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In recent years, Eastern European countries get more and more attention from travelers and tourists alike. But what about Poland? Is Poland worth visiting? My answer is – yes, absolutely! Since I have lived for three months in 2020, Poland holds a special place in my heart.
I know what it’s like to have doubts about visiting a new place – maybe you don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on an underwhelming experience or deal with language barriers and cultural differences. But trust me when I say that Poland is a hidden gem that shouldn’t be overlooked.
In this blog post, I will share with you the top 10 reasons why Poland should be on your travel bucket list. From historic cities with picturesque old towns to rugged mountain landscapes and pristine beaches, there’s something for everyone in this fascinating country. So get ready to discover my top 10 reasons why Poland is worth visiting!
1) Rich Historical Heritage
Did you know that Poland has 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites? That’s more than famous tourist destinations like Belgium, Switzerland, and Croatia have, and only one UNESCO World Heritage site less than Greece has. The historic center of Krakow, Wieliczka Salt Mine, and Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp are only a few examples that are an absolute must-visit!
Poland’s history is long and complex, dating back to medieval times when it was ruled by kings and queens. The country has faced countless wars, invasions, and revolutions over the centuries, each leaving its imprint on the landscape and culture. And yet, despite all of this turmoil, Poland has emerged as a resilient nation with a deep sense of national pride and a unique identity and culture.
From the medieval castles to the World War II memorials, there is so much to see and learn about the country’s past. As you walk through the streets of Krakow or Warsaw, you can’t help but feel the weight of history on your shoulders.
But it’s not just about the buildings and monuments. Poland’s history is also reflected in its culture and traditions. From the colorful folk costumes to the delicious traditional dishes, you can experience the country’s heritage in every aspect of daily life.
2) Magnificent Architecture
Poland’s rich and complex history leads to another major reason why Poland is truly worth visiting: its magnificent architecture. From the Gothic cathedrals to the Baroque palaces, Poland is home to some of the most stunning buildings in Europe.
One of the best examples of Poland’s architectural prowess is the historic center of Krakow. This is one of Europe’s most beautiful medieval cities and it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The streets are lined with stunning buildings that showcase a variety of architectural styles, from Gothic to Renaissance to Baroque. The Wawel Castle is particularly impressive and is a must-visit for anyone interested in history and architecture.
In Gdańsk, you’ll be amazed by the St. Mary’s Basilica, a must-see with its stunning Gothic architecture, towering spires, and intricate details. As you wander through the historic center, charming merchant houses with colorful facades add to the city’s unique charm.
Warsaw, on the other hand, the lively capital, offers a captivating blend of styles. Even after undergoing post-war reconstruction, Warsaw offers numerous architectural sites worth admiring. One notable example is the restored Royal Castle, which impresses with its meticulous attention to detail. These architectural wonders serve as a testament to Poland’s dedication to preserving its rich cultural heritage.
But it’s not just the grand monuments that make Poland’s architecture so special. Even the smaller, more humble buildings have a unique charm and character that is hard to find anywhere else. The traditional wooden houses of Zakopane, for example, are a delightful sight to see, with their steeply pitched roofs and intricate carvings.
3) Fascinating, Lively Cities
Poland is not just a country with a rich historical heritage and magnificent architecture, it is also home to some of the most fascinating and lively cities in Europe. Each city has its own unique charm and character that make them worth visiting.
Let’s start with Krakow, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Poland. This city has a rich history dating back to the 7th century, and it is reflected in its stunning architecture, vibrant culture, and lively atmosphere. The main square, Rynek Glowny, is the largest medieval square in Europe and is a hub of activity with street performers, cafes, and souvenir shops.
And then there’s Wroclaw, a city that often gets overlooked by tourists but is one of my personal favorites. Located in western Poland, Wroclaw has a rich history and a vibrant cultural scene. The city has a unique blend of German and Polish influences, which is evident in its architecture and cuisine. The Market Square is a must-see, with its colorful buildings and lively atmosphere.
Gdansk, located on the Baltic coast, is another city that should be on your list. This city has a rich maritime history and is home to some of the most beautiful architecture in the country. Warsaw is another hub of activity with vibrant nightlife, excellent restaurants, and world-class museums. The Royal Castle, the Palace of Culture and Science, and the Old Town are just a few of the must-see attractions in this fascinating city.
