15 Best Cities to Visit in Poland

Poland is a fascinating and beautiful European country. It’s a fusion of poignant history, incredible culture, and touches of modernity. Whether you’re a history buff, or you are just looking for the best places to explore in this Central European country, Poland’s unique charm and beauty are sure to captivate you. 

From the medieval streets of Krakow to the urban landscape of Warsaw and the coastal allure of Gdansk, we’ve laid out the best cities to visit in Poland. 

Prettiest and Best Cities to Visit in Poland

If you’re planning a trip to Poland and looking for the prettiest, most unique, and best cities to visit in Poland, these 15 cities each have their own distinct character and reasons to visit. 

Krakow

Krakow Market Square at dusk
Krakow’s Market Square is a lively gathering place lined with beautiful buildings and the towering St. Mary’s Basilica.

Krakow is the most visited and arguably the most charming Polish city. 

Steeped in history, Krakow is worth visiting for at least 3 or 4 days. The UNESCO-listed Old Town and its lively Main Square invites you to wander among colorful facades or take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets.

Take a moment to gaze at the peculiar Eros Bendatoone of the most famous statues in Europe, and marvel at the prominent St. Mary’s Basilica – one of the most notable European churches

Visit the famous Wawel Castle and its royal cathedral for a journey into Poland’s regal past. Then tour Krakow’s Jewish Quarter, a cultural hub with synagogues, World War II museums, and lively pubs for a look at the city’s most tragic era. 

Of course, no trip to Krakow is complete without touring the poignant Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, located about an hour outside the city. It’s a sobering yet essential historical experience. 

For something unique, head to the Wieliczka Salt Mine tour, one of the oldest salt mines in the world. 

Because it is such a popular tourist destination in eastern Europe, Krakow is well-connected by air, and flying into Krakow John Paul II International Airport is a convenient option. Alternatively, the train from Warsaw to Krakow takes about 2.5 to 3 hours, offering a picturesque journey through the Polish countryside.

Warsaw

warsaw's modern skyline
Warsaw is the capital of Poland and is a modern city that has completely been transformed and rebuilt in the last 50 years.

Each city has a story. Every building you see has a story. But, for Warsaw, the story of the great city in Poland is rebirth and remembrance. You see, Warsaw was obliterated during WWII. Almost every…single…building. During the rebuild, Poland wanted you to remember what the city was like before it was destroyed, while also pushing the concept of a new city that is looking towards the future. 

It took almost 40 years for the Polish capital to rebuild from the early 1940s. You won’t find a lot of romance in this town (go to Krakow for that), but there’s still beauty to be found in Old Town. 

Old Town is a testimonial of the citizens and their hope for survival and also the need to know what was taken from them 80 years ago. Warsaw is full of surprises.

Plan to spend at least 3-4 days in the capital of Poland, staying at a hotel like Polania Palace near the National Museum.

Start your journey in the meticulously reconstructed Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can stroll through cobblestone streets, visit the Royal Castle, and enjoy charming cafes. Warsaw is also home to numerous museums, such as the Warsaw Uprising Museum and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which provide deep insights into the city’s tumultuous past.

Visit the Palace of Culture and Science for panoramic views of the city from its observation deck. 

Getting to Warsaw is easy, as Warsaw Chopin Airport is well-connected internationally. From there, the city’s efficient public transportation system, including buses and the metro, makes it easy to navigate without a car.

Poznań

colorful facades in Poznan Old Town
Poznan has one of the most charming and colorful Old Towns out of any Polish city.

Are you trying to escape the crowds in some of the more famous cities to visit in Poland, like Krakow and Warsaw – but still want to experience some Polish charm? Go to Poznan! With a population around 500,000, it’s a big city with a small feel, so if you have a day to spare and want to check out another one of the best cities to visit in Poland, you’ll love Poznan.

With its colorful square and beautiful architecture, you’ll walk away framing the pictures you took there.

Located in western Poland about halfway between Berlin and Warsaw you’ll want at least 1 or 2 days to appreciate Poznan. It’s easy to get to Poznan by train. The journey from Warsaw takes about 2 ½ hours while it’s about 3 ½  from Berlin.

