Would you like to travel Europe cheap?
Then you are in a good place - Poland is full of cheap places to travel.
It is Polish nature.
Lush, diversified and surprisingly beautiful - this is the nature in Poland. We have it all - mountains, lakes, rivers, seaside, beaches and wild forests.
There are 23 National Parks in Poland in which we can find amazing natural gems. Some of those natural treasures are unique and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
This is precious heritage which we should all care for and protect.
So, let's have a look at the best places to visit in Poland. They are scenic getaways, perfect for all nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and all those who want to explore natural beauty of Poland.
For me, those areas are one of the most beautiful places in Europe.
Table of contents
1. Crooked Forest
Recommended by Karolina from karolinapatryk.com
Located in Nowe Czarnowo near Szczecin city, Krzywy Las (The Crooked Forest) is one of the most unique places in Poland. No one knows why the trees that are growing in the forest near Gryfino have an odd C-shape.
Many conspiracy theories are trying to explain the story behind Krzywy Las. Some people say that some kind of tool must have been used to make the trees grow this way. Others believe it's a work of Aliens. Finally, some believe it's a result of some kind of a natural disaster such as a snowstorm.
Scientists are still looking for a piece of evidence to prove one of these theories. Until they find an answer, it's still worth to visit The Crooked Forest. This place is a hidden gem of Poland that only a few know about.
If you happen to be in Northern Poland, go off the beaten path and travel to Nowe Czarnowo. Who knows, maybe you will find an answer to the question of why the pine trees are so weird there?
Krzywy Las is excellent to visit all year round but the best time is definitely summer. The easiest way to get there is by car, as the Crooked Forest is located in rather a remote area of West Pomerania.
You can look for available hotels in Szczecin here:
2. Bieszczady mountains
Endorsed by Anita from timetravelbee.com
Are you looking for cheap places to travel and beautiful landscapes in Europe?
Just you and nature. This is what I love the most about my favourite National Park in Poland - Bieszczady Mountains. For me, they are the best place for hiking in Poland. Stunning views and solitary paths will surely make you fall in love and want to come back again to Bieszczady.
This beautiful Polish mountain range is located on the southeast corner of Poland and forms part of Carpathian mountains. The highest peak is Tarnica, reaching 1346 metres.
The most popular trail to Tarnica mountain starts in Wolosate village:
There are several places you must see in Bieszczady Mountains. And they aren't just hiking trails - tourists can enjoy lakes for leisure and water sports, as well as historical wooden orthodox churches.
What's special about Bieszczady is the fact that a lot of artists live there, especially musicians, who run away from the hustle and bustle of cities to live a peaceful life in the mountains. You can meet there some poets or attend a live music concert.
Bieszczady Mountains are quite remote, but you can easily travel there by public transportation from major Polish cities. The best spot to start your trip will be a little village called Ustrzyki Dolne, where most of the famous trails start.
The prices are reasonable and cheaper compared to other tourist places in Poland. Bieszczady are great to visit all year round, as every season has its own beauty. The advantage of a winter visit is fewer tourists than in the summer, plus there's no avalanche risk in Bieszczady mountains.
And one more thing - Bieszczady are one of the best inexpensive places to visit in Europe.
You may find available hotels in Bieszczady mountains here:
3. Morskie Oko lake
Favourite spot of Claire from curiousclaire.co.uk
I love visiting Poland and Tatra mountains. For me, Tatras are one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe.
Tatra mountains are the highest Polish mountain range and also belong to Carpathian mountains.
The tallest peak towering over Morskie Oko is Rysy reaching 2,499 metres above the surface. It is also the highest mountain in Poland.
Situated along the border of Poland and Slovakia, Rysy peak is a popular hiking destination for locals and tourists, providing stunning views of Morskie Oko and the surrounding area.
The best place to stay if you're looking to hike in this area is the small resort town of Zakopane. From here there is an easy minibus that takes hikers to Palenica Bialczanska parking lot where the trail starts. The start of the hiking trail is easy. Towards Morskie Oko the trail is mostly paved road and if you're looking to save your legs there is also an option of a horse carriage ride during this part of the trail.
If you're not interested in hiking and just want to see the lake, this is all you have to do. The walk up the hill isn't too steep but can take up to 2 hours to walk. Believe me when I say it's completely worth it. The scenic views will take your breath away. There is also a small hut here serving refreshments with a seating area so you can grab a cup of coffee and just take in your majestic surroundings.
From here you can either head back down or carry on hiking up along red trail leading to Rysy. The closer to the peak you get the more challenging the hike becomes. For me, a fairly new hiker, this was too much of a challenge and I was unable to make it to the top of the mountain.
