have to travel up.
The largest and most beautiful chapel is the Chapel of St. Kunigundis. It was consecrated in 1927 after 70 years of construction. Everything here is made of salt, the altar, the wall reliefs, the floor and also the heavy chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Concerts and theater performances are held in the chapel.
At a depth of 135 meters, a sanatorium treats patients with asthma and bronchial diseases. It is possible to book one-day and several-day treatment stays here. Both day and overnight stays are offered.
Torun is best known for its Old Town, which features many buildings in the style of North German Brick Gothic. It was also the home of the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.
The Teutonic Order was called to the country by Duke Konrad of Mazovia to convert the pagans living there to Christianity. The foundation stone of the city was laid in 1231. In 1233 Torun received the town charter, and in 1260 the construction of the castle began. In the 14th century the city joined the Hanseatic League and became one of the hanseatic cities of the region. Due to the Second Partition of Poland, Thorn fell to the Kingdom of Prussia in 1793, and in 1807 it reverted to Poland by the Peace of Tilsit. The history continued to change over the next decades. Only at the end of the 19th century, after the construction of the Eastern Railway, the city experienced the economic boom.
Today, vacationers or tourists can visit the medieval Old Town, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is preserved medieval except for one street section. Between this part and the New Town lies the Castle of the Teutonic Order. The Old Town Hall is also one of the attractions of the Old Town and, of course, the Cathedral from the 13th century. Besides some other churches, the city wall with bastions, towers and city gates is worth seeing.
South of Gdansk in Poland lies Malbork. It is known for its castle of the same name, which was the most important castle complex of the Teutonic Knights from 1309 to 1457.
It is the largest brick building in Europe and was built on the site of the old Trappeinen Castle. The beginning of the construction of the castle is given as 1274, the church and the chapter house were completed in 1280. From 1305 to 1393 the Grand Master’s Palace was built, and towards the end of the 14th century the Grand Master, named Winrich von Kniprode, ordered the construction of a new town.
Today, many parts of the old buildings and fortifications still exist. It was not until 1964 that the city fortifications, which had been almost completely destroyed in 1945, were rebuilt and completed. Today Marienburg has about 40,000 inhabitants. In 1997, the Marienburg castle complex was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Vacationers and tourists also like to visit the old town with its arcades and patrician houses at the market, which have also been rebuilt. Holidaymakers with an interest in cultural history will find many interesting buildings and institutions here, such as the old town hall, the Potter’s Gate or the Buttermilk Tower.
In 1354 today’s Rzeszow was mentioned for the first time, but then under the name Resovia and at the same time received the town charter according to Magdeburg law. At the beginning of the 15th century the place was temporarily called Resche. The town is the seat of the Roman Catholic bishops. It has a university, several private colleges and the Rzeszow Polytechnic.
Rzeszow Castle, originally from the 14th century, was rebuilt elsewhere based on original 18th-century drawings. The Lubomirski family, as builders, had the famous court architect Tylman van Gameren rebuild it. Until 1981 the castle was used as a prison and in 1993 it was completely restored. Today, the castle and the castle courtyard are once again open to the public, and numerous exhibitions and concerts are held here. Near the castle there is also the summer residence of the noble family, a building worth seeing from the 17th century, also built by the same architect.
Not only in the old town, but also under it there is a special sight, the underground city. It was used in the 17th century by rich citizens, because space was becoming scarce in the city. Cellars up to 10 meters deep were sunk into the ground, connected with corridors and staircases, which over time became a city under the ground. Today visitors can see 40 rooms over a distance of 390 meters.
17. Tatra National Park
The High Tatras is the smallest high mountain range in the world. With the 2499 meter high Rysy rises here the highest mountain in Poland. Hikers will find beautiful trails to peaks, clear mountain lakes and magnificent waterfalls in the Tatra National Park. There are about 225 kilometers of designated, well-marked hiking trails in the area of the national park.
The most famous is the route from Zakopane to the famous mountain lake Morskie Oko. If you want to be comfortable, you can go by horse-drawn sleigh. Mountain bikers also get their money’s worth – there are several slopes available for their sport.
