Where to go in Poland
Poland is a vast country with a wide array of attractions yet it’s often overlooked That makes it even more of a joy to discover delights like the Baltic Sea Riviera and its long stretch of sandy dunes and the UNESCO-listed core of Krakow with its imposing castle soaring over the Vistula River. There are Hanseatic jewels like Gdansk and beautiful towns for mountain lovers like Zakopane at the base of the Tatras Mountains. Warsaw offers plenty too with an enticing mix of historic and modern boasting everything from cobbled alleyways in the Old Town to extensive parkland, and towering skyscrapers.
Best places to go in Poland
Here is a summary of some of the best and most popular areas to visit.
Poland’s capital city boasts a long history as the political and economic center of the country. Despite the war that scarred it, destroying hundreds of buildings, the city rose from the ashes to become a European cultural hotspot with numerous museums, a castle, neoclassical palaces, Gothic churches, modern skyscrapers, extensive parkland, and an Old Town with enticing cobbled alleys. Some of its highlights include the Royal Castle, the Presidential Palace, and Mostowski Palace, while families with children might want to take a break from sightseeing to check out the Warsaw Zoo. The Warsaw Fotoplastikon is also worth a visit as one of the few 3D photo theaters from the turn of the century that remain in the world. It includes historical photos of everything from the Second World War era in Warsaw to the 1960s Radio City Rockettes.
Krakow is the second-largest city in Poland, the country’s cultural center, and an architectural jewel. The architecture is impressive with Renaissance and Gothic architecture and you’ll also see some art nouveau gems. The regal Wawel Castle is a must-visit with tours that will reveal its fascinating stories along with the opulent interiors and an incredible collection of royal weapons and armor. The private royal apartments provide an excellent glimpse of the city’s glorious past. The Jewish Quarter of Kazimierz is one of the best-preserved Jewish areas in Europe, while the Main Square, is Europe’s largest, covering more than 430,556 square feet. After dark, head to the Old Town. Renowned for its nightlife, it features more pubs and bars per square meter than anywhere else in the world. You’ll find everything from grungy dive bars to live music venues and techno clubs too.
Zakopane is a stunning town at the base of the Tatra Mountains, attracting visitors to hike some 275 well-marked trails. You’ll be spoiled for choice, including a route that will bring you to the largest lake in the Tatras, renowned for its surreal turquoise hue. Rafting and kayaking through the Dunajec Gorge in Pieniny National Park is possible too, and in the winter, many come to enjoy alpine skiing. The views are breathtaking year-round and they’re even more dramatic when enjoyed from the cable car that will take you high into the Tatras, which is also available in every season. The lovely town itself is known for its charming historic wooden chalets, with restaurants, shops, hotels, churches, and homes built in this picturesque style.
Gdansk sits along the Motlawa River very close to the Baltic Sea. It’s a popular destination for Poles but less so with foreign visitors. Be sure to visit two of Europe’s best museums the World War II Museum and Solidarity Center. There’s also a ferry if you want to venture out further into the Baltic Sea while cruises will bring you to the Hel Peninsula or the nearby city of Sopot, a popular spa town. Gdansk is also renowned for its amber. Part of the city’s heritage dating back centuries, it’s long been prized for its beauty, often referred to as Baltic’s gold. Mariacka Street is a popular historic shopping street where you’ll find many gorgeous galleries selling amber.
Many people aren’t aware that Poland offers such a rich tapestry of experiences and the country is also one of the most affordable in Europe in terms of lodging and food, making it easy to enjoy more for less. Whatever your interests are you’re likely to find it here, from outdoor adventure and spectacular nature to history, cultural attractions, tasty brews, hardy food, and beautiful amber. Why not embark on your own adventure, easily customized based on what you want to see and do the most.
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