Most visited cities in Poland - best city break destinations in Poland
Poland is a vast country with a versatile tourist offer.
While many visitors to Poland are attracted by the country’s ‘wild side’ – the unparalleled beauty of Polish mountains, coast, lake lands or virgin forest, others prefer to focus on cultural and historic heritage to be explored during shorter or longer city breaks in Poland.
With an easy access from abroad via several international airport and availability of car hire in Poland, more and more Polish cities are being discovered by international tourists.
Below, we present the list of 10 most visited cities in Poland.
1. Kraków - things to do
The former and present capitals of Poland - Kraków and Warsaw - are the eternal rivals in the battle to attract the most tourists.
While Warsaw undoubtedly benefits from the central location and better accessibility for both Polish and foreign visitors, the tourist appeal of the historic city of Kraków is unbeatable. Kraków’s historic centre, recognised by UNESCO is simply mesmerising with 13th century merchants’ market, narrow streets lined with the colourful façades of the townhouses, palaces and numerous churches. The Royal Castle of Wawel, apart form being the burial place of many Polish kings and important historical figures, hosts an exquisite art collection. Tourists appreciate also the Jewish neighbourhood Kazimierz, where there are many old synagogues, as well as traditional Jewish and kosher restaurants.
Kraków is also an excellent base for discovering many of the outstanding sights of southern Poland, amongst them the Salt Mine of Wieliczka (also on the UNESCO list of World Heritage) or the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Kraków is the main city of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship (Polish administrative region), in southern Poland.
2. Warsaw tourist attractions
Warsaw was the one of the Polish cities hit the hardest by the war. Many of the city’s historic areas literally disappeared, being later substituted by the heavy and uninspired communist-style architecture. Amongst the highlights of Warsaw sightseeing today is the meticulously reconstructed Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Warsaw is located in Mazovia province, in central Poland.
3. Gdańsk sightseeing
A part of the Tricity agglomeration on the coast of the Baltic Sea (together with Sopot and Gdynia), Gdańsk is a must for any tourist in Poland. Although Gdańsk is essentially an industrial harbour city, its historic centre is a real pearl of medieval architecture. A stroll along the narrow streets of Gdańsk Old Town and the Motlawa River bank will transport you back to times of the Hanseatic League in which Gdańsk was played an important role as a rich port and trade city. Modern history of Europe has also marked strongly the city, which witnessed the beginning of World War II and the birth of the Solidarity movement led by Lech Walesa.
From Gdańsk it is only a short drive to Sopot, the most popular leisure destination on the Polish Baltic coast and Gdynia, where the most important Polish shipyards are.
Gdańsk is the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship on the Baltic Coast in northern Poland.
4. Wrocław - European Capital of Culture 2016
The witness of an unimaginably turbulent history, nearly razed to the ground by the Second World War turmoil, the city of Wrocław is making its way to the top most interesting city break destinations in Europe. Enough to say, Wrocław has been chosen to be the European Capital of Culture 2016, together with the Spanish San Sebastián.
Due to its location on the islands, connected with picturesque bridges, Wrocław has one of the most interesting city layouts in Poland, being simply delightful to visit on foot. Visit Wroclaw to discover unique historic landmarks, amongst them a UNESCO recognized Centennial Hall
Wrocławis the capital of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship in south-western Poland.
5. Poznań - trade fairs and culture
The city known largely for the trade fairs held here since 1921, should not be overlooked as a tourist destination in Poland. Poznań’s Old Town, meticulously reconstructed after the bombings of Second World War, is a masterpiece of Renaissance and Baroque architecture. A rich cultural offer, as well as a certain bohemian atmosphere of the city which host an important Polish university, add up to the vibrant night life of Poznań where you will find plentiful restaurants, cafés and bars.
Poznań is the capital of Greater Poland province in central-western Poland.
6. Zakopane - year-round tourist destnation in Poland
This charming town set in the heart of Tatra Mountains is the favourite mountain retreat for Polish people and a popular tourist destination for foreign tourists in Poland. Zakopane can be, and is, visited round year. In the winter it is the most popular Polish ski location and in the summer - a great base for hiking and climbing in the breathtaking landscapes of the Tatras. Unique local folklore, music and gastronomy ally in Zakopane with a well developed tourist infrastructure, with plenty of restaurants, guestrooms, hotels and spas.
Zakopane is located in Lesser Poland, approx. 65 miles south of Krakow.
Read more about Zakopane as a tourist destination.
Watch a video on major tourist attractions in Poland:
7. Szczecin - a short drive to Berlin
An important port of the Baltic Sea, Szczecin is located by the border with Germany, in approx. 88 miles distance from Berlin. The proximity to Poland’s western neighbour is a stimulating factor for Szczecin’s development as a major economic and transit centre in northwestern Poland. Szczecin’s offer for leisure travellers includes interesting historic heritage, being the city’s most notable landmarks the Medieval Pomeranian Dukes Castle and Waly Chrobrego – the Oder River bank promenade. A curious fact: Szczecin’s Pionier Cinema, opened originally as Helios Cinema in 1909, is considered to be one of the world’s oldest movie theatres.
Interesting locations are found in a close distance from Szczecin, amongst them the Wolin Island and the seaside resort of Swinoujscie.
Szczecin is the capital of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in western Poland.
8. Łódź - emerging tourist destination in Poland
A city for many years somewhat underestimated by tourism, as industrial and unattractive, Łódź is gaining importance a tourist destination in Poland. This is mostly due to the effort put by the local authorities to revive the historic centre of Łódź and to breathe life in the plentiful disused factory buildings, now transformed into office complexes, restaurants, art galleries or loft housing. The Piotrkowska street in the very heart of Łódź is considered one of the most beautiful streets in Poland, competing with the city centres of Warsaw, Krakow or Gdansk.
Łódź is also one of the most vibrant modern culture scenes in Poland and the Łódź Film School remains and important reference for the cinematographic industry world wide.
Łódź is the capital of the province bearing the same name, located in the very centre of Poland.
9. Bydgoszcz - close to Torun
An attractive spot for foreign investors in Poland (Coca-Cola, Samsung and Unilever, amongst others) is also becoming appreciated as a tourist destination. A part of Bydgoszcz centre is located on an island between two arms of River Brda, being connected to the rest of the city by bridges, for which it is sometimes referred to as ‘Polish Venice’. Bydgoszcz attracts visitors with the great ambience of its old quarters, historic architecture and lively music scene. Bydgoszcz Philharmonic concert hall is one of the finest music venues in Poland; the city has long tradition of jazz festivals.
Visit the beautiful medieval city of Torun in a short – 28 miles – drive from Bydgoszcz. Torun’s gothic architecture deserved recognition from UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Bydgoszcz is the capital of Kuyavian-Pomeranian Province.
10. Kołobrzeg - spa city in Poland
Having plentiful mineral hot springs, Kołobrzeg is one of the best known health resorts in Poland. A privileged location on the Baltic coast, in proximity to some of the finest Polish beaches encourages tourist to visit Kołobrzeg, where there is also a range of historic monuments and more modern attractions to explore. Active holidaymakers will find in Kołobrzeg plenty of opportunities to practice water sports.
Kołobrzeg is located in Middle Pomerania, in north-western Poland.