Poland is that somewhat unexpected destination , to which you leave with perhaps not many expectations but which, in the end, will make you fall in love! Because Poland is not reduced only to beautiful Warsaw and Krakow, but is a country full of spectacular landscapes, unspoiled nature, characteristic villages and great cities with history and culture! A destination that can make everyone agree , both by type of traveler and by available budget!
Are you thinking of a trip to this country
So let’s find out together how to organize it and what to see in Poland : cities, regions, attractions and recommended itineraries!

Major cities of Poland

1 – Krakow
The title of the most beautiful city in Poland can only be earned by her, Krakow. Located in the southern part of the country, and easily accessible from Italy thanks to the many low cost flights. With 761,873 inhabitants, it is the real Polish cultural capital . It is mainly known for its historic center and the Jewish quarter, but there are many things to see.

In a weekend you will be able to see most of the most important attractions of the city , such as the central square Rynek Glowny, St. Mary’s Basilica, Wavel Castle and Kazimierz, which is the Jewish quarter. But our advice is to stay a few more days, as Krakow is theperfect point to visit some of the most important places in Poland: from here you can reach the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau and the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

SEE ALSO : What to see in Krakow

2 – Warsaw
The capital of Poland . It is located in the heart of the country and today it is well connected to Italy also by numerous low cost trips. This makes it the perfect destination even for a short weekend trip . With 1.708 million inhabitants, Warsaw is a city full of life, lively, combining tradition and modernity. But above all, it is a city that has had a turbulent past and was largely destroyed during the Second World War.
Today the city can be divided into two parts : the Old Town and the New Town. The old one is the part that has kept its most traditional aspect and develops from the central square, Rynek Starego Miasta. But in addition to the historic center, in the surroundings there are some of the most beautiful and visited attractions in Europe : we are talking about the Lazienki Palace, inside the Lazienki Park, and the wonderful Wilanow Palace complex.

SEE ALSO : What to see in Warsaw

3 – Gdansk
It is a port city on the Baltic coastin which 582,378 people live. It has always played an important role in the Polish economy and today, what you can see, is largely rebuilt, especially the old town that was razed to the ground during the Second World War.
To fully enjoy its charm, the best time to visit is summer. Stroll through the historic center and along the Royal Section , which is a stretch that connects the Plateau Gate (Brama Wyzynna) with the Green Gate (Zielona Brama). Stop for a drink in Long Market, the central square, and admire the Neptune Fountain.

SEE ALSO : What to see in Gdansk

4 – Wroclaw (Breslau)
Photo by Diego Delso. In Italian also known by the name of Breslau eone of the most beautiful and oldest cities in all of Poland and is crossed by the Oder River. With 641,607 inhabitants, it is absolutely one of the cities to be included in an itinerary of the country.
This town is famous above all for its university , one of the most prestigious in the country. Furthermore, what it mainly attracts is its beautiful and lively old town, characterized by houses and buildings with colorful facades. Furthermore, in 2016 it was declared the European Capital of Culture , here are many museums to visit to learn about and deepen Polish history.

SEE ALSO : What to see in Wroclaw

5 – Lublin
We begin the discovery of the most beautiful cities with this city located in the eastern part of the country, not far from the border with Ukraine and Bierlorussia. With 348,567 inhabitants, it has always represented, especially in the past, the meeting point between Eastern and Western Europe , mainly due to its important mercantile role. It is considered one of the destinations to be relaunched in Polish tourism!
Always an example of toleranceAs inhabited by Jews, Protestants, Catholics and other groups, these different influences can be seen walking around the city. A self-respecting itinerary starts from the old town, the best preserved medieval village in all of Poland. Absolutely to visit the castle, the basilica of S. Stanislao and the Trinita tower, from which to admire a wonderful panorama.

6 – Chocholow
Photo of Aotearoa. We are now moving to the far south of Poland, about 100 km from Krakow. It is located on the border with Slovakia, in the beautiful setting of Nowy Targ County and the Tatra Mountains. With only 1,135 inhabitants, this town is a real open-air museum : the small agglomeration is made up of houses all made of wood, you will feel like taking a step back in time.
This is precisely what characterizes it: it is an authentic and rural town , where technology and globalization have not been able to arrive. Here you will find peace and silence and, even if tourism has increased in recent years, the country has maintained all its characteristics. Today it is also a famous spa area , with the presence of the Chocholowskie Termy complex, perfect for a relaxing day in the midst of nature!

