I have spent a LOT of time in Poland, and during that time, have been lucky enough to explore a lot of the country – Poznan, Wroclaw, Gdansk, Sopot, Mazury, Krakow, Warsaw, Kielce, Gliwice…you name it, I’ve probably been there.
I adore Poland, its people, and all that it has to offer, but whenever I mention it, people tend to ask me ‘Is Poland worth visiting?’ often with looks of disbelief on their faces.
People that have been to Poland have usually only been to Krakow, with a day trip to Auschwitz to pay their respects, and the vast majority of Brits probably couldn’t point to Poland on a map (it’s smack bang in the centre of Europe, if you’re interested).
If you ask me, this is a real shame.
Over the last 6 years, I have fallen head over heels for Poland, its people, its culture, and its nature.
With this in mind, I decided to put together a list of all the reasons why you should consider visiting Poland on your next trip to Europe.
Is Poland worth visiting?
Let’s find out.
Is Poland Worth Visiting? 29 Reasons to Visit Poland
1. Disco Polo!
Possibly one of my favourite things in the whole world is Disco Polo.
Disco Polo is Polish pop music that everybody in says they don’t like, but will get up and dance to after a few drinks.
Created in the late 1980s, Disco Polo is very popular at weddings and is simple, fun and infuriatingly catchy.
Listen at your peril.
Almost everyone has heard of Kraków, but did you know that this city has so much more to it than cheap booze and strip clubs?
Krakow is home to the largest market square in Europe, as well as one of the oldest universities in the world and tonnes of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture.
In addition to all of that, Kraków has also been named the ‘European Capital of Culture,’ and is home to Wawal Castle and St. Mary’s Basilica, as well as over 40 parks and dozens of gardens and forests.
A Kraków trip can include everything from candlelit bars in the Jewish Quarter, to attending a traditional Polish folk show, dining at Krakow’s world class restaurants, and visiting some of the 45+ museums that Kraków has to offer!
There is a reason why this city has become so popular, and it isn’t just the cheap vodka!
For a more in-depth guide, check out my HUUUGE post about things to do in Krakow!
3. Polish soup
When most people think of Polish food, they think of pierogi, but Polish soup is worth shouting about too!
One of my favourites is żurek, a hearty broth perfect for cold winter nights by the fire. Żurek is made from rye bread and water with vegetables, kielbasa (a type of Polish sausage) and potato, and is sometimes served inside a bread bowl which you can eat along with the soup!
Another of my favourite Polish soups is flaki, which is made with tripe.
This one usually raises a few eyebrows, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
4. Polish people
Many visitors to Poland complain that Polish people aren’t friendly, which took me a long time to wrap my head around – I’ve got to know hundreds of Poles, and have never met an unfriendly one!
However, I finally realised that people were talking about the Polish Poker Face.
The Polish poker face is the face you might come into contact with in grocery stores, when the person behind the till gives you a death stare as they take your money.
Now, although the Polish Poker Face is very much a thing, it doesn’t represent the warm, funny, and super hospitable person behind the expression!
Polish people may look unfriendly, but they are some of the kindest (and hilarious) people I’ve come across.
One of my friend’s teachers at Warsaw University summed it up brilliantly when she said that ‘Polish people are like coconuts – you just have to crack their shell!’
5. Polish market Squares
Wonderful architecture is not usually what comes to mind when people think of Poland, Poland’s colourful market squares are some of the prettiest in Europe!
From the colossal square in Krakow, with its Cloth Hall and the imposing St. Mary’s Basilica, to the colours of Wroclaw (below), and the goats in Poznan’s town hall (more on that later), you’ll be spoilt for choice when deciding which Polish market square comes up trumps.
6. Polish food
Food is a huge part of travel for me, and trust me when I say that Polish food is not something you want to miss out on.
Traditional Polish food is rich, heavy, and perfect for filling your belly and keeping you warm during the harsh Polish winters.
From pierogi filled with potatoes and crispy onions, to bigos (meat stew with sauerkraut), and slow-cooked pork knuckle, you’ll never be hungry in Poland.
Is Poland worth visiting if you’re a foodie?
Tricity is a metropolitan area in the north of Poland comprised of three cities – Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot.
The Tricity is a real cultural hub, with an abundance of universities (Gdańsk alone has 13!), cinemas, theatres and opera houses.
