With the vaccination programme underway and in full swing in America and European Union countries, travelers can now sign with relief. Countries are allowing those who are vaccinated with a certificate to prove the same, to travel. So, if you’re thinking of traveling to Europe during the summer, there are several reasons to visit Poland during your upcoming vacation this year.
Interestingly, since April 25, Forbes has reported a 72 percent spike in flight searches to Poland and this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Poland offers an exciting vacation experience for the entire family and can help to spice up your travel plans. So, the choice is yours. Either you choose to visit the popular, regular places in Europe or opt for a less explored, thrilling destination like Poland. Still, thinking about it? Don’t give it another thought – just pack your backpack and get going! You can thank us later. Poland offers budget tourist destinations, so you get to travel to and explore amazing places, all without burning a hole in your pocket! Here we have listed some of the top things to do and the best places to visit in Poland.
Summary of Tourist Destinations in Poland
You may be a regular traveller to Europe, but if you’ve not yet tried some of the best Polish foods, you’re missing something special. Poland’s food is delicious – no two ways about it. Pierogi is too good to be missed! It is an attraction in its own right. Whether you try it fried or cooked, stuffed Pierogi dumplings will leave you craving for more!
The Baltic Sea in the north of Poland and the Masurian Lake District with its innumerable pristine lakes which fall in the northeast of Poland are sights to feast your eyes on! Don’t pass up the chance to take in the serenity and untouched beauty of these places.
For those of you who are fed up with dull, vertical modern architecture, Poland is your go-to place. Explore the breathtaking medieval architecture of the place and visit the country’s majestic, grand castles! The Polish Gothic architecture with its red brick walls, gable roofs, cross-ribbed vaults, and pointed arches are a vision to marvel and a wonder to look at if you’re an architecture lover.
The ruins of the old city walls lie on the northern side of Florianska Street. All you need to do is walk southwards along Royal Road to reach Wawel Castle. This is believed to be the procession route of the kings of Poland and for this reason; the road is adorned and decorated. The iconic architecture in this place is a sheer treasure and not to be missed.
At the same time, the tourist attractions of Poland are not just about medieval castles or delicious food. Being at the center of World War II makes the country historically, very significant. Many scars of that war are still fresh on its soil and carry cultural, historical, and educational value. The city of Warsaw today has a cool vibe and carries itself with grace and majesty. Though much of it was destroyed during the Second World War, it stands today as the thriving illustration of Polish history, its past glory, and culture.
The city of Warsaw has many museums to keep you busy on your Warsaw Full Day Tour. The notorious Nazi concentration camp in Poland, Auschwitz-Birkenau has been turned into Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. When you are here, it is as if you confront history face to face! You’re at once taken aback by the horrific scenes of wrongs done to humanity.
Forget about WWII for a while, and head straight to Fryderyk Chopin Museum in Warsaw. One of Europe’s finest biographical museums, Fryderyk Chopin Museum tells the story of a legendary Polish composer, Fryderyk Chopin through multimedia displays. His letters are put on display along with his other possessions, including the Pleyel piano. The Museum is all set to host a one-of-a-kind exhibition ‘ I see the music’ & plans to display objects from the Museum’s treasury that depicts the relation between the unrelated- branches of art, music & painting.
Schindler’s Enamel Factory in Krakow is another popular tourist attraction in Poland established in the year 1937. Rendered still more popular because of the movie, Schindler’s List, it’s a must-visit place that used to be a metal item factory and now proudly hosts a Museum of Contemporary Art & Historical Museum of the City of Krakow in Poland. Exhibitions are held in Schindler’s Enamel Factory showcasing atrocities of war and its toll on Polish people.
Tatra National Park in Poland, situated in the Tatra Mountains, offers an adventurous experience and the best things to do in Poland to visitors. It’s a perfect blend of fun, adventure, outdoor activities, culture, cuisine, education, and history that make Poland Europe’s best weekend destination. You can go adventure hiking in Poland when you’re in Tatra National Park. Its grasslands, pastures, forests and rocky peaks make it a perfect location to test your climbing and hiking skills.
