Poland has a nearly 1,000-year history, beautiful mediaeval architecture, evidence of the devastation of World War II, and castles and palaces scattered throughout the nation.
However, this historic nation is also home to enormous national parks, mountains, and lakes, as well as apparently infinite paths that wind through unspoiled wilderness just waiting to be discovered.
Whatever your reason for visiting Poland, use our list of the top destinations to find the most beautiful spots.
List of Best Places to visit in Poland
Krakow, one of Poland’s oldest cities, was populated as early as the 7th century. Krakow’s Old Town core still sports its spectacular mediaeval architecture because the city avoided the majority of the WWII destruction that fell on other Polish cities. Both the Wavel Castle and the nearby Kazimierz historic district, popularly known as the Old Jewish Quarter, have been named UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Around 40 urban parks can be found in Krakow, including the 19th-century Planty Park, which is 21 hectares in size and surrounds the city centre in a green ring, and the Lasek Wolski forest, which provides hiking and biking trails in a sizable woodland area only a short distance from the city centre.
The National Art Collection at the Wawel, where visitors can also see historical furniture, a sizable collection of Flemish tapestries, the royal jewels, and a collection of weaponry and armour dating back to the 15th century, is one of Krakow’s 28 museums and is a must-see on wet days.
The Rynek Underground Museum offers an interesting, in-depth look at old Krakow and its streets.
After World War II, the capital of Poland was reduced to ruins; about 85% of its structures had been ruthlessly destroyed or reduced to ashes by Nazi forces. The city started a tremendous endeavour to rebuild its historic core utilising the original designs as soon as the war was over. As a result, the merchant homes from the Baroque and Renaissance periods that you can see now are exact copies of the originals.
Despite the fact that over 60 institutions still call the city home, WWII unfortunately resulted in the loss of treasures housed in palaces and museums. The only poster museum in the world, a WWII Warsaw Uprising museum, a neon museum, and a museum of caricature are among the odd options available in Warsaw in addition to the art and history museums.
The National Museum, which documents the history of the city, is also home to Poland’s biggest collection of artworks, including several pieces that were once part of Adolf Hitler’s personal collection.
The formal gardens at Lazienki Palace more than make up for Warsaw’s lack of parks compared to Krakow’s. The planetarium, an outdoor theatre, pavilions, and other amenities can be found inside this 18th-century palace, which is encircled by 76 hectares of urban forest.
3. Tatra Mountains
Although Slovakia controls the majority of the mountain range, Poland and Slovakia are naturally divided by the Tatra Mountains and National Park. Since there are no longer any borders separating the EU’s member states, hiking between them is now simple. There are more than 270 kilometres of hiking routes on the park’s Polish side.
The Polish Tatras contain Rysy, Poland’s highest mountain. It is the highest Tatras peak in either country that may be climbed without a park guide, rising to 2,500 metres. Additionally, the park is home to approximately 600 caverns, the longest and deepest of which is the limestone Wielka Sniezna cave system, which is 23 kilometres long (824 meters).
Wroclaw hasn’t always been a Polish city; over the years, it has belonged to the Kingdom of Bohemia, Prussia, and even Germany. Wroclaw has only been formally a part of Poland since 1945, when the end of World War II altered several of the European continent’s borderlines.
A nice site to go to learn more about the city’s history is the Lubomirski Museum, which covers a variety of WWII events as well as the city’s assault by Nazi and later Soviet forces. With a chronology of Wroclaw spanning the last one thousand years, the Wroclaw City Museum completes that history.
The Main Market Square, where St. Elizabeth’s Church and the Old Town Hall are located, was first settled in Wroclaw in the thirteenth century. The Pan Tadeusz Museum, with its multimedia Polish customs exhibits, is just a short distance away.
Visitors can ride open-top vintage buses around the city during the summer. On foot, visitors can look for the roughly 350 miniature bronze statues of elves that are hidden around corners, on sidewalks, and atop lampposts throughout Wroclaw.