As with most Polish cities, begin your exploration in the heart of Old Town Poznan, where the colorful facades and charming Market Square set a picturesque backdrop. The iconic Poznań Town Hall, with its two mechanical goats that butt heads at noon, is a must-see spectacle. 

Wander through the historic streets to discover landmarks like the Poznan Cathedral and the Imperial Castle.

For nightlife, head to the Stary Browar complex, which combines shopping, dining, and fun cultural experiences.

Lublin

colorful buildings and cobbled streets in Lublin
Lublin is a great day trip from Warsaw. | Photo by Kamila from My Wanderlust

Lublin is one of the most underrated cities in Poland that definitely deserves your attention. 

Located only 170 km east of Warsaw, Lublin is a perfect day trip from the capital, but it’s worth spending at least a few days to enjoy the city to the fullest. There are so many amazing things to do in Lublin, including exploring the charming Old Town with its picturesque cobbled lanes and stunning Baroque churches, visiting the castle (originally from the 12th century), or admiring great street art. 

Lublin is known for its numerous cultural events, taking place here all year long, so if you are lucky, you can attend one of them during your trip. 

The best time to visit Lublin is between late spring and early autumn, but with its vibrant atmosphere and beautiful architecture, there is no wrong time to be here. If you have some extra days in your itinerary, it’s worth staying here a bit longer and exploring the surrounding region, too. 

The best way to get to Lublin is by train or bus from Warsaw; you can also fly directly here from a few destinations in Europe (London, Dublin, Milan).

Recommended by Kamila from My Wanderlust

Torun

looking out over Torun Town Hall
Looking out over the picturesque Polish city of Torun. | Photo by Mal from Lets Travel to Mexico City

Situated in north-central Poland on the banks of River Vistula, Torun is known for being a birthplace of astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus and is also famous for its gingerbread, known locally as ‘pierniki’. You can visit the Gingerbread Museum, to learn more about it.

Torun is also a showcase of medieval Gothic architecture and its Old Town, earning a status of UNESCO World Heritage site. Don’t miss the Town Hall that offers fantastic views of the city and the stunning St. John’s Cathedral.

Torun is a city that is great to visit any time of the year, but two particularly excellent times are summer and around Christmastime when the city is adorned by festive lights and decorations. The nearest international airport is located in Bydgoszcz, and Torun is also well connected with cities like Gdansk and Warsaw. 

Stay at BP I Premium which boasts elegant apartments right in the old town. A two day stay will give you enough time to explore the city. 

By Mal of LetsTravelToMexicoCity

BOOK A HALF DAY TOUR OF TORUN

Wroclaw

colorful buildings in old town wroclaw
Old Town Wroclaw is one of the most charming places to visit in the city. | Photo by Megan from Packing Up the Pieces

One of the best cities to visit in Poland is Wrocław. The Old Town is stunning and is filled with beautiful squares, a towering church, historic buildings, and museums. The Oder River flows through the city adding bridges and small islands to explore.

Perhaps one of the more unique things to do in Wrocław is seeking out the dwarf sculptures. There are over 350 dwarves hidden throughout the city. While they are playful and fun, the dwarves were a symbol of hope that emerged during the Soviet Communist Era.

It’s ideal to spend at least two full days in Wrocław discovering all the treasures that the city offers. Take a walking tour of Old Town, then venture out to discover other gentrified neighborhoods filled with art and day trips to mountainsides and castles.

Wrocław is fantastic to visit any time of the year. In the summer, spend time in the Botanical Gardens and watching the nightly Multimedia fountain show. During the holiday season, enjoy a cheery Christmas market.

Wrocław is well connected to the rest of Poland and is found in the Lower Silesian Region. It’s a short ride to Poznan and Krakow. Wrocław is also a short distance from Dresden, Germany and Prague, Czech Republic.

There are numerous places to stay in Wrocław. Budget travelers can stay at Hostel VICE CITY while those looking to stay in the heart of Old Town will love Art Hotel.

