Poland is one of the largest countries in Europe with a population of over 38 million people. According to Country Ranking, it is visited by approximately 16 million tourists each year (2014), which makes it the 16th most visited state in the world!!!
Still, when I talk to travelers who visit Poland, it seems like most of the time they stick to the same sightseeing route: Cracow, Auschwitz, Wieliczka, Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw and Zakopane. These are the main tourist destinations in the country. They are beautiful and have a lot to offer, without a doubt, but there are so many other places that are just breathtaking but somehow do not get high in the sightseeing rankings.
Here is my list of places that I always recommend to people planning to visit Poland.
This mountain range is situated in the southeastern part of Poland and runs further into Slovakia and Ukraine. Bieszczady mountains are not very high, with Tarnica at 1346 meters being its highest peak. They are rather known for their poloniny, which are wide, open meadows in the upper zone of the mountains used for pasture.
They offer breathtaking views on the surrounding landscape, rarely seen anywhere else in that form. Besides, they are unspoiled, wild and quiet. You may hike for hours sometimes without meeting a single person.
Read my recent article here on traveling around the beautiful Bieszczady mountain region.
I can recommend it to anyone who would like to see long-forgotten places to isolate yourself from the rest of the world. But also for those who loves to hike and stay at beautiful local farm houses which offer an amazing regional cuisine.
Known as Tuchola Forests, this is one of the biggest group of pinewood forests in Poland and Central Europe. Part of the area is the Tuchola Forest National Biosphere Reserve and has been designated by UNESCO in 2010.
Bory Tucholskie are located in the northern part of Poland and lie between the Brda and Wda rivers. The area is covered with low hills and around one thousand lakes formed during the last glacial age.
For me, the Bory Tucholskie is just the perfect summer destination to go with family or friends. You can rent a boat or a kayak on one of those countless lakes or even try some windsurfing if the conditions allow. I go there to spend time in the woods and walk with the dog, pick mushrooms and blueberries and enjoy the beauty of the unspoiled nature surrounding me.
This huge forest covers an area of 1350 km2 and is situated in Kotlina Gorzowska, an area in the northwestern part of Poland. The narrow landform between two rivers Warta and Notec is mainly covered with dunes which forms a labyrinth of valleys and hills. And on its outskirts there are around hundred wonderful lakes.
Puszcza Notecka is located between Gorzów Wielkopolski and Poznan and not far from the German border. Therefore I would recommend it for a weekend trip if you are somewhere in the area. It is great to relax, do some horse riding in those wild woods, go kayaking or just do a barbecue with friends and spend a night in a tent.