Every year, the Tricity plays host to an array of festivals, from the huge Open’er music festival, to street performance festivals, film festivals, kite festivals, sailing festivals, beach parties, and even a Shakespeare festival!
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that no matter where you are in the Tricity, you’re never more than a stone’s throw away from the beach (did you know that Poland has great beaches?).
8. Polish villages
Understandably, most people visiting Poland stick to the major cities, with a handful making their way to the beaches of the north or the mountains in the south for a spot of sunbathing or skiing.
However, what they don’t get to experience are the quaint Polish villages dotted across the country.
These villages may not have much in terms of tourist infrastructure, but the vast lakes and thick forests that often surround them are fabulous places to cycle, walk, and look for wildlife.
Oscypek is a delicious, spindle-shaped smoked cheese made of salted sheep’s milk, high in the Tatra mountains.
Unlike most cheeses these days, Oscypek is made by a shepherd and his apprentice, who live in a small mountain hut for the entire season, making the cheese by hand and passing the skill down through generations.
If you visit Zakopane, you will see countless vendors selling the famous delicacy all along the main walking street.
Oscypek is usually fried and eaten with lingonberry jam, and one of the best things to do in Poland in winter is to find a cosy mountain tavern and ordering Oscypek, jam and some mulled wine to wash it down with.
10. Białowieża Forest
Białowieża Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and quite rightly so!
Located on the border of Poland and Belarus, Białowieża Forest covers a total area of 141,885 hectares and is home to 900 European bison (25% of the world’s total population!), as well as wolves, lynxes, wild boar, and elk.
Białowieża Forest is truly the stuff of fairytales, and if renting a cabin in the woods sounds like your idea of a great vacation, this is the place to do it.
There are also a number of nearby hotels, such as the one I stayed in – Lipowy Most.
Lipowy Most is an old manor house and golf hotel in the heart of Knyszyńska Forest, with an onsite wellness centre and lush forest for miles around.
In the UK we are very proud of our Lake District, but not only does Poland have a lake district too, but it is known as ‘The Land of a Thousand Lakes,’ which is so poetic!
Comprised of more than 2000 lakes, Masuria (Mazury in Polish) is one of the best places to visit in Poland for nature lovers.
Sailing is a relatively common pastime in Poland, and after spending a few days on a yacht in Mazury, I can understand why!
12. Polish vodka!
What is Poland known for, you may ask?
Well, to many people, Poland is famous for one thing – vodka.
Polish people have an incredible ability to drink vodka like it’s water, and despite not being a vodka drinker at all before I visited Poland, by the time I left, I had it running through my veins.
My favourite Polish vodka is Żubrówka, known in English as ‘Bison Grass Vodka.’
This is a herb-flavoured vodka with vanilla and cinnamon notes, and the bottle contains a blade of bison grass (hierochloe odorata) from Białowieża Forest, which gives it a yellowish colour.
Żubrówka is delicious on its own or mixed with apple juice.
My second favourite Polish vodka is Soplica.
Soplica comes in many different flavours, but my favourites are cherry and hazelnut – try the hazelnut Soplica in hot chocolate or with a glass of milk if you want to feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven.
13. Tatra Mountains
People tend to think of France, Switzerland, or Italy when they think of ski holidays, but the Tatra Mountains, which create a natural border between Poland and Slovakia, provide a cheaper (and just as beautiful) alternative.
Even if you’re not into skiing, the views from the Tatra Mountains are breathtaking, and it doesn’t hurt that you can buy a hot beer with cinnamon to help you enjoy them.
14. Poland beaches
Many people are surprised to hear ‘Poland’ and ‘beaches’ in the same sentence, but Poland actually has beautiful white sand beaches!
The Polish coastline is along the Baltic Sea, and while the water may be cold, that doesn’t take away from the splendour of the beaches that Poland has to offer.
I spent a couple of nights in the slick city of Sopot, or the ‘Polish Monaco,’ and as I sipped a cold beer and soaked up the sun, I kept having to remind myself that I was in Poland!
I’ve written before about how the camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau are not ‘tourist destinations,’ but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t visit them.
Poland has a rich and tragic history, and I think that visiting sights like this teaches you more than a history book ever could.
16. Castles in Poland
If you love fairytale castles, you won’t be disappointed in Poland!
Often overshadowed by Germany and Romania, Poland also has tonnes of beautiful castles.
Almost every visitor to Poland has seen Wawel Castle in Kraków, but Niedzica Castle in the south of Poland is far more majestic and definitely something to include in your Poland itinerary.