However, if you want some fantastic views of Morskie Oko it's still worth hiking up to the upper lake which is called Czarny Staw Pod Rysami.
This will take about 40 minutes and isn't too much of a challenge. But even if you're not planning on making it all the way to the top it's worth continuing up a little further. If you can continue for about another half an hour you will get high enough to see both lakes.
This was as far as I got and it was a challenge for a novice like me but the views from up here made me glad I pushed through and made it as far as I did.
If you wish to stay close to Tatra mountains, you can find available hotels in Zakopane here:
If you're planning on staying in Krakow, you will find accommodation here:
4. Bialowieza National Park
Proposed by Dorota from bornglobals.com
Bialowieza National Park is a unique place on the map of Europe. Located in northeast Poland, it is famous for its virgin forest - one of the last and biggest forests on our continent which has not been influenced by humans.
Numerous species of plants and animals live in Bialowieza Forest and one of the most interesting is European bison - the heaviest land animal in Europe. Bialowieza Forest has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
Parts of the virgin forest are strictly protected and only scientists can visit it. Tourists can only go there in a group of maximum 20 people with a guide. However, parts of the forest are available for individual tourists as well. There are walking and cycling trails available and you can check them on this map.
Walking there is a unique experience - I have never seen such deep, wild forest before. You can truly connect with nature there. For me, Bialowieza National Park offers the best hikes in Poland.
I visited in the summer but the forest is available all year long. I'd love to go there in autumn to see all leaves changing colours. In winter you can use the trails for cross-country skiing or visit it on the sledge.
As the region is quite wild, the easiest way to get there is by car.
I highly recommend you to see this unique forest and explore the wildest region of Poland - Podlasie. If you want to know more about the region, check my post about the best places in Podlasie, Poland.
Here you will find available accommodation near Bialowieza National Park:
5. Beskid Wyspowy
Recommended by Szymon from zamiedzaidalej.pl
Beskid Wyspowy is a bit underrated mountain range in southern Poland. Located just 1.5-hour drive from Krakow, it's not an obvious place to visit. The majority of travelers visiting Krakow head to Zakopane, Auschwitz and Wieliczka Salt Mine but it's Beskid Wyspowy which is actually one the best places to visit near Krakow.
It belongs to Beskidy mountains - broad but not very high Polish mountain range.
Beskid Wyspowy is perfect for people who have just started their hiking adventure. This range is a picturesque green hills stretching from Rabka Zdrój to Nowy Sącz (total length: 75 kilometres). The highest summit Mogielica has just 1171 metres, but there's a wooden view tower on the top which adds 20 metres to the panorama.
The fastest circular trail to Mogielica mountain:
The landscape isn't as stunning as in Tatra mountains, and the peaks are isolated and have quite big prominence. This region is also devoid of mountain resorts. On the face of it, this range doesn't offer many attractions.
But, still, Beskidy mountains are awesome!
If you're looking for a place to let your hair down, these mountains are just for you!
Beskid Wyspowy is beautiful at any time of the year, even off the high season. In November 2018 I hiked to Lubon Wielki. When I reached the peak, I saw one of the most stunning mountain sunsets I've ever seen! And during the whole 4-hour hike I met just two persons.
Another time while I was hiking to Mogielica peak (it was a part of my „project” – reach the highest peaks of the Polish mountain ranges), I enjoyed empty trails, beautiful autumn colours and amazing views - perfect chillout! What I like about Beskid Wyspowy is that it's so close to Krakow, yet there are so little tourists.
The best way to get to Beskid Wyspowy is to take the bus from Krakow city center. Private bus carriers offer plenty of connections to main towns in Beskid Wyspowy. There are the most shuttles to Mszana Dolna. One-way ticket from Krakow costs around 12 – 14 PLN and transfer lasts about 1.5 hour.
I think that all seasons are good to discover this region – it just depends on your preferences. The trails aren’t very demanding, so even in winter a moderately fit person should be able to ascend all peaks of Beskid Wyspowy without any troubles.
Prices in Beskid Wyspowy are a bit lower compared to other Polish tourist regions. You shouldn’t have issues with finding accommodation at reasonable cost (even during the summertime).
If you'd like to stay in a mountain resort, you might want to choose Rabka Zdroj. You can find available hotels here:
If you're planning on staying in Krakow, here you can look for accommodation:
6. Kasprowy Wierch
Endorsed by Juozapas from nomadjoseph.com
Visiting Tatra National Park is definitely a must-do thing if you are interested in hiking in Poland. What's more, I think Tatra mountains are one of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe.
