Tourism in Poland

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Poland's top ten urban destinations [1]

Kraków,[1] Royal palace at Wawel, view from the Vistula river, UNESCO World Heritage Site
Warsaw,[1] Barbican in the Old Town, World Heritage Site
Gdańsk,[1] Baltic beaches of the Gdańsk Bay
Wrocław,[1] Centennial Hall, UNESCO World Heritage Site
Poznań,[1] International Fair (since 1921) with exhibitors from 70 industrialized countries
Zakopane,[1] "the winter capital of Poland", view from Gubałówka in the Tatra Mountains
Szczecin,[1] view north from the Castle tower
Łódź,[1] arts centre and shopping mall at the historic Manufaktura
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 [2]

Auschwitz concentration camp,[3] UNESCO World Heritage Site
Wieliczka Salt Mine,[2] with 1.2 million visitors annually
Medieval Malbork Castle in Malbork,[2] northern Poland
Masurian Lake District,[3] with more than 2,000 lakes. Pictured: marina in Mikołajki resort town

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, Wrocław, Gdańsk, Warsaw, Poznań, Lublin, Toruń and the historic site of Auschwitz - 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. Poland is the 17th most visited country in the world by foreign tourists, as ranked by World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in 2012.[4]

History[edit]

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 attractions of Poland[edit]

Poland, especially after 1989 and joining of 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,[5] out of the total number of 66.2 million foreign visitors.[6] 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).[7]

Natural environment[edit]

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.

Tourist destinations by city[edit]

Historic buildings and places[edit]

Castles[edit]

Popular villages[edit]

Cultural events[edit]

Tourist resorts[edit]

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 touristical 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 Beskides or Szczawnica and Krościenko in Pieniny mountains.

Transportation in Poland[edit]

Since the fall of communism transportation in Poland has been improving. There is acceptable tourist infrastructure, especially in larger cities and in major tourist resorts. Most major Polish cities (e.g. Cracow, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk and Szczecin) have airports with connecting services with the Frédéric Chopin International Airport in Warsaw. Intercity travel includes the PKP's Intercity train, Przewozy Regionalne, local trains (Koleje Dolnośląskie, Szybka Kolej Miejska (Tricity), Koleje Mazowieckie, and other) and PKS's overland bus. There are also coach connections to other countries provided by various companies. Connections by ferry to Sweden through the Baltic Sea are for example from Gdynia and Świnoujście.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k TripAdvisor. "Top 10 Destinations – Poland". Travelers' Choice 2013 (Winners). TripAdvisor.ca The world largest travel site. pp. 1 of 10. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d The Touropia Team (2013). "10 Top Tourist Attractions in Poland". Touropia “best of” lists. Touropia. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Touristrack. "10 Famous Tourist Attractions In Poland You Must Visit". Central Europe. TourisTrack.com. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  4. ^ UNWTO Tourism Highlights "International Tourist Arrivals by County of Destination (Poland)". UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. World Tourism Organization. 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  5. ^ Information about tourism in Poland (in Polish). Source: Instytut Turystyki, 2008.
  6. ^ GUS (2008). "Przyjazdy do Polski (Foreign visits to Poland)". Statistics (in Polish). Instytut Turystyki. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  7. ^ 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 December 31, 2012. 
  8. ^ Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa, "Wrocław – zespół historycznego centrum." (Polish)

Further reading[edit]

  • Kaszynski, Tadeusz, Through Europe to Poland by Car, 1st and rev. ed., New York, 1968