5. Bialowieza Forest Reserve
The Bialowieza Forest Reserve has unquestionably earned its classification as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the greatest remaining portion of the ancient forest in Europe that originally covered much of the continent. The forest spans more than 1,400 square kilometres and is situated on the border between Poland and Belarus. Hikers can actually cross the border inside the forest.
Bialowieza is a haven for birdwatchers, and enthusiasts can join excursions led by local ornithologists, but bison and other huge species also call the forest home.
The open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture, which features windmills, wooden homes, a modest wood chapel, a barn, and even a banya, is located within the forest, as is the small settlement of Bialowieza (sauna).
6. Bieszczady Mountains
The Bieszczady Mountains are a vast range that reaches as far as Slovakia and Ukraine. Their polonyna, a type of mountain meadow that is only found in the Carpathians, makes them special. The valleys and meadows are ideal for trekking because they gently slope up and down rather of being overly steep.
One of the most well-known meadow routes, Polonyna Wetlinska, has a summit elevation of 1,255 metres. It is a lovely, easy climb that shouldn’t take more than two hours. If you want to extend your journey, a modest guest house at the summit of the mountain range provides snacks and drinks in addition to a cosy bed.
The East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, which is home to brown bears, wolves, and bison and is primarily covered by beech forest, includes a sizable portion of the Bieszczady Mountains.
The entrance to Ojcow National Park is in the tiny settlement of Ojcow, which is located only 16 kilometres outside of Krakow. Ojcow, the smallest national park in Poland, is highly forested, has more than 400 caverns, two river basins, and towering limestone cliffs. The park is home to more than 500 different species of butterflies, which in the spring and summer cover the pathways and flower-filled valleys and are a sight to behold.
The Renaissance castle at Pieskowa Skala and the ruins of a Gothic castle, both of which are located inside the park’s boundaries, are connected by Poland’s most well-known tourism and hiking trail, the Trail of the Eagles’ Nests, which links 25 castles and watchtowers. The park also houses two museums, one of which is a division of the National Art Collection.
Poland’s principal seaport is located in the historic city of Gdansk, which is situated directly on a bay of the Baltic Sea. The majority of the city’s historic district, also known as the Royal Route, dates to the 17th century and has been exquisitely conserved. The City Gates, the Prison Tower, and a number of merchant homes are some of the prominent buildings in this area.
St. Mary’s, the largest brick church in the world, the star-shaped Wisloujscie Fortress, and the Gdansk Nowy Port Lighthouse are all located in Gdansk.
Despite not being directly impacted by the war, Gdansk is home to one of the top history museums in the nation. It includes a variety of vehicles, such as a German DKW motorcycle and a Polish Sherman tank, as well as relics, records, and images related to the conflict and the Holocaust.
9. Zalipie Village
The folkloric flower murals that adorn nearly every structure in the little village of Zalipie are its most distinctive feature. This custom was first practised more than a century ago by local women who decorated soiled surfaces with vibrant patterns using a powdered dye and milk mixture.
The majority of houses, barns, fences, and even Saint Joseph’s Church are painted in this style today, as are numerous interior features including walls and furniture.
The House of the Women Painters is arguably the most beautiful of the many adorned houses. Felicja Curylowa, a painter who was born in Zalipie in the early 20th century, lived in the structure, which has been transformed into a folk museum. Her entire home, both inside and out, is covered in paintings of flowers. Visitors to the museum even have the opportunity to try their hand at painting flowers while learning about the tradition’s history.
The history of Torun, one of Poland’s oldest cities, dates back to the eighth century. The city’s mediaeval Central Market, as well as its numerous Gothic homes and wood-beam 16th-century structures, are still surviving since Torun wasn’t bombed or destroyed during World War II.
The astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was born in one of these homes, which has since been turned into a museum showcasing the scientist’s life and contributions. The other must-see attraction in the area is Muzeum Piernika, which is devoted to a Polish specialty of gingerbread and offers hands-on baking opportunities for guests.
Recommended Things to do in Poland
That was the list of the Best Places to visit in Poland during your next trip. If you think we have missed anything then you can let us know in comments below.