I love this place because of the amazing mountains where you can hike, drytool, ice climb in winter and stay in lovely mountain huts. Mountain biking isn't allowed in Tatras, with the exception of Chocholowska and Suchej Wody valleys.
As I am from Lithuania, this is the closest mountain range from my country by land. A lot of hikers and mountaineers from Lithuania visit Tatras to enjoy mountain spirit.
One of the best places to visit in Tatra mountains is Kasprowy Wierch. Located in Western Tatras, it reaches 1987 metres and is accessible by cable car. The cable car is very popular among tourists, so it's best to arrive early in the morning to avoid queues. Opening hours are 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM. Tickets can also be bought online.
If you're into hiking, there are a few trails leading to Kasprowy Wierch. The most popular option is the green trail which starts in Kuznice. You can climb down the same trail, or hike one of the most spectacular Tatra National Park trails - a red trail which leads on the ridge:
The best month to visit Tatra mountains is September. There are less tourists on the trails than in the summertime, and also the weather is more stable. There's low probability of snow or ice on the trails and hikers get to admire autumn landscape with its abundant colours.
If you're planning on visiting Tatras in the summer, you might want to book your accommodation in advance. Most people choose Zakopane as their base for mountain trips. It's a lively tourist resort with lots of shops, hotels and transportation options. Buses from Warsaw, Krakow and other big cities in Poland run to Zakopane every few hours. PolskiBus might be your best option.
You may look for available hotels in Zakopane here:
7. Masurian Lakes District
Masurian Lakeland is located in northeast Poland and is also called The Land of Thousand Lakes. This name is no exaggeration - there are about 2600 lakes in the region! They cover almost 30% of Masurian Lake District. This fact makes Masurian lakes one of the most unique places in Poland.
If you are a nature admirer, you will consider this area one of the most beautiful spots in Europe.
The biggest lake is Sniardwy and the longest one is Jeziorak. Other popular Masurian lakes are: Mamry, Niegocin, Mikolajskie, Beldany and Nidzkie lake.
All the lakes are connected with canals which create one impressive water route which reaches 120 kilometres.
Masurian lakes region isn't only a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. Cyclists will find here 23 bike trails of total length of 1000 kilometres. If we add cycling paths in Masurian towns we get wide possibilities to practise this sport.
The most popular bike trail is Green Velo - the longest cycling trail in Poland. It's 2000 kilometres long and leads through picturesque areas of eastern Poland. No need for mountain bike - trail runs along quiet asphalt roads. You will find more info about this trail here.
Animal lovers should head to Puszcza Borecka forest. It's home to bisons, elks, lynxes, deers, badgers and many kinds of birds. Flora is also abundant here - there are about 300 kinds of plants, some of which protected by law.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Masurian Lakes District is Wilczy Szaniec (Wolf's Lair) in Gierloz village. It used to be Hitler's headquarters. Hidden deep in a dense forest, it was perfect location to make evil plans. The Nazis blew up the whole complex at the end of war, but did not manage to destroy everything. Now travelers can visit bunkers and the remaining fortifications.
The most popular tourist resorts are Mikolajki and Gizycko. However, those charming towns tend to get crowded in the summertime, so tourists looking for quiet getaway might want to stay in villages like Tlokowo, Wysoka Wies or Stare Juchy.
You will find available hotels in the region of Masurian lakes below:
8. Slowinski National Park
Located on the Polish seaside in the region of Pomerania, just 2-hour drive from Gdansk Slowinski National Park is one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe.
Many consider it also the most remarkable part of Polish seaside.
Slowinski National Park is one of the biggest moving sand dunes regions in Europe. The area can move for up to 10 metres per year devouring all the trees and plants on its way.
This National Park is perfect for those who like walking and appreciate the fresh air. There are over 170 kilometres of trails!
The main trail leading through Slowinski National Park starts in Czolpino village. Before we get to the sea, we need to walk a few kilometres. We can get back on the blue trail in the forest, or after we reach the coastline, we can turn left and walk to Czerwona Szopa restaurant and continue on asphalt road.
The biggest of the dunes is Lacka Gora - it reaches 40 metres. Amazing landscape visible from the top of the dune will reward the effort of the climb.
In Slowinski National Park there's also a possibility of fishing and kitesurfing - it's allowed on Gardno and Lebsko lakes.
When we are in the area, it's worth to visit Czolpino lighthouse. This 25-metre high building is open for tourists who can climb up to the top and admire the breathtaking view of Baltic sea.
