Krakow, the Medieval capital of Poland (became the capital city in 1038), is without any doubts the most popular Polish destination for foreign travelers. Krakow is located in the southern region of Poland and with its population of over 750,000 people, is the third largest city in Poland. Krakow's Historic Center and Wieliczka Salt Mine (10 km or 6.2 miles from the center of the city) were among the first 12 properties that were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978.
The list of most famous tourist attractions in Krakow include:
- Main Market Square (Rynek Glowny) - the largest square in Europe, surrounded by magnificent buildings and churches;
- Wawel Castle - the castle was a seat of the Polish kings;
- Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) - located in the middle of the Main Square Market;
- Kazimierz - former Jewish district south of Wawel Castle with its Remuh Synagogue;
- Wieliczka Salt Mine - currently not operating mine hosts a spectacular museum where visitors can admire impressive chambers, chandeliers and a chapel sculpted in the salt - all underground up to 135m (443 feet) deep.
Warsaw, the capital of Poland, with it's 1.7 million inhabitants, is largest Polish city. It's located in the central Poland, on the Vistula river.
The city was completely destroyed during World War II and now almost every building in Warsaw dates to the postwar era, with many historical places rebuilt and restored. One of them is Warsaw's Old Town (Stare Miasto) that, together with and with an impressive Royal Castle (Zamek Królewski) is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Other Warsaw sights include: Lazienki Park - a beautiful garden and palace complex built in 18th century, Palace of Culture and Science (Palac Kultury i Nauki) - one of the tallest buildings in Warsaw - offers great panoramic view of the city, Barbikan (Barbakan) - fragments of 16th century fortifications, Warsaw Rising Museum.
Maybe not as attractive to tourists as, for example, Krakow, Warsaw is still worth exploring for a day or two.
Gdansk is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities on the Baltic Sea. The main tourist attraction is the Old Town, with its beautiful buildings, statue of Neptune, decorative narrow side streets, mixed Medieval and Renaissance architecture and St. Mary's Basilica - the largest Gothic church in Poland.
Malbork Castle - this Medieval castle (founded in 1274), about 1 hour drive from Gdansk, is the world’s largest brick Gothic castle and it's also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List (as Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork).
The city of Oswiecim (mostly recognized by its former German name - Auschwitz) is located between Krakow and Katowice and it's known for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum established on the grounds of Nazis concentration and extermination camp. Auschwitz is world's largest cemetery and a sad witness to the darkest periods of human history.
Great Masurian Lakes
The Northeast part of Poland is dominated by a landscape of over 1,000 lakes, rivers, canals and beautiful forests.
The region is a favorite destination for boating, kayaking and canoeing, angling, biking and hiking in the summer months. The best known towns in the "lake land" are Mikolajki, Gizycko and Wegorzewo.
The beaches on the Polish Baltic Sea coast are considered one of the best ones in northern Europe. There are numerous resorts and towns that attract thousands of tourists during the summer season (from late June to mid September). Best resort cities and towns include: Swinoujscie, Miedzyzdroje, Leba, Kolobrzeg, Sopot, Darlowo, Ustka, Ustronie Morskie, Jastarnia, Wladyslawowo, Hel.
Slowinski National Park
Slowinski National Park is one of the most famous Polish national parks (out of 23 national parks in Poland), located between towns Leby and Rawa, on the Baltic Sea. The park has around 140 km (87 miles) of walking tourist trails situated among pine forests, lakes and magnificent, totally unique in Europe, giant "moving dunes". The park is also home to over 250 bird species and in 1977 was included in the UNESCO's list of World Biosphere Reserves.
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