The Must-see Cities in PolandRuss Bily
Poland is an ancient country with a rich history, memorable places, folk traditions and cultural values. The developed tourist infrastructure allows it to enjoy wide popularity.
Visiting the historical sites and festivals in Poland is every tourist’s task. The country has a large number of castles and other historical buildings, as well as the abundance of cathedrals and churches, both Catholic and Orthodox, which are protected by law as a cultural heritage of the state.
The natural wealth of the country is lovely, too. In total, there are 22 national parks in the country, a walk through which will be a fabulous trip. In addition to everything, a trip to this country will be one of the cheapest trips around Europe.
In this article, I would like to show you the best cities in Poland, so that you can see that there are a lot of obvious reasons why you should visit Poland.
Warsaw is the capital of Poland, a city combining ancient architectural examples and modern high-rise buildings. Despite the fact that now Warsaw plays the role of the main administrative center, it manages to maintain its color. This city has a lot of attractions, which is why it often becomes the first place that visitors are advised to visit. After all, it is no coincidence that it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
How to spend time in the capital of Poland in the most exciting way?
Start an acquaintance with Warsaw with a visit to the Royal Castle. It is no exaggeration to say that this is a visiting card of the city. It is located in the very center of Zamkova or Castle Square. Here you’ll find permanent exhibitions—you can visit the palace rooms, the Senate Hall, and Royal chambers. Especially we recommend visiting the Marble room with the portraits of Polish kings, as well as in the Knight’s room.
Take a walk around the small Old Town of Warsaw. The most beautiful view of the Castle Square opens from the tower of St. Anne’s Church. Then move to another famous square – the Rynok or Market Square. This is one of the most living and characteristic places of modern Warsaw, a favorite location for walking. I advise you to stay here a little longer, sit in one of the many restaurants, drink a cup of coffee, and watch the city. By the way, each of the four sides of the square and even each house has its name. One of the most beautiful buildings is the so-called “House under the Lion.” It is often depicted on postcards of Warsaw.
Take a photo near the famous sculpture of the Mermaid, a real symbol of Warsaw, also depicted on the coat of arms of the city. Look at one unique place—a picturesque garden, broken on the roof of the Warsaw library on Dobra Street near the Market Square. The Warsaw Library is an art object, the main decoration of which is a real garden on the roof, where anyone can go.
The road, which starts from the Castle Square and includes almost all the sights of Warsaw, is called the Royal Route. It stretches as far as the royal gardens of Łazienki Park. The most beautiful street of the Royal Route is Krakowskie Przedmieście or Cracow Suburb.
Further, you’ll see the University of Warsaw. It is easy to recognize by the magnificent gates made in the Baroque style. By the way, in front of the university, there is the Academy of Fine Arts of Poland.
Also, pay attention to the monument to Adam Mickiewicz. Behind the back of the great poet, there is the Palace – the residence of the President of Poland.
Near Łazienki Park, there is another famous castle – Ujazdowski Castle with the Centre for Contemporary Art. From the Royal Gardens and Łazienki Park, you can reach another of the sights of Warsaw — the Wilanów Palace. This place is called “Small Versailles,” inside of which there are luxuriously furnished rooms with a unique collection of furniture, paintings, sculptures and knightly armor.
There is one more palace in Warsaw, definitely worth visiting: the Ostrogsky Palace, one of the most unusual museums in Poland—the Museum of Frederic Chopin. The collection of the Museum of Frederic Chopin now has more than 5 thousand different exhibits. The museum is ultra-modern—there are a lot of multimedia expositions, touch screens, and live music concerts are frequently held here.
Finally, the best panorama of Warsaw opens from the observation deck of the Palace of Culture and Science. This is the tallest building in Poland, 234 meters high.
Krakow, Wieliczka, and Auschwitz
Krakow is a fabulous old city with a lot of interesting objects from the Rynok Square to many small churches. Unlike Warsaw, this former capital of Poland practically did not suffer during the war, because the city managed to preserve its original architecture in full.
Rynek Glówny is the most prominent medieval market square in Europe and the highlight of any trip to Kraków. It is the geographic center of the Old Town and the symbolic center of the city. See the unsymmetrical towers of St. Mary’s Basilica or Kosciól Mariacki that overlook the square. Wawel Hill and the impressive Wawel Cathedral are also the landmark of Krakow and are just several minutes away.
Just 10 miles from Krakow, Wieliczka with its Salt Mine, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is located. The mine’s unquestioned highlight is St. Kinga’s Chapel, a full-scale underground temple made out of salt.