Recommended by Megan from Packing Up the Pieces

BOOK A 2-HOUR PRIVATE TOUR OF WROCLAW

Gdansk

Gdansk is the gem of Northern Poland and a popular tourist destination city. | Photo by Anna Gru from Unsplash

Gdansk is without a doubt one of the prettiest cities in Poland and one of the most attractive cities in the entire world. From the historical cobblestone “ulica Mariacka” street, lined up with amber merchants, to the historical Dlugi Targ and the Motlawa river quaint waterfront, where past and present blend in a cityscape of exquisite beauty, this Baltic gem will cast its spell on you.

Gdansk is located in Northern Poland, in the mouth of the Motlawa river, on the Southern edge of the Baltic sea. It has an international airport located just 12 Km away from the city center and several daily train connections with Warsaw.

The best time to visit it is between May and September when temperatures are on average 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit). You can visit Gdansk Old Town and center in one day but there are plenty of things to do in Gdansk so my recommended stay is at least three days. You will enjoy rich historical experiences, take a cruise on a historical Polish boat, taste some Polish culinary wonders and be delighted with picturesque views.

In a prime location in Gdansk Radisson Hotel & Suites is located close to the Motlawa river waterfront and walking distance from all the main attractions in the city center.

Recommended by Pilar from TravelTheWorldpages

Lodz

a long commercial street in Lodz Poland
Lodz Poland boasts one of the longest commercial streets in Europe. | Photo by Rozentuzjazmowany Photography from Unsplash

Located in central Poland, Łódź (pronounced “Woodge”) is a city steeped in history and industrial heritage. Once a thriving textile hub, Łódź has evolved into a lively metropolis with a meddling of historic architecture, artistic flair, and modern development. 

The city is renowned for its Film School, one of the oldest in the world, which produced some of the most influential European filmmakers, including Roman Polanski. 

Visitors to Lodz can explore the fascinating Manufaktura complex, a former industrial site transformed into a cultural and commercial space, offering shops, restaurants, and museums. 

Take a stroll down Piotrkowska Street, one of the longest commercial streets in Europe, which is lined with eclectic boutiques, cafes, and impressive architecture. 

If visiting during the warmer months, Łódź also boasts numerous parks, such as Łazienki Park, perfect for leisurely afternoons. 

And while most people visit Łódź during the warmer months from late spring to early autumn, if you visit during winter, particularly during Christmas time, you’ll find streets decorated in twinkling white lights and outdoor markets that encourages both locals and visitors alike to bundle up and explore.

BOOK A DAY TRIP TO LODZ FROM WARSAW

Bialystok

a mural of a house surrounded by flowers and a blue bird painted on a wall in Bialystok Poland
You’ll find beautiful murals and street art in the lesser known city of Bialystok. | Photo by Paulina from the UK Every Day

Bialystok, located in northeastern Poland, is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of street art, history, and natural beauty. The best way to reach Bialystok is by train or bus from major cities like Warsaw. The journey takes around two to three hours, depending on the mode of transportation.

When visiting Bialystok, make sure to book a walking tour to learn more about its historical landmarks, such as the Branicki Palace, which is often referred to as the “Polish Versailles.” This magnificent palace is surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens and is a must-visit attraction.

To fully experience the city, it is recommended to spend at least two to three days in Bialystok. This will allow you enough time to explore the main attractions, immerse yourself in the local culture, and even take day trips to nearby natural wonders, such as the Bialowieza Forest

For accommodation, Hotel Gołębiewski, located in the heart of the city is a highly recommended option. 

Recommended by Paulina from the UK Every Day

Olsztyn

old town olsztyn
Old Town Olsztyn. | Photo by Bartosz Zygadlo from Unsplash

Olsztyn, nestled in the heart of Poland’s Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, is a hidden gem offering a unique blend of history, nature, and affordability. Often overshadowed by more popular Polish destinations, Olsztyn is a tranquil city with a rich heritage and stunning landscapes.

Visitors to Olsztyn can take a guided walking tour to explore the historic Old Town, anchored by the Gothic Olsztyn Castle, providing a glimpse into the region’s medieval past. Stroll along the scenic waterfront of Lake Ukiel, rent a boat, or unwind in the lush city parks. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the numerous lakes and forests surrounding Olsztyn, perfect for hiking or cycling.