4) Natural Beauty
When it comes to natural beauty, Poland is a hidden gem that is completely underrated in my opinion! Poland offers a diverse range of landscapes that are sure to take your breath away.
Let’s start with Bieszczady National Park. The park is located in the southeastern part of Poland and is home to some incredible wildlife and landscapes. You can hike through the mountains, explore the dense forests or simply relax by the rivers and lakes. It’s a place where you can reconnect with nature and escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Moving on to the Tatra Mountains, you’ll find yourself in a completely different world. These majestic peaks are located in the south of Poland and are a haven for hikers and skiers alike. The Tatras offer stunning views of the surrounding valleys and forests. You can hike to the top of Mount Rysy, the highest peak in Poland, or take a cable car up to Kasprowy Wierch for panoramic views of the mountain range.
Also, let’s not forget about the beaches in the north of Poland. While they might not have the warm waters of the Mediterranean, they’re still a great place to relax and soak up the sun. The beaches are clean and well-maintained, and you’ll find plenty of activities to keep you entertained.
And If you’re looking for a less-known place to relax and soak up some sun, then head to the Masurian Lakes. This region in northeastern Poland is dotted with over 2,000 lakes, making it a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. You can go sailing, kayaking, or fishing, or simply relax on one of the many beaches that line the lakeshores!
5) Delicious Cuisine
When it comes to Poland, one of the many things that make it worth visiting is the delicious cuisine. Whether you’re a foodie or just someone who appreciates good food, I assure you that you will not be disappointed with the cuisine that awaits you in Poland!
When it comes to Polish food, the first thing that comes to mind for many people is pierogi. These little dumplings are filled with all kinds of tasty fillings, from cheese and potato to sauerkraut and mushrooms. They’re often served with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of crispy bacon on top. Trust me, once you try them, you’ll be hooked!
Another must-try dish in Poland is kielbasa. This hearty sausage is made with a blend of pork and beef and is seasoned with garlic and other spices. It’s often served grilled or fried and is perfect for a quick lunch or as a snack while exploring the city.
But Polish cuisine isn’t all about meat and potatoes. There are also plenty of delicious vegetarian options, like the traditional dish of Bigos. This hearty stew is made with sauerkraut, mushrooms, and other vegetables and is perfect for a cold winter day.
And let’s not forget about the sweets! The Polish are known for their delectable desserts, such as the famous paczki donuts and the sweet and creamy sernik cheesecake, my absolute favorite!
6) Festivals and Events
Poland is a country with an abundance of festivals and events that take place throughout the year. Whether you’re a music lover, a foodie, or just looking for some good old-fashioned fun, Poland has something to offer everyone!
One of the most popular events in Poland is the annual Warsaw International Film Festival. This festival brings together filmmakers and movie lovers from all over the world to celebrate the art of cinema. With over 150 films from more than 50 countries, this festival is a must-see for anyone who loves movies.
If you’re a music lover, you won’t want to miss the Open’er Festival. This multi-day music festival is held in Gdynia and features some of the biggest names in music. In 2023 for example, you can expect headliners like Arctic Monkeys and Kendrick Lamar!
For those who love food, the Pierogi Festival in Krakow is a must-visit. This festival celebrates Poland’s national dish, pierogi, with dozens of vendors selling their own unique versions of the dumplings. From savory to sweet, there’s a pierogi for everyone at this festival.
Those are only a few examples of some of the best festivals and events in Poland. For more information, head over to this website to learn more about the 10 best festivals in Poland that showcase the country’s history in traditions!
7) Unique Underground Wonders
If you’re planning a trip to Poland, you might be wondering what unique attractions this country has to offer. Well, let me tell you about the incredible underground wonders that you can explore in Poland!
First up, the Wieliczka Salt Mine. This incredible mine has been in operation since the 13th century, and fortunately, it is possible to explore its underground tunnels and chambers. The mine is famous for its stunning salt sculptures, including a chapel carved entirely out of salt. It’s a truly unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Especially if you plan to stay for a few days in Krakow, visiting Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the best things to do!
Another underground wonder in Poland is the Ksiaz Castle Underground Complex. This mysterious complex is located beneath the Ksiaz Castle and was originally built as a secret military facility during World War II. Here you can explore the tunnels and chambers, which include a massive underground hall that could hold up to 2,000 soldiers.
