Many of Poland’s towns and cities are bursting with history, from ghosts and haunted castles to magical places and treasures. Maybe magic’s been dead since the middle ages; but countless towns in Poland have retained much of its Medieval character. If you would like to experience such a scenery, check out the list of 10 must-visit historic towns in Poland.
Gniezno is one of the most historic Polish cities. Beautifully situated between three lakes, the town is linked mainly to the history of Poland. First, Poland’s capital lies at the crossover of the Piast Route, a tourist trail between Poznan and Inowroclaw, which highlights salient locations associated with the Piast Dynasty. Nearly all historic buildings within its walls can trace their origins to the Polish state’s earliest period. Rated as one of Poland’s oldest towns, Gniezno maintains a unique place on the country’s map.
The most unmissable thing to see in Gniezno is the 14th-century Gothic Cathedral, which witnessed the first five Polish kings’ coronation. While strolling around the compact and tranquil city of Gniezno, you can admire its charm yet feel the atmosphere from over a thousand years back.
The quiet little market town of Paczkow has managed to preserve its medieval fortifications almost intact- hence its name as “Polish Carrascone.” Paczków was founded in 1254 by the bishop of Wrocław, Tomasz I. The town was to serve as a border stronghold. Paczków was very lucky in its history as wealthy bishops supported its development.
Today, it is still one of Poland’s medieval towns’ most unspoilt, with a number of architectural gems. The town is generally overlooked by a crowd of tourists and has a friendly, almost idyllic atmosphere. An excellent destination for a day trip from Wroclaw.
Photo credit: Gmina Byczyna
Byczyna is a small, historic town almost entirely encompassed by brick walls. The town’s medieval spatial layout has been preserved; it’s cobbled streets, historical buildings, and the market square forms a unique atmosphere of an ancient city. You can walk for hours in the occasionally broken silence by a car or bus engine’s roar.
The centuries-old history of Byczyna is presented in a wooden fortress located a few kilometers from the city center in the village of Biskupice. In the summer season, various cultural events are often organized here, such as knightly tournaments and medieval fairs. Byczyna is a charming little town perfect for a weekend break.
4. Sroda Slaska
Barbara Maliszewska Wikimedia Commons
Środa Śląska has a medieval origin; in the 12th century, it was established as a market settlement. From the earliest times, important trade routes connecting Eastern and Western Europe have run through Silesia. Over time, these settlements became centers of economic, political, and cultural life.
What is a town famous for? In 1998 during excavation works, the renowned treasure was found, which became one of the most significant discoveries in modern Europe. It’s well worth exploring out and around the town – there are still many medieval buildings such as churches, tenement houses, and towers. You might even discover mysterious places related to famous treasures.
Poznań is one of Poland’s largest and oldest cities, founded in the second half of the 10th century. Most likely here in 966, the first ruler of Poland, Mieszko I, was baptized, although historians still dispute the exact location.
For many visitors, it is the first taste of Poland, closely identified with polish nationhood. In Poznan, you’ll find insanely beautiful architecture that will take your breath away. The city is filled with gorgeous medieval buildings such as stunning merchant residences, a town hall, art houses, and lovely fountain statues erected on every corner.
Many buildings underwent renovation after the Second World War, but the old charm and architecture style was maintained. You can see Poznan’s beautiful side during an exciting city tour, strolling through lovely streets and taking pictures of exceptional sites.
Cieszyn’s history goes back to the XIII century, and the city is considered one of the oldest in Poland. Initially, it was ruled by the Cieszyn Piasts, and from the 17th century by the Habsburgs. In 1920, it was divided between reborn Poland and Czechoslovakia.
In Cieszyn, you will find many exciting and historic places that you must see. The city known as “Little Vienna” is also an important cultural center. Tourists love Cieszyn for its medieval charm, countless cafes dotted around the market square, and traditional restaurants serving delicious food. Wandering around the narrow, winding streets filled with picturesque houses is a real pleasure.
