What Are the Must-See Places in Poland?

Writing a list of must-see places in Poland is no easy task. The country offers an immense range of experiences and attractions. During over a thousand years of history, the country has had to endure significant turbulence and tragedy. Yet, today, it stands as the sixth-largest economy in Europe, mainly due to the fortitude and drive of its people.

This country is remarkable for any traveller, offering fascinating historical sites, breathtaking natural beauty, and vibrant cities brimming with culture and atmosphere. Join us at Poland at War Tours as we list some of our personal favourite must-see locations across Poland.

And while you are with us, be sure to check out our History Day Tours in Poland and Multi-Day WW2 Tours of Poland.

Castle Malbork

Malbork Castle, Poland

A short hop from the major northern city of Gdańsk (more on which later), you’ll find the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Malbork Castle. Built during the 13th century by the knights of the Teutonic Order, this Gothic, red-brick castle is the world’s largest by land coverage, covering an extraordinary 52 acres. 

Originally named Marienburg in German to honour the Virgin Mary, this medieval fortress became the headquarters of the Teutonic Order following their move from Venice in 1309. The knights had initially arrived in Poland with the blessing of the Pope (and Polish aristocracy) during the so-called Northern Crusades, ostensibly to christen pagans. But following the persecution of the Templar Knights in 1307, Malbork looked like the perfect place to establish a defensive stronghold, just out of reach of interfering powers. 

Today, the site is home to the Malbork Castle Museum. It is a must-visit destination for any history buff, particularly those fond of the medieval period. Northern Poland boasts many striking examples of the red-brick Gothic architecture typical of Europe in the Middle Ages. Still, Malbork is undoubtedly the central jewel in the crown. After extensive damage during WWII, the castle was meticulously restored. Many conservation techniques now used globally were first implemented here. Just be sure to reserve plenty of time to explore this castle; it’s massive!

Warsaw, Poland’s Capital City

No must-see list of Poland would be complete without an entry covering the nation’s capital. During WWII, 80–90% of Warsaw’s buildings were destroyed in revenge for the city’s brave uprising against the Nazis in 1944. However, this sickening attempt at the city’s destruction failed: today, the city is reborn and has much to offer any visitor. 

Once known as the Paris of the North for its splendid, wide streets and charming built environment, the city has re-established itself as a cauldron of cultural activity. History fans should put The Warsaw Uprising Museum and POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews at the top of their itineraries.

Take a scenic walk along the Royal Route towards the historical Old Town. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Town was carefully rebuilt after the war by passionate Varsovians who were set on seeing their city rise from the ashes. Restorers even used the 18th-century court painter Bernardo Bellotto’s detailed cavasses as reference points to ensure accuracy. And while in the Old Town, pay your respects to the great Polish composer Frédéric Chopin at the Holy Cross Church, where his heart is interred. 
In our Poland at War Extensive 14-Day Tour, Warsaw is explored in detail by expert guides.

Gdańsk, Old Town

Visit Trójmiasto (Gdańsk, Sopot, and Gdynia)

If you’re pressed for time, perhaps the best destination in Poland is Trójmiasto (or Tricity area), the northern metropolitan area comprising Gdańsk, Sopot, and Gdynia. Each town has its own unique character and attractions to visit. However, Gdańsk is unquestionably the most significant of the three regarding tourist activities. 

Gdańsk packs more historical sites and stunning pieces of architecture into its boundaries than almost any other city we can think of. No matter which historical period intrigues you the most, Gdańsk will have something to offer. For a deep dive into the region’s history, try visiting the Archaeological Museum of Gdańsk. If medieval history fires your imagination, visit the city’s mammoth cathedral of St Mary’s, one of the largest brick churches on earth. The city is renowned as a former centre of trade for the Hanseatic League. This chapter of its history comes to life in the Uphagen’s House, a reconstructed merchant’s house of the 18th century. 

Finally, the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk should not be missed! It is one of the largest museums dedicated to WWII that you’ll ever find. Gdańsk was chosen as the museum’s home as WWII started here at the Westerplatte in 1939 (a site that can easily be visited). We cover Gdańsk on our Poland at War 4-Day Tour North

Sopot and Gdynia can each be reached quickly using Tricity’s SKM intercity rail system. Sopot was a famous 19th-century resort town and has maintained the relaxing nature of a seaside holiday town. Sopot is an excellent spot to enjoy walks along the seashore, admire Art Nouveau architecture, and eat in delicious restaurants. Gdynia embodies Tricity’s more modern, industrial part, but the famous cliffs here are perfect for taking Instagrammable pictures.