So, whatever it is you’re looking for in a trip, Poland never disappoints! As the tastes of visitors vary, Poland similarly has diverse experiences and activities to offer visitors. Read on.
Top 10 Reasons to Visit Poland
Poland is Europe’s Affordable Travel Destination
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated economies worldwide, forcing companies to cut jobs and individuals have imposed austerity upon themselves to cut expenses. In a nutshell, travellers are not immune to the economic loss brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But how long shall we remain confined to our homes? Surely the pandemic has tested the threshold of our patience by confining us to four walls. Life needs a breather, give it some space! Poland can be your gateway to happiness and freedom without burning your pocket as among other European countries, it is relatively affordable to visit.
In these testing times, every penny saved is worth hundreds and while expensive destinations burn your savings, Poland saves you a handsome amount of money on a visit. What’s wonderful about Poland is despite being a stunning tourist destination in all of Europe, it’s affordable.
Poland’s 5-star hotels are cheaper when compared with other European countries such as Austria, Germany or Italy and can save you a good amount of money. If you book a 5-star hotel in Poland, it costs about $89 – $482. Hotels with similar ratings cost $116 – $755 in Austria; $162 – $492 in Germany; and $150 – $1,168 in Italy.
The same holds true for transportation. In Germany, airport transfer from Airport Munich to the city center costs nearly 70 EUR but from Krakow Airport to the city center (in Poland) costs only 75zł, over four times cheaper!
Polish Foods are Famous Worldwide
Poland has plenty of dishes, evolved over centuries which is one of the key reasons to visit Poland. The country shares similarities with neighbouring cuisines such as German, Lithuanian, Czech & Jewish. All famous for being rich in meat and yet moderately priced. You can try varieties of soups, Pierogi (dumplings), Golabki (cabbage rolls), potato pancakes, and more – all centuries-old recipes.
Want to try the best Polish foods but wonder how? It is also one of the top 10 reasons to visit Poland all around the year. You do it by visiting the country and checking out its cafes, restaurants and street food vendors!
Zurek – This delectable soup remains one of the favorites of Poles. It’s made primarily with rye flour but has got some regional variations as well. Added to the Zurek recipe are potatoes, meat, vegetables, served the classic way with a boiled egg. But if you want it served in bread instead, opt for Zurek w Chlebie.
Pierogi – Poland’s filled dumplings are famous the world over. Nothing tastes better than meat-cheese-chocolate-fruit stuffed Pierogi. The cream or butter topping accompanying the Pierogi dumplings is nothing short of icing on the cake!
You can find dumplings anywhere in Poland owing to their immense popularity that makes it one of the top 10 reasons to visit Poland. However, the best place to taste Pierogies is at Pierogarnia Mandu in Gdansk, which famously serves over 35 varieties of Pierogi.
St. Martin’s Croissant – This famous Polish food is special not only because it is mouthwatering, but because it’s a protected traditional speciality. This means St. Martin’s Croissant enjoys legislative protection under European Union. It’s horseshoe-shaped and has a filling of white poppy seeds, giving it not just a unique taste but also a unique place among all Polish foods.
If there is room for more, try also Oscypek, Makowiec, Torun’s Gingerbread, Placki Ziemniaczane, Racuchy, Silesian Kluski and Tatar on your next food tour of Poland!
Poland is Home to Modern Cities
Cities in Poland are modern in every sense, yet retain their classical, medieval aura making them one of the best places to see in Poland. Hustling city life offers a glimpse into the vibrant social life of Poland, its culture, its trade, and befriending local vendors won’t hurt!
Warsaw – The capital city of any country reflects the entire country. It’s a mirror through which you can see the whole country and acts as a storehouse of national treasures. Visiting Warsaw first makes sense. Not just because it’s the capital city but because of its cultural diversity and history. The historic city center which has been rebuilt acts as a sort of meeting point where people from all walks of life bump into each other. You can visit Lazienki Palace and explore its architecture or choose to remain outdoors at Powisle riverfront. With cafes and restaurants at every nook and corner, just bump into one and savour all Polish delicacies as if there were no tomorrow.