Auschwitz is also a small town located 60 kilometers from Krakow. So if you visit Krakow, plan your time to visit not only Wieliczka but also Auschwitz Memorial, not the place for entertainment but a concentration camp, full of horror and history, important for everyone. Many of buildings are now open to the public, containing museum-style exhibitions detailing different aspects of prison life.
Please visit the following link to the article “How to Get from Prague to Krakow and visit Auschwitz Memorial on the Way” if you’re interested in Auschwitz Memorial.
Related: Travel from Prague to Krakow
Wrocław is another ancient city, in which the famous old cathedrals are concentrated. It is listed on the UNESCO heritage list. Wrocław is the largest city in western Poland and the capital of the Lower Silesian province. Known for the impressive and unique Panorama of the Battle of Racławice and the beautiful, historical Ostrów Tumski quarter, the city is full of historic sites and cultural venues.
Ostrów Tumski is the oldest part of the city that dates back to the 10th century, from which the rest of it has been developed. It is also the most charming one – once a garden, today it is home to some historical buildings and monuments of great importance. It is surrounded by the Oder river.
Taking a walk in this quarter is a must: apart from the aesthetic experience of wandering around this beautiful and calm area. This is where you will find the Gothic Cathedral, the oldest building in the quarter – Church of St. Giles, bronze sculptures, gardens, and charming bridges that lead to the rest of the city.
Then you must see the Panorama of the Battle of Racławice is a substantial 19th-century painting, whose height reaches 15 meters and length 114 meters.
As in almost every Polish city, the medieval Market Square is one of the most crowded places. It is one of the largest market squares in Europe and has two town halls. The square is the usual venue for new years eve’s concerts, local holiday celebrations, and street art movements.
Besides this, take a look at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, relax in the Ossolineum garden, and in the evening, spend time at Wrocław’s Multimedia Fountain, located in the colorful Szczytnicki Park and next to the Centennial Hall.
Related: Travel from Prague to Wroclaw
Poznań is a historical center of Poland, a small but very cozy town, which is necessary to visit everyone who wants to know Poland and its history.
Visiting Poznań, first of all, go to its Town Hall or Ratusz, located at the Poznań Old Town in the center of Old Market Square. The display of mechanical fighting goats played out daily at noon above the clock on the front wall of the building, is one of the city’s main tourist attractions.
Besides, visit Imperial Castle, Archbishop Palace, and beautiful churches, such as St. Peter’s and Paul’s Cathedral, Kościół pw. Bożego Ciała, Kościół pw. św. Józefa, and St. Adalbert’s Church.
You are also recommended to visit the National Museum, a cultural institution and one of the largest museums in Poland. It houses a rich collection of Polish paintings from the 16th century on and a collection of foreign paintings. The museum is also home to numismatic collections and a gallery of applied arts.
You can have some rest in Palm House or in Park Cytadela in Poznań, a large park, a 19th-century fortified area north of the city center.
To know more about Poznań, you can see a unique model of the city, which shows the history of Poznań in an interactive way.
Toruń is another beautiful Polish city, which managed to survive the Second World War without losses. It also preserved the entire architecture and unusual Polish flavor. Now it is rightfully considered the center of Europe, of course, cultural center. If you choose what to focus on here, you should turn it to the Old Town. However, the new cozy areas are also quite capable of enchanting the tourist.
Toruń is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites and a list of Seven Wonders of Poland. Visiting it feels like going back in time.
The Old Town Hall dates from the 14th century and hasn’t changed much since, though some Renaissance additions lent a decorative touch to the sober Gothic structure. Today, it houses the main branch of the Toruń Regional Museum boasting displays of Gothic art, painting and stained glass, and a gallery of Polish pictures. Climb the tower for a beautiful panoramic view of Toruń’s Gothic townscape.
If you are fond of museums, visit the House of Copernicus, the famous astronomer. There is a short audiovisual presentation regarding Copernicus’ times in Toruń, with a model of the town. The House Under the Star is another outpost of the Regional Museum, a small but elegant collection of Asian art, including Japanese swords, Indian statues, and Chinese pottery.
Toruń’s grand Gothic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist & John the Evangelists is a must-see sight. Its massive tower houses Poland’s second-largest old bell, the Tuba Dei or God’s Trumpet.
And don’t forget to visit Gingerbread Museum, learn about gingerbread’s history and create a spicy-sweet of your own under the enlightened instruction of a mock-medieval gingerbread master. All of it takes place in a renovated 16th-century gingerbread factory.
Katowice is a quite young city, and it is about two centuries old. However, today it is one of the coziest Polish places. There is enough interesting original architecture. Visit it if you’re already tired of the splendor of Warsaw and Krakow.
