If finance, business, and the general frenzied pace of a nation’s capital is what you’re looking for, come to the Mazowsze region. While some sightseeing is possible in Mazowsze, you’ll find the true cultural and spiritual heart of Poland contained in the region of Malopolska. You’ll also find some great skiing in the Tatry Mountains. Nearby Silesia provides some impressive peaks as well, and an interesting mix of industry and culture.
For a taste of the sea, for a relaxing time in a health resort, or for a look at the most German part of Poland, visit Pomerania. Its neighbors – Mazury and Warmia – offer the nature lover a cornucopia of diversions: come here for the myriad lakes, the incredible forests, and all that is possible to enjoy in them. Continuing to the east, Podlasie also contains lakes and forests, but with two important differences: this less-visited region sees fewer tourists and its natural beauty is (not coincidentally) in better shape. Finally, go back to the very origins of the nation in Wielkopolska; here you can explore the original capital and assorted ethnographic parks which pull a bit of the past into the present.
Cities of the Past and Future
For comparable beauty, but of a different style and feel, visit the port of Poland: Gdansk still stands squarely at the center of history, with much from the past and the present to offer. Nearby Kolobrzeg and Koszalin are just two examples of the growing number of health resorts along the Pomeranian coast. A longtime rival of Gdansk, the western port of Szczecin sprawls along the Oder, showing every healthy sign of continuing the competition. Further industrialization of Poland’s northern region can be appreciated in Olsztyn.At the geographical center of Europe, Warsaw is a city risen from the ashes. Now an intriguing mix of old and new, the capital of Poland grows by leaps and bounds, evidence of the Polish drive to succeed. Said drive is happily accompanied by one to relax, and for that we have Krakow: also growing, rebuilding, renovating, it begins to give Prague a run for its money.
For another taste of the growing commercial strength of Poland, Poznan organizes so many trade fairs that the head spins. Further to the south, Katowice sits at the center of the industrial belt of Poland and nearby Wroclaw well represents one developing trend in Poland – a pleasing mix of business and pleasure. For pure pleasure, hike out to Zakopane: the splendour of the Tatry is best enjoyed from this bustling resort near the border. If architectural beauty is more your style, be certain to swing up north to visit Torun which boasts one of the few truly authentic Old Towns in Poland. Another exceptional Old Town, but with an foreign feel to it, can be discovered in Zamosc: the brain-child of Jan Zamoyski, Zamosc reflects his time abroad in Italy. Nearby Lublin offers up an imposing castle complemented by a dilapidated but distinctive Old Town, but for a truly impressive castle, Malbork is not to be missed. The headquarters for over 200 centuries of the Teutonic Knights, this stronghold continues to dominate the town and the imagination. For a mental trip of another kind, be certain to journey to Czestochowa: this town hosts the monastery Jasna Gora which in turn houses the Queen of Poland, the venerated Black Madonna.