Things To Do in Poland
This was our first visit to Poland, and we were delighted to meet local people rooted in their strong heritage, and discover a country that is moving forward and blossoming, in spite of surviving a devastating war from this past century.
Here is a list of recommendations on things to do in Poland, where to stay and dine, from Warsaw to Kraków.
What to do
1. Old Town:
First on our list of things to do in Poland! Visit the Old Town, located in the center of the city. This area was destroyed in WWII, and has since been reconstructed to its pre-war glory.
Today it’s considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is partially surrounded by the old town wall. Sit down at a café in the charming square, shop, and walk the cobblestone streets to see the unique doors, paintings, décor on buildings, and architecture styles of the tall houses and churches.
2. Royal Castle:
In the 14th century, the Royal Castle was the fortress for the Dukes of Mazovia, and over a few hundred years became the home to Poland’s Kings from Bolesław Chrobry to Stanisław August Poniatowski. Open for the public to tour the Royal Apartments, Throne Room, and National Hall.
3. Lazienki Castle:
Located in Lazienki’s Royal Baths Park, this 16th century castle was used as a baroque bath house, and then became the summer residence to King Stanislaw II. Surrounded by a beautiful lake and gardens, visitors come for long walks and serenity. There are occasional outdoor concerts during the summer, so check the schedule if you enjoy classical music.
4. Wilanów Castle
This beautiful castle on our list of where to go in Poland is just a few miles outside of Warsaw and known to be one of Poland’s most beautiful 16th century castles.
Chopin Museum: Celebrating one of Poland’s greatest composers, this museum is dedicated to Chopin. Located in the Baroque Ostrogski Palace.
5. The Palace of Culture and Science:
This is the tallest high-rise and iconic landmark in Warsaw. After the Nazis bombed most of Warsaw in 1944, the Soviet Union’s “gift” to this city was this controversial Stalin-designed tower that cast an enormous shadow over the devastated landscape. Today, the city has been rebuilt and there are many skyscrapers filling in the skyline. At almost 700 ft. high, this building houses museums, a theatre, and congress hall. The Observation deck on the 30th floor is open to the public, and offers a 360 degree view of the city.
6. Museum of the History of Polish Jews:
Visit this museum to learn about 1,000 years of the Polish Jews. The multimedia exhibits, interactive maps, photos and videos share moving stories of the Jewish people in this community – their early migration to Poland to their utter destruction in WWII.
7. Warsaw Rising Museum:
This museum documents the Warsaw uprising against the German troops and 1944 occupation through personal accounts with 1,000 exhibits and 1,500 videos, photos. It’s a tribute to those who fought and died for Poland’s freedom.
1. Main Square, Rynek Główny:
This is a great way to see the city as you look around for where to go in Poland. Take a ride in a horse drawn carriage around this large square, where you’ll see the 12th century St. Mary’s church towers, cafes, shops.
2. Wawel Castle and Cathedral:
The Renaissance Wawel Castle dates back to the 16th century and stands on a hill overlooking the city.
3. Wieliczka Salt Mine:
Just about 10 miles from Kraków, is the world famous Wieliczka Salt Mine. Almost 1,000 ft below ground are 9 levels of tunnels, and large caves where visitors can see sculpted statues, altars, chandeliers and even a chapel all made of salt.
This is a must to anyone traveling to Poland! About an hour’s drive from Kraków is Auschwitz, where the largest of the German Nazi concentration camps and extermination centers still stand. Over 1.1 million men, women and children lost their lives here.
We took the 3 hour tour of Auschwitz and Birkenau with a guide who helped us learn about the history of the memorial and museum that was created in 1947.
It’s critical visitors learn about what took place here, to understand postwar Europe so this never happens again.
Today, the Memorial houses post-war relics, archives and collections and is used as a center for research, conservation and publishing center.
WHERE TO STAY
Hotel Bristol Warsaw:
This hotel is the first Luxury Collection Hotel opened in Poland. Situated in the heart of Warsaw, Hotel Bristol has served as the city’s most remarkable landmark and distinguished destination since 1901. The hotel enchants with a majestic Neo-Renaissance façade and romantic interiors, filled with Art Deco elegance from the beginning of the 20th century and luxury finishes.
WHERE TO EAT
Marconi restaurant offers Polish favorites in a lovely dining room, located in the Hotel Bristol.
Executive Chef Carlos Teixeira presents modern-style creations of traditional dishes, with the best seasonal produce from local farmers and purveyors.
Photos courtesy of Marconi
HOW TO GET AROUND
We choose Blacklane to provide us with chauffeur service from the Krakow airport to Prague. Blacklane offers professional drivers who know the local area and region, and can get passengers to their destinations safely.
Global Adventuress thanks Marconi for hosting us for dinner, and the Hotel Bristol Warsaw for partially hosting our stay. We also want to thank Blacklane for partially hosting our transfer between Krakow and Prague.