The Osówka Complex is another fascinating underground site in Poland. This network of tunnels and chambers was also built during World War II and was intended to be a top-secret Nazi facility. Today, you can explore the eerie tunnels and see the remnants of the Nazi war machine.
Finally, Jaskinia Niedźwiedzia is a stunning cave system located in the south of Poland. This natural wonder is home to incredible rock formations and underground pools. Here you can take a guided tour of the caves and learn about their geology and history.
8) Majestic Castles
As we already learned earlier in this post, Poland is a country steeped in history. As such, it’s no wonder that Poland is home to some of the most beautiful and impressive castles in Europe. These majestic structures are a testament to the country’s rich history and are a must-see for anyone visiting.
While the Royal Castle Warsaw, the Ksiaz Castle, and the Wawel Castle, which I already introduced earlier, are some of the most famous castles in Poland, many other impressive structures are worth a visit. One such castle is the Moszna castle, located in the southwestern part of the country. This magnificent castle boasts over 90 rooms and is surrounded by beautiful gardens and a picturesque lake, hence it is often referred to as the “Polish Versailles.”
Another impressive castle is the Malbork Castle, which is the largest castle in the world by surface area. This stunning structure was once the seat of the Teutonic Knights and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you can explore the castle’s many rooms and chambers and learn about its fascinating history.
Last but not least is the Czocha castle, located in the southwestern part of Poland. This castle is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture and is set on a hill overlooking a picturesque lake. Explore the castle’s many courtyards, towers, and chambers, and maybe even consider staying overnight in one of the castle’s luxurious rooms!
These castles are only a few examples of what Poland has to offer. For more inspiration, read this blog post about more castles you should consider visiting on your trip to Poland.
9) Jewish Heritage
When it comes to Poland, many people might not know about the rich Jewish heritage that can be found in the country. The history of Jews in Poland dates back centuries and has left a lasting impact on the country’s culture and traditions.
Not far from Kraków, you’ll find the Auschwitz concentration camp. It’s a haunting place, but it’s an important reminder of the atrocities that took place during World War II. Walking through the camp and seeing the remnants of the gas chambers and crematoriums is a sobering experience, but it’s important to remember the millions of lives that were lost there.
In Kraków itself, you can visit the Jewish District of Kazimierz. This area was home to a thriving Jewish community before the war, and you can still see the synagogues, cemeteries, and other landmarks that remain. Take a stroll through the streets, and you’ll find plenty of cafes and restaurants that serve Jewish cuisine.
And for a more in-depth look at Poland’s Jewish history, head to the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. The museum tells the story of Polish Jews from the Middle Ages to the present day and is a must-see for anyone interested in this aspect of Polish culture.
As a traveler on a budget, one of the first things you’ll want to know is how affordable it is to visit another country. The good news is: Poland is one of the most affordable countries in Europe!
You’ll find that prices for food, accommodation, and transportation are much lower than in many other European countries. For example, you can get a decent meal at a local restaurant for around $10, and a night in a budget hotel will only set you back around $30.
If you’re looking to save even more money, you can consider traveling by bus or train instead of flying. Public transportation is reliable and affordable in Poland, and you’ll get to see more of the country along the way. And if you’re really on a tight budget, there are plenty of great hostels where you can stay for just a few dollars a night.
Of course, affordability is just one factor to consider when deciding whether or not to visit Poland. But if you’re looking for an affordable and culturally rich destination in Europe, Poland should definitely be on your list!
Poland may not be on everyone’s travel radar, but it really should be. With its rich history and culture, stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and affordable prices, Poland has a lot to offer visitors. From the bustling cities of Warsaw and Krakow to the natural beauty of the Tatra Mountains, there’s something for everyone in this fascinating country.
So if you’re looking for a European adventure that won’t break the bank, consider adding Poland to your itinerary. And why not book your travel essentials such as hotels, flights, and rental cars through Giving Getaway?
Not only will you have an unforgettable journey, but by doing so you’ll also be contributing to their cause in organizing future charity events – with 50% of their commission going towards initiatives like the 2021 Christmas gift drive for kids and teens in a children’s home in Montenegro.
So why not make a positive impact while enjoying your travels? Booking with Giving Getaway today is sure to help transform our world into one that is better than before!