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Exploring Poland & Its Old Towns

9 mins. read

Located right in the heart of Europe, with centuries-old architecture, gorgeous facades of modern houses, palpable town squares, mouth-watering cuisine and pubs serving quince-flavoured vodka, one would think that Poland and its wild beauty has captured the attention of millions for a long time. The country, however, is still relatively untouched compared to the rest of Europe, thus allowing tourists to explore its countryside setting and vibrant cities peacefully at their own leisure.

Also called the land of fields, Poland or Polska is a county full of stunning views, rich culture and bustling concrete jungles with museums, art galleries, and potato pancakes that will leave you with a memory of one lazy Sunday morning in one of its cities. Even though city getaways might not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering destinations for a relaxing vacation, Poland's urban landscape has a lot to offer for a leisurely visit.

As one of the largest countries in the European continent, there is so much one can discover given the time to explore. Whether you plan to spend a week lounging in the hot water pools in a resort in Zakopane or spend days after days exploring the capital city in Poland, there are many beautiful places in Poland one can visit on the next trip. But the sheer number of tourist places in Poland one has an option to visit can be a little overwhelming. To help you through this task, we have curated a list of some of the best tourist places in Poland with castles that look like they belong in a fairy tale, museums that showcase the rich culture and chaotic history of the nation, and its omnipresent Jewish legacy.

Warsaw (wor-saa)

Situated on the River Vistula in east-central Poland, Warsaw or Warszawa (var-SHAV-uh) is not only the capital city of Poland but also the last home of Polish royalty.

Warsaw has truly defined the meaning of Co nas nie zabije, to nas wzmocni which, if loosely translated, would mean “What does not kill us makes us stronger.”

Despite all the suffering and destruction during the Second World War, the city has been painstakingly restored to its former glory by its residents, earning the nickname Phoenix City. This once-dark city in Poland has now become a personal favourite of travellers.

If you have an appetite for learning about the history of this country, Warsaw is the place to be as the city is rich in history and culture. Home to the uprising of 1944 and imposing post-war buildings, Warsaw is one of the best tourist places in Poland that history buffs would absolutely love to explore. As one of the best cities in Poland, Warsaw is a patchwork of architectural styles, gothic churches, museums, and modern structures built among drab grey buildings. With lovely parks and neighbourhoods to wander around, Warsaw holds many different sides to it.

Take a trip to the Baroque Wilanów palace located on the outskirts of Warsaw, with its manicured lawns and beautifully set Italian-style baroque gardens. Or, get whisked away by the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For some great views, head over to the Palace of Culture & Science to get a glimpse of its symbolic past, concerts and theatre performances. A gift from the Soviet Union to the people of Poland, it is one of the highest and most recognisable buildings in Warsaw and can be seen from almost every part of the capital.

Warsaw

Krakow (Krak-ow)

As the main travel spot for poets, artists and scientists of all kinds, Krakow has so much to offer. One could easily spend a week or two exploring this UNESCO-acclaimed old town and never get tired of it. With dominant churches and old buildings lining the market squares, this gorgeous city has captured the hearts of many travellers and continues to be one of the best cities to visit in Poland.

Once recognised to be the seat of the Polish kings and the capital of Poland, today, Krakow is the second largest and one of the main cities for trade in Poland. Home to the best of European architecture, royal palaces and eateries every short distance away, one can savour local delicacies like ruskie Pierogi stuffed with cheese and potato or dig into the moist, crumbly, and crunchy texture of Miodownik at a quaint little Cafe near Wawel castle. Or better yet, grab a handful of Obwarzanek from little blue carts dotting the city corners in Krakow, Poland.

Krakow is one of the famous cities in Poland that can be easily explored on foot. Travel back in time on your visit to Wawel Royal Castle with its military garrison, prison camp built during World War II, and coronation rooms with ornate cathedral-styled ceilings, or explore four meters underground area full of high-tech exhibits at Rynek Underground Museum.

Or, if you have a penchant for quint little old town vibes, and cosy surroundings, then beeline to the Old Town in Krakow, Poland. It is a quaint and well-preserved area perfect for taking a tour, grabbing a bite and clicking a few Insta-worthy photographs.

Zakopane (za-kow-paa-nuh)

Located in the southernmost region of Poland on the edge of the high Tatra Mountains, Zakopane is the winter capital of Poland. One of the best places in Poland to visit for an escape from bustling cities, Zakopane is the perfect destination to step back and relax in the thermal baths and promenade along restaurants and collect souvenirs on Krupówki Street.

Surrounded by beautiful waterfalls and mountain lakes, hiking, swimming, and camping are all popular activities in Zakopane. The city is also known for its traditional Polish culture and cuisine, making it one of the best cities in Poland to explore true Poland.

Visit the Kaplica na Jaszczurówce, a wooden chapel dating back to the beginning of the 20th century known for its beautiful stained glass windows and magical aura. Take a cable car to the top of Gubałówka for panorama views of the Tatra Mountains or walk through Chochołowska Valley and Kościeliska Valley in the Tatra and enjoy some mesmerising views of wildflowers spread for as far as one can see with the snow-covered mountain peaks in the backdrop.

With picturesque settings and cosy vibes, Zakopane is one of the most famous cities in Poland that many artists, poets, and writers visit for inspiration.

Toruń (toh-roon)

Located on the Vistula River, with atmospheric bars and restaurants, Torun is a city in Poland that is home to the scrumptious Torun gingerbread and world-famous astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. With impressive buildings and structures dating back to Middle Ages, the best way to get a feel of Torun’s Old Town is to explore it leisurely.

Torun is packed with small details that will encourage you to find them all, whether you are exploring the backstreets, picturesque lanes, and charming corners, or walking beneath the brick arches designed between houses, artwork, or small puppets carefully located on the city walls, Torun will feel like a home away from home.

Visit the Leaning Tower of Torun or sightsee the market square with the Statue of famed astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus on your walk to Torun Old Town Hall to the Gallery of Gothic Art and observe exhibits and handicrafts from the period of 1233-1793.

From the beaches of the Baltic Sea to the majestic Tatra Mountains and cityscapes and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Poland has a widespread culture that history buffs, art enthusiasts and travellers of all kinds are sure to fall for. With its charming old towns, cobbled streets, and stunning architecture next to communist-era buildings and Gothic churches, no matter where you wish to head in Poland, every corner of this country will add to an unforgettable experience.

Find hidden treasures in Kołobrzeg, peek into the melting pot of its tortuous history in Warsaw, savour delicious pierogi in Gdańsk or join the crowd of club crawlers in Kraków. Book one of our Poland vacation packages and experience the authentic Polish culture. Till then, pożegnanie!

June 21, 2023

Author

Veena World
Veena World

We are an Indian travel company founded in 2013 and excel at domestic and international tour packages including guided group tours, specialty tours, customized holidays, corporate MICE travel, inbound travel and destination weddings.

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