F or so many years in the Soviet shadow, Poland was never able to fully realize its true tourism potential. But now, as an independent nation, it has blossomed.
One of the most popular attractions in Warsaw, as in many other Baltic countries, is the city’s Old Town. But Warsaw’s Old Town is unique – it was almost totally reduced to rubble during World War II, and then meticulously reconstructed during the Communist era, often by following old photographs. Today the old center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In addition to the Old Town, also visit the Royal Castle. Although the building is a reconstruction, undertaken through public donations following the war, many of its beautiful furnishings are original, since they were hidden from the Nazis. The National Museum, the Jewish Ghetto and cemetery, the Warsaw Uprising Museum and the Neoclassical Wilanów Place and gardens are among other sites well worth visiting.
The beautiful old capital of Kraków draws crowds of tourists, with some comparing it to Vienna and Prague. Gdańsk provides insights into the political past, and Wroclaw into historic architecture.
To the south you’ll find beautiful old villages in the rugged Tatra Mountains. Visit the area in the winter and you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into a Currier & Ives print.
Good to Know
Kraków’s Market Square
Kraków’s imposing Market Square, the largest in Europe, is ringed with historic buildings, cafes and restaurants.
Off to the Salt Mines
Near modern-day Kraków, the Wieliczka salt mine has now become a major attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.