The Republic of Poland boasts a remarkable history shaped by its position in Northern Europe, local geography, and the culture of its extraordinary people. There are thousands of noteworthy historical sites around Poland ranging from prehistoric to WWII.
It’s difficult to reduce the heritage of a great nation to a shortlist, so this is really just a sample of some of the best. The following are 8 amazing historic sites you must visit in Poland.
#1. The Museum of WWII in Gdańsk
The striking modern architecture of the Museum of WWII makes it stand apart from the more traditional buildings of Gdańsk’s waterfront. But that’s not why it’s one of the city’s most popular attractions.
This museum tells the story of Poland’s part in the world’s worst-ever conflict in chronological order. Inside you’ll find 50,000 square feet of exhibits ranging from Nazi propaganda posters to a Sherman tank. Thankfully, the thousands of displays have English language labels.
The museum is intentionally somber and emotionally moving. Only 200 people are allowed in the building at any one time to create an atmosphere of personal reflection for visitors. Many leave the building in tears because of the many terrible events documented and displayed in this temple to the darkest period of Polish history.
#2. Malbork Castle
This stunning building is the largest castle in the world. Originally founded by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century and completed in 1406, Malbork Castle is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The castle makes a great day trip destination from Gdańsk.
The unique, brick-built complex encloses a monastery, a palace, and three distinct fortifications along with hundreds of other structures. Today you can tour the buildings and the castle’s informative museum of medieval history.
This is definitely a place to bring your camera for amazing photographs of Malbork Castle’s gothic architecture and beautiful setting on the Nogat River. This is an all-day experience, bring a backpack to carry snacks, water, etc.
#3. Wawel Castle
As the seat of the Polish monarchy from the 11th century, Wawel Castle in Kraków is one of the most important historic sites in the nation.
Inside the castle, you’ll find the royal staterooms, the palace apartments, the treasury, and the armory. You’ll be amazed by the rich Renaissance architecture and artwork.
The royal apartments allow you the opportunity to see how the royal family lived when they were the supreme authority in Poland.
And while you’re in Kraków, don’t miss its UNESCO World Heritage listed historic center. There you’ll see the gothic splendor of St. Mary’s Church looming over the largest market square in Europe.
#4. Auschwitz Concentration Camp
Sadly, no tour of Poland’s many historic sites would be complete without a visit to Auschwitz Birkenau Concentration Camp. It was the largest Nazi concentration camp during WWII, and over a million people were murdered here between 1940 and 1945.
You enter the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum through the original camp gate