One of the lesser-known places to visit in Poland, Wrocław is my favourite Polish city and a real hidden gem.
Located in western Poland, just a 3 hour drive from Berlin, Wrocław is home to a buzzing student population, hundreds of atmospheric candlelit bars, and the prettiest market square in all of Poland!
In the wintertime the city comes alive with spectacular Christmas markets, and foodies of all persuasions will find an abundance of culinary temptations in Wrocław.
18. Polish legends
I’m a sucker for legends and will stubbornly believe that every legend I hear is 100% true.
In Poland, I was lucky enough to hear a number of legends, and the really nice thing is that these legends are celebrated in the cities in which they originate.
Ever wondered why the symbol of Warsaw is a mermaid?
That’ll be a legend.
Want to know why two mechanical goats butt heads every day at noon in front of the clock tower in Poznań?
There’s a story behind that as well.
Whether they’re true or not, these legends add a touch of magic to this fascinating country, and any Poland vacation is incomplete if you don’t hear at least one!
19. Poland is cheap
Is Poland worth visiting?
If you’re looking for a budget city break it is!
Poland may not be as cheap as countries in Eastern Europe or the Balkans, but it’s certainly cheaper than most countries in Northern or Western Europe.
The stereotype is that Polish people love vodka, and while that may be true, they also drink their fair share of beer!
Poland produces great and inexpensive lagers (my favourites are Tyskie, Żubr and Żywiec), and is home to a growing craft beer scene, as well as lots of German-style beer halls.
If you want to drink beer like a Polish woman, order it with a straw and a dash of fruit-flavoured syrup!
21. Doughnut Day!
In England we have a day dedicated to eating pancakes, known as Pancake Day, or Fat Tuesday.
Well, in Poland, it’s Fat Thursday (or Tłusty Czwartek) and the pancakes are replaced with doughnuts, stuffed with rose hip jam and sprinkled with sugar.
As someone that loves my jam doughnuts, I can really get behind any country that has an entire day dedicated to them.
22. Wrocław Dwarfs
I’ve already mentioned Wrocław, but did you know that there are more than 400 dwarfs scattered around this city?!
Dotted around the cobbled streets of Wrocław, you will find dwarf doctors, gardeners, dentists, lovers, and even dwarf drunks!
Nobody knows exactly how many of the little blighters there are, not even the manager of the OFFICIAL DWARF INFORMATION CENTRE (this really exists).
However, while their number may be a mystery, Wrocław dwarfs actually have a very interesting history: Wrocław’s dwarfs are a nod to the ‘Orange Alternative,’ an anti-Soviet movement born in Wrocław that helped overcome the oppressive communist regime of the 1980s. The Orange Alternative used – you’ve guessed it – DWARFS as their symbol.
In addition to the Official Dwarf Information Centre, you can attend a dwarf walking tour, an annual dwarf festival, and there’s even a winter tradition of dressing the gnomes in knitted hats and scarves to stop them from getting cold!
If that isn’t the most adorable thing ever, I don’t know what is, and it really adds to the magic of Poland.
23. Poland is vegan friendly
Polish food is traditionally very meaty, so it may come as a surprise to that Poland is actually very vegan friendly!
Although you may struggle in the smaller villages, all major cities in Poland have an abundance of dedicated vegan restaurants, from fine dining to vegan kebabs, vegan pizza, vegan hummus bars, and I even had a vegan ‘steak’ tartare once!
If you’re a vegan and have been putting off your Poland trip because you’re unsure how well you will be catered to, rest assured that you will not go hungry in Poland.
24. Fryderyk Chopin
Move over Mozart, Chopin is in town!
One of history’s most famous composers, Fryderyk Chopin, was born in Warsaw, and Poland’s capital city pays homage to the pianist with free daily recitals of his music in various bars.
Not only that, but every Sunday during the summertime, there are free performances at the Royal Łazienki Park, and the opportunity to see classical music played in one of Warsaw’s prettiest spots is an unforgettable experience.
25. Woodstock Festival
The Polish Woodstock may have changed its name to ‘Pol’and’Rock,’ (which doesn’t sound half as good), but it’s still a completely free rock music festival in Poland, held annually in August in Kostrzyn!
Every year, over half a million rock fans congregate for this huge event, which is the largest free festival in Europe, and with live acts of years gone by including The Prodigy, Pol’and’Festival is not something you’ll want to miss.
