From the shores of the Baltic Sea in the north to the peaks of the Tatra Mountains in the south, Poland will surprise you at every turn.
With over a thousand years of history, Krakow was the capital of Poland up until the 17th century. It was and still is, a very cosmopolitan city, attracting many artists and scholars. Mercifully untouched during World War II, the city is perfectly preserved and rich in history.
In contrast, by the end of World War II, nearly eighty-five percent of Warsaw lay in ruins. However, like a phoenix, it has risen beautifully from the ashes. Spanning the Vistula River, most of the historic sites are situated on the left bank, while on the right bank is the fashionable Praga district.
Gdansk, formerly Danzig, right on the Baltic coast is one of the Tri-City towns that include Sopot and Gdynia and is a stop on many Baltic cruises.
Poland has some of Europe’s most interesting museums. Below are just six that cover three of the biggest subjects in European history:
World War II History
- The Museum of the Second World War is located on the Westerplatte Peninsula in Gdansk where on September 1, 1939, WWII began. The museum grounds cover almost 2.5 acres, while the building itself is almost 3 million square feet. The exhibits are divided into three areas – past, present, and future. You can easily spend an entire day at the museum, so plan accordingly!
- Opened in 2004 to mark the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the fight for Warsaw, the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising is a tribute to those who fought and died to bring freedom to Poland and its capital. As one of the country’s leading interactive museums, we suggest grabbing an audio guide when touring independently to make the most of your experience.
- The award-winning European Solidarity Center also in Gdansk is dedicated to the Solidarity Movement and the opposition, which led to the overthrow of communism in Central and Eastern Europe. The center showcases the timeline of contemporary history leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
- For over 1,000 years, Poland was the focal point of Jewish culture in Europe. Over two-thirds of Ashkenazi Jews have roots in Poland. Over the years, we have helped many of our travelers research their ancestry while visiting. Whether you are researching your roots, or just have a general interest in Jewish cultural history, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews (POLIN) in Warsaw is an absolute must. This stunning 43,000 square-foot commemorative museum charts the 1,000-year history of all Jewish life in Poland, which also includes the former Polish territories now a part of Lithuania and Ukraine.
- The Oskar Schindler Factory is today a branch of the Krakow History Museum, highlighting the moving history of Krakow from 1939 through 1945. You will see the changes in the city brought on by the Nazi occupation.
- Visiting the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Museum is for anyone, a harrowing experience. We can arrange privately guided visits where you can take everything at your own pace.
These are just a few of the interesting and varied museums in Poland. Have a passion for Chopin? We can arrange a custom tour just for you. Read the Zookeeper’s Wife and want to learn more? Contact us to plan your Poland trip.
Gwen Kozlowski, our President, has been recognized by Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler and Wendy Perrin as the expert for deluxe travel in the region. Contact Gwen today to plan your trip!