Another medieval Polish town and another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Old Town of Toruń was granted UNESCO status due to its links to the aforementioned Order of the Teutonic Knights and the Hanseatic League. The city is also famous as the birthplace of astronomer Nicolas Copernicus, whose former home can still be visited today. 

But for tourists, it isn’t just the trademark Polish Brick Gothic architecture that is of interest. Toruń is famous for its 1,000-year tradition of gingerbread making. Today, you can visit the Living Museum of Gingerbread, which guides you through the town’s medieval history. Once the educational material is finished, you can prepare (and sample!) your own chocolate-covered gingerbread — perfect for young travellers.

Province of Warmia-Masuria

The Province of Warmia-Masuria

The province of Warmia-Masuria (otherwise known as the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship or Warmińsko-Mazurskie in Polish) is a region in northeast Poland that incorporates two counties.

Warmia’s most significant city is Olsztyn, which serves as the capital of the whole Warmia-Masuria province; the city makes for a good base from which to explore the area. In Olsztyn, check out the castle where Copernicus lived for several years. In fact, across this region, tourists can follow The Copernicus Trail. This travel route journeys through 15 towns and cities significant in Copernicus’ life. The trail includes the enchanting medieval cities of Frombork and Lidzbark. Elsewhere in Warmia, guests can visit Reszel, the site of a Teutonic castle and the last place in Europe where someone was burnt at the stake for witchcraft in 1807. 

Masuria, on the other hand, is famous for its stunning natural landscapes. This extraordinary part of the country is home to over 2,000 lakes! Within the thick forests of Masuria, there live elk, moose, lynx, and even wolves. This is the ideal getaway for those who enjoy outdoor pursuits such as sailing, fishing, or just experiencing the revitalising effects of a wild environment. 

Masuria is also home to the Wolf’s Lair, Adolf Hitler’s wartime base, where he spent much of WWII and was almost assassinated in 1944. We stop at the Wolf’s Lair on our Poland at War 4-Day Tour North.

Old Town Krakow
Wawal Castle, Kraków

Kraków, City of Myth and Legend

For many people, Kraków will be the image that comes to mind when they think of Poland. The city’s centre was placed on UNESCO’s first World Heritage List in 1978. The town carries a magic air, as you might find in other picture-perfect cities like Prague or Dubrovnik. With Europe’s largest medieval market square and evocative cobblestone streets, this town conjures images of fairytales and adventurous tales of knights battling dragons. 

Enjoy bagels, local sausages, and other street foods as you explore this wonderland. This destination is suitable for slow travel — get lost amongst the historic streets. The city is also notable because it survived the war without extensive damage, as seen in Warsaw, Wrocław, or Gdańsk. At times in Kraków, you will feel you’re walking in a land that time forgot. 

Highlights include Oskar Schindler’s factory, Wawel Castle and Cathedral, and the incomparable “Wieliczka” Salt Mine. You might initially be confused when people tell you to visit a salt mine. But this is quite unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Underneath the town of Wieliczka lies a subterranean city of salt, complete with salt chapels, statues, grand halls, winding passageways, an underground lake, and even a depiction of the Last Supper carved into the walls.

Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp

Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp

Our final choice of must-see places in Poland has to be the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Built in German-occupied Poland in October 1941, this concentration camp became the scene of industrialised murder from 1942 through to 1945. In total, at least 1.1 million people died at the hands of their Nazi captors. Today, the preserved camp is both a museum, telling the factual history of what horrors unfolded here, and a place of commemoration and quiet reflection. 

We appreciate that visiting such locations can be too much for some guests. Still, we also strongly feel that international travellers should bear witness when they feel able to do so. This WWII site brings the tragedy of the war home like nowhere else. If you would like to understand the history of Auschwitz-Birkenau better, our Poland at War Comprehensive 14-Day Tour visits the site, led by an expert guide.

Here, we bring to a close our list of just some must-see places in Poland. We could not cover many fantastic choices on this list, but please follow our blog for more content soon. If you have any questions regarding this blog or our tours, please get in touch with us.

Now, continue your exploration of Poland’s history by reading our Historical Guide to Gdańsk.

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