Poland is a country with historical attractions and an important history which is clearly reflected in its historical cities (Krakow, Paczków, Zamość, Wrocław (Wrocław), Toruń), in their palaces, castles and churches. But it is also a country with interesting natural beauties which are often protected by parks and nature reserves.
The capital Warsaw, which rises along the Vistula river, was almost completely destroyed by the events of the Second World War. But its historic center (Stare Miasto) was completely rebuilt in the years following the war and is today on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The most important of the attractions and the main tourist destination of all Poland is the city of Krakow. This city was the ancient capital of the country, and an art center of global importance. Its historic center is a UNESCO heritage site and is centered on the vast market square (Rynek Główny) surrounded by the most important historical buildings in the city. The Wawel hill, with the cathedral and the royal castle, is also one of the most interesting places in Krakow to visit.
THE OTHER HISTORICAL CITIES
In the surroundings of Krakow there is also the suggestive Wieliczka salt mine. Among the places to visit in Poland there is one sadly famous, the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in the town of Oświęcim (Polish name of Auschwitz) located just west of Krakow.
Ancient Wroclaw, called in Polish Wrocław, is one of the most picturesque and suggestive cities in the country. Lying along the Oder River, it preserves important ancient monuments where German influence is clearly visible. An important historical city is Gdansk (Gdańsk), located along the Baltic Sea, and with a beautiful old town. Other popular city attractions of Poland, are Szczecin, an important Baltic port. Poznań, the main center and capital of Greater Poland, and Elbląg, located near the Baltic Sea and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
Near Lublin, in the eastern part of Poland, near the border with Ukraine is the beautiful town of Zamość. The old city, clearly Renaissance and with a marvelous market square, is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also nearby Lublin, one of the most important Polish cities is interesting to visit, in particular for its historical center (Stare Miasto) and for the Nazi concentration camp of Majdanek.
SMALL HISTORICAL CITIES
In the north of the country, south of Gdansk and Elbląg, there is the impressive Gothic castle of the Teutonic Knights of Malbork. The medieval city of Toruń is another jewel of Polish architecture. Toruń is also the birthplace of the famous 16th-century astronomer Nicholas Copernicus.
Among the small historic centers we can mention in Little Poland, near the Western Carpathians, the ancient royal town of Nowy Sącz, and the city of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska with its mannerist architecture and the landscape of the pilgrimage park complex. In Lesser Poland there are also interesting medieval wooden churches that UNESCO has included in the world heritage.
Also in the Western Carpathians, but in Lower Silesia, we find Paczków surrounded by a practically intact medieval wall and with valuable medieval and Renaissance buildings. The city of Kłodzko, known for its old houses from the 15th and 16th centuries, and the towns of Jawor and Swidnica. In the southeastern part of the country towards the Ukrainian border, near the city of Rzeszów is the Łańcut castle, a stately 17th century palace. To the west of Lublin the small Kazimierz Dolny situated in a splendid position along the Vistula is the residence of artists and painters.
THE TATRA MOUNTAINS
The Tatra Mountains, Poland’s highest mountains are one of the most popular natural attractions and destinations of Poland. These forest-covered mountains have numerous winter sports resorts, the most famous and well-equipped of which is the town of Zakopane. On the border with Slovakia the Dunajec river canyon in Pieniny National Park (Pieniński Park Narodowy) is another natural wonder of Poland.
SPA AND NATURE
Spa resorts such as Krynica-Zdrój, which is the most important spa town in Poland, are very popular. This town is located just east of Zkopane in the Western Carpathians. Other spa resorts are the nearby Piwniczna-Zdrój, and the town of Rabka, located between Krakow and Zakopane. Along the Baltic coast there are some important seaside resorts such as those of Sopot, Kołobrzeg, Gdynia and Łeba.
Poland has many national parks and nature reserves that protect the country’s nature. These areas are widespread across the country. Along the coast of the Baltic Sea, in the eastern areas of forests and lakes on the border with Belarus, and in the Carpathian mountains. There are innumerable types of landscapes protected (lakes, dunes, mountains, gorges), and the most varied types of fauna (bison, waterfowl, chamois, bears). Among the most beautiful parks, those of the Tatra Mountains (Tatrzański Park Narodowy), the Masurian Lakes (Wigierski Park Narodowy) and the Białowieża Forest (Białowieski Park Narodowy) where it is possible to see the bison in their natural environment.
The city of Częstochowa, located between Wroclaw and Krakow, attracts pilgrims and tourists from all over the world, and is often called the religious capital of Poland. Its main attraction is the Jasna Góra Monastery which preserves the effigy of the Black Madonna.
The climate of Poland.