Top 10 Unkown Places in Poland?

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Top 10 Unkown Places in Poland

Poland is one of the jewels in the crown of Eastern Europe. It is criminally overlooked by travelers and tourists, despite possessing some incredible towns and natural highlights. Here we run you through Poland’s top ten places that you might not have heard of before…

1. Gdansk

This city in northern Poland was once a major European power, but now it’s too often overlooked by both foreign visitors and Poles. Formerly part of the Hanseatic League (which also included the cities of Hamburg and Stockholm, among many others), Gdansk is still one of the principal ports on the Baltic Sea. It has a long history of shipbuilding too: The industrial ports are still interesting, and you should definitely visit Gdansk Shipyard (formerly known as the Lenin Shipyard), where the Solidarity movement started — there’s a great museum dedicated to it. Head inland a little towards the old town, which is undeniably one of the prettiest city centers in Europe — tall buildings various colors, ornately decorated, stand alongside soaring cathedrals and golden gates. A walk along the main street (the Dluga) will have you thinking you’re on Las Ramblas or the Champs-Élysées, while the view of the river from the old townhas a very Amsterdam-like feel about it. Gdansk is a must-see for both history buffs and architecture aficionados, but honestly, we think it’s worth a visit for anyone in Poland.

2. Owl Mountains

Moving south towards Poland’s border with the Czech Republic, you’ll come across the gorgeous Owl Mountains (owing their name to the local owl population). They provide some of the more spectacular scenery in Poland, steep faces covered in evergreens plummet towards deep valleys before rising again on the other side in a dramatic fashion. There are plenty of quaint towns at the foot of the mountains to explore and visit too, especially if you need some refreshments after a session of strenuous trekking.

3. Malbork

Perhaps a little better known than some of the other places on this list, Malbork is a fascinating town,  and is home to the largest castle in the world. It’s an imposing fortress — it was built over nearly 800 years and has a natural moat in the River Nogat. The castle was originally built by the Teutonic Knights (a Catholic order of German crusaders) but has served as a royal residence for Polish, Swedish, and then Prussian monarchs over the years.  . The scale of the castle can’t really be comprehended until you stand on the opposite bank of the river and gaze over to Malbork Castle — you’ll perhaps feel the same sense of dread as some invading force before attempting to attack this monstrosity. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the castle is open every day (except Mondays) for visitors, and guided tours are frequently available in English.

4. Paradise Cave

This incredible limestone cave located in southern Poland is often confused with a subterranean complex of the same name in Vietnam, but luckily you don’t need to travel to Southeast Asia to go exploring. The cave is over 200m long and is decorated with stalagmites and stalactites. It is considered one of the most beautiful caves in Poland and Europe, despite being relatively small in size. Paradise Cave is part of the Holy Cross Mountains and can be visited with a guide throughout most of the day relatively inexpensively, which includes an interesting exhibition on the Neanderthals. You can reach the complex in around 90 minutes from our community in Krakow, which makes it an easy destination for a day trip.

5. Neon Museum

Visiting this off-beat museum is perhaps one of the more peculiar things you can do in the capital, Warsaw, but it is certainly an interesting experience. During the latter period of Communist rule, Eastern Europe was alight with blazing neon signs everywhere. It was a policy directed by Moscow in an attempt to modernize cities in the Warsaw Pact states. Warsaw itself was no different, and its cityscape began to be dominated by the bright neon lights. One ingenious collector decided to gather the best of the best into one place and opened the Neon Museum in the capital. Entrance is quite cheap, and some of the artwork on display is really fantastic, and fascinating. Learn all about on of the most obscure policies ever in one of Warsaw’s hidden gems.

6. Kopiec Krakusa

Poland’s second-largest city Krakow is very popular among both tourists and native Poles. Nevertheless, there are still a few undiscovered and less-trodden spots in the city. If you’ve been to Krakow, you might have noticed a few strange looking lumps on the outskirts of town. Nobody really knows what these mounds are for or why they were built, although the main one (Kopiec Krakusa in Polish) is thought to be the resting place of the city’s mythical founder King Krakus. Aside from housing legendary kings, the mounds offer some of the best (free) views of the city

7. Bialowieza Forest

Located in the far east of Poland, Bialowieza Forest makes up part of the Polish border with Belarus — some of it is actually in Belarus. Aside from providing some excellent scenery and a great place to go hiking, the forest is also the last remaining habitat of the rare European bison — the largest animals on the continent. It’s the last remaining primeval forest in Europe too, but thanks to continued logging, it’s under threat — make sure to visit while you still can! You can only visit the forest on a guided tour, and although bison are naturally shy, it is possible to spot them grazing in some of the meadows. Alongside bison you might see elks, wolves, or even a lynx. Discover one of nature’s last stands in the Bialowieza Forest, around a three-hour dive from Warsaw.

8. Lublin

Lublin is a far-too-often forgotten city in the southeast of Poland. The city has been important to Poland’s history over the centuries: for example, it was the town where Poland and Lithuania were united in a commonwealth, one of the largest European states in the Early Modern Period, as well as an important trading post for dealings with other eastern European powers. Today, the city is known for its green spaces and beautiful architecture. The Krakow Gate in the old town is a particular highlight, as is Lublin Castle which dates back to the 12th century. It’s a bit of a drive from Warsaw (around two and a half hours) but is well worth the trip if you fancy a weekend somewhere different.

9. Borne Sulinowo

Up in the northeast of Poland, there is a town which was literally wiped off the map for a few decades. Being used as a military base for the Red Army during the Cold War, Borne Sulinowo did not appear on any maps of the region until it was handed back to the Polish authorities in 1993. The public were then allowed back into the town, and today it has a population of just over 4,000 inhabitants. The village is definitely pretty, but most of the Cold War relics are still standing — there’s even a path along the most interesting sights of the town.

10. Poznan

Another town which is perhaps not unknown, but certainly underrated, is Poznan. This is where it all began for Poland — the united country was “born” here, and Poznan is the only Polish city to feature in the national anthem. Cobbled streets are lined with postcard-perfect houses, with the Old Town Square as the city’s centerpiece. Historic churches and castles are aplenty in Poznan, and you can easily spend a day strolling through the city-center admiring the renaissance buildings and sampling the best of a growing food scene. Poznan is in the west of Poland, and it is closest to our community in Wroclaw (just two and a half hours away).

Ivan Dlouhy

"Since moving to Warsaw, I have been able to make some great friends and attend InterNations events with other expats who understand what it's like to be so far from home."

Raquel Santos

"During my first month in Warsaw, I attended an InterNations event and immediately felt as if I had acquired a great network of expats contacts and new friends."

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