You’ve already wandered around the streets of London, Paris or Berlin. You’ve seen the ancient monuments in Athens and Rome. But there’s more to Europe than that. Those who have already had the luck to discover Poland, often refer to it as Europe’s best-kept secret, its hidden treasure. Over 1000 years of Polish history give you over 1000 reasons to come. Let us name just a few.
#1 Because of the intriguing Polish history
Polish history is complicated. It used to be a very powerful state, but it underwent very dynamic changes. It was invaded, divided, suffered from many wars. It disappeared from the map and for 123 years Poland existed only in the hearts of the people. After the First World War it regained its independence, but only for a very short period. Fate severely tried this country during the Second World War, leaving it in ruins. Then after the war Poland lost its sovereignty again, becoming a “satellite state” of the USSR. It was reborn as a democratic country in 1989 and you’d be surprised at its rapid development.
Interesting history-related places to visit:
- Warsaw Rising Museum – a very modern and interesting museum dedicated to the most heroic attempt to stand up against the Nazis in 1944.
- Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk – a new and modern museum, where you can learn all about the war that started in Poland and had a huge impact on its history.
- European Solidarity Center – a museum with comprehensive exhibitions dedicated to the Polish fight for freedom and democracy (and another architectural gem)
- Royal Castle in Warsaw – destroyed during the Second World War and meticulously restored, it is a fantastic source of information about Poland under the rule of kings.
- Rynek Underground Museum in Kraków – you can learn about the life of simple inhabitants of Kraków in middle ages.
- Wolf’s Lair – Hitler’s secret headquarters.
#2 Because of the unique Polish cities
The most popular Polish tourist destination needs no introduction, but there’s so much more to be seen than just Kraków! Gdańsk, a port on the Baltic Sea, often referred to as the Pearl of Northern Poland. Wrocław, famous for its picturesque bridges and channels, Warsaw, where its modern, metropolitan character and traces of its tragic history intertwine. Each city is different and unique.
Interesting Polish cities to visit:
- Kraków – the main destination for tourists coming to Poland. It is famous for its amazing architecture and atmosphere, as well as interesting museums. It’s one of those cities you simply can’t have enough of.
- The Tricity – consisting of three cities by the Baltic sea. Gdańsk, known as the amber city. Gdynia, a port on the Baltic sea. And Sopot, a famous Polish seaside resort with the longest wooden pier in Europe.
- Warsaw – the famous phoenix city that rose from ashes after it was completely destroyed during World War II. Don’t limit your sightseeing to the most popular places, discover the right-bank side of Warsaw too!
- Toruń – a medieval city, the birthplace of Copernicus and the home to the most delicious gingerbread.
- Wrocław – one of the most picturesque cities with a beautiful Old Town and lots of little dwarves all over the place.
#3 Because of the Polish pearls of architecture
From gothic to modern, Poland abounds in genuine pearls of architecture. From the former seats of Polish kings in Warsaw and Kraków, through the castles along the Trail of the Eagles’ Nests, the walls of which have witnessed centuries go by, through the numerous renaissance and baroque palaces, to gems of modern Polish architecture.
Interesting architecture to see in Poland:
- Malbork Castle – built by the Teutonic Knights in the Middle Ages, it is considered to be the biggest castle in the world.
- Keret House – the narrowest house in the world, which is located in Warsaw.
- Warsaw University Library – an example of post-modernist, ecological architecture.
- Trail of the Eagles’ Nests – a chain of picturesque castles.
- Krzyżtopór Castle – a great 17th-century fortress, nowadays in ruins.
- Centennial Hall in Wrocław – designed in early 20th century, an icon of modernist architecture.
- Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw – the most recognizable building in the center of Warsaw.
- Wooden Churches of Southern Little Poland – six best-preserved and oldest examples of wooden Gothic churches.
- Zakopane – a town in the Polish Tatra mountains, famous for its unique wooden highlander architecture.
#4 Because of the cultural diversity in Poland
Due to its complicated history, Poland was a multicultural country. The changing borders and political turmoil brought together people of Polish, Jewish, Russian, German, Romani and Muslim cultures, the influence of which can be observed at many occasions.
Interesting places to visit in Poland:
- Nożyk Synagogue in Warsaw – the only synagogue in Warsaw that survived the war and is still used by the local Jewish community.
- POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews – a fascinating and thought-provoking account of the history of Jews in Poland (and a gem of contemporary architecture)
- Bohoniki Mosque – located off the beaten track, in eastern Poland. It was constructed in the 19th century for the local community of Tatars who had arrived to Poland from Turkey 600 years ago.
#5 Because of the beautiful Polish nature
Sea and lakes in the north, mountains in the south, forests and national parks everywhere. In Poland you can take a really deep breath and enjoy marvelous landscapes. From sand dunes and deserts, through marshes, to primeval forests and rocky mountains (and even a desert!), Poland combines a variety of landscapes to enjoy.
- Białowieża Primeval Forest – one of the last remaining parts of the primeval forest, unique in the world, and the natural habitat of European bisons.
- Sand Dunes in Łeba – a natural complex of moving sand dunes.
- Tatra Mountains – the highest mountain range in Poland.
- Biebrza River Valley and Wetlands – especially interesting if you like bird-watching
# 6 Because of the delicious Polish cuisine
Trying local food is an inherent part of every journey. Polish dishes have evolved over the centuries in response to historical circumstances. Bigos, pierogi, gołąbki, schabowy, barszcz, żurek, rosół, grzybowa, pączki… oh, I could go on and on talking about all the things you should try!
Interesting food-related things to do in Poland:
- Visit the Museum of Polish Vodka in Warsaw – it is a part of our heritage and we are not ashamed of it. Learn more about the mysteries of Polish vodka distillation.
- Taste gingerbread in Toruń – rich in different spices, gingerbread is the symbol of Toruń.
- Learn to make pierogi – it’s the most iconic Polish dish and you can’t leave Poland without tasting them. Why not learn to make them, too?
There are many more reasons to tour Poland. Let’s just do it, instead of wondering why. Discover the undiscovered! Located in the center of Europe, Poland can be easily reached by plane, train or bus, so it is easy to get there. And once you’re here, RealPoland will take care of the rest.