The High Tatras are also a popular destination in winter. Zakopane is the most important winter sports center in Poland. Numerous international competitions have been held here, including world championships in ski jumping and biathlon, as well as World Cup races in slalom. For skiers there are slopes of different difficulty levels – from flat and easy ski slopes for beginners to steep and difficult downhill slopes. The slopes are equipped with numerous lifts, also have snow cannons and some operate at night.
Besides Zakopane, the most important resorts include Bukowina Tatrzanska, Szaflary, Koscielisko, Zab, Poronin, Male Ciche, Murzasichle, Kiry and Chocholow. All these places attract not only with picturesque landscape, but also with wooden architecture.
In the geographical center of Poland, Lodz is an economic metropolis that has many cultural attractions to offer. The third largest metropolis of the country used to be a center of the textile industry and was called the “Manchester of the East” due to the resident industry. The metropolis became a special economic zone in 1997 and since the new millennium has increasingly positioned itself as a service and tourism metropolis. Numerous historic buildings in the inner city areas have been renovated. Above all, Lodz has a wide range of cultural facilities, which enhances the University City. Lodz is a stronghold of the Polish film industry.
Lodz offers many secular and sacral buildings, some of which have been renovated in recent years. One of the largest shopping streets in Europe, Ulica Piotrkowska, has been gradually renovated and modernized since the 1990s. Numerous bronze statues of famous Polish personalities have been erected along the main street, which is about four kilometers long. Traditionally, there are many beautiful Catholic churches in Polish metropolises. In Lodz, these include the Basilica of St.
Stanisław Kostka, which has been upgraded as the cathedral of the diocese since 1922 and is one of the most beautiful places of worship in the city. Along the central Piotrkowska Street there are magnificent buildings such as the Palace of Maurycy Poznański in the neo-Renaissance style or the Grand Hotel. Worth seeing is the Historical Museum in the Palace of Izrael Poznański. Among the cultural institutions worth seeing is the Central Textile Museum. The museum with several departments, shows among other things fashion, folk textiles or tapestries.
Zakopane is the largest winter sports center because it is the highest city in the country. The highest mountains with an altitude of almost 2500 meters belong to the municipality. Right on the southern border of the city begins the High Tatras National Park.
The history of the town goes back to the 17th century. Farmers and shepherds could be considered as the founders, they were the first settlers in this place. Also, the metallurgical plant established in the middle of the 18th century, where the iron ore from the High Tatras was processed, contributed to the steady growth of the city. In 1933, Zakopane was granted the status of a city, which also encouraged the existing influx of recreationists, who ensured that hotels were established.
The first mountaineering clubs were also founded and the region became popular mainly because of its customs and traditions. Even after the formation of the Polish state in 1918, Zakopane became a project of Polish tourist associations. The opening of the ski jump and the cableway resulted in the Nordic World Ski Championships in 1929, 1939 and 1962. Regardless of this, the city and the region are also a very popular place for excursions in the summer.
Mikołajki was first mentioned in a document in 1444. The former small fishing village was elevated to the status of a town in 1726. Already at the beginning of the 20th century it was connected to the railroad network. Mikołajki was one of the few places in East Prussia that were not destroyed during the Second World War.
Touristically, Mikołajki is one of the most important places in Masuria. Especially water sports are widespread here. Many tourists also come in winter not to miss the spectacle of ice sailing.
Also worth a visit is Lake Luknain, which is located at a short distance of about five kilometers from Mikołajki. Since thousands of wild swans live here, the area was put under nature protection a long time ago. If you want to observe the swans at close range, it is best to bring binoculars and position yourself on one of the observation towers.
But also Mikołajki itself can be used well for recreation. The small town with about 4000 inhabitants offers a beautiful waterfront promenade lined with bistros and cafes. Especially busy in the evenings is the so-called “sailors’ village”, where sailors meet.
