Comprehensive Guide to Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Poland
1. Main market square in Krakow
Krakow’s Main Market Square have been ranked the most beautiful square in the world. Krakow’s historic Rynek Glowny managed to beat off competition from Venice’s celebrated Piazza San Marco (2nd place) and the Jamaa el Fna in Marrakesh (3rd) in the top ten ranking. It’s as well the largest medieval town square in Europe. The square is surrounded by historical townhouses, historic buildings, palaces and churches. The center of the square is dominated by the Cloth Hall, rebuilt in 1555 in the Renaissance style, topped by a beautiful attic.
2.Gdansk old town
When visiting Gdansk, you may feel that you are carried back to the Middle Ages, and even though substantial parts of the town is based of reconstructions after second world war. You can find plenty of authentic, genuine old buildings. Most streets are located where they were in medieval times, and more than 30% of the streets have had the same names for more than 500 years. The old town is one of Europe’s largest historical centres. For those who have visited Krakow it is definitely worth trying to compare the styles; the way of building is quite different, influenced by the functional needs of a harbour town.
3. Malbork Castle
The town of Malbork, best known for having the largest Gothic castle in the world. The Teutonic Order was founded around 1190 in Palestine to crusade against the Muslims and pagans. In the 14th century the Teutonic Knights conquered a pagan tribe of Prussians and moved their headquarters from Venice to Malbork on the Nogat river which is now northern Poland. A trace of the their presence in the town is the imposing red brick castle from 1274.
I have grown up in Zamość so I don’t want to sound biased, that’s the words how UNESCO described Zamość:
“Zamość is a unique example of a Renaissance town in Central Europe, consistently designed and built in accordance with the Italian theories of the “ideal town,” on the basis of a plan which was the result of perfect cooperation between the open-minded founder, Jan Zamoyski, and the outstanding architect, Bernardo Morando. Zamość is an outstanding example of an innovative approach to town planning, combining the functions of an urban ensemble, a residence, and a fortress in accordance with a consistently implemented Renaissance concept. The result of this is a stylistically homogeneous urban composition with a high level of architectural and landscape values. A real asset of this great construction was its creative enhancement with local artistic architectural achievements.”
5. Jasna góra
The Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa, Poland, is the most famous Polish shrine to the Virgin Mary and the country’s greatest place of pilgrimage and spiritual capital of Poland, as well that’s the third-largest Catholic pilgrimage site in the world . The image of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, also known as Our Lady of Częstochowa, to which miraculous powers are attributed, is Jasna Góra’s most precious treasure. The site is one of Poland’s official national Historic Monuments.
6. Wawel Castle
People lived on the Wawel Hill at least as early as fifty thousand years ago, in the Paleolithic Age! The Gothic Wawel Castle in Kraków in Poland was built at the behest of Casimir III the Great, who reigned from 1333 to 1370, and consists of a number of structures situated around the central courtyard. The Wawel Royal Castle and the Wawel Hill constitute the most historically and culturally important site in Poland. For centuries the residence of the kings of Poland and the symbol of Polish statehood, the Castle is now one of the country’s premier art museums.
7. Bialowieza Forest
The Bialowieza Forest is one of the last and largest remaining part of the immense primeval forest and lies on the border with Belarus. The forest has been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list and is yearly visited by 100,000 tourists. Thanks to several ages of protection the Forest had survived in its natural state to this day.
Auschwitz, also known as Auschwitz-Birkenau, opened in 1940 and was the largest of the Nazi concentration and death camps. Located in southern Poland, Auschwitz initially served as a detention center for political prisoners. However, it evolved into a network of camps where Jewish people and other perceived enemies of the Nazi state were exterminated, often in gas chambers. Auschwitz in 1979 was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
9. Wieliczka Salt Mine
The “Wieliczka” Salt Mine is one of the most valuable monuments of material and spiritual culture in Poland. It is also a world class monument, featuring among twelve objects on the UNESCO’s World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. These days Salt Mine combines many centuries of tradition and modernity, the history of several hundred years and an underground metropolis with extensive infrastructure. The mine is a creation of work of tens of generations of miners, a monument to the history of Poland and to the Polish nation – a brand, present in Polish consciousness. Each year it is visited by more than one million tourists from all over the world.
10. Mazury (Masurian Lakeland)
Masuria (Polish: About this sound Mazury is a region in northern Poland famous for its 2,000 lakes. Covered with thick forests and a great number of lakes linked by rivers and canals, it attracts a large number of water sports enthusiasts. The well-developed tourist base gives you the opportunity to hire the necessary equipment without any difficulty.