Katowice, a city in Northern Poland, is full of natural beauty and historical significance. While in Katowice, you should visit St. Michel Archangel, where you can see the wooden churches in the Kosciuszko Park and learn more about this interesting aspect of the city’s history.
There are several museums that you can visit, including the Historical Museum that focuses on Katowice in particular and is helpful for understanding this unique city.
There’s always something going on and things to do in Katowice like exhibitions, concerts, festivals, and spectacles. One of the most popular festivals is the Young Art Festival that takes place in autumn and features incredible and inspired artwork by students.
Lublin is another large place in Poland, where there are a lot of historical museums, cultural centers and several interesting sites for tourists.
Here you can explore Lublin Castle and admire Lublin Cathedral. The castle is one of the oldest royal residences within Poland. The carefully preserved interior and exhibits can be seen at the Lublin Museum located in the castle. There is also 13th century Chapel of Holy Trinity here, which is constructed in Romanesque style. The chapel itself is a must-visit thanks to the exquisite Byzantine wall paintings.
Visit the ornate Lublin Cathedral in the heart of the city. The cathedral is a home to the famous Black Madonna. Be sure to investigate the acoustic vestry, purported to amplify even the lowest murmurs and the treasury located behind the chapel.
You should also enjoy a visit to Lublin’s Old Town Hall, which lies at the heart of the city’s historic quarter around the Rynek. Along with a collection of other buildings in the city, the facades of which have been painstakingly restored, it provides an excellent example of period architecture and design.
Take a journey back through the ages at the Skansen Museum, the Lublin Museum of Rural Life, which is a reconstruction of a traditional Polish village.
Bydgoszcz is an entirely fantastic city for Poland. Most of all it reminds Venice. The main attraction here is the Bydgoszcz Canal.
While in Bydgoszcz, spend your time relaxing on Mill Island, formed by the Brda river and the Bydgoszcz Canal, which has become the recreational and cultural district of the city. There are several museums including the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Money.
Stroll along the bank of the Brda river. Starting at the modern Opera House opposite Mill Island, walk past several of the distinctive red brick neo-gothic buildings, including the Post Office and Lloyds Mansion.
Visit St. Martin and St. Nicholas Cathedral, the oldest church in Bydgoszcz with a striking exterior in what is known as Red Brick Gothic.
Head out of town to the Forest Park of Culture, which is home to the Botanical Gardens, Bydgoszcz Zoo, and a narrow gauge railway. There are hiking and cycling trails and lakes for kayaking.
Malbork, Gdansk, and Sopot
Visit Gdansk, the beautiful city on the Baltic coast, Poland’s main seaport. Sopot attracts tourists because of famous Polish beaches, promenades and the longest pier in Europe. Also, see an outstanding defense architecture when exploring a brick castle in Malbork.
Malbork is a town in the Vistula Delta, founded by the Knights of the Teutonic Order. The main tourist attraction in Malbork is the Malbork Castle. It is the most massive brick castle in Europe – impressive in its architecture and dimensions. Inside the complex, you’ll see the Courtyard, the Cloisters of the High Castle, the Summer Refectory and the Palace of Grand Master. The complex is listed on UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List.
After Malbork, you can visit Gdansk and see its Old Town, the Coal Market or Targ Węglowy. Then go through the richly decorated Golden Gate, and you enter the Long Market leading to the Green Gate. Look around to admire the Artus Court, a meeting place for merchants and a center of social life. Try to spot the colorful Dutch House or Dom Holenderski, and take a break by the Neptun’s Fountain. Finally, visit the Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the most massive brick church in the world.
If you visit Sopot, first of all, walk through the famous Heroes of Monte Cassino Street. See the unusually-shaped building called “Crooked House,” and have a stroll along the longest wooden pier in Europe. You can also admire the lighthouse, which is the navigation facility on the Polish Baltic coast. There are many sculptures and stained-glass windows inside. You can get on the top of the lookout tower and admire beautiful views of the city and the sea.
Poland can give tourists a real journey through time due to the presence of many historic monuments. The atmosphere of the presence of antiquity attracts sophisticated connoisseurs of ancient culture.
In different parts of Poland, you can see majestic churches and cathedrals. Moreover, you can not only admire their decoration and appearance but also feel the atmosphere of peace of mind, which is always inherent in religious relics.
If you want to have a good time, relax, visit fairy-tale castles and just find peace, visit Poland. You’ll remember this bright, eventful trip for a very long time, and you’ll never forget this beautiful country!
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