Leba convinces with its wide, almost endlessly long and white sandy beach, which simply invites you to sunbathe and relax. The town center is still really traditional and has retained its wonderful old charm. You can still feel that Leba was once a small, idyllic fishing village that didn’t seem to care about the rest of the world.
Today Leba is a seaside resort that vacationers visit for recreation. Nature and the relationship to it are therefore particularly important. Tourism in Leba is also focused on this. The entire sand dune area of this region is particularly impressive. On 1800 hectares the Slovenian National Park extends and preserves its very own fauna and flora. Here you can admire and climb the highest sand dune in Europe, 42 meters high. The Lontzkedune belongs to the Slowinski Park Narodowy Slovenian National Park in Poland.
In 1977, the national park on the Polish coast was declared a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The high sand dunes are reminiscent of the Sahara. That is why the Lontzkedune Wydma Lacka is called the Polish Sahara by some. The whole dune area covers more than 500 hectares. On one side is Lake Leba and on the other side is the Polish Baltic Sea.
Several universities are established in Bialystok. Bialystok is an important stop for the railroad line from Warsaw to Kaunas/Vilnius.
The town of Bialystok was first mentioned in documents as early as the 16th century. The Branicki family developed the place into a residential town and also granted it the town charter. This was renewed once again in 1749 by August III. The fact that the town fell under Prussian rule at that time, and after 1807 to Russia, caused the establishment of a customs border and the boom of the town. Initially, the region was supposed to belong to Russia, but after 1945 it was assigned to Poland and since then it has been the capital of the Podlaskie Voivodeship.
Among the sights of Bialystok, the most important is the Baroque City Hall, but the Branicki Palace is also very beautiful. It is now the medical university. The Cathedral Ensemble, whose church dates from the 16th century and was upgraded with magnificent furnishings in the 18th century, and the neo-Gothic cathedral built in 1915 are home to several works of art. The Archbishop’s Basilica is also among the sacred sights, as is the Roman Catholic Church of St. Wojciech.
The National Museum, a monastery and a Gothic cathedral with a treasury are the sights of the city of 200 000 inhabitants. Kielce is situated between the Vistula River and the Holy Cross Mountains and is considered the capital of Holy Cross.
Agricultural products and their processing are the main trade of the city’s inhabitants. Kielce is considered to be the location of metal and food industry. If we look back into history, we come into contact with St. Adalbert’s Church, which was built in the 10th century. In 1212 followed the first mention of the city in the documents.
However, the town is probably older, having its town charter since 1227 and the Magdeburg town charter since the 14th century. Kielce has had its own coat of arms since 1596, granted by Cardinal Fryderyk Jagiellonczyk – the letters CK in the coat of arms stand for the citizenship of Kielce.
Already in early years the city was influenced by influxes from Italy, Hungary, Germany and Slovakia, as iron mining experienced a heyday in the 16th and 17th centuries. During this period, a castle, a monastery, a hospital and the Church of the Holy Trinity were built. Since 1918 Kielce belongs to Poland and is the capital of the voivodeship.
Town at the source of the Vistula and starting point for hiking. The characteristic, much gabled wooden houses with often richly decorated beam carvings look picturesque. Wooden architecture is as popular in this area as in the neighboring High Tatras. Numerous wooden churches, unique of their kind in Europe, also characterize the Beskid region here.
Wisla – the pearl of the Beskydy Mountains in southern Poland is the center of this mountain range with its current population of about 11,000. An eventful history lies behind the small town, which – unlike elsewhere in Poland – has a Protestant character, as it was originally founded by Protestant religious refugees in the 17th century, who lived as shepherds and sheep breeders on the mountain pastures of the surrounding area. It was the Wałachy, a pastoral people, who once founded Wisla.
Wisla belongs to the Beskida 5, which is a union of the five communes Wisla, Brenna, Istebna, Szczyrk and Ustrón. In Beskida 5 traditional costumes, songs, customs and handicrafts are especially cultivated and shown.
It is not surprising that in such a traditional place also the Polish president has a residence in the form of a chateau, built in 1929-30 according to the design of the architect Prof. A. Szyszka-Bohusz. The first president residing here was Ignacy Mościcki.
