FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019

23 May - 15 June

Five cool things about Poland

© AFP

Krakow (in Polish Kraków)

Krakow, which lies on the banks of the Vistula River, was for centuries the capital of Poland. A visit to this city is unique experience as it is a meeting with the most glorious era in Polish history. Krakow’s Old Town, along with Wawel Castle and the city’s Kazimierz district were placed on the First World Heritage List, created by UNESCO in 1978. Main Square or Main Market Square is the core of Krakow and place where every tourist must go. Designed in 1257, has remained the same since then in terms of the layout and structure. This 40,000-square meter area is considered one of Europe’s biggest medieval square. Wawel Castle is Gothic castle that was built by Casimir III the Great during his reign between 1333 and 1370, with modifications being made by successors. It is one of the most important historic places in Poland, the symbol of Polish royalty which lasted for centuries. Kazimierz was the centre of Jewish life in Kraków for over 500 years, before it was systematically destroyed during World War II. In the communist era it was gradually falling into disrepair. Rediscovered in the 1990s Kazimierz is today Kraków’s most exciting district full of historical sites, cafes and art galleries.

Tatras (in Polish: Tatry)

Tatras is the highest range of the Carpathian Mountains and lie along Poland’s border with Slovakia. Two hours drive from Krakow one finds stunning views and amazing nature as well as skiing in winter and hiking, cave exploration, cycling etc.. through the rest of the year. Visitors to the Tatras go to Zakopane, the biggest Polish mountain resort. The town receives more than three million holiday-makers a year. Zakopane is the best gateway to the whole area. It is difficult to pick Tatras must see places as there are so many like: famous lake called The Morskie Oko (“Sea Eye”) then Czarny Staw lake – both worth to be reached for great views, hiking and climbing. Then Kasprowy peak (1985 meters above sea level) – for a cable car, offering great views and skiing. And last but not least, The Koscieliska Valley – for great views, easy hiking and wildlife.

Warsaw (in Polish: Warszawa)

Its Old Town, which entered UNESCO World Heritage List, is city’s heart since centuries. However, when one cross the Vistula River and look at the Old Town from a distance, is struck by unusual panorama of the city – skyscrapers rise above the red roofs of the Old Town. There are 95 parks with oustanding Łazienki heading the list. In the summer, the famous Chopin Concerts are organized in a unique outdoor setting, while in the historical interiors of the theatre founded by King Stanisław August one can hear music performed by contemporary composers. Interactive museums help to understand the history of the city. One of them is The Warsaw Rising Museum, dedicated to a major World War II operation, in the summer of 1944, by the Polish underground resistance to liberate Warsaw from German occupation. Uprising was fought for 63 days with little outside support. Worth to be mentioned is also The POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which received the prestigious title of European Museum of the Year 2016 and shows Jewish presence in Warsaw throught the centuries. Football fans should also visit National Stadium, home of Polish football national team, one of the most modern and beautiful such places in Europe, arena of EURO 2012 finals.

Tri-City (In Polish: Trójmiasto)

It is not a homogeneous urban entity, but three cities: Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot. A thousand years of history and unique seaside location makes Gdańsk considered one of the most beautiful cities in Poland. Located in the north, at The Baltic Sea coast, at The Motlawa and The Vistula river estuary and the Bay of Gdańsk, it is cultural, scientific and economic centre, with a large commercial port. Gdańsk is the city of freedom, where the ideas of Polish solidarity were born. Sopot: Wide sandy beaches, the status of a health spa and the longest pier in Europe attract lots of tourists, in the summer being one of the most crowded places in Poland. Beautifully situated resort is well-known also thanks to the legendary music festival held in Forest Opera (Opera Leśna). Gdynia: a contemporary port city called The Nautical Capital of Poland. Less than 90 years old, Gdynia is one of the youngest Polish cities. Described as "The city made of sea and of dreams" , it was a dream come true for the people who created it from a tiny fishing village into a big port.

Warmia and Masuria (in Polish: Warmińsko-Mazurskie)

A north-eastern region in Poland. Masuria has over three thousand lakes, the most in the Great Masurian Lakes area. Many of them are connected by channels and rivers, so it is possible to sail hundreds of kilometers. The outstanding natural environment makes Warmia and Masuria a truly unique area. The varied landscape of the lake districts, plateaus, plains and river valleys delight with exceptional views. But Masuria it is not only lakes. Famous Wolf’s Lair is situated right here. It was Adolf Hitler's first Eastern Front military headquarters in World War II. Despite the security, the most notable assassination attempt against Hitler was made at the Wolf's Lair on 20 July 1944.