The best time to visit Slowinski National Park is early autumn. Heathers blossom in the forests, trails are peaceful and quiet, and we have all the beach just for ourselves. Also, accommodation prices drop after summer ends.
Here you may look for available hotels in the area:
If you prefer lively seaside resorts, you can check Ustka town:
9. Eagles' Nests Landscape Park
Another natural wonder in southern Poland. It forms part of Polish Jurassic Highland (also known as Krakow-Czestochowa Upland). It's located only half an hour drive from Czestochowa and about 2-hour drive from Krakow.
The specific name of this landscape park derives from numerous medieval castles built in the area. They are located on inaccessible lime hills and are compared to eagles' nests.
Eagles' Nests Landscape Park is geologically a very interesting region. The landscape is enriched with Jurassic landforms: lime inselbergs, karst valleys and caves.
There are many hiking trails and limestone rocks perfect for climbing. Families with children will certainly appreciate fresh air and undemanding trails. This region offers one of the best hikes in Poland!
But the region isn't only favoured by rock climbers, hikers and cyclists. Castles enthusiasts love it too!
In Eagles' Nests Landscape Park there is one of the biggest fortresses in Europe - Ogrodzieniec castle. It's also the most popular landmark in the region, so if we wish to visit it in the summer, it's best to arrive in the morning. Ogrodzieniec castle is open for tourists from April until November.
Other famous castles are located in Mirow, Bobolice, Morsk and Smolen villages.
Architecture lovers should also see the fortified monastery in Wancerzowo village, Paulites convent in Zarki and the wooden church in Zrebice village.
If you would like to stay close to Polish Jurassic Highland, you can look for available accommodation here:
If you are planning to stay in Krakow, you will find available hotels here:
10. Rudawy Janowickie
Rudawy Janowickie is a mountain range which belongs to Sudety. Located in southwest Poland, Rudawy Janowickie is just 2-hour drive from Wroclaw.
Rudawy Janowickie is one of the most picturesque places to visit in Poland. Not only mountain hikers will be delighted here - there are many other attractions for families with children and travelers looking for rest and peace.
This mountain range is low - the highest peak reaches just 945 metres. But it's one of the most scenic places in Sudety mountains. In Rudawy Janowickie there are many outstanding rock formations and beautiful lakes. The area is perfect for a relaxing walk as there are lots of hiking trails.
Because of its exceptional beauty and the fact this area is home to many endangered plant species, Rudawy Janowickie belongs to Rudawski Ecological Park.
The most popular attraction in Rudawy Janowickie is colourful lakes. You can check their location here. Those are 4 excavation lakes created in XVIII century, each one of a different colour: yellow, purple, blue and black. Such unique water colouring is caused by the chemical composition of the excavation pits. Perfect place for a family trip!
Other places worth seeing in the region are:
- Skalnik - the highest mountain in Rudawy Janowickie. The trail is nice and easy, and definitely worth the effort. The panorama from Skalnik mountain is amazing!
- Bolczow castle - ruins of XIV century fortress. Located in Janowice Wielkie village. There's a nice forest path leading to the castle. It's even allowed to set a campfire there.
- Sokoliki - beautiful complex of granite inselbergs situated on Sokolik mountain (628 metres). On the biggest rock formation there is viewing platform accessible for tourists. Sokoliki are frequented also by climbers, as the inselbergs are perfect for this kind of adventure. You can check their location here.
- Krzyzna Gora - if we decided to hike to Sokolik, it's worth to walk to Krzyzna Gora too. Picturesque mountain with viewing platform on the top. Easy to hike to (only 654 metres) and located close to Szwajcarka mountain hut.
- Miedzianka brewery - small craft brewery located in Janowice Wielkie. Visitors get familiar with traditional methods of brewing beer, and can also try seasonal food at brewery's restaurant.
If you'd like to stay in Wroclaw, you can find available hotels here:
If you prefer to stay in a mountain resort close to Rudawy Janowickie (just half an hour drive), you might want to choose Karpacz. It's a mountain resort located in Karkonosze at the foot of Sniezka mountain. If you like mountains and appreciate a great landscape, then Karpacz might be one of the best places to visit in Poland for you.
Here are available hotels:
11. Bory Tucholskie
Also known as Tuchola Forest. It's yet another beautiful National Park and one of places to visit in Poland if you're looking for a quiet, natural getaway.
Located in northern Poland in the region of Pomerania between the Brda and Wda rivers, it's just 1.5-hour drive from Gdansk.
