10 Reasons to Visit Poland

This Central European beauty should be firmly in your travel crosshairs. Here’s why you need to visit Poland.

Poland may be best known to travelers for gorgeous, church-filled medieval cities with rich and often troubled pasts, but the plucky country is also chock-full of unspoiled natural attractions, from its rugged mountains in the south to its virgin forests in the east to its lakes and beaches in the north. When you visit Poland, you’ll find delicious food and some of the world’s best vodkas, all served up by warm and friendly Poles who bend over backwards to make visitors feel at home.

  • visit poland for its beaches

    1. Pomeranian beaches

    Beaches probably aren’t the first thing that come to mind when most people think of a visit to Poland, but the northern Baltic coastal region of Pomerania is home to some of northern Europe’s most inviting shores, which lure swarms of sun-seeking Poles northward every summer. Upscale Kolobrzeg and Sopot are among Pomerania’s most popular resort towns, and Leba is revered for its fantastic white sand beaches and dunes.

    Photo Credit: Alamy

  • visit poland for the tatra mountains

    2. Tatra Mountains

    Sometimes called the Polish Alps, the Tatra Mountains, which form a natural border between Poland and Slovakia, are a haven for climbers, hikers, bikers, and lovers of all winter sports. When you visit Poland don’t miss the fairy-tale city of Zakopane, nestled in the Tatra foothills and brimming with adorable wooden houses. It’s the country’s most renowned mountain resort, and it’s popular with outdoors-loving visitors year-round.

    Photo Credit: iStock

  • visit poland and go to the warsaw museums

    3. Warsaw’s museums

    Not surprisingly, Poland’s bustling capital and largest city is home to some of the country’s best and most popular museums, many of which offer dazzlingly high-tech takes on their subject matter. Nowhere is that more on display than at the Warsaw Rising Museum, which uses captivating multimedia to illustrate the city’s ill-fated 1944 uprising against Nazi occupation. Two more not to miss when you visit Poland are the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which is in the former Warsaw Ghetto and traces a thousand years of Jewish culture in the country; and the interactive and very kid-friendly Copernicus Science Centre, named for the famed 16th century Polish astronomer.

    Photo Credit: iStock

  • visit poland and see the wroclaw dwarfs

    4. Wroclaw’s dwarfs

    The charming and historic city of Wroclaw in southwestern Poland, once the capital of the Duchy of Silesia, is home to a large student population, more bridges than anywhere else in Central Europe, and an ever-growing number of adorable little bronze dwarfs scattered all across town. What began in 2001 as a one-dwarf homage to the Polish anti-Communist movement has now grown to include more than 300 of the little guys (and even some little gals). When you visit partake in dwarf-spotting—one of the city’s most enjoyable pastimes.

    Photo Credit: Alamy

  • visit poland and see the gdansk

    5. Gdansk

    With a centuries-old international flair that sets it apart in look and feel from the rest of Poland, the Baltic port city of Gdansk is a former bastion of the Teutonic Knights and was once an influential member of the Hanseatic League. Today, its large and gorgeous Old Town, reconstructed after massive devastation during World War II, delights throngs of visitors, and the city serves as the gateway to Poland’s Baltic coast.

    Photo Credit: iStock

  • visit poland for the masurian lake district

    6. Masurian Lake District

    More than 2,000 lakes and waterways make up the picturesque Masurian Lake District in northeastern Poland. It’s a favored vacation spot for nature-loving Poles and an area beloved by the country’s boaters, canoers and fishermen. Lake Sniardwy, Poland’s largest at 44 square miles, provides an anchor for the watery region. If you visit Poland, note the peak season of this region is in July and August.

    Photo Credit: iStock

  • visit poland

    7. Wieliczka Salt Mine

    Ten miles southeast of Krakow lies the Wieliczka Salt Mine, once the area’s main source of salt (from the 13th century until 2007) and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the country’s top tourist attractions, drawing more than a million visitors every year. When you visit Poland take the rather spooky but totally breathtaking two-mile guided underground tour of the mine takes in over 20 connected chambers, including several chapels—with appointments and statues all made entirely of salt, naturally—as well as a complete subterranean lake. A 440-foot-deep health resort even offers overnight stays to cure chronic allergies.

    Photo Credit: Alamy

  • visit poland for the Przystanek Woodstock

    8. Przystanek Woodstock

    If you visit Poland in July, you’ll likely hear of the more than half a million Poles that flock to the German border town of Kostrzyn nad Odra for Przystanek Woodstock, a free, three-day rock festival that melds the spirit of the original American Woodstock festival with the best in modern acts from a wide range of genres—mostly Polish in origin, but with an international element as well. Since there’s only one stage, the communal atmosphere is intensified at what’s billed as the biggest open-air festival in Europe.

    Photo Credit: Alamy

  • visit poland and head to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum

    9. Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum

    One of the world’s most somber but most important tourist sites, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum honors the memory of the 1.1 million Jews and others killed here during World War II. The former concentration camp is located about an hour outside of Krakow (numerous day trips are offered from the city), and it’s open daily year-round. When you visit Poland, allow at least three hours at this museum and memorial to take in and reflect on the grounds and exhibitions at both parts of the camp, known as Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau.

    Photo Credit: iStock

  • Visit poland and check out Bialowieza National Park

    10. Bialowieza National Park

    Bialowieza National Park, which hugs the border with Belarus in eastern Poland, isn’t massive. But within its less than 60 square miles, you’ll find not only the best preserved section of the original old-growth forest that once stretched across the entire European Plain but also the world’s largest population of European bison, which just a few decades ago were nearly extinct. If you’re a nature lover you’ll want to make this a stop when you visit Poland.

    Photo Credit: iStock

  • visit poland for its beaches
  • visit poland for the tatra mountains
  • visit poland and go to the warsaw museums
  • visit poland and see the wroclaw dwarfs
  • visit poland and see the gdansk
  • visit poland for the masurian lake district
  • visit poland
  • visit poland for the Przystanek Woodstock
  • visit poland and head to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum
  • Visit poland and check out Bialowieza National Park

Convinced to tick Poland off your travel checklist? Visit your local AAA branch or call 877-396-7159 to speak with a AAA Travel Counselor about planning your trip.

Get in Touch

David Kallas, AAA Travel Counselor, Murray, Utah

I'm all about once-in-a-lifetime trips to destinations such as the Cook Islands, Australia or an African safari. I love to plan trips that my clients return from not regretting anything.

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