15+ Things to Do in Poland: Best Sites to Visit, Polish Places to Go & More

Summary:

Curious about the best things to do in Poland? This guide is packed with things to see and places to visit, from Warsaw to Krakow to Trójmiasto and beyond!

Planning to go on a trip to Poland?

Great choice! 

Poland is becoming ever more popular among tourists, and after reading this article, you immediately see why. 

Starting with the main cities and the most important sites to see in Poland, we’ll also mention places you cannot miss in Poland if you are an admirer of natural beauty, and, of course, all that delicious Polish food you have to try while there!

So, let’s get to it.

Here is our list of the best things to do in Poland:

1. Explore the Old Town in Warsaw

Warsaw Poland Old Town top Christmas Market
Old Town Market Place (Rynek Starego Miasta) during the holiday season. Taken by A. Nieścioruk via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

If you have only a few hours in Poland, or in its capital, Warsaw, the Old Town is the first place you should head to. This is the spot where you can find many important sights, such as the Marketplace with the famous Mermaid of Warsaw monument (who is the symbol of the city), the Royal Castle, and the Sigismund Column. Though the original Warsaw Old Town was destroyed during World War II, it was meticulously reconstructed, so new generations (and of course visitors) could appreciate its former beauty.

After exploring the Old Town, head down Krakowskie Przedmieście to Nowy Świat Street, where you can find plenty of restaurants and coffee shops to catch your breath and try some of the best Polish food.

Related Read: Riding Along the Berlin-Warszawa Express

2. Hit the Warsaw Museums

Warsaw Rising Museum B-24J
A replica of a Liberator B-24J Bomber in Hall B of the Warsaw Uprising Museum.

If you are lucky enough to spend a few days in this quirky city and have plenty of time to walk around and admire its architecture, museums are some of the best things to do in Warsaw. At the top of the list will be the Warsaw Uprising Museum, which tells the story of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944,

Other great options include the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, or POLIN, the Copernicus Science Centre, which is an interactive museum that will be fun for both kids and adults, and the National Museum, where you can find an impressive collection of paintings and sculptures.

Related Read: Couchsurfing Virginity Lost: Surfing My First Couch in Warsaw, Poland

3. Explore Łazienki Park

Chopin Monument in Lazienki Park in Warsaw
The Chopin Monument in Lazienki Park, Warsaw, Poland.

Łazienki Królewskie, which translates from Polish as the Royal Baths, was the summer residence of King Stanislaw August in the 18th century. Except for the beautiful Palace on the Isle right in the middle of the park, you can also visit the Old Orangery, which accommodates the Royal Sculpture Gallery. The garden itself is divided into four zones – the Royal Garden, the Romantic Garden, the Modernist Garden, and the Chinese Garden.

With a bit of luck, you can also spot the most famous residents of Łazienki Park – the dignified peacocks and energetic squirrels. 

Our Tip: If you find yourself in Warsaw in summer, make sure to visit the free live Chopin concerts at Łazienki Park, which takes place every Sunday next to the Chopin Monument.

4. Feel the History at the Main Market Square in Kraków

Main Market Square in Krakow is one of the most beautiful places to see in Poland
Main Market Square in Krakow. Taken by J. Dylag via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

Kraków is another city you must see while visiting Poland, as it was the capital of the country until 1596. And, of course, it’s gem is the Main Market Square, which was constructed in the 13th century. For centuries, it was the main place for gatherings and celebrations, and even now it hosts a lot of concerts, festivals, and an amazing Christmas market. The dominant structure of the square is the Cloth Hall (Sukiennice), a Renaissance structure built in the 14th century and since then serving as a market. 

Related Read: 3 of the Best Backpacking Destinations in Europe for Any Budget Type

5. Check Out Wawel Royal Castle

Wawel Castle in Krakow is one of the top things to do in Poland
Taken by S. Kurpiel via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

Wawel Royal Castle was a residence for Polish kings for 5 centuries, being expanded constantly by every subsequent monarch. That is why in the castle so many architectural styles meet and intertwine, such as Medieval, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles. No wonder it found its way to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites!

After visiting the castle, make sure to stop by the fire-breathing statue of the Wawel Dragon, the character of the most famous Kraków legend.

Related Read: Check out the full story of the Kraków Dragon here.