7 – Lodz
Now we move to the heart of Poland. 130 km west of Warsaw, with 98,688 inhabitants, it is the third most populous city in the country . Mainly industrial city in the past, in recent years it has undergone a profoundqualification project , transforming all the old factory districts into beautiful cultural and meeting centers. In fact, it is a city much loved by artists and which is opening up more and more to tourism.
Walking through the streets of the center you will immediately notice that the Art Nouveau style dominates the city , with wonderful buildings that were once the residences of the families at the head of the industries in the area. But not only that: this city is considered the capital of cinema of the country, in fact it is nicknamed HollyLodz. This is because in the city there is the State School of Cinema, Television and Theater, from which great names in the sector have come out, one among them Roman Polanski.

8 – Poznan
We are always located in the heart of Poland, further west of Lodz, located on the banks of the Warta River. With 535,946 inhabitants, it is mainly known for its prestigious university .
The best place to start is certainly its central square, the Old Market Square , surrounded by beautiful and characteristic colorful houses and buildings. Make sure you are in the square at noon : on the tower of the town hall there is in fact the famous clock where two mechanical kids come out from a small door and shoot their heads. Then stop in one of the many pastry shops or ovens and taste one of the best dessertsfrom all over Poland, today also with the IGP brand, the rogal swietomarcinski, or the St. Martin’s croissant, a real delicacy!

9 – Zakopane
Its popularity is due to its splendid location: we are at the foot of the Tatra mountains . With about 27,266, it hosts many tourists in both the summer and winter seasons. The neighboring peaks are those of Gubalowka and Giewont.
The city thus becomes the starting point for summer excursions and winter sports . Here also develops the Tatra National Park , a wonderful nature reserve ideal for hiking and walking. Kasprowy Wierch and Gubalowka are two famous ski resorts, easily accessible thanks to the cable car and funicular complex. In short, a destination completely surrounded by nature, perfect to visit at any time of the year according to your needs!

SEE ALSO : What to see in Zakopane

10 – Zamosc
It is located about 90 km from Lublin, with 63,511 inhabitants. Absolutely to be included in your itinerary for one simple reason: since 1992 it has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage as a perfect and unique example of a Renaissance city in the world. In fact, its architecture and urban work is close to the Renaissance concept of an ideal city, which is why it is also called the Pearl of the Renaissance.
The discovery of Zamosc can only start from its square, one of the most beautiful in Europe, the Rynek Wielki. The best way to visit the city is to stroll through the streets of the historic center , without forgetting attractions such as the Zamosc Museum to discover its history and the Nadszaniec fortress, just outside the center and surrounding the city.

