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Auschwitz

Where to go in Poland

Bieszczadzki National Park

Bieszczadzki National Park

The Bieszczadzki National Park is one of the best places to marvel at Mother Nature. The park is more popular for the Bieszczadzki Mountains which is a popular place for hikers and nature trippers. The park is the country’s third largest national park and was built in 1973. Originally it only covered 59.55 km² in 1973, but was enlarged four times since then, and now has a total land area of 292.02 km². Vehicles are allowed in the park, but the authorities promote walking trips so as not to disturb the wildlife in the area.

Once you visit the park, you will notice that the lowlands are filled with lush green forests while the highlands which include the mountains are treeless which is completely unaltered by man. The park has very few human inhabitants which makes it an ideal home for many of Poland’s fauna. Many of the animals such as the Polish Bison, bears, wolves, beavers, lynx, wild boar and the Aesculapian snake roam freely. 70% of the park is considered as a strict reserve, so only a limited area of the park is open to tourists.

Czestochowa

The Jasna Gora sanctuary in Czestochowa, Poland is most important pilgrimage place

Czestochowa is located in southern Poland, in the Silesian Province and home to one of Poland’s most visited tourist destination, the Jasna Gora Monastery. The Pauline monastery in Jasna Gora is frequented by Catholics from all over the world because of it is also the home of the Black Madonna painting which considered a shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Almost five million tourists visit every year, and all of them come in to go into religious immersion in the monastery, or simply to go sightseeing and learn a little bit about the place’s history. Czestochowa is also known as little Nuremberg because of the numerous little souvenir shops and historical monuments in the area.

Aside from the monasteries, first time tourists might find Czestochowa a little plain and provincial. Tourists could also add the Museum of Matches to their tour itinerary, to add a little variation in the tour. One day or even a half day tour is enough to appreciate this place, it’s quaint and peaceful, so it definitely is one of those places to visit to find inner peace and appreciate religion.

Gdansk

Gdansk

This old maritime city attracts as much tourists as Krakow and Warsaw. Situated on the coast of the Baltic Sea, this maritime city is definitely a sight to see. People visit Gdansk mainly to come and marvel at the historic architecture of the city, a famous landmark of the area is the old Gothic church, which is the largest brick church in the world.

To go sightseeing, all you need to do is to go to Ulica Dluga or the Dlugi Targ, which are both pedestrian areas surrounded by buildings with 17th century architecture. This road was called the Royal Road since it was the place where visiting kings would usually have their processions. The city of Gdansk is located on Gdansk Bay which is a part of the Baltic Sea. Tourists visiting here can also get a chance to visit the nearby cities of Sopot, which is a famous spa town and Gdynia which is one of the country’s important seaports.

Other sights to see at Gdansk are: the Upland Gate, the Torture House, Prison Tower, Golden Gate, Long Street, Long Market, and the Green Gate.

Krakow

Krakow

Krakow is one of the top tourist destinations in Europe, mainly due to the fact that it was once the royal capital city. The splendid and magnificent architecture of Krakow still shows the grandeur that the city once had before. The Old City as tourists would call it is definitely the first place anyone would visit in Poland.

Major attractions include the Wawel Castle, which was an important part of the old city since it was where members of the royal family were interred and where many of the coronations took place. The Wawel Castle is considered one of the most beautiful castles in Europe next to the Hradcany in Prague. The Sukiennice, or the Cloth Hall, is also one of the places tourists should never miss on their trip to Krakow. It is presently a museum, but was once a trading hall in the 14th century. One will also notice the large number of Gothic churches in the area, some them include the Corpus Christi Church and St. Mary’s Church.

Malbork

Malbork

Malbork is visited mainly to see the gigantic red castle, also known as the Malbork Teutonic Castle. It is considered the largest fortress in Europe.

The Malbork Teutonic Castle was built in 1274 by the order of the Teutonic knights. It is divided into three parts, mainly the Upper Castle, the Middle Castle, and the outer castle, which is the only part that is not open to visitors since much of it is ruined and tourists might contribute to its further disintegration.

The castle was heavily damaged during World War II, which destroyed more than half of the structure.

As you go inside the castle, you should not miss the Winter and Summer chambers and the great refectory. Huge displays of amber and military collection can also be seen inside.

This giant castle fortress was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

Aside from the castle, tourists can also visit the nearby Mennonite Cemetery. This cemetery is where Dutch Protestants in the 16th century were buried.

 

Masurian lakes

Masurian lakes

For those who simply want to wander around and seek peace and quiet, the Masurian lakes are some of the best places to visit, since they never really gets packed with tourists.

These lakes are ideal for those who want to go camping by the lakeside, go fishing, kayaking, trekking in the woods, or simply lying down and gazing at the stars.

Aside from lakes there are also rivers where tourists can go fly fishing or swimming.

If you are not the outdoors type but just want a quiet retreat, you can check in at some of the resort lodges in Giżycko and Mikołajki, Węgorzewo, Ryn, Pisz and Iława.

The Masurian Landscape Park is also a favorite go-to for tourists who want to go biking or trekking, as well as see the rich flora and fauna.

Tourists can also visit historical landmarks in the area, such as Hitler’s wartime headquarters and the Teutonic castles.

 

Auschwitz

Auschwitz

This death camp, probably one of the saddest and darkest places on the planet, is known worldwide by its German name, Auschwitz; but locally, it is known as Oswiecim.

Tourists come to Auschwitz to pay their respects to the victims of the Holocaust.

All who visit say that once you have entered the gates, something about the place definitely makes you sad. During the Second World War, this place became the site of one of the largest mass murders in history and was part of Adolf Hitler’s plan to erase the Jews from the face of the earth.

Tourists can visit the camp site for free; there is no entrance fee, but donations are highly encouraged.

There are some areas in the camp, such as the museum, which do charge minimum entrance fees, but usually these fees are already included in the tour rate if you happen to be joining a tour group.

 

Tatra mountains

Tatra mountains

The Tatra Mountains, or the Polish Alps, are quite famous among mountain climbers and trekkers for its beautiful snow-capped peaks.

If you plan on seeing the Tatras Mountains, it’s best to get accommodation at the town of Zakopane since the views are always nice there.

There are 250 km of trail allocated for the most daring of hikers and skiers.

Tatra is on the UNESCO biosphere list, and the whole mountain range is also considered a national park.

Different animals such as brown bears, lynxes, eagles, and marmots can be seen in the area.

Aside from hiking, trekking, and skiing, tourists can also visit the Morskie Oko, which translates to “Sea Eye.” This beautiful lake is one of the top tourist spots in the area.

 

Warsaw

Poland

No tourist should ever miss the chance to visit the country’s capital and its largest city, Warsaw. The capital has a population of 1.71 million and is the fastest growing Polish city in the country.

Although Warsaw isn’t as mega-modern as other cities in the world and still retains much of its old charm, tourists who have visited all the beautiful provinces in Poland can come back to Warsaw and indulge in modern Polish living.

Here you will find most of the high-end shops and high-class Polish restaurants in the country.

Although Poland’s major tourist destinations can’t be found in Warsaw, the city has parks, churches, museums, and other places that tourists can visit.

Wroclaw

Wroclaw

Wroclaw, the main city of Lower Silesia, is swarmed by tourists because of the wonderful Baroque, Gothic, and Art Nouveau architecture seen all around.

Some of the most popular tourist spots in Wroclaw include the Cathedral Island, St. Elisabeth’s Church, St. Mary Magdalene Church, Centennial Hall, the Wrocław water tower, and Renoma, a 1930s department store of great architectural interest.