Bory Tucholskie is one of the biggest forest complexes in Poland. In 2010 it was designated by UNESCO as Tuchola Forest Biosphere Reserve.
The region attracts all kinds of nature lovers - there are countless forest paths and about 900 lakes! There are also many unique species of flora and fauna, some of them endangered (e.x. Drosera, Lycopodiophyta, Nymphaea alba). Tuchola Forest is perfect for birdwatching - capercaillie, heron, crane, eagle owl are examples of typical inhabitants of those vast forests.
Bory Tucholskie National Park is divided into several protected areas:
- Tucholski Landscape Park
- Wdecki Landscape Park
- Wdzydzki Landscape Park
- Zaborski Landscape Park
- “Bagna Nad Stążką” nature reserve - the biggest peatland in Tuchola Forest with picturesque educational path "Jelenia Wyspa"
- “Bagno Grzybna” nature reserve – vast peatland
- “Doliny Rzeki Brdy” - Brda river nature reserve with the educational path in Woziwód village
- “Źródła rzeki Stążki” - Stążka river nature reserve
- “Jeziorka Kozie” nature reserve – forest lakes with a small islands, lovely place
- “Cisy nad Czerską Strugą” nature reserve – primary yew forest
- “Ustronie” nature reserve – old-growth mixed forest
Bory Tucholskie isn't only about forests and lakes - there are many historical attractions and picturesque villages:
- Tuchola - the main town in Bory Tucholskie. It's the oldest settlement in Poland. Charming Old Town with 19th-century townhouses. Tuchola Forest Museum (not only history and natural environment, but also folk art exhibitions)
- Rudzki Most village - there's WW2 Monument in the forest commemorating collective murder of local patriots
- Chojnice town - it belonged to Teutonic Knights from 1309 do 1466 who made this town a medieval fortress. There are antique walls, towers and gates
- Wdzydze Kiszewskie - tourist resort located over Gołuń lake. there's Kashubian Ethnographic park - the oldest antique building museum in Poland
- Charzykowy - a lovely village located over Charzykowskie lake. Perfect for water sports enthusiasts
- Wiele - one of the most popular tourist resorts in Bory Tucholskie region. Situated over Wieleskie and Ciepłe lakes. In Wiele village, there's International Folklore Festival held each year. A perfect event for Polish culture aficionados
- Osiek - a peaceful village located over the biggest lake in the region - Kałębie lake. There's a Neogothic Church from the 19th century and ruins of Teutonic Knights castle
There's also an online map with tourist attractions in Bory Tucholskie region.
To summarize, are you looking for a slow life and slow food? Go to Tuchola forest.
If you would like to stay close to Bory Tucholskie, you can look for all accommodation options in the area here:
What's the weather in Poland?
There are four seasons in Poland each one recognizably different. Some people even say there are five seasons in Poland - they include Polish Autumn as the fifth one.
Polish Autumn, in other parts of the world known as the Indian Summer, happens at the end of September and it often proves to be the best time to travel through Poland:
- fewer tourists
- lower prices (travel Europe cheap!)
- mild temperatures
- beautiful golden light and changing colours of leaves
All those facts make autumn a perfect time to explore Poland.
Winter is cold and usually snowy. Days are short and there's a little sun. Warm clothing is indispensable.
Weather in spring and autumn is rather unpredictable – you can get a whole range of atmospheric conditions from frosty mornings, through sunny and warm noon to the cloudy sky in the evening. And a few rainy days in a row.
Summer hits the hardest in July - temperatures soar over 30°C then. But June is usually very warm too. Summer months may not be the best time to visit Polish cities.
Checking weather forecasts before your Poland travel will give you a good idea of how to pack.
Safety in the mountains
Before any mountain hike, we need to prepare well and remember about safety. Even in low Polish mountain range like Beskidy mountains or Sudety weather can change abruptly and make our experience miserable.
When there's sunny and warm weather in central Poland there might be still a lot of snow in the mountains.
Let's have a look at the below articles and enjoy a safe hiking trip in Poland:
Changing money in Poland
Polish currency is Złoty (PLN) and not Euro. One Złoty is worth about 0.23 EUR and 0.26 US dollar. Polish currency is the main factor which makes Poland one of the most popular cheap places to travel in Europe.
But when you're exploring Polish nature and taking a road trip through less-touristy areas, it might take some time to find an exchange office. You can use your credit card in many places but you shouldn’t rely on it. It's better to have at least a little bit of cash with you.
It's a good idea to explore Poland with some cash on you, ideally that you’ve already exchanged in your own country.