Top cities in Poland

Click on an icon on the map to go to the description of the corresponding city.

Warsaw, the capital

Given its central location and easy access by air, the capital of Poland is most often the point of entry and exit of a touristic circuit in the country. The old part of Warsaw, meticulously restored after the destruction of the Second World War, the museums and the rich cultural offer deserve one or two days’ city break or even an extended weekend. What to see: the narrow streets of the old town, its central market square and its barbican; the Royal Castle; the Royal Road, lined with numerous churches, old palaces and mansions; the Royal Baths park, with the Chopin monument and outdoor concerts in the Summer; or the former royal residence and the park of Wilanów, the „little Versailles” of Warsaw. More information on the Warsaw Tourist Office website .

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Kraków, the royal

Krakow is a mandatory stop on a discovery tour of Poland. The ancient capital of the country enchants the visitor with a unique combination of medieval, renaissance and baroque architecture. Krakow has a rich cultural life and a festive atmosphere. To see: the Gothic cathedral and the royal castle of Wawel, with its rich collection of art; the Market square, the largest medieval square in Europe; the Jagiellonian University, one of the oldest in Europe; the numerous baroque churches; the district of Kazimierz, a hotspot of Jewish culture.

Krakow is also ideally located as a starting point of exploration of the Malopolska region, with its many exceptional sights such as the Wieliczka mine and that of Tarnowskie Gory, or the churches and the tserkvas in wood. More information on the city of Krakow and its Office of Tourism . See also Cultural Calendar of the city.

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Gdańsk, the hanseatic

A visit in Gdańsk, the third best European destination in 2017 is a journey back in time, mixing the glorious past of one of the most powerful Hanseatic ports in the Baltic and the recent history of the cradle of Solidarity, a movement that initiated the liberation of a whole region of Europe. A stroll through the old town of Gdańsk allows you to savour the charm of its medieval alleys, with ornate stoop houses and shops offering jewelry made of amber, the gold of the Baltic. To see absolutely: the 14th century Town Hall, now the seat of the Historical Museum; the 15th century Artus Court, a former stock exchange and place of festivities for the merchant elite; the Gothic Notre-Dame basilica; or Mariacka Street paved with granite. Not to be missed by those interested in recent history, the European Solidarity Center .
A stay in Gdańsk also makes it possible to listen to one of the largest organ in Europe, that of the Oliwa Cathedral; to walk on the longest wooden pier in Europe in Sopot, the nearby seaside town; or visit the fortress and former seat of the Teutonic Knights in Malbork , one hour’s drive from Gdańsk.

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Wroclaw, the European

The history of Wroclaw, the historic capital of Lower Silesia, fascinates with its mixture of Polish, German, Czech, Hungarian, or Catholic, Protestant and Jewish cultural influence… The city was built on the banks of the Oder, or rather on the numerous islands and islets formed by the arms of the river. The canals that criss-cross the city and the hundreds of bridges and footbridges have earned Wrocław the name of „Little Venice” or „Venice of the North”. The small suspension bridge of Grunwald is one of the symbols of Wrocław, while the picturesque Tumski Bridge, dating from the 12th century, connects the rest of the city to its oldest part – the Ostrów Tumski island, spectacular in the evening with its old gas street lamps and illuminated churches. Also not to be missed is the Old Town with its large central square (Rynek) and the Gothic Town Hall; Racławice Panorama, a 120 meters wide, 15 meters high painting depicting the eponymous battle; and the old Centennial Hall , a reinforced-concrete building, ahead of its time when completed in 1913, that can accommodate ten thousand spectators.

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Poznań, the cradle

The history of Poznań is closely tied to that of Poland. In the 10th century the first Polish rulers settled on the island of Ostrów Tumski, the oldest part of the city. Today Poznań is an important commercial center, famous for its international trade fairs. What to see: on the island of Ostrów Tumski, the Gothic Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul cathedral, surrounded by about fifteen chapels including the Golden Chapel, place of burial of the first sovereigns of the country; the 15th century Gothic Notre-Dame church; the Old Town with its Town Hall, one of the most valuable Renaissance buildings in central Europe, surrounded by historic houses; the sixteenth-century Górka Palace, home to the Archaeological Museum; the beautiful Baroque parish church; the neo-classical Raczyński library; as well as Collegium Maius and Collegium Minus. The former Jesuit monastery, now the seat of the municipality, hosted the Emperor Napoleon I for three weeks in 1806 and Frederic Chopin in 1828, who performed here.

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Łódź, the industrial

The city of Łódź had its heyday in the nineteenth century, when the industrial revolution made it one of the major centers of textile production in Europe. At that time Łódź grew rapidly, attracting hundreds of thousands of workers and allowing a few industrial families to amass considerable fortunes. Łódź the industrial was a cosmopolitan city, where Poles, Jews, Germans and Russians lived in harmony. Today’s Łódź reminds of this past, most prominently through the various palaces of industrial families. Księży Młyn, the largest industrial architecture complex in Europe, brings together factories, workers’ quarters and the industrialists’ residence. The cemeteries – Jewish (one of the largest in Europe) and Christian testify to the multicultural past of Łódź. Finally, the recently renovated Piotrkowska street, always the vital axis of the city, allows the visitor to feel the spirit of the past whilst enjoying the many restaurants and shops.

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Katowice, the Silesian

Katowice, the capital of Upper Silesia, is a recent city that developed in the nineteenth century with the rise of the mining and industrial activities in the region. The city, today turned towards the modern economy, has kept traces of its past, especially its multicultural aspect with the Polish, German, Jewish and Silesian components. To see: Art Nouveau buildings in the city center, neo-Baroque and neo-Gothic buildings; the working-class cities of Nikiszowiec and Giszowiec; as well as several old mines and smelters, with their industrial architecture and restored equipment. The Silesian Museum (English site), a beautiful adaptation of an old coal mine, is definitely worth a visit with its artistic and historical collections. Katowice, a major cultural center, is the home of the National Symphony Orchestra of Polish Radio (site in English), a world-class ensemble performing in a state-of-the-art hall boasting one of the world’s best acoustics.

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