Krakow – When people visit it for the first time, they are left amazed by the sheer brilliance of this medieval city. Rarely do you see a city so old and yet so beautifully preserved! And because it is so well preserved tourists from all over the world visit it. You’ve got plenty in Krakow to keep you busy, Old Town, Wawel Castle, Cloth Hall, Saint Mary’s Basilica. When in Old Town do nothing, just walk through its streets aimlessly and be stunned by the beauty of monuments surrounding the town.
Gdansk – For water lovers, Gdansk is the best place to visit in Poland. It has received top ranks for the quality of life, safety and living standards worldwide. Being devastated heavily during WWII, Gdansk was restored to its formal glory. You can indulge in some water adventure or enjoy walking through Amber Street, whatever interests you, just go for it! Visiting Gdansk has a unique advantage over other cities; its proximity with Gdynia and Sopot with which it forms what is called a Tricity. Hence, from here visitors find it easy to leave for an impromptu tour of Gdynia and Sopot.
Wroclaw – A city that abounds in bridges and islands, Wroclaw remains a top attraction in Poland. Rich in green cover, it has some 14 gardens which offer the best walking experience in the company of rejuvenating nature and has architecture dating back to the middle ages. The Cathedral Island, Old Town Promenades, and a Japanese Garden named Park Szczytnicki are some of its finest attractions.
Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
Some scars never heal and Auschwitz-Birkenau, a Nazi concentration camp in Poland, is one such scar still fresh in Polish memory. It has been turned into a research museum and has been preserved in the memory of the 1.1 million Jews who died there.
Visitors are shown films documenting Nazi brutality, and the experience of it is haunting. All the barbed wires, rooms where women were injected forcibly with Typhus; all gets scary when eyes fall on mounted piles of shoes of exterminated human beings. All the torture rooms, Death Wall – a place where captives were shot dead; the gas chambers, train tracks, and everything has been preserved the way it was during its operations. Visiting it is important to acquaint us with atrocities committed here. You experience a live demonstration, which is hard to grasp from history books. History lovers will find several reasons to visit Poland and this museum is one of them.
When you visit Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, you may want to explore more of Poland’s WWII history which is one of the top 10 reasons to visit Poland. Wolf’s Lair is another such attraction in Poland steeped in WWII history. It’s here that an attempt was made to assassinate Hitler. Wolf’s Lair was Hitler’s headquarter for Eastern Front Military and is found in Gierloz village.
Poland is Rich in Natural Beauty
Home to 23 National Parks and some unique national gems are part of the best places to visit in Poland. Picturesque Poland has plenty to offer when it comes to lush green meadows, mountains and pristine rivers to its visitors! Poland’s Tatra National Park situated in the Tatra Mountains provides a thrilling experience to hikers and climbers. Its rocky peaks and difficult terrains make it a perfect location to test your climbing skills. Not to forget, camping in its grasslands or hiking to its mountains is what you can go for without having to risk anything.
Morskie Oko – Nestled in Tatra National Park, this lake will take your breath away because of its crystal waters and picture-perfect hills surrounding it from all sides. It is known as Eye of the Sea and is the largest and fourth deepest lake in Southern Poland. A mountain peak soaring over Morskie Oko at 2499m altitude is Rysy. You will be bewitched by the soaring height of Rysy peak and will not want to climb it. Interestingly, it is the best hiking destination in Tatra National Park and always tops the itinerary list of visitors.
Great Masurian Lake District – When people think of water sports in Poland, the Great Masurian Lake District comes to mind. Its waterways, rivers, and lakes are ideal for rafting and boat riding. It is covered 15% in water & 30% by forest. Whether you’re riding a boat on its crystal waters or hiking its steep mountains the dominating presence of natural beauty remains a constant.
Poland is Diverse in Wildlife
You can enjoy the best wildlife holidays in Poland that offers some of the fun things to do in Poland all around the year. Bialowieza Forest in Poland has diverse wildlife and a perfect landscape to explore animal life at its best. It is home to 12,000 species of animals, including endangered species. Some of the unique animals to watch out for when in Bialowieza Forest are European Bison, Beaver, Marten, and Wolf.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bialowieza Forest also features cycling and walking trails. Though parts of it are protected, enough is left open for visitors who may travel in groups or individually.