Today Wisla is a popular tourist attraction and starting point for long hikes in the mountains. In winter, Wisla is also an important ski resort, where the famous ski jumper Adam Malysz comes from.
About 60 kilometers south of Katowice in Poland lies the city of Bielsko-Biala, which was created in 1951 by merging the two cities of Bielice and Biala. Today it is a district-free city in Silesia, has about 175,000 inhabitants and is bordered by the Biala River.
This river gave the name to both towns. The first documentary mention dates back to 1312, in the following centuries the different rulers changed and both cities developed differently. While Bielice was the city of wool industry in Silesia, crafts were practiced in Biala since the 16th century.
After the Second World War, the two towns were reunited, and today there are numerous monuments on site that accurately depict their respective characteristics. The Sulkowski Castle, the Bielsko Castle Museum and some other sacral buildings are present. Especially the wooden church of Biala is one of the sights.
In general, holidaymakers and tourists travel to the region to relax on hikes and winter walks. Skiing is also possible, routes with different levels of difficulty are established. If in summer mountain bikers ride through the forests, in winter it is more winter walkers and winter sports enthusiasts. But the interesting sights in the city can be reached also at this time. Museums, churches and the various modern facilities such as stores, restaurants and cinemas provide a lot of variety. Due to its location on the old imperial road, which led from Krakow to Vienna, the accessibility of Bielsko-Biala is still good today.
The town of Wolin is located on the island of the same name on the Polish Baltic Sea. Wolin is also the namesake of the popular vacationer island. Wolin (town) belongs to the Voivodeship of Western Pomerania and is located directly on the Dievenow, which is the name of the sea area between the Baltic Sea and the Szczecin Lagoon. Viking fans know the town of Wolin very well, because a big Viking festival is held here every year on the first weekend in August. But Wolin is also a familiar name to Baltic Sea vacationers, as it lies close to the German border and is an ideal starting point for excursions into the surrounding area.
A special excursion destination for the whole family is the Slavic and Viking settlement of Wolin. The open-air museum is about 700 m away from Wolin, you can reach it by crossing the bridge from Wolin (town) to Reclaw. Not only were log houses from the 9th century reconstructed, but also various historical crafts were shown. The employees wear traditional costumes and master various crafts (e.g. blacksmiths, bronze casters and potters). But also the small old town of Wolin has its charm, such as the town hall from 1881 or the Wolin manor.
7. Jasna Góra Monastery
Nowhere is the importance of the Catholic Church in Polish society more evident than in Częstochowa. It is the Pauline monastery of Jasna Góra (“Bright Mountain”) with the image of the Black Madonna that has attracted millions of believers from all over Poland for over 600 years. Thick defensive walls and four gates in a row – each one an obstacle for potential attackers – give the monastery complex on a hill a fortress character. The center of the complex is the monastery church with the image of the miraculous icon of the Black Madonna, one of the most important Polish national shrines.
Zamość located in the southeastern part of Poland, was built in 1578 and is a city like no other in the world. The city was named after its founder Jan Zamoyski, who was a Polish distinguished statesman. Even today, a scion of this noble family still reigns as mayor in the city. The old town of the Padua of the North was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.
The city architecture was particularly influenced by the Venetian master builder Bernardo Morando, who built the city in the Italian Renaissance style. When Morando designed Zamość, he drew on the conceptions of Italian urban planners and dreamed of creating an ideal Renaissance city. He planned a street plan that should remind of a chessboard and a situating of squares; in the center the wholesale market and symmetrically on its two sides the markets: the salt market and the water market. There should be about 250 houses in the city.
He also designed its most important buildings: the palace, the collegiate church, the town hall, the academy and even some model town houses. Zamość was supposed to be not only beautiful, but also practical and friendly to residents. The palace here symbolized the head, the residence with the opposite bastion No. 7 connecting Main Street – the spine and Academy and Cathedral lungs, the market the heart and the bastions serving the defense – arms and legs.