7. Lwowek Slaski
photo credit: www.konkurs.spwlodzice.pl
Lwówek Śląski is located two hours by car from Wrocław and one hour from the German town Görlitz. For avid travelers, Lwówek can be a huge surprise, no wonder why the town has a vibrant history, unique atmosphere, and loads of attractions to see. Lwówek Śląski is one of Poland’s oldest cities, famous for the Lwowek brewery founded in 1209.
Tourists visiting town should try the local beer and visit the museum linked with brewing, located in the basement. The town is also known for its monuments such as the Town Hall, Hohenzollern’s classical palace, medieval defensive walls, and other hidden gems full of history. Lwowek Slaski is an ideal destination for a weekend trip.
Kalisz is the second-largest city in Graeter Poland, considered the oldest in Poland – it is at least 1800 years old, and numerous settlements in the city’s vicinity date back to the 1st century BC. Well, Kalisz was one of the first cities in Europe almost completely destroyed during World War I. Between 9 and 22 August 1914, the Prussian army destroyed about 90% of all buildings.
Luckily, the city was rebuilt when Poland regained independence. Today, the city is a major center of the entire region, and the beautiful architecture and valuable monuments draw many travelers. Kalisz offers many exciting and charming spots; even though they are sometimes neglected, it is worth visiting them.
Kalisz’s market square allows you to find a neoclassical town hall, historic buildings, and many places to relax. As we mentioned above, Kalisz is full of lovely places, and a walk along the bank of the Prosna river brings a unique enchantment.
While wandering, you can shot many pictures of the majestic buildings surrounded by old trees. Being in Poland’s oldest city, you can spend the night in the oldest hotel, Europa, which lets you admire the most beautiful parts of the town and theatre dated back to the 19th century. Kalisz, with its incredibly rich, multicultural history and beautiful architecture, is worth a journey.
Hons084 / Wikimedia Commons
Even though the city is settled in the industrial Silesia, there are no post-mine heaps, smoking chimneys, and hundreds of cars. Surprisingly there are a lot of greenery, unique monuments, and silence. Raciborz is called the Gothic kingdom because there are so many 13th and 14th-century monuments scattered around the town.
Among the city’s Gothic monuments, the most important is the 13th-century prince’s castle in Ostrog – the former residence of the Opole-Racibórz rulers. Part of the castle is the 16th-century royal brewery, the oldest in Upper Silesia, which welcoming tourists even today. In the 19th century, Racibórz was famous for producing cigars, sweets, and wines distribution.
Besides the castle, visitors are attracted by beautiful architecture, sacred monuments, folklore, and the city’s wonderful nature. The historic town in Upper Silesia has preserved many valuable monuments to this day, attracting tourists from all over the world.
Wrocław was one of the most influential cities, the seat of the bishopric, castellans and princes, and a merchant center. Ever since its existence, Wroclaw has been ruled by many kingdoms and countries, including Hungary, Silesia, Germany, Austria, and of course Poland, all of which left their marks in the city.
Today, it is still one of Poland’s most spotless medieval towns, with hundreds of stunning buildings located in the market square and cathedral Island. You can come to Wroclaw for the weekend and explore the city’s gems during the night tour. Nighttime has a unique charm, and the city with its medieval monuments is merely beautiful.
The Best Travel Resources
Booking.com – very good global booking engine, they have a very comprehensive database of locations and hotels to choose from.
HotelsCombined – hotel booking site focused on finding you the best variety of rates. Save you time by looking at hundreds of providers.
Get Your Guide – great platform to book endless
activities, tours and tickets for attractions across the world.
Discovercars.com – price comparison and bookings website for cars, at very affordable prices, one of the best on the market.
World Nomads – If you’re going for a trip abroad, it’s good to have travel insurance in case something goes wrong.
Omio – great platform for booking trains, buses and flights in Europe.
NordVPN – With NordVPN you can securely access apps, websites, and entertainment platforms from anywhere in the world.