15 things to see: the most important sights in Poland
Wieliczka Salt Mines

Great Market Square in Zamo

Hel Peninsula and Slowinski National Park

The chapel of skulls in Czermna

Bialowieza National Park

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  1. Palaces of Warsaw : in the capital there are some of the most visited palaces in Europe. They are the Wilanow Residence, called the Polish Versailles, and the Lazienki Palace, located in the park of the same name
  2. Auschwitz-Birkenau : the best known Nazi concentration camp, easily accessible from Krakow. To dedicate at least half a day – more info
  3. Wieliczka Salt Mines : day trip from Krakow. It is one of the oldest salt mines in the world, operational until 1996 – more info
  4. Wawel Complex : one of the most interesting architectural complexes in the world, in Krakow. It includes a large square, the castle, the cathedral with its museum, the Thief Tower and the Dragon’s Cave – more info
  5. Marienburg Castle : in the city of Malbork, northern Poland. First the castle was built on the banks of the Nogat River, then the whole city developed around it
  6. Great Market Square of Zamosc : the large and famous central square of the city, listed by UNESCO as the only example in the world of “perfect Renaissance city”. Full of cafes and small shops, the perfect starting point for exploring the whole city
  7. Chocholow : a real open-air museum, with houses completely built in wood, it seems to take a step back in time. Today it is also a spa complex, with the Chocholowskie Termy, ideal for a relaxing afternoon
  8. Hel Peninsula and Slowinski National Park : easily reachable from Gdansk, they are two ideal destinations for nature lovers, to see perhaps in a single day
  9. Tatra National Park : park located in southern Poland, in the Tatra Mountains. Ideal for summer excursions, thanks to the many paths and trekking, and full of ski facilities for winter sports
  10. Ojcow National Park : national park located a few kilometers from Krakow, ideal for an excursion in the midst of nature. There are numerous paths that lead to the discovery of karst formations, chalky rocks and numerous mines
  11. The chapel of skulls in Czermna : this chapel, is made with the remains of the bodies of inhabitants who died from smallpox, a way to remember that the body is only a container for the soul. It is one of the most curious attractions in Poland
  12. Zalipie : 68 km from Krakow, is a colorful village where everything is full of painted flowers. Unmissable
  13. Biskupin : an open-air archaeological museum that preserves the most famous and ancient wooden constructions of the fortified marsh-type settlement in Poland
  14. Lady with an Ermine : Leonardo da Vinci’s work exhibited at the National Museum of Krakow. It is considered one of the most fascinating portraits, as it turns out to be a tribute to the charm and intelligence of the woman
  15. Bialowieza National Park : one of the oldest parks in Europe, included in the list of Unesco world sites. It is famous because the species of the European bison, the largest terrestrial mammal in Europe, has been saved here and has now become the symbol of the park. It can only be visited accompanied by an expert guide

The main itineraries in Poland
Poland is truly a country that can accommodate any type of traveler : whether you are traveling alone, as a couple, with friends or with children! Moreover, it is a low cost destination , which can be visited easily even on a low budget, thanks to the very low cost of living!
If you only have a weekend available, we recommend that you focus on a single city, such as the capital Warsaw or beautiful Krakow. If, on the other hand, you have more time, you could also opt for an on the road that touches the main cities. If you travel in the summer, we recommend the north coast instead. There are so many alternatives, also according to your tastes! So let’s see what are the main itineraries:

  1. Warsaw and surroundings : stop off in Warsaw, which is easily reachable from Italy thanks to the two airports. Visit the city, with its beautiful buildings and the old town. Then dedicate the remaining time to the surroundings, visit the cities of Lodz and Lublin, without forgetting Zamosc
  2. Long weekend in Krakow : take 5 days to visit Krakow and take part in two of the most famous excursions in Poland, the one to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and the one to the Wieliczka Salt Mines
  3. Travel to southern Poland : land in Krakow and then reach the town of Zakopane. From here there are many excursions to do, in summer you can dedicate yourself to trekking in the mountains, in winter to winter sports in the many ski resorts. Do not miss a stop in Chocholow and its thermal baths
  4. Gdansk and the Baltic coast : a trip to be made during the summer. Spend a few days in Gdansk, an important port city and wonderful to visit. Then reach the Hel Peninsula, ideal for relaxing and enjoying the sea on the hottest days

Where is it
Poland is located in the center of Europe , dividing Western Europe from Eastern Europe. It borders Germany to the west, the Czech Republic to the south west, Slovakia to the south, Ukraine and Belarus to the east, Lithuania to the north east. To the north and bordered by the Baltic Sea

The main tourist regions
Poland is divided into 16 voivodships , which can be compared to our Italian regions. In turn they are then divided into districts and municipalities. From a tourist point of view, the most famous voivodships are three :

  1. the Masovian Voivodeship, with Warsaw as its capital
  2. the Lesser Poland Voivodeship, with Krakow as its capital
  3. the Voivodeship of Pomerania, with Gdansk as its capital

These are the three main cities where we also recommend that you base yourself to visit the rest of Poland . In fact, from Gdansk you can move along the Baltic coast, while from Warsaw you can explore the whole heart of Poland, easily reaching cities such as Poznan and Lublin. Finally, Krakow is an excellent starting point to go even to the southernmost part of the country.