About 100 kilometers from Krakow, travelers who like it colorful and flowery get their money’s worth: In Zalipie, everything is decorated with colorful floral patterns. Dog kennels, houses, fountains and objects in the village church – painted leaves and flowers entwine everywhere. It all started when the residents painted the walls, smoky from the stoves, white – over the years they were painted with masterpieces of folk art. Today the whole village is colorful. But the village has retained its original character; visitors will not find any kitsch or souvenirs here, nor will they find any bars or hotels.
4. Kazimierz Dolny
Kazimierz Dolny is a well-known and popular destination throughout Poland, especially the picturesque old town of Kazimierz Dolny attracts tourists. The city is located in the Lublin Voivodeship and its beginnings date back to the 11th century. No matter what time of the year, the city enchants its visitors with numerous town houses and cafes.
The list of sights in Kazimierz Dolny is long, the parish church from the 16th century with its baroque interior houses one of the oldest preserved organs in Poland. In the same century the castle was built, the ruins of which can be visited today. The 17th century monastery and the old synagogue are also worth seeing.
The citizen houses and granaries from the Renaissance period are very special, because all the buildings were built of a soft limestone, which can be found in the vicinity of Kazimierz Dolny. The soft stone allowed for an incredibly imaginative design of the house facades, which the builders made use of. There was a real competition for the most beautiful facades. The most famous town houses are the houses of St. Nicholas and St. Christopher, built around 1615, and the Celej patrician house, built 15 years later.
Sandomierz is located on the Vistula River on seven hills, hence the name “the Polish Rome”. Sandomierz, with its 25,000 inhabitants, is a small town, but a small town full of beautiful and extraordinary sights. The city has preserved over 120 architectural pearls of different eras. Sandomierz is located on the Via Regia and was mentioned as early as the 10th century.
The medieval Old Town of Sandomierz is one of the best preserved in Poland, the structure is typical of the second half of the 14th century. Other buildings in Sandomierz are older, such as the Romanesque Church of St. Jacob from 1226 and the Gothic Cathedral of St. Mary from 1340. Gothic buildings in the city also include the Town Hall, the Church of the Holy Spirit and the Opatow Gate, all from the 14th century.
The castle of Sandomierz was also built in this period and in 1525 it was developed into a castle, but it was destroyed by Swedes in 1655 and got its present appearance afterwards.
2. Masurian Lake District
This scenic jewel is located in the northeast of Poland and covers an area of about 52,000 m². In millennia, nature has created the Masurian Lake District and formed hundreds of smaller and larger meltwater lakes from an ice-age moraine landscape. The Masurian Lake District is one of the most popular vacation areas in Poland and is also becoming more and more popular with foreigners as a vacation destination not only because of its scenic beauty. Not without reason Poland is said to have as many lakes in the Masurian Lake District as Finland. With the cities of Elblag and Mikołajki, beautiful historical cities are embedded in the Masurian Lake District. Situated on the Upper Land Canal, these cities offer interesting starting points for trips aboard a canal boat.
1. Lichen Stary
Lichen Stary is a small village with about 1100 inhabitants located in the center of Poland in the Wielkopolska Voivodeship. Despite its insignificant size, the village is very famous in Poland.
In Lichen is located the largest church in Poland. It is a monumental, gold-decorated temple modeled after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń, Queen of Poland, was completed and consecrated in 2004. The construction lasted 10 years. The church was built to commemorate the revelations that took place in Licheń in 1813 and 1850-52, when Our Lady appeared to the blacksmith Tomasz Kłossowski and the shepherd Mikołaj Sikatka.
Today Lichen is one of the most popular places of pilgrimage in Poland and is also famous abroad. The Marian shrine was partly built on the model of the building of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
The basilica of Lichen covers 300,000 cubic meters and 23,000 square meters of area. The dome above the monumental building rises to a height of 103.5 meters, and the church tower reaches 141.5 meters. To enjoy the beautiful view you can climb the stairs to the top of the tower or take the elevator up.