If there were a prize for “most eventful history”, Poland would have a strong case for the gong. Centuries of highs and lows, kings and castles, invasion and devastation have shaped the country, but done nothing to stifle its appeal as a top travel destination.
From heartwarming food and a historic beer scene to picturesque cities, here’s how to navigate your way around Poland.
A bustling business hub with a dazzling array of restaurants, clubs and bars, Warsaw might not be the prettiest city in Poland. But you’ll definitely appreciate its unique grace.
In the day, stroll around the capital’s Old Town which was superbly reconstructed from the foundations up after being demolished in World War II. Don’t miss the 13th century Royal Castle and the powerful Rising Museum dedicated to the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.
At night, delight your taste buds with chic restaurants and retro diners before having some fun on the town. Whether glamming up for the opera or clubbing until dawn is your thing, Warsaw is the place to do it.
This ancient royal capital has seen a thousand years of war and rebirth, and each era has left its mark, as seen in the varied architecture. Romanesque, baroque, art nouveau – you can see it all in Krakow.
Despite now being a very modern city, Wawel Hill and its magnificent medieval castle is still the main drawcard for tourists. Wawel Castle is best discovered on a guided tour as it’s the only way to see certain areas of the castle, including the Royal Private Apartments.
Next, head to Old Town. Many of Poland’s cities centre around their respective historic centres, but Krakow’s is the most beautiful. It’s home to Europe’s largest medieval town square and honey-hued buildings that make for breathtaking streetscapes.
A major Baltic port shaped by centuries of visiting international merchants, Gdansk feels, and looks, different to its neighbouring cities.
Its historic thoroughfares mean it’s best discovered on foot. Wander along Royal Way in Main Town to admire the elegant buildings – home to charming cafes, restaurants and stores – and snap your pic with Neptune’s Fountain.
Then, head to the wharf along Motlawa River for the best place to end the day.
Tourists head to Wroclaw for its storybook setting – 12 islands, dotted along the Odra River, connected by 130 bridges – but they stay for the culture. Largely a student town, the food and wine scene and entertainment offering make Wroclaw well worth the visit.
Once you’ve taken in the gothic beauty of Cathedral Island, head just outside the city to Browar Stu Mostow, a craft beer brewery with the ambition to be the best on the market.
On a mezzanine level inside the brewery is a fantastic pub that overlooks the work floor. Sip a beer while you watch it being made with a choice of six of the brewery’s own brews. Our pick? The Salamander IPA, designed to expand your mind.
Keen to learn a little more about Wroclaw’s craft beer scene? Take a look at episode 4 above of the BWS World’s Biggest Beer Run, where they stop off in Poland while hunting down Australia’s requests for some of the rarest beers on the planet. They’re even giving you a chance to win one of the six-packs!