Places to explore
From bustling metropolises with Gotham City style buildings to delightful old towns with multi-coloured market squares to the smallest of villages with oodles of charm, Poland has many wonderful places to explore. On this page, we have provided detailed information about our fifteen favourite cities in Poland.
There’s lots to discover! You’ll find cities that magically mix Renaissance style architecture with communist-era buildings such as Warsaw, you’ll also discover cultural and entertainment centres with castles & stories of dragons in the form of Krakow. Tri-City provides you with three cities in one location and that’s a good few days of sightseeing and exploration in its own right!
Amazing culture & history
Within the cities in Poland, you will uncover hundreds of years of history, some golden, some tragic – but always interesting. The love affair that Poland has with museums and monuments will help you to understand the amazing culture and history of the country and the memorials will help you to understand the horrors.
Poland's cities provide visitors with great restaurants, a lively nightlife scene with a variety of bars, pubs & clubs, superb museums, art galleries and theatres in addition to wonderful old towns and incredible buildings.
One of the best ways to explore the various cities in Poland is to take an organised tour. You’ll find an excellent choice of Experiences & Tours on this website, particularly in Warsaw & Krakow.
Białystok is the largest city in north-eastern Poland and is Podlasie's metropolis. The city has a unique atmosphere founded by its historic mix of Polish, Belarusian and Jewish cultures. Tourist attractions in Białystok are limited, but its proximity to the region's national parks makes it a good base. The most famous national park is Bialowieza National Park, which is well-known for two reasons. Firstly, it is home to Europe’s largest land mammal, the European bison and secondly, the park shelters a sizeable chunk of original lowland primeval forest; which has remained undisturbed for hundreds of years.
Bydgoszcz is a city in northern Poland, situated on the Brda and Vistula rivers in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship. It has shared the title of co-capital of the region with the city of Toruń since 1999. The city boasts an impressive mix of architectural styles. They include neo-gothic, neo-baroque, neoclassicist, modernist and Art Nouveau for which it has earned the nickname of. ‘Little Berlin.’ Bydgoszcz is synonymous with its urban greenery and architecture and boasts the largest city park in Poland at 830 ha, but is mostly famous because of Mill Island (Wyspa Młyńska in Polish).
Katowice is an industrial city situated in the Silesian Region of southern Poland. It is the largest constituent of the Upper Silesian Urban Area, a vast conurbation with a population approaching three million. Due to vast quantities of coal in the area, Katowice grew from being a rural village into a modern centre of industry in the 19th century. Katowice officially became a city during the period between World War I and II and for a short while after WWII, it was renamed Stalinogród. Today, Katowice is a major commercial and cultural centre with numerous public companies headquartered in the city.
Kielce is a city in south-central Poland and has been the capital of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship (Holy Cross Province) since 1999. Often referred to as, “The heart of Poland” the region is home to the Świętokrzyskie Mountains and Świętokrzyski National Park. With a history dating back over 900 years, Kielce was once an important mining centre, today, the city and its surroundings are better known for their historic architecture, green spaces and recreational areas like the Świętokrzyski National Park. Kielce is the only city in Europe which counts five nature reserves within its borders. There’s a lot of attractions to see in Kielce. The former Palace of the Kraków Bishops, the picturesque National Museum, Kielce Cathedral, and Dworek Laszczyków are must-sees.
Kołobrzeg is a city in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in north-western Poland and is the biggest resort and largest health spa on the Polish Baltic coast. Kołobrzeg has for a long time attracted Polish as well as foreign visitors, particularly Germans and Danes. On top of the delights of swimming and sunbathing, the seaside resort offers visitors; seafront attractions, clean air, large green areas, spas, a 12 km long beach, pristine white sand, historic monuments, beer gardens, bars, restaurants and a good choice of entertainment activities. Kołobrzeg ranks highly as a seaside health resort due to its specific microclimate and natural curative products such as therapeutic mud and brine. The spas in the city specialise in the treatment of cardiovascular, motor, respiratory and endocrine systems.
Kraków is one of the oldest cities in Poland and is the administrative capital of the Lesser Poland (Malopolskie) region. Until 1596, the city was Poland's former royal capital, today it is a leading centre of Polish academic, economic, cultural and artistic life and a major tourist destination. Often referred to as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Kraków’s Old Town had the honour of being declared the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world. If you’re interested in architecture, Kraków will not let you down. The city features all of the great European architectural styles. Kraków has a riveting history with alternating themes of destruction and revival, which could rival the hit TV series, Game of Thrones and is the most popular of the cities in Poland.
Łódź is the third largest city in Poland, located in the central part of the country and is the capital of the Łódź Voivodeship. The actual pronunciation of Łódź (which means boat in Polish) is woodge. During the 19th century, Łódź enjoyed a period of extreme wealth due to the textile industry. It’s a story of, ‘riches to rags’ however and the period between 1989 and 2000 was a particularly depressing time for the city when it experienced a significant demographic and economic decline. Since then, everything has been getting much better. Łódź has experienced a period of reinvention and rejuvenation, particularly the main thoroughfare ul. Piotrkowska and its once-crumbling city centre. Piotrkowska Street runs north to south for a little over 5km and is one of the longest commercial streets in Europe.
