Few European countries are as steeped in beauty, tradition and history like Poland is.
Warsaw, the vibrant capital, defines itself by an upbeat and contemporary culture. Seek out the charming art cafés and galleries of the Śródmieście quarter, or visit the sombre Warsaw Uprising Museum, which documents Poland’s historic struggle. In the north, the Baltic coast is a beach heaven come summertime, while the booming port city of Gdańsk offers a scenic old town of cobblestone streets, pastel-hued houses and canal bridges that date back over 100 years. Meanwhile, a stroll through the medieval cities of Kraków and Wrocław reveals a wonderfully preserved array of Gothic architecture, with Renaissance, Baroque and Art Nouveau overlays, and a chic, coffee-and-beer-flowing culture to boot. In Kraków, you can also explore the Kazimierz district to get some perspective on pre-WWII life. West of Kraków, you’ll find Wieliczka Salt Mine, an eerie underground world of pits, chambers and salt rocks, which you can descend into on a guided tour.
Poland also boasts a variety of natural landscapes, which are not to be missed. The southern town of Zakopane is the gateway to Tatra National Park, a cross-border nature reserve laden with crashing waterfalls, massive caves and snow-capped mountains. For something well off the beaten path, hike through the forest to remote Morskie Oko Lake – you may spot wildlife like lynx, marmots and chamois along the way. Accommodation is ample in Poland, with an abundance of hotels to choose from, plus many lodges, chalets and apartments available to rent throughout the country.
The 12 best places to stay in Poland: Top hotels, B&Bs, inns, and vacation rentals — Based on real reviews from real guests