Poland’s wildlife is as diverse and unique as its landscape that makes it one of the top reasons to visit Poland. If you’re on a wildlife holiday in Poland, some of the animals to watch out for during Poland wildlife tours are:
European Bison – Thought of as an emblem of Polish pride, a whopping 25 percent of the world’s total European Bison population is in Poland. Being Poland’s national animal, European Bison spotting can be a fun activity filled with adventure.
Wild Boar – Wild Boars are not hard to find, they are found in every park thereby making them one of the top places to see in Poland. So, keep your eyes open and watch out for it, who knows you might meet one on the road! It’s a wild ancestor of the domesticated pig, very different from what you see elsewhere in the world.
White Stork – At two meters tall, White Storks are beautifully white. Polish people have a legend associated with White Stork where it is said if you spot it flying or resting in the nest, it means good luck. How much of it is true, how much superstition, you can tell by spotting one in either position.
European Wolf – A protected animal under Poland’s laws, European Wolf is a rare and prestigious one hard to spot easily. If you’re lucky enough to see one, grab your camera and waste no time snapping it.
Other Polish wildlife to consider spotting in Poland is Wild Hedgehog, White-Tailed Eagle, Polish Fox, and European Elk.
Polish Parties and Festivals
Poles are hard party-goers and love parties which is one of the best things to do in Poland this weekend. They love music and host many summer music festivals. If you want to chill and have fun, just sneak into one! Poles show their affinity for celebrations by throwing parties every once in a while. Their first reaction to any good news is to party! When in Poland you can explore electrifying parties and be smitten by its social life.
New Year’s Eve – If you happen to be in Poland on New Year’s Eve, just head straight to RynekGlowny for the best party of its kind in Krakow. It’s an open-air arena where everyone comes together to welcome the New Year, with celebrations carrying on all night long.
Easter Celebrations – People in Poland start their Easter celebrations days before Easter Sunday and the happy vibe of celebrations begins earlier with people shopping for handicrafts and other things. Easter markets are set up where you can find every kind of decoration material, including egg-shaped colourful ceramic decorations, primarily because eggs represent Easter. Similarly, edible, lamb-shaped decorations are made, because lamb too is emblematic of Easter.
Baltic Days of Jewish Culture – This two-day festival held in Gdansk is a perfect occasion to explore Jewish culture and offers a good outing experience with Hebrew music, poetry and literature being its regular feature.
Poland is Spacious, Not Overcrowded
Beautiful and budget-friendly, Poland is mostly underrated when compared to other European countries. Though it is a bit unusual for a country, so diverse and rich in terms of attractions to be so underrated, it’s not disheartening! At least, it is not so overly crowded by tourists. Therefore, among its neighbours, Poland is spacious, hence less crowded and offers more peace of mind. So, Poland being less crowded is in your favour!
People who believe in exploring are looking for some rich experiences and they become interested in visiting Poland. They visit the country to explore its culture, cuisine, architecture and to relax in its rejuvenating natural beauty.
Poland is a Country where Language is No Barrier
When you travel you interact with local people and try to understand life from their perspective. Interactions help build new relationships and Poland makes this possible because Polish people speak English. Therefore, travelling is more fun and more convenient. After all, language compatibility is a must!
So, if you’re from an English-speaking country, or have English as a second language, know that communication is not a problem in Poland. Whether it’s to speak to a local guide, shopkeeper, waiter, or just to have a casual conversation, with some local person, you can communicate freely with anyone you meet on the streets, and collect information from the locals.
Poland is Home to Incredible People
It is the people who make a place incredible and Poland is blessed to have incredible people who make you feel at home. They are jovial, friendly, intelligent, and good speakers – the Poles really love long conversations which is one of the top 10 reasons to visit Poland! Many famous personalities were born in Poland, including Max Factor, Kopernik, Marie Curie, Frederic Chopin, and so on.
Further, tell us what you like about Poland or what are your reasons to visit Poland. The comments section below is all yours, so do share your thoughts. Now you know what to do in Poland, go ahead and plan your journey with zeal. If you are planning to explore the best places to visit near Poland then check our Europe travel guides.