Poland offers variety of landscapes, as well as cultural and historic territories. Natural regions of Poland one can divide in five major belts: coastal, northern lake districts, central plains, south-eastern highlands and southern mountains.
Poland’s sixteen administrative regions are called województwa, often abbreviated as woj.. The word is roughly equivalent to the word “province” in English. Some English dictionaries use the word voivodeship to describe the provinces, although the use of the word is rare, and is not likely to be universally understood at first by Poles. Like other larger countries, many regions have distinct identities and traditions.
Provinces have often names of historic regions, but their territories do not match. For example, Silesian voievodship includes only small eastern part of Silesia, but around 40% of its land was never part of Silesia. Thus, this map and regionalisation is only an approximation.
|Greater Poland (Greater Poland Voivodship, Lubusz)|
Greater Poland is a birthplace of Poland. Visit the first Polish capital Gniezno, rich in history, but young and dynamic city of Poznan, go along Piasts’ Route to discover places were myth joins history and learn about the birth of Poland. Discover one of hundreds small wooden churches, or enjoy manoirs, smaller towns and cities, many lakes or forests.
|Lesser Poland (Holy Cross Mountains, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Lublin Voivodeship, Subcarpathia)|
Home to spectacular and sometimes wild mountain ranges, the world’s oldest operating salt mines, fantastic landscapes, caves, historical monuments and cities. The magnificent medieval cities of Kraków and Lublin are major metropolitan centres. Tourist heartland of Poland.
|Central Poland and Masovia (Lódz Voivodship, Masovian Voivodship)|
Flat, idyllic rural areas with two major metropolitan areas of Poland with Warsaw, current capital and country’s economic centre, and Lódz, the manufacturing city known as the “Manchester of Poland”. In just one hour you can move from dynamic urban areas with many museums and culture attractions to find tranquility in places where nature coexist with humans.
Wild heart of Poland. Last primeval forests on the European plains and picturesque backwaters (e.g. Biebrza river) with protected bird species and biggest animals in Europe (elks, bears, european bizons) make the region increasingly interesting for tourists. This is also the most ethnicly diverse province of Poland, with Lithuanians, Orthodox Belarussians, or Muslim Tatars living together – a valuable heritage of old Poland-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
|Pomerania and Cuiavia (Pomeranian Voivodship, Kuyavia-Pomerania, West Pomerania)|
Summer capital of Poland is on the beach – around 500 km of golden sand, dunes and cliffs. Discover many forests and lakes, old hanseatic cities of Gdansk or Torun, modernism in Gdynia, art nouveau in Bydgoszcz or Waly Chrobrego panoramic street in Szczecin. Fertile Cuiavia offers you among others one of the biggest Spas in the country in Ciechocinek, or legends of Kruszwica, capital of the legendary king Popiel.
|Silesia (Lower Silesia, Opole Voivodeship, Silesian Voivodeship)|
Colorful mixture of different landscapes. One of the warmest regions in Poland with the very popular, dynamic city of Wroclaw (the region’s historic capital) and the country’s biggest metropolitan area, Upper Silesia. Place of Polish, German and Czech heritage with many palaces, monasteries and towns. Discover one of oldest mountains in Europe with their fantastic rock formations.
Green lungs of Poland. It offers unspoiled nature full of forests, hills and lakes. Discover the places where Copernicus worked , or camp in beautiful countryside.
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- Warsaw (Warszawa) — capital and the biggest city of Poland, one of the EU’s thriving new business centres; the old town, nearly completely destroyed during World War II, has been rebuilt in a style inspired by the classicist paintings of Canaletto. Warsaw’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit some of great museums and discover rich culture and heritage of Warsaw and Poland, spend some time in cinemas, theatres or opera halls.
- Cracow — (Kraków), the cultural capital of the nation and its historic political capital in the Middle Ages; its centre is filled with old churches, monuments, the largest European market square and, more recently, trendy pubs and art galleries. It os one of the major iconic cities not only in the country but in Central Europe as well. Its city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Lódz — once renowned for its textile industries, the “Polish Manchester” has the longest walking street in Europe, Ulica Piotrkowska, full of picturesque 19th-century architecture.
- Wroclaw — an old Silesian city, known in German as Breslau, with great history and a lively historic centre; placed on 12 islands, it has more bridges than any other European town except Venice, Amsterdam and Hamburg.
- Poznan — the merchant city, considered to be the birthplace of the Polish nation and church (along with Gniezno), the second biggest necropolis of Polish kings and rulers in the country, presenting a mixture of architecture from all epoques.
- Gdansk — known in German as Danzig, one of Central Europe’s most beautiful and historic port cities, painstakingly rebuilt after World War II. During its golden age it was the biggest city in Poland, and its major commercial hub. The city is the world’s biggest amber jewelry producer.
- Szczecin — most important city of Western Pomerania with an enormous harbour, monuments, old parks and museums.
- Bydgoszcz – old trade city with beautiful 19th century architecture and picturesque Mills’ Island on the Brda river, known as the “Little Berlin”.
- Lublin — the largest city east of the Vistula, with a well-preserved old town with typical Polish architecture, along with unusual elements of the so-called Lublin Renaissance.
- Katowice — the major centre of the post-industrial metropolis of Upper Silesia and its cultural hub.
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- Auschwitz — the most infamous German Nazi concentration camp that became the centre of the Holocaust for European Jews during World War II. UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Bialowieza National Park — a huge area of ancient woodland straddling the border with Belarus, famous for its old growth trees, bogs, European bison, and wolf packs. UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Bory Tucholskie — a big forestet region in northern Poland full of clean lakes, rivers and nature reserves. A paradise for kayakers and nature enthousiasts.
- Kalwaria Zebrzydowska — a monastery in the Beskids from 1600 with Mannerist architecture and a Stations of the Cross complex. UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Karkonoski National Park — a national park in the Sudety around Sniezka Mountain with beautiful waterfalls.
- Malbork — home to Malbork Castle, a beautiful red brick Gothic castle and the largest of its kind in Europe. UNESCO World Heritage Site .
- Piasts’ Route – a historic trail from Poznan to Inowroclaw presenting the birthplace region of Poland.
- Slowinski National Park — a national park next to the Baltic Sea with the biggest dunes in Europe.
- Wieliczka Salt Mine — the oldest still-existing enterprise worldwide, this salt mine was exploited continuously since the 13th century. UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Wielkopolski National Park — a national park in Greater Poland protecting the wildlife of the Wielkopolskie Lakes.
- Tatrzanski National Park — a national park in the Tatra Mountains (Lesser Poland) near Rysy Mountain, with bears, wolves and other animals.
- Torun – beautiful and well preserved gothic city along Vistula river. Birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus and home to the best gingerbreads in Europe!
- Zamosc – a beautifully preserved town dating from the heyday of the Renaissance in the late 16th century. UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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