1 – Masovian Voivodeship and Central Poland
Photo by Diego Delso. The Masovian Voivodeship is located in the heart of Poland and its capital is Warsaw. The Polish capital is a beautiful city full of history and charm , in the past also known as the “Paris of the North”.
It is divided into the Old Town, which has stood still over time, and the New Town, the most modern part of Warsaw. Among the attractions to see absolutely, you cannot miss the Wilanow Residence, called the Polish Versailles, and the Lazienki Palace, located in the homonymous park! These are two of the most visited attractions in Poland and Europe !
From Warsaw it is very easy to reach all the main cities in the center of the country , such as Lodz (130 km) and Lublin (170 km). From the latter we advise you to go up to the Bialowieza National Park and up to Zamosc , defined by UNESCO as the perfect Renaissance city, the only example in Europe! A visit to Biskupin is also not to be missed(3 h from Warsaw), which is an important archaeological site with the precise reconstruction of a human settlement from the Iron Age!

  • Main cities : Warsaw (capital), Lodz, Lublin, Zamosc, Poznan
  • Highlights : Wilanow Residence, Lazienki Palace, Lublin Castle, Lublin Village Open Air Museum, Great Market Square Zamosc, Rynek Wlokniarek Lodzkich, Ksiezy Mlyn, Lodz City Museum, Bialowieza National Park, Biskupin
  • Best period : from May to October, for the most pleasant temperatures. Avoid the month of August, one of the most crowded and rainy. If you are not afraid of the cold and we recommend the month of December for the Christmas markets and the many events

2 – Lesser Poland Voivodeship and Southern Poland
Krakow is the capital of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship and one of the most visited cities in the country ! Considered the true capital of Polish culture, we recommend you get lost in its historic center and explore the Jewish quarter! Among the attractions not to be missed, one of the main is Wawel Castle, which also includes a large square, the cathedral, the Thief Tower and the Dragon’s Cave. In the National Museum of Krakow , you can also admire the famous painting Lady with an Ermine, by Leonardo da Vinci.
Furthermore, Krakow is an excellent starting point for exploring this whole area, going as far as the southernmost part of the country. From the city you can easily reach the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp (priority entrance is recommended to avoid queues) and the Wieliczka Salt Mine (priority entrance is recommended to avoid queues), two of the main attractions.
Also not to be missed is a visit to the Chapel of the Skulls of Czermna (120 km). If you are a lover of nature and winter sports , we recommend that you go as far as Zakopane (112 km), at the foot of the Tatra Mountains, to enjoy a few relaxing days between excursions in the mountains and an afternoon at the spa.

  • Main cities : Krakow (capital), Katowice, Zakopane, Wroclaw
  • Highlights : Rynek Glowny, St Mary’s Basilica, Wavel Castle, Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Wieliczka Salt Mine, Wroclaw, Chocholow, Tatra Mountains National Park, Skull Chapel in Czermna, Zalipie
  • Best period : May to October, more pleasant temperatures and the possibility of outdoor activities. The month of December for the Christmas markets and the many events, the winter period for winter sports and ski resorts

3 – Pomeranian Voivodeship and Baltic coast
If you want to discover a side of Poland less traveled by mass tourism , we recommend that you go to the far north, along the Baltic coast. Here is the Pomeranian Voivodeship, with the beautiful city of Gdansk as its capital. This city is an important commercial hub due to its large and busy port , but it is still a city on a human scale. Among the attractions to see, pay a visit to the European Solidarity Center, an interesting museum on recent Polish history.
Furthermore, from Gdansk you can move to discover the whole northern part of the country ! If you are here in the summer, we recommend that you go to the Hel Peninsula, a seaside resort much loved by locals and where (temperatures permitting) you can swim in the Baltic Sea. Also not to be missed is the Slowinski National Park , characterized by sand dunes, swimming lakes and forests to relax and walk!

  • Main cities : Gdansk (capital), Gdynia
  • Highlights : Neptune Fountain, St. Mary’s Basilica, Westerplatte, Brzezno Beach, President Ronald Reagan Park, Gdynia Aquarium, Hel Peninsula and Lighthouse, Slowinski National Park
  • Best time: summer season, including late spring and early autumn

Travel informed: useful information

  • Inhabitants : 38,470,612
  • Capital : Warsaw
  • Languages : Polish
  • Local currency : Polish zloty (PLN) / € 1.00 = PLN 4.40
  • Climate : continental, with very cold and rigid winters, with temperatures often below zero and abundant snowfalls, and moderately hot summers. Milder climate along the Baltic Sea coasts
  • Distance from Italy : 1.326 km (2 h 10 min flight) from Rome to Warsaw
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What to do in Poland: activities, excursions and tours

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