10 Best Places To Visit In PolandMarch 15, 2020
Life has not been easy for Poland, an eastern European country that has been invaded and destroyed many times over the centuries. The country suffered mightily in World War II when many of its citizens, including its large Jewish population, were hustled off to Nazi concentration camps. The Polish spirit, however, refused to die and today the country combines medieval architecture with lively cultural activities to meet the needs of modern tourists. An overview of the best places to visit in Poland:
8. Bialowieza Forest
Torun, located on the Vistula River, is best known, perhaps, as the birthplace of Copernicus, but it’s just as well known for its old market place and Gothic town hall that the National Geographic Polska put on its list of the 30 most beautiful places in the world. As Torun escaped bombing during World War II, the city still boasts numerous buildings that date back to the Middle Ages. Construction on the town hall started in the 13th century, with many churches, including the Cathedral of SS. John the Evangelist and John the Baptist, dating back to the 14th century. This church is a must-see for travelers interested in Gothic paintings and sculptures, and Baroque altars.
6. Tatra National Park
Student travelers wanting to meet their Polish peers might want to visit Poznan, long known as an academic center and home to Poland’s third largest university. The city hosts many international events, including the Malta International Theatre Festival that takes place every summer. Major sites are easily accessible by strolling the Royal-Imperial Route, a walk set up especially for tourists. Athletes may enjoy a visit to the artificial lake of Malta, home to a ski slope, ice rink, and swimming pools.
Located on the Oder River, Wroclaw is the largest city in western Poland. Over the centuries it has been governed by Prussia, Poland, Germany and Bohemia, but has been part of Poland since 1945. The former capital of Silesia is still less well-known as some of the other places to visit in Poland but can definitely compete when it comes to amazing architecture. Main attractions include the market square and the impressive Old Town Hall, St, Elizabeth’s Church with its observation deck overlooking the city, and the largest zoo in Poland. Sailing on the Oder River is a relaxing way to get a feel for this medieval city.
Also known as Danzig, Gdansk is the largest city in northern Poland and its main seaport since it lies on the Baltic Sea. Founded around the 10th century, it has a mixed political history; at different times it belonged to Germany and Poland, and was a free state before permanently becoming a part of Poland after World War II. The city rebuilt itself after the war, restoring its Old Town, which is famous for the Royal Road that Polish kings traveled on when visiting this historical city. The city also is home to St. Mary church, the largest brick church in the world.
The capital of Poland might aptly be compared to a Phoenix rising from the ashes. Founded around the 12th century, Warsaw was pretty much destroyed during World War II, but has rebuilt itself into a thriving historical and cultural center, complete with a restored Old Town. Once known as the “Paris of the North,” it also is famous as the home of classical composer Fryderyk Chopin. Travelers of all ages will enjoy a visit to the Copernicus Science Center where hands-on activities abound.
Krakow might be described as a rags to riches city, since it went from being a seventh century village to the second most important city in Poland, being known for its cultural, artistic, academic and economic activities. During World War II, the Nazis herded Jews into the Krakow Ghetto where they were later sent to concentration camps; the movie Schindler’s List centered around one man’s efforts to save the ghetto residents from extermination. Located on the Vistula River, this former Polish capital is easy to get around, since Krakow’s attractions radiate out from Old Town, considered the best Old Town in the country.