6. See the Wonders of Wieliczka Salt Mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the prettiest places to see in Poland
Wieliczka Salt Mine. Taken by Wikimedia Commons user Cezary p. [CC BY-SA 3.0].

This is another extraordinary place and one of the best things to visit in Poland. The first excavations in the mine started as early as the 13th century (yes, everything around Kraków is pretty old), and soon enough it became the largest source of salt in Poland. Sounds like a boring place to visit?

Wait until you get inside!

There are two routes you can choose from, the Tourist Route and the Miners’ Route. Choosing the Tourist Route, you can expect to see the breathtaking halls, chambers, and saline lakes – all of it underground and without any extra work involved! If you decide to feel like a true miner, be prepared to search for salt in the shaft and learn the mining trade.

Related Read: 25+ Best Christmas Markets: Top Holiday Markets From Around the World

7. Visit the Auschwitz Concentration Camp

brown buildings in Auschwitz Poland are some of the historical Polish things to do
Brown buildings in Auschwitz, Poland. Taken by J. C. Emer via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

Opened in 1940, Auschwitz, or Auschwitz-Birkenau, was the largest Nazi concentration camp with more than 1 million murdered here during World War II. It is not a fun attraction you will be eager to visit during your vacation in Poland, but nevertheless, it is a must-see place for any tourist who comes to Poland for history or remembrance.

Auschwitz, with the painful history that is hidden behind its walls, will leave you with a heavy feeling long after the visit, but it is an important place that allows its visitors to learn and reflect on one of the biggest tragedies in history.

Related Read: Poland History: A Quick Timeline of Polish Historical Events

8. Go Dwarf Haunting in Wroclaw

Colorful houses in Wroclaw old town, one of the best Polish places to go
Colorful houses in Wroclaw’s Old Town. Taken by Reiseuhu via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

The fun figurines of dwarfs are scattered all around Wroclaw, so you will definitely see at least a dozen of them while wandering around the city. The first dwarfs appeared in 2005 to commemorate the protest against the communist regime, and right now there are 382 of them and the amount is still growing — each of them having a name and a unique personality!

To make sure you will not miss any while exploring Wroclaw, you can even download a map with their locations.

Related Read: Slavic Gods & Goddesses: Intro Into the Key Deities in Slavic Mythology

9. Walk Through Other Famous Old Towns 

Walking the streets in Poznan is one of the most beautiful things to do in Poland
Back streets in Poznan. Taken by A. Podilnyk via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

We have already mentioned the Old Town in Warsaw and Krakow, but actually almost every Polish city boasts a lovely Old Town (starówka in Polish). There are still a lot of debates as to which one can be named as the most beautiful one, with the main contestants apart from those mentioned before being those in Poznań, Wrocław, and Gdańsk.

If you are planning a major trip to Poland and have a chance to visit a lot of cities, check all of them out to find your favorite one, from the very Gothic and strict to the colorful and fun. By the way, for me, it is the Old Towns in Toruń and Lublin — two lesser-known, smaller cities each with a charming atmosphere. 

Related Read: Polish Holidays: Important Events & Days Off for Poland

10. Spend the Day in Malbork Castle

Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork is one of the best places to see in poland
Taken by E. C. G. via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

Claimed to be the largest castle in the world by land area, Malbork Castle (officially the Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork) is located near the town of Malbork in the north of Poland. Built in the 13th century by the Teutonic Order, it is a perfect representation of medieval architecture — no wonder it also found its way to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

No matter the time of your visit, you can admire the glory of this massive construction, but you might have most of the fun coming during the re-enacting events that regularly take place in the castle.

Our Tip: For extra chills, pick a night tour of Malbork Castle when the guide is dressed as a Teutonic Knight!

11. Relax on the Masurian Lakes

sunset in Mikołajki Masurian Lakes is a great Polish place to visit
Sunset in Mikołajki on the Masurian Lakes. Taken by Wikimedia Commons user Sniper89. [CC BY-SA 3.0].

Except for many important and fascinating historical sites, Poland also has a beautiful and diverse amount of nature to behold. One of the most stunning natural wonders in Poland is the Masurian Lakes area, or Mazury, in northeastern Poland. There are over 2000 lakes, forests, little villages, and farms, a true paradise for all nature lovers.

The best time to come would be in the late spring or the beginning of autumn, as it gets a bit too popular in the summer. And of course, try to avoid coming there during long weekends to avoid crowds!

