Poland is not the obvious tourist destination while traveling around Europe, but it has a lot to offer and discover. If you are seeking history during your travels, Warsaw and Krakow are the cities to consider. If you are a nature lover, the Baltic Sea in the North of Poland, the Masuria region in north-eastern Poland, and the Tarta mountains in the South of Poland are the areas for you to visit. For rest and slow travel, Podlaskie Voivodeship is your area – full of forests, animals, and bicycle tracks. And did I mention Polish cuisine? Foodies will be pleased, and everyone will find something to satisfy their stomachs.
1. Beautiful Polish cities
Apart from the obvious choices such as Warsaw and Krakow, if you find more time to cruise around Poland, there are many interesting cities to visit.
Warsaw, the capital of Poland is full of history. It is hard not to fall in love with the impressive old town along with the Royal Castle. Visit the little market with the Warsaw Mermaid monument, take a walk to the barbican and sit at one of the many cafes to absorb the atmosphere of the Polish capital. It was severely destroyed during WW2, but the detailed rebuild brought back its unique atmosphere.
Gdańsk is a vibrant city on the Polish seaside that won’t disappoint you. Its old town has a lot to offer. Take a stroll along the Motlawa river where you can find many attractions, cafes, and restaurants. Not to miss is the stunning architecture of Mariacka street. If you have more time, the war memorial on the Westerplatte Peninsula is worth visiting. The Battle of Westerplatte was the first place of the German invasion of Poland, and it marked the start of WWII in Europe.
Down south you will find Krakow with the largest market square in medieval Europe, surrounded by beautiful houses, churches, and restaurants.
Not far away from Krakow, there is Auschwitz, a place worth visiting from a historical perspective, a concentration camp created by the Nazi regime in Poland which is turned into a museum presenting evidence of the crime against humanity.
2. Polish nature
Nature fans will not be disappointed with the Polish landscape. Up north, you can find calm and long beaches on the Baltic coast. Down south, visit the little town of Zakopane, located in the heart of the magnificent Tatra Mountains – The Polish Alps. North-east you will find the Masuria region with over 200 lakes to explore by boat or bicycle. The popular destinations can get crowded during the peak season, yet you will easily find a place where you can be alone.
There are also many the beaten track nature destinations such as Bieszczady or Sudety mountains, dunes in Leba, or Bialowieza Forest reserve famous for its biosphere and bisons.
3. Polish cuisine
You will be surprised at what Polish cuisine has to offer. Apart from famous Polish pierogi (dumplings filled with cottage cheese and potatoes), Polish kielbasa, potato cakes, and ‘golabki’ (cabbage rolls filled with meat and rice in a tomato sauce, Poland is a paradise for soup lovers. We love soups and we have a long list of various recipes and types of soups. If you have a craving for sweets, try Polish paczki (a donut-like pastry). There are various fillings and the most traditional one is rose filling. Also, Polish bread is famous all over the world for its taste!
4. Enjoy Polish hospitality
Poles are known for their hospitality and open heart. They love having guests, feeding them, and talking to them. If you are lucky to be invited to a Polish home, you can be sure you will be treated as a family member straight away. Many Polish also speak English, so in case of any troubles, you can be sure there will be someone to help you.
5. Poland is still affordable compared to other European countries
Despite the growing prices, especially in big cities, Poland is still considered a rather cheap holiday destination compared to other European countries. If you are a budget traveler, eat at the famous Polish milk bars, use public transport to move around the city or use public bicycles, and stay at the local guesthouses or hostels while visiting big cities.