Sopot Sopot is in the north of Poland next to the Baltic Sea. It’s a popular summer tourist destination and a health spa with the longest wooden pier in Europe (515.5 metres). It is also famous for the Sopot International Song Festival, the largest musical event after the Eurovision Song Contest. Before leaving, try “gofry” (waffles) with whipped cream and blueberries (or other toppings). They’re delicious!
Wroclaw Wroclaw is the fourth largest city in Poland. It’s in the south on the Oder River. There’s a 14th-century town hall in its beautiful market square. To see the city, just follow the “path of dwarfs” (small, metal creatures). They’re designed to point out the top sights. There’s one next to the Psychology and Languages Department of the University of Wroclaw sitting there in deep thought.
Kazimierz Dolny This is a small town in eastern Poland on the eastern bank of the Vistula River. Since the 19th century it has become a popular holiday destination, especially for artists. It’s about a two-hour car ride from the capital city Warsaw, so it’s also a weekend getaway destination. During the 16th and 17th centuries the town was an important trading centre for grain along the river, and it has a Renaissance feel to it.
Mazury Lake District The Mazury Lake District is in the east of Poland. It consists of about 2,700 lakes which are connected by a network of streams, canals and rivers. It’s a great place for fishing, boating or water sports.
Warsaw Some of the key attractions in Warsaw are the palaces and the parks. The Royal Baths Park was designed in the 17th century in baroque style. There are two palaces there, both from the 17th century: The Palace on the Water, and the Palace on the Island. Wilanow Palace is another spectacular palace. It is in Wilanow Park, and it was built in the 17th century by King Jan III Sobieski. The palace has a huge art collection including paintings, books, porcelain, drawings and manuscripts. The grounds are also impressive and include a lake and a lovely stream surrounded by a forest.
Zakopane Zakopane is in a large valley between the Tatra Mountains and Gubalowka Hill in the south, and it’s a great place for skiing. Bialka Tatrzanska is a charming village in the south with mountain activities such as sledging and skating, and is only 20 km from Zakopane.
Gdansk This Gothicstyle city is well worth a visit. Gdansk is where the Solidarity movement was created by political activist Lech Wałęsa. He played a big part in ending Communist rule all over Central Europe. While you’re there, buy some amber jewellery – it’s one of the few places where you can find it.
Malbork Castle Malbork Castle was built in 1230 by Teutonic Knights who arrived on the banks of the Vistula River and settled there. The castle passed into Polish hands in the 15th century. For the next three centuries, Malbork Castle served as the royal residence for Polish kings during their annual visit to Pomerania. The castle is among the largest brick structures in Europe. There’s a hotel in the castle grounds where you can stay.
Wolin National Park Wolin National Park is one of the smallest national parks in Poland, but also one of the most spectacular. There are steep cliffs overlooking the Baltic Sea to the north, with breathtaking views from two special viewpoints: Kawcza Gora (which is about 70 metres above sea level), and Gosan (about 100 metres above sea level). The park has rare plants and wildlife including sea-eagles and 16 kinds of orchids. It is also a European bison sanctuary.
Cracow Cracow’s Main Market Square is Europe’s largest medieval marketplace (comparable in size and greatness with St Mark’s Square in Venice). Polish kings came here the day after their coronation. Also in Cracow you can find Sukiennice (the Cracow Cloth Hall), the oldest shopping mall in the world. From Cracow, you can visit Auschwitz, the infamous concentration camp where more than 1.5 million people died. It’s a very emotional experience.
Salt Mine The 700-yearold Wieliczka Salt Mine is an underground labyrinth. It reaches a depth of 327 metres and is over 300 kilometres long, with a 3.5-km touring route for visitors (about 1% of the total length of the mine’s passages). There are historic statues, mythical figures and several chapels and multilevel chambers that have been carved from the salt. There are also subterranean lakes with a ghost-like light that reflects off them.
So, when are you coming to Poland?