UPDATED: NOV 18 2017
Pretty, picturesque and perfect.
Those are the three words that come to mind when I think of Poland.
I mean, what’s not to love? The country is full of old medieval castles, colorful architecture and really delicious food. More pierogies, please!
But the thing is, most people visiting Poland only check out Warsaw or Krakow. And yes, these cities are popular for good reason. But the small towns in Poland are much more charming and authentic.
Start browsing apartments on Airbnb and booking your train passes people! Because you’ll want to visit all of these beautiful Polish small towns during your next adventure abroad!
If you’re hungry for more travel guides and tips, I recommend checking out:
And if you want to learn how to make money on your trips without lifting a finger, you might want to read these:
THE PRETTIEST SMALL TOWNS IN POLAND
Although the sea might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Poland, Gdansk is a city that shouldn’t be missed! This historic port town sits at the very top of Poland, right on the Baltic sea. It’s packed full of beautiful Baltic architecture, really cool museums (they’re free on Tuesdays) and gorgeous amber jewelry.
You should spend a few days here and give yourself time to visit the nearby towns of Sopot and Gdynia! You can get there by a local commuter train or take a free Uber ride by signing up through my link.
Things to do in Gdansk:
- Stroll through the Old Town and take a photo with Neptune’s Fountain
- Visit Westerplatte, the site where World War II began
- Take a guided tour of the famous Malbork Castle
Where to Stay in Gdansk:
If you really want to escape the crowds, then head on over to Torun – the magnificent walled city in Northern Poland! Besides the gorgeous Gothic architecture, the town is best known for being the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus. Oh, and its home to the most amazing gingerbread ever. Seriously, I’m still dreaming of that stuff!
I personally took a day trip to Torun from Gdansk, but you might want to spend a night here and enjoy having the place all to yourself!
Things to do in Torun:
- Wander through the old town streets
- Eat all the gingerbread you can get your hands on
- Take photos of all the quirky monuments
For some more inspiration, check out 19 Fun Things to do in Torun by my favourite travel blogging couple, Feather and the Wind.
Where to Stay in Torun:
- Solaris Hotel (from $45 per night)
- An Airbnb apartment (sign up through my link for a $50 discount!) I’m planning to visit Torun later this year and I’ve already booked this apartment. So I can’t comment on it just yet, but it looks very modern and has a ton of great reviews!
Okay, to be fair, Poznan definitely isn’t a small town. But it’s not very well-known amongst international tourists, which is why I felt the need to include it in this list.
Poznan has everything you could ever want in a city. An Instagram-worthy town square, beautiful lake, Gothic castle – you get the idea. I spent one night in Poznan during my trip and it definitely wasn’t enough. You could easily spend a few days exploring the city and enjoying the nightlife.
Things to do in Poznan:
- Catch a glimpse of the billy goats at the Town Hall
- Go for a bike ride around Malta Lake
- Eat a St. Martin’s Croissant (you can thank me later)
Where to stay in Poznan:
- Rosemary’s Hostel (prices from $20) This Roman Polanski-themed hostel is actually a lot of fun! I stayed in a private double room which had all necessary amenities. It’s located just a few steps away from the town square and also includes a continental breakfast!
- Brovaria Hotel (prices from $50)
It’s easy to fall in love with Wroclaw – a city full of colourful architecture, quirky little dwarves and magnificent street art. Due to it’s convenient location close to the Czech Republic, Wroclaw is often a transfer point for tourists travelling between the two countries. But I think it’s definitely deserving of a couple days on it’s own.
Don’t forget to combine your sightseeing into a dwarf hunt! There are over 350 of them scattered throughout the city!
Things to do in Wroclaw:
- Visit the oldest part of the city on Cathedral Island
- Experience a Wroclaw food tour and learn about the local delicacies
- Get out and enjoy some nature at one of the many parks
Oh, and if you want to learn more about Wroclaw, check out this post written by the lovely Rose over at The Brave Dame.
Where to stay in Wroclaw:
- Corner Hostel (prices from $10) I stayed in a private double room at this hostel and to be honest, it felt more like a hotel. There is a large common area if you’re looking to meet new people. And it’s located just around the corner from the town square!
- B&B Hotel (prices from $40)
For me, Rzeszow is a city full of surprises. In all honesty, I didn’t expect much of the city prior to my arrival but as it turns out, Rzeszow is an elegant town with a lot of great sights. It’s a big transport hub for those en route to Ukraine, which is why I ended up here myself. But I definitely suggest spending at least one night here to enjoy the beautiful boulevards and cheap eats!
Things to do in Rzeszow:
- Hit up the Rzeszow Shopping Mall for some shopping
- Walk across the city and find the beautiful Rzeszow Castle
- Go for an evening stroll by the river and try to spot the fish
Where to Stay in Rzeszow:
- Hostel Rzeszow (prices from $10)
- Hotel Rzeszow (prices from $50) Honestly, I can’t recommend this hotel enough. It’s only a short walk away from the train/bus station and it’s attached to the shopping mall. The rooms are extremely modern and feature amazing views of the old town!
Often referred to as Krakow’s little sister, Tarnow is a quiet yet beautiful small town in Poland. You can easily spend a few hours strolling around the recently resorted Old Town. Honestly, the city features the same charm and medieval atmosphere as Krakow – just without the crowds and inflated prices.
Although it can certainly be done as a day trip, I suggest spending at least one night in Tarnow. You’ll appreciate having the place to yourself!
Things to do in Tarnow:
- Enjoy a scenic view and castle ruins at Saint Martin’s Hill
- Admire the Cathedral and Town Hall in the city square
- Wander through the historic Jewish cemetery
Where to stay in Tarnow:
- Hotel U Jana (prices from $40)
- Hotel Gal (prices from $50) This modern hotel is in a historical building near the train station. It also features free parking, which is one of the reasons I decided to stay here during my visit.
Okay, no trip to Poland is complete unless you make a stop in Zakopane! This gorgeous town is nestled in the heart of the Tatra Mountains, making it the perfect base for a winter ski trip or a summer getaway! I’ll admit, the city can be quite kitschy and crowded at times, but you need to experience Poland’s best mountain resorts and wooden chalets for yourself. You can take a day trip from Krakow to Zakopane or spend a couple nights here if you want to truly experience the nature!
Things to do in Zakopane:
- Ski, hike or take a cable car in the Tatra Mountains
- Visit the Samanta Cafe and enjoy one of their famous cakes
- Find a quiet moment at the Zakopane Cemetery
Where to stay in Zakopane:
- Hotel Wersal (prices from $45) I spent two nights at this hotel and overall, really enjoyed my stay. The rooms are a little outdated but the hotel makes up for that with a really convenient location, beautiful gardens and free parking!
- This Airbnb apartment (sign up through my link for a $50 discount) Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?! I haven’t stayed here yet but I’m planning to this November.
Now, maybe you’re the type of person who really likes to get off the beaten path. If so, can we be friends? Just kidding. Not really.
For you, I have complied a small list of Poland’s best villages:
- Kazimierz Dolny
Hopefully this post inspired you to visit some small towns in Poland or at the very least, inspired you to visit Poland in the future! Because you’ve got to see these places for yourself.
Be sure to check out some of my other travel posts here!