26. Polish Weddings
Granted, most people that visit Poland won’t get the opportunity to attend a Polish wedding, but if you do, grab the opportunity with both hands!
I’ve been to two Polish weddings now (one of them was with a Tinder date!) and the copious amounts of food, vodka and disco polo will stay with me forever.
Trust me, after seeing the way that Polish people do weddings, I’ve made it my mission to get married in Poland.
Hel is definitely one of the lesser-known places to visit in Poland, but to those in the know, it is a paradise.
If being able to say ‘I’ll have a ticket to Hel please‘ doesn’t make you want to pay this place a visit, then the crystal clear waters and white sands will.
With gorgeous sandy beaches and stunning pine forests stretching for 35km, the Hel Peninsula is the perfect place for those who want a beach getaway without the Amalfi Coast price tag.
Ferries from Sopot only take around 1.5 hours, making Hel is the perfect place for a day trip, although the numerous camp sites, guest houses and hotels make staying longer an easy decision.
28. Wieliczka Salt Mine
Another one on the UNESCO list, visiting Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the most popular things to do in Poland!
Located 327 metres underground, Wieliczka is one of the world’s oldest salt mines, and it actually continued to produce table salt until 2007!
In addition to the mine itself, there are 4 chapels underground, all made entirely of salt and carved out by the miners so that they would have somewhere to worship while they were at work.
There are also numerous statues, chandeliers, and even a whole wellness and rehabilitation centre!
Wieliczka Salt Mine is best visited on a day trip from Krakow. I recommend this tour for those wanting to book in advance!
Warsaw is not a place that people typically fall in love with on their first visit, and although it took a while to grow on me, Warsaw is now one of my favourite cities in Poland.
Warsaw is home to an abundance of museums, green spaces, quirky bars, and world class restaurants – it even has a huge city beach where you can legally drink (drinking alcohol in public places is usually illegal in Poland), have BBQs, and watch the sun set.
For a huge list of things to do in Warsaw, be sure to check out Or’s guide!
Things to know before visiting Poland
Is Poland a safe country to visit?
Poland is an incredibly safe country to visit, including for solo female travellers.
As you would anywhere, take general precautions (don’t leave your bag or drink unattended etc.), but overall, Poland is a very safe country.
The one exception is Poland’s strip clubs, which are notorious for drugging and robbing tourists.
What is Poland known for?
Poland is known for many things.
Vodka and pierogi are two obvious things that spring to mind, but there are also many famous people that hail from Poland.
Some of the most famous Polish people throughout history include:
– Marie Curie
– Nicolaus Copernicus
– Fryderyk Chopin
– Pope John Paul II
– Robert Lewandowski
– Joseph Conrad
– Roman Polanski
When is the best time to visit Poland?
Poland has very cold winters, and fairly hot summers.
Summer is a great time to visit Poland, as you can hit the beaches and the lakes, enjoy the beautiful cities in the sunshine, and not get frostbite!
Spring is also a lovely time of year to visit Poland, with much thinner crowds than the popular summer months.
If you’re not adverse to the cold, Poland is magical at Christmas. Krakow is particularly lovely in the winter, and the Wroclaw Christmas Market is one of the best Christmas markets in Europe.
I would avoid Warsaw in the winter, as it’s one of the coldest places to be, and the Warsaw Christmas Market really isn’t that good.
Getting around in Poland
Infrastructure in Poland is incredible, and it is super easy to travel around the country.
My go-to bus travel in Europe is always FlixBus. Flixbus is the most extensive bus network worldwide and all Flix buses have Wi-Fi, extra legroom, charging ports and the ability to modify your booking just 15 minutes before departure! Click here to book your Flixbus.
You can also use Blablacar to get from A to B. Blablacar is a ridesharing app which is super popular in Poland and often works out cheaper than bus travel.
Is Poland Worth Visiting? | Final Thoughts
Hopefully by now, I’ve managed to convince you that Poland is ABSOLUTELY worth visiting, and not only that, but it’s actually one of the best places to visit in Europe!
From white sand beaches to medieval old towns, slick cities, formidable mountains, and beautiful lakes, Poland really does have it all – not to mention a rich history, delectable cuisine, and the best vodka in the world (sorry Russia!).
That’s all I’ve got for today, but as always, if you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments below and I will do my best to help!
Until next time,
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