Poland's beguiling combination of millennium old architecture, fascinating history and 21st century verve is attracting more and more travellers from around the world. Attractions like Warsaw’s legendary nightlife, the storybook charm of Kraków and the many magnificent cathedrals and medieval castles that dot the country are helping Poland gain a deserved reputation as one of Europe’s must-sees.
A chequered history and rich culture make Poland rich pickings for adventurous travellers. Read on for our top Poland travel picks.
Marvel at the iconic Sagrada Familla in Barcelona.
Gaudi’s majestic creation has been wowing crowds since it first began construction in 1882. Since then, multiple architects have taken up the reins on the project, some honouring Gaudi’s original designs, other’s redefining the creation completely. The multiple and varied facades of the building, plus its sheer size and majesty, make it a must do for any traveller visiting Barcelona.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Indulge in traditional Andalusian delicacies in Seville.
Seville is renowned for its gastronomic offerings, and whilst the traditional dishes may be simple to prepare, they’re bursting with fresh regional flavours. Gazpacho, Pescaito frito and Huevos a la Flamenca are all famed Andalusian specialities, or for those preferring traditional tapas, Seville has around 4,000 tapas bars to choose from – take your pick!See all trips that visit Seville
Live like a King in the Royal Palace of Madrid.
Get a glimpse of life as the other half live with a guided tour of the Royal Palace in Madrid. The largest palace in Europe, the Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, though is only used formally for state ceremonies. Gorge your eyes on the many works of art by famed Spanish painters as you delve a little deeper into Spain’s rich history.See all trips that visit Madrid
Party till dawn in the clubbing mecca of Ibiza.
Nowhere on Earth will you experience clubbing quite like Ibiza. Home to some of the world’s most infamous clubs, come and join the party as night after night revered world class DJ’s play their hearts out to adoring crowds. Get into the mood with sunset cocktails at Café Del Mar then party till sunrise at Space, DC-10 or Ibiza Rocks.See all trips that visit Ibiza
Bask in sunlight on Barceloneta Beach.
Some cities are fortunate enough to have the perfect city/beach balance, and Barcelona is one of them. Whilst Barceloneta Beach may be man-made, the water is clear and refreshing and the beach is alive with travellers and locals alike chatting, swimming and generally loving life. Spend long leisurely lunches in the surrounding cafes and restaurants, hire bikes or rollerblades or just relax in the sunshine.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Explore the Islamic inspired fortress of Alhambra.
Rising from woods of cypress and elm, the Alhambra reigns supreme on the hillside of Gibraltar. Born in the 11th Century and then further developed over the 14th and 15th century’s, the fortress holds an extensive network of lavishly decorated palaces and irrigated gardens and gives those who visit it a glimpse into the rich history of the Spanish empire and the influence both Islam and Catholicism had on the Alhambra’s design.See all trips that visit Gibraltar
1. Juwenalia, Kraków – Each May, Kraków's authorities give the city's sizeable student population the green light to behave however it sees fit. The result? Several days of non-stop partying, BBQs, concerts and general carnage. Alka-Seltzer comes as standard issue.
For more information on the Juwenalia festival, click here.
2. Open'er Festival, Gdynia – Held on a military airfield near the Black Sea port of Gdansk, this large open-air event regularly tops the lists of Europe's best festivals. A lineup of some of the biggest names in pop, electronic music, hip-hop and rock make this a Poland travel 2016 essential.
For more information on the Open'er Festival, click here.
3. Woodstock Festival, Kostrzyn nad Odrą – This free open-air rock festival is the largest of its kind in Europe. It's held annually in early August in Western Poland near the German border, and features a roster of leading Polish acts as well as some big international names. Get those horns ready.
For more information on the Woodstock Festival, click here.
4. Wianki, Kraków – This ancient Pagan midsummer celebration has gradually morphed into one of Poland's biggest music events. Expect fireworks, traditional foods and a varied lineup of musical entertainment alongside the traditional floating of wreaths down the Vistula River.
For more information on Wianki, click here.
5. Nowa Muzyka, Katowice – Poland's first festival of electronic music takes place in the impressively industrial setting of an old coalmine in Katowice. Entertainment comes courtesy of a selection of the biggest electronic artists from around the globe.
For more information on the Nowa Muzyka, click here.
1. Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum – The events of the Holocaust were amongst the most horrifying in human history, and made Auschwitz and Birkenau two of the most notorious names in existence. A visit to these former Nazi death camps is a chilling way to grasp the sheer scale of the slaughter that occurred here.
For more information on the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, click here.
2. Warsaw Uprising Museum – The Warsaw Uprising Museum opened in 2004, on the 60th anniversary of the Polish resistance's famed attempt to free Warsaw from German occupation. It features a collection of photographs, film, and sound recordings documenting life before, during and after the events.
For more information on the Warsaw Uprising Museum, click here.
3. Galeria Raster, Warsaw – The Raster Gallery was founded by two art critics in 2001, and has gone on to become one of the most internationally recognised galleries in Poland. It showcases works by a broad range of Polish and international contemporary artists.
For more information on the Galeria Raster, click here.
4. Królikarnia, Warsaw – This magnificent 18th century palace has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, but its luck appears to have changed and it's now home to Poland's largest collection of sculpture, with works dating from 15th century to present day.
For more information on the Królikarnia, click here.
5. National Museum, Kraków – NMK is the largest and oldest museum in the country. Amongst its staggering 800,000 exhibits you'll find everything from Greek and Byzantine coins to 20th century Polish art.
For more information on the National Museum, click here.
Traditionally hearty, Polish cuisine is proof that you can do a lot with cabbage, pork, beetroot and mushrooms. Particular ingredients include ogórek kiszony, a salted sour cucumber, and kiełbasa, a Polish sausage that comes in many varieties. Let's not forget some of the best vodka you'll ever taste in your life!
Pierogi – This Polish staple is a thin-skinned dumpling resembling ravioli. Sauerkraut, meat and mushrooms are typical fillings, but expect to chow down on endless varieties during your stay.
Best eaten at –Królestwo Pierożka, Świętego Filipa 25, 31-150 Kraków
Bigos – This hearty and traditional meat stew is based on sauerkraut, fresh cabbage, mushrooms and kiełbasa, with a changing cast of additional ingredients. Mashed potato is the usual accompaniment, but rye bread works well too.
Best eaten at –Podwale 25 - Kompania Piwna, Podwale 25, Warszawa
Rosół – This clear chicken soup is the most popular in the country. Simple and delicious, it's made with leeks, carrot, onion and parsley and served with homemade noodles.
Best eaten at –Kogel Mogel, Sienna 12, 31-002 Kraków
Placki Ziemniaczane – These grated potato pancakes are popular throughout the country. They often contain onion, parsnips and other vegetables, and are fried until golden and delightfully crisp.
Best eaten at –Domowe Przysmaki, Sławkowska 24A, Kraków
Pączki – Behold, your new favourite dessert. These traditional Polish delights are similar to doughnuts, with plum or rose -hip jam as typical fillings.
Best eaten at – Cukiernia Michałek, Krupnicza 6, Kraków
A camera - Whether it's the architectural delights of Krakow or the beauty of the Tatra Mountains, there's a lot to aim your camera at here.
Alka seltzer - Polish vodka is good. Very good! There may be a hangover or two in store.
An umbrella - Changeable weather means the prospect of rain is never far away, even in summer.
Comfortable shoes - Want to get the best out of cities like Krakow and Gdansk? Prepare to cover some ground on foot.
An adapter plug - Poland uses the European standard 2-pin plug. Any appliances that run on USA voltage will need a transformer.