Tourism in Poland

Poland is a part of the global tourism market with constantly increasing number of visitors. Tourism in Poland contributes to the country's overall economy. The most popular cities are Kraków, Warsaw, Wrocław, Gdańsk, Poznań, Szczecin, Lublin, Toruń, Zakopane, the Salt Mine in Wieliczka and the historic site of Auschwitz – A German nazi concentration camp in Oświęcim. The best recreational destinations include Poland's Masurian Lake District, Baltic Sea coast, Tatra Mountains (the highest mountain range of Carpathians), Sudetes and Białowieża Forest. Poland's main tourist offers consist of sightseeing within cities and out-of-town historical monuments, business trips, qualified tourism, agrotourism, mountain hiking (trekking) and climbing among others.

Arrivals of foreign tourists by country of origin in 2014 *
 1. Germany
 2. United Kingdom
 3. Russia
 4. Ukraine
 5. USA
 6. Belarus
 7. Italy
 8. France
 9. Norway
 10. Spain
 11. Israel
 12. Sweden
 13. Netherlands
 14. Lithuania
 15. Czech Republic
* Foreign tourists in tourist accommodation establishments by country[3]

Tourism in Poland
Poland's top ten urban destinations[1]
Kraków,[1] Royal palace at Wawel on the Vistula river, UNESCO World Heritage Site
Warsaw,[1] Old Town Market Square, UNESCO World Heritage Site
Szczecin,[1] Szczecin's waterfront
Poznań,[1] Poznań Market Square at night
Zakopane,[1] The Winter Capital of Poland, view from Gubałówka in the Tatra Mountains
Wrocław Zoo, 1.8 million visitors annually[2]
Bydgoszcz,[1] red-brick Lloyd Palace and marina on the Brda
Kołobrzeg,[1] historic lighthouse restored to its former glory


Other Poland's top rating destinations[4]
Auschwitz concentration camp,[5] UNESCO World Heritage Site
Wieliczka Salt Mine,[4] with 1.2 million visitors annually
Medieval Malbork Castle in Malbork,[4] northern Poland
Masurian Lake District,[5] with more than 2,000 lakes. Pictured: marina in Mikołajki resort town

Poland, especially after joining the European Union in 2004, became a place frequently visited by tourists. Most tourist attractions in Poland are connected with natural environment, historic sites and cultural events. They draw millions of tourists every year from all around the world. According to Tourist Institute's data, Poland was visited by 15.7 million tourists in 2006, and by 15 million tourists in 2007,[6] out of the total number of 66.2 million foreign visitors.[7] In 2012, Poland was visited by 13.5 million foreign tourists (those who came during Euro 2012, but did not stay overnight, were not included in official statistics).[8] In 2013, Poland was visited by 15.8 million tourists. In 2016, the number of arrivals to Poland amounted to 80.5 million. 17.5 million of this number are arrivals considered for tourism purposes (with at least one night's stay).

Natural environment

Poland has a diversified natural environment, which is relatively unaffected by human development. Visitors are attracted by mountains, sea-coast, forests and the lake reserves. Among the most popular destinations are: Tatra Mountains, in which is the highest peak of Polish (Rysy) and the famous Orla Perć; Karkonosze, Table Mountains, Białowieża Forest, Lower Silesian Wilderness, Bieszczady, Dunajec River Gorge in Pieniny, Pojezierze Mazurskie, Kampinos National Park, and many others.

The first Polish tourists were pilgrims traveling to shrines both within Poland and abroad. The development of commercial tourism began in the 19th century. The most popular regions were mountains, especially the Tatra Mountains, explored for example by Tytus Chałubiński. In 1873, the Polish Tatra Society and in 1909 the Polish Sightseeing Society were established to organize and develop tourism. The 19th century was also the time of the rapid appearance of spa resorts, mostly in Sudetes, Beskids and along the Baltic Sea coast, with some of them associated, since 1910, with the Polish Balneology Association. After Poland regained independence in 1918, Polish tourism boomed, and was encouraged by the government. The first professional Polish tour operator, Orbis, was founded in Lwów in 1923, followed in 1937 by Gromada tourist organization and tour operator.


After World War II all tourist organizations were nationalized by the new communist government. The Polish Tatra Society and Polish Sightseeing Society were combined into Polish Tourism-Sightseeing Society (PTTK) and most of the tourist infrastructure was handed over to the newly created Workers Vacations Fund (FWP). Tourism was limited to the Comecon countries. This was the era of governmentally-founded tourism, characterised by mass but low-standard tourism. A typical sight was a holiday campground with small bungalows managed by one of the state-owned companies. Holidays for children and teenagers were organized by Juventur.

