The city of Torun, founded in the early 13th century, was the birthplace of the astronomer Nicholas Copernicus. Torun’s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is one of the best-preserved medieval settlement complexes in Northern Europe. The Castle of the Teutonic Order is located between the old town and the new town, which were built at the same time. In the old town, the old town hall, the Marienkirche and the St. Johannes Cathedral and in the new town the Jacobikirche should be visited. The city wall with some bastions and towers like the Leaning Tower is also interesting. The Copernicus House, which belongs to the City Museum, is particularly worth seeing.
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The Malbork Teutonic Castle in Malbork in northern Poland dates back to the 13th century and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Poland because of its unique architectural value. The largest brick castle in the world has influenced the construction of numerous Gothic buildings in the Order State and in Northern and Eastern Europe. The castle chambers and halls can be visited. The Marienburg also houses a castle hotel and a castle museum with an amber collection and exhibitions of porcelain, period furniture and weapons.
Although Szczecin is 60 km from the mouth of the Oder, the city is the largest Polish port on the Baltic Sea. The 14th-century St. James’ Cathedral and the 14th-century Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle, which serves as a cultural center and venue for events and exhibitions, are reminiscent of the time when Szczecin was the capital of Pomerania. Other sights include the Loitzenhof, the Old Town Hall and the St. Peter and Paul Church. The contemporary art center TRAFO Trafostacja Sztuki is also worth a visit.
The most popular destination for hobby sailors in Poland is the Masurian Lake District. The Spirdingsee and the Mauersee are the largest lakes in this lake landscape. Numerous lakes are connected by canals. A visit to a harbor pub such as Zęza in Sztynorcie is a must on a sailing trip. The Baltic Sea is also a paradise for sailors. In addition, Poland offers other beautiful sailing areas such as Jeziorak Lake, Wdzydze Lake, Zalewa Soliński Reservoir, Drawsko Lake, Gopło Lake and the waters of the Myśliborz and Barlinek Regions. For sailing you need a sailing license for sailing and motor boats. Those who do not have a sailing license can sail in small boats or join a sailing crew.
The landmark of the historic port city of Gdansk is the wooden crane gate from 1444. Opposite are the city’s historic warehouses. As in other destroyed Polish cities, the city center was rebuilt according to historical models. Many of the town houses date from the 16th century. The huge Gothic Church of St. Mary is Gdańsk’s main attraction and one of the largest churches in Poland. Nine main streets lead through the Glowne Miasto (Justice Town) district, leading to the banks of the Motława River. The Artushof is located on the Long Market with its restored Renaissance houses. The city museum is located in the town hall. From the 82 meter high tower you have a beautiful view of the city. The pilot tower in the Nowy Port district also offers a viewing platform, from which the Gdańsk harbor and the opposite Westerplatte can be seen. When the weather is good, you can see as far as the Hela Peninsula. One should also see the 17th-century Golden Gate.
Winter sports in Poland
The High Tatras, the Giant Mountains and the Mazury are popular destinations for winter sports enthusiasts in Poland. Zakopane, a major center for winter sports as well as mountain hiking and climbing, lies in a valley basin in the High Tatras near the Slovakian border. Picturesque Zakopane has a fairytale vibe with wooden shacks that look like they’re made out of gingerbread. Some residents still wear traditional Goralski (Polish Highlander) clothing today. The Giant Mountains attract with snow-sure places such as Szklarska Poręba (Schreiberhau) and Karpacz (Krummhübel). Cross-country skiers will find numerous trails in Jakuszyce. In Masuria, new cross-country trails were created in Podlasiu and Kaszubach.
In the north of the country lies the Masurian region with many lakes, rivers, canals, mixed forests and swamps. The unique flora and fauna includes several nature reserves and reserves, which are often only accessible on foot, by bike or kayak. The largest of the Masurian lakes are the Spirdingsee and the Mauersee. In the Białowieża National Park is the last lowland primeval forest in Europe. Masuria is a quiet holiday region where you can go sailing, winter sports, canoeing and camping. In Olsztyn, the largest city in Masuria, there is a 14th-century castle with historical collections. Rastenburg is located deep in the Masurian forest. Things worth seeing in Rastenburg include the Gothic fortified church, the 14th-century Ordensburg, which today houses a museum, and the Old Town Hall.
Beaches and seaside resorts
There are great beaches in Poland on the Baltic Sea. They are especially ideal for children because they are wide, sandy and gently sloping into the sea. The Pomeranian Coast offers some of the best beaches in Northern Europe. Bathing resorts such as Kolobrzeg or Leba with its wonderful white sandy beach offer a change from city life. Leba Beach is connected to the Słowiński National Park, which is known for its huge shifting dunes, which can shift several meters per year. The forested, narrow Hela Peninsula separating the Gdańsk Bay from the Baltic Sea has long beaches on both sides. The beaches of Świnoujście on sunny Usedom and of Krynica Morska / Kahlberg, Pogorzelica, Dziwnow and in Jastarnia are also popular with families.