Unique Travel Destination Poland??! Poland has survived many centuries of conflict to emerge as a proud and peaceful, independent country, ready to assume the country new role in modern world history. Visitors to Poland are discovering what the locals have long known secrets about Europe history, that Poland is a country rich in fine culture, beautiful scenic landscapes and extraordinary historical valuable sites.
Unique Travel Destination Poland: Cities
3 most beautiful and underrated cities
Polish cities are charming. They are beautiful, breathing with history and offering everything from historical attractions to cultural activities. Therefore it is more than difficult to pick the finest ones. Although most of the visitors will probably direct their trip to the capital Warsaw or Krakow, there are other, often underrated, cities which should not be missing on your Poland’s list.
Beautiful harbourside city with unique architecture so much different yet somehow close to the rest of the country, keeping it equally charming. Tangled history has shaped Gdansk into a charming place with cobbled streets and colorful buildings.
Gdansk is a city in the northern part of Poland, directly by the Baltic coast. Situated at the edge of Gdansk Bay, it is an important seaport and industrial and shipbuilding centre. The population of the city with metropolitan area is roughly 1.4 million people. During the history, Gdansk went through periods of Polish and German rule and also two tiny periods of being a free city.
The so-called port of Baltic, thanks to its location by the sea, used to be the melting pot for multiple cultures, which has influenced its architecture and art – tall and elegant buildings, lovely cafes, red church buildings and attractive museums. Even though the World War II had severe destructive effect on the city, the reconstruction (which didn’t follow the pre-war look) has pulled the charm back together, cleaning all German influence from the city’s appearance. Many French, Dutch and Italian architects and influencers contributed to the after-war reconstruction, thus creating a unique blend of architecture, signature only to the city of Gdansk.
One of the main tourist attraction include the Old Town packed with restaurants, amber shops bars and cafes; reconstructed historical area alongside the Long Market street and Long Street which is often referred to as Royal Road; number of parks and a zoo in the Oliwa suburb, numerous historical churches; but also a beautiful coastline and energetic nightlife.
Ideally located, Jelenia Gora is a perfect starting point for hiking trips to the Karkonosze Mountains. Historical architecture, cultural events and relaxed atmosphere all make the city a great tourist destination.
Jelenia Gora is a major city in the south-western part of Poland, close to the borders with the neighbouring Czech Republic. The city’s population is around 85 000 people. The name Jelenia Gora means ”Deer Mountain“ in Polish which comes from the legend about the King Bolesław Krzywousty, who followed a wounded deer, which took him to the place where the city stands. As he was astonished by its beauty, he gave the city this name.
Jelenia Gora itself is based in a valley, located close to the Karkonosze Mountain, which a is mountain range creating the Polish-Czech border. The mountains are so close that the ski resorts can be reached easily by car from the town within just couple of minutes.
In the history, the city played an important role for gold mining industry and later also glass production and production of top-quality linen.
Today, it is a place with broad range of cultural institutions including theaters, museums and concert halls and there are also many cultural festivals during the year (for example International Festival of Street Theatre, Karkonosze’s Light Festival or International Film Festival Zoom – Zbliezka). Another popular attraction is the Cieplice Zdroj curative springs with its beautiful promenade, which is the oldest spa in Poland.
Apart from being the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the medieval city of Torun is offering some prominent and well preserved historical monuments and thus, thanks to its cultural value and beauty, earning Torun the nickname called “Krakow of the North“.
Torun is located in the North of Poland with history dating back to the 13th century. The gothic and medieval wealth and charm with unique atmosphere will ensure you that Torun is one of the most underrated cities, as it should be on every traveler’s must see list. In the Middle Age, it used to be a trade centre and the historical urban area including the Old City, the New City and the Teutonic Knight’s Castle is listed as the UNESCO World Heritage. Torun was also one of the luckier cities and didn’t suffer damage during the second world war and today offers a pleasant blend of both Polish and German history.
The medieval city defence walls, historical centre, Gothic cathedrals or the Old City Town Hall are only some of the architectonic highlights.
There are also plenty of intriguing museums, such as the Nicolaus Copernicus Museum, which points out the fact that Torun is a birthplace of this German-Polish astronomer. Another nickname given to Torun is “the gingerbread city“, as Torun‘s gingerbread (pierniki) is well known and there is also a Muzeum Piernika (Gingerbread Muzeu) dedicated to gingerbread in Europe.
Unique Travel Destination Poland: Mountains
This spot with fine and pristine nature is stretching across borders in honorable height, presenting the highest peak Śnieżka.
The mountain is highlighted among world’s class hikers as a ” Unique Travel Destination Poland”
This mountain range spreads across the borders of two countries; the north of Czech Republic and south-west of Poland, as a part of Sudetes mountain system, therefore it can be found under multiple names: Karkonosze (which is the Polish version), Krkonoše (same meaning in Czech) and also Riesengebirge (in German). Although, the official English name is the Giant Mountains. The name Krkonoš /Krkonoss dates back to 1492 and is explained in two parts; when “krk” is an old Slavic word for certain type of local vegetation; “noš“ is derived from the word “nosit“, which means „carry“.
The highest peak of the mountain is Śnieżka / Sněžka, on the Czech side of borders, reaching its highest point in 1 603 metres. This makes it the highest peak in the Czech Republic. The Karkonosze Mountains are also the place where the major river Elbe springs within.
The mountain range stretches on the area of 631 square km in total (177 square km on Polish territory and the major part of 454 square km within the Czech territory).
Both sides of the borders are – thanks to its pristine nature, beautiful landscapes, impressive canyons and mostly the unique vegetation – designated as national parks (Poland: the Karkonosze National Park and Czech: the Krkonoše National Park). The entire cross-border area together creates the biosphere reserve belonging to the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme.