With its budget-friendly atmosphere, Olsztyn is one of the cheapest places to live in Europe, making it an ideal destination for travelers seeking affordability without compromising on experiences. To truly immerse yourself in the local charm, plan to spend at least 2-3 days exploring the city and its surroundings.

The best way to reach Olsztyn is by train or car, with the city well-connected to major Polish hubs. The summer months, from May to September, offer pleasant weather, making it the best time to visit.

For accommodation, consider staying at the Hotel HP Park, offering comfortable rooms and a convenient location. Spending a night in Olsztyn allows you to absorb the city’s serene ambiance fully.

Recommended by Trijit Mallick from Cheap Travel Trail

Zakopane

zakopane covered in snow
Zakopane is wonderful anytime of year, but it is one of the most popular cities to visit in Poland during winter. | Photo by Holly Connors from Four Around The World

Located in the southern part of Poland, at the base of the Tatra Mountains, Zakopane is often referred to as the ‘Winter Capital’ of Poland, and it’s among the most beautiful winter wonderlands in the world.

With its impressive resorts, Zakopane is equally enticing in warmer months with opportunities for hiking, biking, and outdoor fun in the picturesque Tatra Mountains.

However, there is something extra special about visiting Zakopane in winter. Especially over the Christmas and New Year period.

The city’s unique wooden architecture gives it a picture-book vibe, even when strolling down vibrant Krupowki Street, wandering between market stalls or dining at one of the many restaurants offering up delicious Polish food.

There are many fun things to do in Zakopane with kids, such as riding the funicular up to the top of Gubalowka Mountain for stunning views. Or take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the snowy forest to visit one of Zakopane’s famous highlander villages and experience folk music, dancing and local crafts.

You can reach Zakopane by bus from Krakow, which takes just under 2 hours.

There are many accommodation options, including private home rentals for that authentic Zakopane experience. Staying at least 2 nights is recommended, however, you will find plenty to do for a longer stay.

Recommended by Holly Connors from Four Around The World

SHORT ON TIME? BOOK A DAY TRIP TO ZAKOPANE FROM KRAKOW

Bydgoszcz

looking across a canal in Bydgoszcz at half-timbered buildings
Bydgoszcz is known for its well-preserved Art-Noveau architecture and numerous canals. | Photo by Baia at Red Fedora Diary

Located along the scenic banks of the Brda River in northern Poland, Bydgoszcz is a lovely city boasting well-preserved Art-Nouveau architecture, historical landmarks, and a quirky museum, to name a few. Due to its layout along the river’s bend and many footbridges, the city got its nickname “Little Venice“, a comparison to the city of Venice, Italy.

With plenty of things to do in Bydgoszcz, you can visit it as a day trip from Poznan or spend a relaxing weekend. The most convenient way to get here is by train from Poznan or Gdansk, which takes around 1:30 hours. However, with a well-connected train system, you can get to Bydgoszcz from almost every major Polish city. 

Bydgoszcz Old Town Square is also lined with colorful buildings, cafes, shops, and historic landmarks. Next door, Mill Island is a charming area for relaxing strolls along the river and admiring old granaries turned into museums. The prominent landmark here is the Rother’s Mill, which produced flour from the 19th century till the 1990s. Today, it is home to the cultural center, open to the public to visit its temporary exhibitions.

For those who love quirky places, the city is also home to the Museum of History of Soup and Dirt, where visitors learn about hygiene history and prepare handmade soap during their guided visit. It also serves as a unique souvenir to bring back with you. You’ll need to book the guided tour on their website in advance. 

Recommended by Baia at Red Fedora Diary

Gdynia

boats along the port in Gdynia
Gdynia is worth spending a day or two exploring when visiting Gdansk. | Photo by Zoe from Together In Transit 

For a beautiful city to visit in Poland, your next destination to book should be to Gdynia. Gdynia is located in the Northern area of Poland, just north of Gdansk and North West of Warsaw. 

