When planning European trips, many people bypass Poland. Bordering countries like Germany, Ukraine, Belarus, and the Czech Republic, the central European nation is brimming with striking landscapes, historic cities, and a rich culture that is still proudly celebrated today.
Visit Poland and you’ll be welcomed with open arms. In this magical land of lakes, forests, and medieval castles, you’ll never go hungry or feel bored. In fact, you’ll fall in love with the place before you leave and start thinking about your next visit. Keep reading to find out why you’ll fall in love with Poland.
Few people realize how stunning Poland really is. Forests cover about 30% of the land, the most famous of which is the Białowieża Forest. Home to around 800 European bison and grand oak trees that have been standing for centuries, the forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Poland is also a land of many lakes, with more than 2000 in the region of Masuria alone. If you’re a nature-lover visiting Poland, be sure to check out the Tatra Mountains and the Slowinski Sand Dunes. That’s right—this European nation has its own desert!
Poland isn’t typically thought of as an overly safe country to visit, but that’s a common misconception. In fact, according to Safe Around, it is ranked 17 out of 162 countries rated for safety. Many travel bloggers talk about the general feeling of being safe in Poland as opposed to other countries in Europe.
As always, you still have to be aware and use common sense. Petty crime happens everywhere, so you always have to be on your guard while traveling. But as far as general safety goes, Poland tends to be safer than most people think.
A land of sprawling forests comes to mind when you imagine Poland, so it’s hard to believe that the coastline is also an alluring attraction. But the northern coast of the country is actually full of white-sand beaches. Every summer, locals flock here to stay in lavish resorts by the beach.
The Culture Trip explains that the Baltic Sea actually provides great swimming beaches because the water tends to be shallower. While the coast may not be as scenic as that of Mediterranean countries, it has its own unique character that will make you fall in love.
One of the best things about Poland is that it’s actually reasonably priced on the whole. When you weigh it up against other popular European countries, Poland ends up being way cheaper. According to JW Web Magazine, you can have a meal in Poland (drinks included) for what amounts to little more than $10.
As Poland’s popularity is on the rise, the economic situation might change in the coming years. Right now, the country is quite affordable to visit, but it might not stay that way forever!
If you like to party, then the fact that Poland is home to the disco polo genre of music should be a massive drawing point. According to the Travelling Jezebel, locals in Poland can often be found dancing to this genre in the clubs scattered throughout the country, which is also popular at weddings.
Disco polo is a form of dance/pop music that was first created in the 1980s. It’s pretty catchy, and chances are, you won’t be able to leave Poland without coming across it at least once.
Poland is known for its amazing nightlife and the array of drinks that it has gifted the world. Perhaps the most famous Polish drink is Vodka, which comes in several varieties. You can get bison Vodka, herbal Vodka, and high-end Belvedere Vodka, in addition to others.
Polish beer is also something to write home about, as the pubs throughout the main cities will often have an endless choice of local options. Some of the most famous Polish beers that you’ll fall in love with if you like to have a few drinks include Lech and Okocim.
The rural areas of Poland are stunningly beautiful, but the villages, towns, and cities of the country will also capture your heart. Most towns and cities have a signature public square that looks like something out of a Disney movie.
Many of the cities are home to historic buildings and brilliant architecture that you could spend hours just admiring. Two of the must-visit larger cities are Warsaw, the capital, and Krakow, which boasts an old town and a castle. If you’re looking for a seaside town to visit, check out Gdansk or Gdynia.
One of the reasons that most people fall in love with Poland is that it can teach you more about history than the history books themselves. The country was swept up in the atrocities of the Second World War and is still home to the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau.
While these are not tourist destinations to be treated as entertainment, they are important to visit because they open your eyes to the tragic history of the country. Seeing these sites in the flesh is much more powerful than reading about them.
Good news if you’re a history buff! Poland is not only home to castles and other historic sites that are open for visitors, but also boasts endless museums that will help you to quench your thirst for an insight into the past. Some of the most famous museums to check out while in Poland are Oskar Schindler’s Factory, which was crucial to saving the lives of Jews during the Second World War, and the Copernicus Science Centre.
If you’re interested in environmental education, then be sure to also pay a visit to Hydropolis, which is located in the capital city of Warsaw.
Polish food is comfort food. Though you’ll get a chance to enjoy international cuisines in the bigger cities, you should take the opportunity to sample traditional Polish fare during your visit. You won’t regret it!
The best thing about winter in Poland is all the soups you’ll have the chance to try. One of the most famous is Zurek, a broth made with Polish sausage, potato, other vegetables, and rye bread. You’ll also be inundated with dumplings and hearty stews. Potato comes as a side to almost everything, so you’ll never be left hungry.