Thinking of South Poland and of cities worth visiting you can’t get past Krakow, of course not. This is also reflected in the annual tourist figures. And right: Krakow is outstanding with wonderful buildings, a lively cultural scene and very good food. Hence, perfect conditions in order to attract many people.
Another attractive landmark is the city of Wroclaw. The city is located quite close to the German border and has a lot to offer. Wroclaw was “Cultural Capital of Europe” in 2016. Its pivotal point is the so called Rynek, the central market place with a beautiful town hall and private town-houses in baroque style. We reach the city by train and notice to our surprise that the railway station with its tudor-gothic style is already a place of interest. More things worth seeing are the “Salt market”, located close to the Rynek, the Jewish Quarter, which is meanwhile situated within a trendy neighbourhood with hip restaurants and bars. Also the Dominsel (“cathedral island”) is worth visiting, hosting the treasuries of the catholic church. Even though it opens up the question whoever paid for all that luxury and gaudiness.
On the way from Wroclaw to the “Riesengebirge” (Giant Moutains) a stop at Jelenia Gora is recommendable. The market place with it restaurants and bars is quite lively in the evening, everybody is having a good times sitting outside, enjoying some food and of course a (or two) cold beer. Jelenia Gora is moreover a very good starting point to visit the “Hirschberger Tal” (Hirschberger Valley). My suggestion is a round trip among the palaces down there – anybody who is acquainted with the castles of the Loire will love the Hirschberger Valley. Plus: Most of the palaces are hotels by now.
Between Wroclaw and the Riesengebirge (Giant Mountains) a detour to Gleiwitz (Gliwize) is quite nice. As before it is once again the Rynek that’s worth visiting. It is not as magnificent or big as the one in Krakow, however, the “Grand Café” right on the market place might still be an insider’s tip: nice interior, very good homemade cakes and coffee.
Within the Carpathian Mountains I recommend to visit Sanok, not because of the city centre, but because of the Open-Air-Museum, called Skansen. Anybody who is interested in the country’s history and its people will come across a very interesting and well-arranged museum. My tip: Anybody who is craving for dark bread during his holidays should buy one of the fresh-baked sourdough bread at Skansen – delicious.
We were surprised by the cities of Rzeszów and Kielce. Anybody who likes natural, less touristic and still cultural and culinary interesting places, I recommend both spots warmly to you. It is in these cities where you can get to know unbiased Polish life. At Kielce, the national museum, a former Benedictine cloister, is unique.
One last stop on our way back to Wraclaw is Oppeln (Opole). In our opinion, Oppeln is not a must-see. It has a nice Rynek as well as some nice houses though; however the number of places of interest is rather unexceptional.