Karkonosze Krkonoše are an ideal destination for hiking during summer and skiing during winter period, thanks to its multiple large ski resorts.
Unique Travel Destination Poland Adventure: Bieszczady Mountains
The wild is nature holding myths and legends but also offering peace to be found within its beautiful landscape. The uncharted souls of Bieszczady is only an adventure away, ready to be discovered.
The mountain range Bieszczady runs through three different countries; Poland in the south-east, Ukraine and Slovakia. The term Bieszczady refers to the Polish part of the mountain range. It creates a part of the Outer Eastern Carpathians / Carpatian Arc, located between Vyshkovskyi and Łupków / Lupkowska passes. The highest peak on Polish side is Tarnica with 1 346 metres, although the highest peak of Beszady Mountains is located in Ukraine (Mt. Pikuy with 1 405 metres).
The biggest tourist attractions is the Bieszczady National Park, which is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve – thanks to the unique and rare fauna and flora and striking natural landscape. The position on the borders and flowery history has also left certain stamp on the cultural heritage and appearance of the area.
It is the undiscovered beauty of Eastern European wilderness that will evoke the feeling like you are at the very end of the world. That all makes it an ideal and dreamed destination for adventure lovers and passionate hikers (for long distances). Ski slopes during winter, on the other hand, are a giant stage for all kinds of winter sports.
Wide, powerful and distant, Beskidy mountain ranges offer spectacular beauty of nature innocence and wilderness, all packed with cultural blend.
Beskidy / Beskydy or Beskid Mountains is a series of mountain ranges (geologically) in the Carpathians, running from Ukraine in the east, along the border of Slovakia and Poland and to the Czech Republic in the west.
The highest peak on the Polish/Slovak border is Babia Gora reaching 1 725 metres above sea level. The name of the mountain means “Witches Mountain“ or “Old Wives‘“, although the highest peak of the entire range is Hoverla in Ukraine with 2 061 metres.
Beskidy are picturesque, about 600 long, range stretching its beauty across large area of Eastern Europe. Thanks to the fact of reaching multiple countries and cultures within its length, it can be divided into various divisions and categories. The mountain tops are covered with small and secluded villages and wooden churches, making it perfect location for calm and peaceful holiday, yet the skiing resorts there are facing a growing popularity.
Unique Travel Destination Poland: Lakes
Clear waters and interesting and mysterious bottom of Lake Hancza serve as an open invitation for all divers to explore the adventurous underwater life.
Hancza is the deepest of all lakes in Poland with maximum depth reaching up to incredible 108.5 metres. Same like Lake Sniardwy, Hancza is a memento of the last glaciation and the massive ice block which was covering the area. Today, the lake (which is around 4.5 kilometers long and 1.2 kilometer wide) is connected to hundred of other lakes within the beautiful Masurian Lake District in the north-east of Poland.
The glacial activity is clearly visible on the stony beaches, steep shoreline and also unique relic species. Also, thanks to the rocks covered bottom of the lake, it boasts itself with one of the clearest waters in Poland with incredible visibility down to the bottom.
The great visibility makes Hancza a great place for diving almost all year round.
Lake Morskie Oko
The picture perfect clear water of Lake Morskie Oko is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region. Surrounded by mountains, the lake provides undisputable charm and magical atmosphere.
The lake highlighted among hikers as a ” Unique Travel Destination Poland”
Lake Morskie Oko is located in the Tatra Mountains within the Tatra National Park, nearby the borders with Slovakia in the southern part of Poland.“. In the past, the name “Rybie Jezero“ meaning “Fish Lake“ was used for the lake thanks to the amount of fish living inside of the 50 metres deep lake waters. The current name Morskie Oko means the “Sea Eye and it comes from the legend claiming that the lake used to be connected to the ocean waters through the underground.
Covering 35 hectares (with 860 metres in length and over 560 metres in width), the lake is the largest one among Tatra lakes. Since Morskie Oko is situated at the base of Mięguszowiecki Summits, it is completely surrounded by mountain peaks. Those are offering some of the most stunning and breathtaking views over the calm and clear water surface underneath.
The lake itself is easily accessible from Lysa Polana, followed by a hour or and hour and a half long walk on a great, yet steep path leading eventually to the valley.
Unique Travel Destination Poland: history
Auschwitz concentration camp
Terrible history is what makes this place so powerful. The whole complex served as the last place for millions of Jews during the World War II, which is something that certainly leaves a mark on the area and its atmosphere.
The camp is highlighted among tourists as a ” Unique Travel Destination Poland”
The Auschwitz-Birkenau used to be a network of German Nazi concentration and labor camps, established and operated in Poland during the World War II. The Auschwitz area is situated in the souths of Poland, relatively close to the borders with Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The complex consisted of three main areas; Auschwitz, Auschwitz II- Birkenau and Auschwitz III- Monowitz; and also multiple satellite camps, making it the largest Nazi death camp in the entire Europe.
From it’s establishment in 1940, the camps initially served for holding Polish political prisoners. Between 1942 and 1944 the Jews from Nazi-occupied Europe had been transported to the camp by trains to eventually die in one of the gas chambers. The estimated number of victims murdered at Auschwitz is somewhere around 2,1 million to 2,5 million (even though the number is an estimate minimum by historians and can be much higher) and the vast majority of those people were Jews.
Those who we were not killed in gas chambers starved to death, were shot by squads or became objects to medical experiments. All those figures speak for the largest mass murder location in the history of humankind.
Today, the partially destroyed historical site (mostly during the liberation in the beginning of 1945) serves for a museum purposes in order to help the understanding of the dark past which was happening behind the camp’s fences. Auschwitz will remain as a sad symbol of genocide and the Holocaust.