Poland can claim several superlatives—including the biggest medieval town square, the largest gothic brick castle, and probably the best vodka in the world—to name just a few of the best things the country has to offer. Whether you’re into museums or kitesurfing, sleeping in an old palace converted into a hotel or camping by the lake, folk crafts or fine dining, dancing in a bar, or listening to classical music in an ancient church, you will not be disappointed.
The setting for all these activities is impressive indeed: from the belt of silver sands hedged with fragrant pines at the Baltic shore through the zones of countless lakes, vast forests, and picturesque rolling plains, all the way to the sharp granite peaks of the Tatra mountains; Poland’s infinite variety of landscapes is arranged in latitudinal strips. Unspoiled nature is the pride of the country, and as much as 18.5% of Poland’s area is in a protected zone set aside from development.
And yet there is much more to Poland than great landscapes: what most attracts visitors is the wealth of culture and history, with important treasures of art and architecture, many of them with UNESCO World Heritage status. It is not just churches and castles either: unique historic sites range from prehistoric settlements to World War II fortifications. In addition to time-weathered monuments and works of art in every style of the last millennium, you will find contemporary art alive and kicking in Poland’s beautiful cities. Famous towns with character include dreamlike, medieval Kraków, the old Hanseatic port of Gdańsk, the ever-changing and vibrant capital of Warsaw, and many more dynamic urban centers across the country.
In Poland, you can experience the joy of four distinct seasons: watch ancient Easter traditions celebrated while the world turns green in the spring; slow down during the pleasant summer heat on a café terrace in a medieval town square or at the beach; take to the mountains to watch the colors change in the fall; and enjoy a well-deserved glass of vodka or mulled wine after a day’s skiing in the winter.