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Reviewed on 10 May 2021
Reviewed on 3 Oct 2020
Reviewed on 22 Jan 2020
Mountains, forests, lakes, medieval castles and World War II history make this central European country a fascinating destination. With wild mountain landscapes, vast lakes and the sandy beaches of the Baltic Sea, Poland is a country of great natural beauty. Enjoy the medieval and modern cities as well in this hidden gem in central Europe.
Warsaw, the capital city, was almost completely destroyed during World War II. Its Old Town has been reconstructed to recreate the look and feel of the original. Stroll through winding cobblestone streets toward the Royal Castle. Stop at St. John’s Cathedral, originally built in the 14th century. Continue southwest from Old Town to the Warsaw Uprising Museum to learn about the city's failed rebellion against the Nazis. Farther east, stand on the observation deck of the Palace of Culture and Science for a superb view of the capital’s skyline from one of Poland’s tallest buildings.
Unlike the capital, Kraków escaped heavy war damage to its buildings. The city remains one of Poland’s most beautiful. One highlight is Wawel Royal Castle, the Gothic home to Polish monarchs from the 14th through the 17th centuries. Venture into underground crypts of the adjacent Wawel Cathedral to see the royal tombs. Bike or walk around Planty Park, a ring of parks and gardens encircling the Old Town, where the city’s medieval fortifications once stood.
About an hour’s drive west of Kraków are the Auschwitz concentration camps. Join a guided tour for insights into the horrors that were inflicted here.
Gdańsk is another city that’s worth a visit for its museums, galleries and the Gothic St. Mary’s Church, a massive brick structure.
Beyond the main cities, enjoy beautiful scenery. Hike through Kampinos National Park near Warsaw and Bieszczady National Park encompassing part of the Carpathian mountain range. Go hillwalking in the Tatra Mountains and canoe, windsurf or sail across the lakes of the Masurian Lake District. Enjoy fresh outdoor air while biking and horseback riding through its fields and forests. Reflect on your relaxing time in Poland as you stretch out on the beaches of the Baltic Sea.