Lublin is the capital of the Lublin Voivodeship and the region’s largest city with a thriving academic and cultural scene. The city is very popular with tourists due to its fascinating history, vibrant architecture, museums, culture and entertainment. Lublin’s charming historical Old Town is one of Poland's national monuments and is located south of the castle. It is quite small in comparison to the Old Towns in other cities but lack of size is compensated by its wonderful collection of Renaissance and baroque townhouses, cobbled, narrow streets and traditional, unspoilt design. Around 35% of the population of Lublin are students; which has resulted in the city having a lively music, social and nightlife scene. The Old Town and immediate areas are packed full of restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and clubs.
Olsztyn is the capital of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship and is located on the Łyna River in north eastern Poland. It’s by far the biggest city in the region and is the transport hub for other towns in Warmia and Masuria and also a popular tourist destination. Olsztyn was founded in the 14th century and was originally under the control and influence of the Teutonic Order prior to coming under Polish control following the Treaty of Toruń in 1466. Visitors to the city have plenty to see, favourite spots include the medieval Old Town & High Gate, St. James Pro-cathedral, The castle and the Museum of Warmia & Masuria. The Pro-cathedral was formerly a Parish Church and dates back more than 600 years, it is regarded as one of the greatest monuments of Gothic architecture in Poland.
Poznań is located on the Warta River in west central Poland and is the administrative capital of the Greater Poland Voivodeship. The city is an important cultural, trade, sports, technology and tourism centre and one of Poland's most populous regions. Adam Mickiewicz University is one of the three best universities in Poland after the University of Warsaw and University of Kraków. Poznań has a student population in excess of 100,000. Poznań is best known for its renaissance Old Town and Ostrów Tumski Cathedral in addition to hosting the Saint John’s Fair, which is one of the largest fairs in Europe. The city is also home to one of the oldest zoological gardens in Poland, which was established in 1874. The city has an energetic personality with a buzzing city centre full of people enjoying its multitude of bars, clubs and restaurants.
Szczecin is the capital and largest city of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in north western Poland. Located near the Baltic Sea and the German border. It’s a lively city, shipbuilding centre and major seaport with many students and a mix of architecture inherited from different centuries. The city is one of Poland’s cultural centres with a National Museum, a philharmonic orchestra, four higher education institutions and several theatres. It’s also a busy working port, dealing primarily with cargo shipped down the Oder from the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Germany. Szczecin is picturesque with rivers, lakes, woods and parks taking up half of the city area and despite the mediaeval centre being severely damaged during World War II, you can still find some impressive architecture, reminiscent of times when Szczecin, as part of Prussia, was considered to be the “Paris of the North”.
Today, the Medieval Town of Toruń is a historical city on the Vistula River in north central Poland and shares the title of capital city of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship with the city of Bydgoszcz. The entire city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site for being an unusually well-preserved example of a medieval European trading and administrative centre. The city is made up of three areas: the Old Town to the west, the New Town to the east and Toruń castle in the south east. The Teutonic Order built a castle in Toruń in the mid-13th century as a base for the conquest and evangelization of Prussia, and the city soon became a significant European trading and administrative centre with a commercial role as part of the Hanseatic League. In the Old and New Town, the many imposing public and private buildings from the 14th and 15th centuries are striking evidence of Torun's importance.
Of all the cities in Poland, Tri-City is the most interesting because it is a 3-in-1 deal. It is located on the Baltic coast and consists of three cities, Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot. The three cities are situated adjacent to one another forming one of the most-visited tourist destinations in Poland. Each of the cities are proudly independent and have their own unique character and history. You’ll find Gdynia in the north, Gdańsk in the south and Sopot in the middle with great transport links between each other. Out of the three cities, Gdańsk is the most well-known Internationally. In the 1980s, Gdańsk was the birthplace of the Solidarity movement, which played a major role in bringing an end to communist rule in Poland and helped precipitate the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. Gdańsk is also famous for being the location where the first shots of World War II were fired.
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of the country, located in east central Poland within the Masovia (Mazowieckie) region. If there was ever a city to define resilience, have a huge respect for history and possess the ability to change personalities, Warsaw ticks all of the boxes. Almost completely destroyed during the last World War, Warsaw is a phoenix arisen from the ashes. In the city, you will find a widely-contrasting collection of architecture, Gothic, neoclassical, Renaissance & restored baroque in the Old Town and modern skyscrapers neighbouring socialist realist buildings around the centre. The most noticeable building in Warsaw is the ‘Seven Sisters’ style Palace of Culture and Science. The city is a significant cultural, political, and economic hub and also a major international tourist destination. Its historical Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Wrocław is a city in southwestern Poland and the largest city in the historical region of Lower Silesia. It is a university city with an idyllic location on the Odra River and comprises of 12 islands, 130 bridges, riverside parks and numerous historical landmarks such as the Main Market Square, Cathedral Island and Centennial Hall, which is which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wrocław is often referred to as a mini- Kraków due to its cultural attributes and buzzing social scene; however it maintains its own unique and appealing character. The city is a major attraction for both domestic and international tourists and also a major industrial, commercial and educational centre for the region. Since 2005, the city has become well-known for its bronze dwarfs, hundreds of these small figurines can be found across the city.