Related Read: Tourists Behaving Badly are a Threat to Global Tourism, and the Industry is Partly to Blame

12. Conquer the Tatra Mountains

Giewont is a mountain massif in the Tatra Mountains and one of the best places to visit in Poland
Giewont is a mountain massif in the Tatra Mountains of Poland. Taken by J. Maniak via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

Another place to explore in Poland if you cannot imagine your trip without getting close to nature are the Tatra Mountains, located in the south of Poland, on the border with Slovakia. The Tatra Mountains are the highest mountain range in Poland, with the highest peak being Rysy (8199 ft).

If hiking is not your forte, you can delve into Polish culture in one of the picturesque towns at the foot of the mountains, such as Zakopane, or visit a stunningly beautiful lake, Morskie Oko.

Our Tip: While you are in the Tatra Mountains, don’t forget to try the original oscypek – smoked cheese made of sheep’s milk and usually served with cranberry jam. Mmmm…

13. Party in Trójmiasto

Gdansk has many of the best things to do in Poland
Busy street in Gdańsk, Poland. Taken by freestocks via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

We will not recommend you to go only to Gdańsk if you want to head to the Baltic Sea, but instead, enjoy everything the whole Tricity, or Trójmiasto, has to offer. It is a metropolitan area with three cities (as the name hints) connected: Gdańsk, Gdynia, and Sopot.

Fun and vibrant during the whole year, in the summer it reaches its peak with a plethora of parties, concerts, festivals, and gatherings happening. Add to this the opportunity to sunbathe and swim in the chilly Baltic Sea, and you have a recipe for a perfect weekend.

Related Read: 25+ Made-Up Travel Words: Newly-Minted Trip- & Place-Related Terms

14. Get Chills in the Skull Chapel

Skull Chapel St. Bartholomew's Church in Czermna Kudowa is one of the creepiest places to see in Poland
Taken by Wikimedia Commons user Merlin. [CC BY-SA 3.0].

Most definitely the creepiest thing on our list, the Skull Chapel was built in the 18th century in the Czermna district of Kudowa. The bones of over 3,000 people decorate the walls and ceiling, and the remains of another 21,000 people are crammed into the crypt below. The bones come from people who have died from different kinds of misfortunes, including wars, cholera, plague, and other diseases. 

The Skull Chapel is a one-of-a-kind place in Poland, and there are only a few similar historical sites in Europe. It makes you meet with death face to face, reflect on mortality, and leaves you with a very uneasy feeling after the visit.

Related Read: All About the Schengen Area: Europe’s Passport-Free, Borderless Agreement

15. Eat as Much Iconic Food as Possible

kotlet schabowy z ziemniakami is one of the best things to eat in Poland
Polish “kotlet schabowy z ziemniakami,” or pork cutlet with potatoes. Taken by Wikimedia Commons user MOs810. [CC BY-SA 3.0].

No matter which city you visit, the top thing to do in Poland is to try as many foods as possible. The most important include pierogi (dumplings), bigos (sauerkraut with meat), gołąbki (cabbage rolls with meat), and Polish borscht. Some of the regions or towns also have their specialties, such as the mentioned above oscypek or gingerbread cookies in Torun.

On the topic of alcohol, it would be a crime not to mention Polish vodka, but for those who prefer softer alcoholic drinks, we could totally recommend trying some of the local beers from the microbreweries. 

Related Read: Jelenia Góra: Spending a Day at Poland’s Deer Mountain

16. See Bisons in Białowieża National Park

Białowieski Park Narodowy is one of the greenest places to go in Poland
Taken by Wikimedia Commons user J. Karczmarz. [CC BY-SA 2.0].

Lying near the border with Belarus, Białowieża National Park covers the central part of the Białowieża Forest, and is considered to be the oldest national park in the country. Apart from many species of plants, birds, and mammals, Białowieża Forest is a home to the European bison – the biggest European land mammal, which also became a symbol of the park.

Visiting this place is a great opportunity to learn more about the nature of Eastern Europe and spend some time away from the overwhelming cities. 

Related Read: A Day Trip Guide to Kielce, Poland

Well, those were the most important things to do and places to see in Poland. Got any questions, feedback, or other Poland things to do? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

Mariia Kislitsyna
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Mariia Kislitsyna
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