Poland – far more than just great vodka! Poland is one of Europe’s lesser known gems, so rich in culture and history and a country not to be missed.
If you love picturesque architecture, medieval cities and typically European town squares, great food and good value, Poland has you covered. And despite suffering heavy destruction to certain areas during WWII and beyond, the old world charm is still well and truly in effect.
In fact, it is difficult narrowing down to just the 5 best places to visit in Poland, with so many great cities and towns to choose from. But we have put together our favourites to make your Poland holiday planning a breeze.
5 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN POLAND
Krakow comes to the top of the list for most people as far as the best places to visit in Poland go, with Europe’s largest medieval town square being a popular drawcard. Krakow’s Old Town is filled to the brim with historic sites, including the impressive Gothic style Wawel Castle. You will also enjoy exploring the medieval town walls or doing a spot of shopping at the Cloth Market in the town square.
Warsaw is an impressive capital city, and Poland’s largest, with the perfect mix of modern architecture mixed in with medieval charm and extensive history. With Warsaw’s Old Town suffering extreme destruction during WWII, you will be impressed to see its restored form. While some may be surprised to see the sprawling size and development of the city, Warsaw offers great opportunities for a big city stay while still being within close proximity to a historical centre.
With exceptional museums, including the well designed Warsaw Rising Museum, huge shopping complexes and beautiful palaces, Warsaw really does have it all covered. Make sure you make time to visit the Royal residences – The Royal Castle, Wilanow Palace and my personal favourite, Palace on the Isle, with its beautiful waterfront position within Lazienki Gardens.
If you are heading to Poland in winter, Zakopane in Poland’s far south should be the top of your list. Situated at the bottom of the Tatra Mountains, Zakopane provides the perfect place to enjoy winter sports and the impressive mountain scenery, to so many things to do in Zakopane.
Enjoy browsing through the marketplace, or dining at one of the many restaurants along Zakopane’s main street. One of the greatest charms of Zakopane also happens to be the picturesque wooden chalet style homes and buildings. Take a few hours to visit one of the Tatras, such as Kasprowy Wierch and marvel at the views so high up on top of the mountains.
While quite a popular holiday destination, even for Polish people, Zakopane will make you feel like you stepped back in time with a taste of Poland’s traditional lifestyle.
When you think of Poland, beaches and seaports don’t necessarily come to mind, which is why Gdansk is one of the best places to visit in Poland. Situated in the north of Poland, Gdansk is a port city on the Baltic Coast. Another example of exceptional reconstruction exists within Gdansk’s Main Town, also damaged during WWII.
The brightly coloured buildings and river views make Gdansk a beautiful city to stroll through, especially along Royal Way, with all the grandest sites along which Polish kings once paraded during their city visits. It is also worth taking a day trip to Malbork Castle and museum, around 1.5 hours by train from Gdansk.
If natural scenery and wildlife is your style, it is worth making a trip to Poland’s north east, near the Belarus border to Bialowieza National Park, which is Poland’s oldest national park and part of a much larger Bialowieza Forest area.
Visit the bison park and get up close with Europe’s largest land mammals, where several breeding programs are in place. There are many other animals also on display at the reserve, and an interesting and educational museum.
Alternatively, you may want to go for a hike or walk around Bialowieza National Park, or enjoy the food or accommodation on offer in the village area. We also had a great ride in a horse pulled cart during our visit.
And of course, no matter the part of Poland you may be visiting you need to sample the amazing must try food in Poland.