The most ideal way to get to Gdynia is to fly to the airport of Gdansk first and then take a direct local train. You can also consider visiting with a car rental such as during a road trip around Poland.

Many hotel accommodations provide parking, but it is also easy to use paid parking on the city streets.

Give yourself a few days minimum to explore the city, especially if you visit during Spring or Summer when it’s warm. Gdynia is a great place for exploring by foot, where you can explore the city known for its modernist style buildings. For a bite to eat, visit the restaurant Pierogarnia Mandu for the most delicious and most choice of local polish dumplings!

Since the port of Gdynia is quite large for boating, it’s also inviting for tourists to explore. You can also explore a military ORP Błyskawica destroyer ship and the Dar Pomorza fully-rigged sailing ship as well as the Polish National Maritime Museum. Furthermore, you can sign up for many water activities such as sailing, speedboat tours and wakeboarding. 

For the end of the warm day, head for a walk along the coast along the beach of Gdynia. It’s recommended to also take a blanket and some refreshments for a picnic on the beach. You’ll be joining all the locals during sunset, which can be cozy, fun and romantic! 

Recommended by Zoe from Together In Transit 

Sopot

a fountain in the center of Sopot
Sopot is a small and beautiful Polish city located on the Baltic Sea in North Poland. | Photo by Kasia from Perfect Day Somewhere

Located on the shores of the Baltic Sea, Sopot is a part of the tri-cities of Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot. This charming resort town is known for its lively atmosphere and stunning coastline.

With its iconic wooden pier stretching into the sea, Sopot is one of the best cities to visit in Poland. It’s recommended that you spend at least two days exploring Sopot to get a feel for its unique history and culture, as well as enjoy some coastal relaxation.

One of the main attractions within the city is the lively Monte Cassino Street, lined with boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants. The iconic Sopot Pier offers breathtaking sea views and is perfect for a leisurely stroll. For culture enthusiasts, the historic Crooked House is a must-see architectural marvel.

Sopot is conveniently located from the Gdansk Airport along with easy transport links to the town, as well. The summer months from June to August are ideal for a visit, offering pleasant weather for beach activities.

Consider staying at the Sheraton Sopot Hotel for a luxurious experience, centrally located near the pier and offering stunning sea views. Sopot, with its unique coastal charm, promises an unforgettable Polish retreat.

Recommended by Kasia from Perfect Day Somewhere

BOOK A 1-DAY TOUR TO SEE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF GDANSK, GDYNIA AND SOPOT

Kielce

looking down at the palace on castle hill in kielce poland
Kielce is one of the least touristy cities on this list of best cities to visit in Poland, but it is one of the most fascinating. | Photo by Jakub Juszyński from Tymrazem

Kielce is not a large city, but its central location, beautiful surroundings and interesting monuments make the city worth visiting. It’s an ideal city for a weekend and its location almost halfway between Krakow and Warsaw means you can get there without any problems.

This city is interesting at any time of the year, but it is best to visit it in late spring, summer or early autumn. Kielce has an interesting center with the Market Square, which in warm months is bustling with the bustle of restaurant gardens, and the Castle Hill, which towers over the city. On the hill there is an extraordinary former bishop’s palace, whose architecture will satisfy even the most demanding tourists.

Kielce is located in the Świętokrzyskie UNESCO Geopark. In the city itself, there are 5 nature reserves that are related to the geological past. A good starting point for exploring is the Geoeducation Center, which will introduce you to the world from millions of years ago.

Kielce has an extensive hotel base. If you are looking for a place of good standard and location in the very center, check out the Grand Hotel located right next to the promenade.

Recommended by Jakub Juszyński from Tymrazem

Final thoughts on where to go in Poland

In conclusion, Poland is a treasure trove of beautiful, historic, and even modern places. Whether you are drawn to the medieval charm of Krakow, the cultural museums of Warsaw, or the maritime beauty of Gdańsk, each of these best cities to visit in Poland offer something unique and memorable.

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Do you have a question or comment about where to go in Poland? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts or questions about any of these best cities in Poland in the comments below.

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