After the fall of communism much of the infrastructure was privatized, although many company-owned resorts were downgraded because of their unprofitability. The early 1990s saw the foundation of many new tour operators. Some of them prevailed and strengthened their position on the market, being able to compete with multinational tour operators like TUI, or Neckermann und Reisen with branches in Poland.

Tourist destinations

Historic buildings and places


Cultural events

Tourist resorts

There are dozens of sea resorts on the coast of Baltic Sea like Wolin Island, located close to the German border and the coast of Pomerania. In southern Poland there are resorts for skiing and hiking in the Karkonosze mountains, which is part of the Sudetes mountain range. Karkonosze includes the tourist centres of Karpacz and Szklarska Poręba. Other famous resorts for skiing and hiking include in Carpathian Mountains: Zakopane in the Tatra mountains; Szczyrk, Krynica-Zdrój, Ustroń, Wisła in the Beskids or Szczawnica and Krościenko in Pieniny mountains.

Holocaust and Shtetl tourism

  • Shtetl Routes – shtetl routes of the Polish, Belorussian and Ukrainian borderland

Christian pilgrimage

It's estimated that 13% (of the 1.8 million in 2005) of visitors of the Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń arrive from abroad.[13] Jasna Góra Monastery was visited by 3.6 million of pilgrims from 78 countries in 2014.[14]

Transport in Poland

Since the fall of communism transport in Poland has improved significantly. There is acceptable tourist infrastructure, especially in larger cities and in major tourist resorts. Most major Polish cities (e.g. Kraków, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk and Szczecin) have international airports with connecting services with the Frédéric Chopin International Airport in Warsaw. Intercity connections are offered by PKP Intercity, Przewozy Regionalne, local trains (Koleje Dolnośląskie, Koleje Śląskie, Koleje Małopolskie, Arriva RP, Szybka Kolej Miejska (Tricity), Pomorska Kolej Metropolitalna, Koleje Mazowieckie, Łódzka Kolej Aglomeracyjna, Koleje Wielkopolskie) and PKS's, Flixbus as well as many smaller companies. There are also coach connections to other countries provided by various companies (inter alia Eurolines). Connections by ferry to Sweden and Denmark through the Baltic Sea are for example from Gdańsk, Gdynia and Świnoujście (inter alia Polferries).

See also


  1. TripAdvisor. "Top 10 Destinations – Poland". Travelers' Choice 2013 (Winners). The world largest travel site. pp. 1 of 10. Retrieved 20 December 2014. Travelers' Choice 2014 Update: 1.Krakow, 2.Warsaw, 3.Wroclaw, 4.Poznan, 5.Bialystok, 6.Sopot, 7.Zakopane, 8.Lodz, 9.Szczecin, 10.Gdynia.
  2. "Afrykarium odwiedziło 5 mln osób". Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  3. Overnight stays in accommodation establishments in 2014 (PDF file, direct download 8.75 MB), Główny Urząd Statystyczny (Central Statistical Office (Poland)), pp. 174–177 / 254. Warsaw 2015.
  4. The Touropia Team (2013). "10 Top Tourist Attractions in Poland". Touropia "best of" lists. Touropia. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  5. Touristrack. "10 Famous Tourist Attractions in Poland You Must Visit". Central Europe. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  6. Information about tourism in Poland (in Polish). Archived 16 April 2013 at Source: Instytut Turystyki, 2008.
  7. GUS (2008). "Przyjazdy do Polski (Foreign visits to Poland)". Statistics (in Polish). Instytut Turystyki. Archived from the original on 25 December 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  8. Katarzyna Sobierajska, Ministry of Tourism (2012). "Pierwsze efekty Euro 2012. Resort turystyki przewiduje wzrost liczby turystów w 2013 r. nawet o pół miliona". Live interview (in Polish). Agencja Informacyjna Newseria. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  9. Zoo Wrocław – lepsze od Wawelu i Wieliczki
  10. Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa, "Wrocław – zespół historycznego centrum." (in Polish)
  11. "Festiwal Polskiego Malarstwa Współczesnego". ZPAP Szczecin.
  12. "ABOUT THE FESTIVAL". Retrieved 14 September 2019.

Further reading

  • Kaszynski, Tadeusz, Through Europe to Poland by Car, 1st and rev. ed., New York City, 1968
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.