Poland

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Poland can claim several superlatives—including the biggest medieval town square, the largest gothic brick castle, and probably the best vodka in the world—to name just a few of the best things the country has to offer. Whether you’re into museums or kitesurfing, sleeping in an old palace converted into a hotel or camping by the lake, folk crafts or fine dining, dancing in a bar, or listening to classical music in an ancient church, you will not be disappointed.

The setting for all these activities is impressive indeed: from the belt of silver sands hedged with fragrant pines at the Baltic shore through the zones of countless lakes, vast forests, and picturesque rolling plains, all the way to the sharp granite peaks of the Tatra mountains; Poland’s infinite variety of landscapes is arranged in latitudinal strips. Unspoiled nature is the pride of the country, and as much as 18.5% of Poland’s area is in a protected zone set aside from development.

And yet there is much more to Poland than great landscapes: what most attracts visitors is the wealth of culture and history, with important treasures of art and architecture, many of them with UNESCO World Heritage status. It is not just churches and castles either: unique historic sites range from prehistoric settlements to World War II fortifications. In addition to time-weathered monuments and works of art in every style of the last millennium, you will find contemporary art alive and kicking in Poland’s beautiful cities. Famous towns with character include dreamlike, medieval Kraków, the old Hanseatic port of Gdańsk, the ever-changing and vibrant capital of Warsaw, and many more dynamic urban centers across the country.

In Poland, you can experience the joy of four distinct seasons: watch ancient Easter traditions celebrated while the world turns green in the spring; slow down during the pleasant summer heat on a café terrace in a medieval town square or at the beach; take to the mountains to watch the colors change in the fall; and enjoy a well-deserved glass of vodka or mulled wine after a day’s skiing in the winter.

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Warsaw

Perhaps the only constant quality of Warsaw is change. It is remarkable how often—and how quickly—Poland's capital rebuilds and reinvents itself...

Krakow

Many first-time visitors to Kraków are surprised at how quickly they feel at home there. Those who fall in love with the city at first sight...

Gdansk

Maybe it's the sea air, or maybe it's the mixture of the city's cultural importance and political tumult. Whatever the reason, Gdańsk is special...

Szczecin

If you were to describe Szczecin in three words, the words would probably be green, aqueous, and industrial. Above all the city is green and...

Lodz

Łódź (pronounced roughly as "wooch" or "woodge") is a relatively young city, which has grown up quickly in the last 200 years—from a small village...

Czestochowa

Home to Poland's most famous shrine to the Virgin Mary, Czestochowa's remarkable Jasna Gora Monastery is a major stop on religious pilgrimages...

Puszcza Kampinoska

If you have an extra day in Warsaw, a trip to Kampinoski National Park, about an hour west of the city, makes a fun day trip, especially if...

Radziwiłł Estate

At the country estate of the Radziwiłł family—once one of the most important families in the land—you can get a glimpse into the life of Polish...

Lowicz

In Poland, the name Łowicz is synonymous with Mazovian folk traditions—arts and crafts, as well as colorful religious celebrations, notably...

Malbork Castle

One of the most impressive strongholds of the Middle Ages, the huge Zamek w Malborku (Malbork Castle) is the central feature of the quiet town...

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Visiting the more-than-700-year-old mines of Wieliczka is a good way to spend half a day, combining the aesthetic pleasure of contemplating...

Tyniec Abbey

Technically within the city limits of Kraków, the Benedictine Abbey at Tyniec dates from the 11th century, though none of the original structure...

Tum Church

Tum church is a fine example of early ecclesiastical architecture (circa 12th century) sitting among the fields of Mazovia, in the proverbial...

Wolin Island

Poland's biggest island is a bit like a bear: it hibernates through the winter, only to wake up in late spring, live intensely through the buzzing...

Warsaw

Perhaps the only constant quality of Warsaw is change. It is remarkable how often—and how quickly—Poland's capital rebuilds and reinvents itself...

Krakow

Many first-time visitors to Kraków are surprised at how quickly they feel at home there. Those who fall in love with the city at first sight...

Gdansk

Maybe it's the sea air, or maybe it's the mixture of the city's cultural importance and political tumult. Whatever the reason, Gdańsk is special...

Szczecin

If you were to describe Szczecin in three words, the words would probably be green, aqueous, and industrial. Above all the city is green and...

Lodz

Łódź (pronounced roughly as "wooch" or "woodge") is a relatively young city, which has grown up quickly in the last 200 years—from a small village...

Czestochowa

Home to Poland's most famous shrine to the Virgin Mary, Czestochowa's remarkable Jasna Gora Monastery is a major stop on religious pilgrimages...

Puszcza Kampinoska

If you have an extra day in Warsaw, a trip to Kampinoski National Park, about an hour west of the city, makes a fun day trip, especially if...

Lowicz

In Poland, the name Łowicz is synonymous with Mazovian folk traditions—arts and crafts, as well as colorful religious celebrations, notably...

The Baltic Coast and Pomerania

Poland's Baltic coast stretches for 400 km (249 miles) from the isle of Wolin in the west to the Mierzeja Wiślana (Vistulan Sandbar) in the...

Excursions from Warsaw

Mazovia lies in the very middle of Poland and is the heart of the country. One of the first lands to be incorporated in the Piast territory...

Malopolska and the Tatras

Just to the south of Kraków, Poland's great plains give way to the gently folding foothills of the Carpathians, building to the High Tatras...

Podlasie

The Eastern belt of Poland, and particularly Podlasie, remains largely undiscovered—not only by international, but even by domestic tourism...

Auschwitz and Birkenau

Between 1940 and 1945 more than 1.5 million people—90% of them Jews from Poland and throughout Europe—died here in the Nazis' largest death...

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Fodor's Krakow 25 Best
Compact and affordable, Fodor's 25 Best Krakow is a great travel guide for those who want...

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