Poland tops CNN’s list of places to visit in 2023

The Wawel Castle. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Stanislau 93

CNN Travel’s list of places to visit in 2023 is out with Poland coming on top. Here’s why.

Having mentioned Hotel Verte, a new Autograph Collection property in Warsaw, set in a “humongous Baroque palace”, CNN Travel’s Julia Buckley noted that there was a better reason for visiting Poland in 2023 than just that.

“The reason you should visit Poland in 2023 isn't for the chance to stay in a place fit for royalty. It's to show solidarity with a country which has, in turn, shown solidarity to the people of Ukraine,” CNN Travel wrote.

Buckley went on to underscore that given Poland’s geographic location, “Poland has taken in more Ukrainian refugees than anywhere else.”

In the city

Among the best places to visit are Polish cities, each distinct because of its history, architecture and custom. If you want to see a city that was razed to the ground during WWII and then reborn like a phoenix from ashes, Warsaw is a must. It’s also where the Royal Castle, the Łazienki Park and the Wilanów Palace are located, each dazzling visitors with its splendour and impeccable taste free from monumental grandiosity.

Then there’s Kraków and its Wawel Dragon Statue spitting fire right underneath the Wawel Castle – a quintessential pearl of architecture that cuts through different architectural periods. Make sure to wander into the streets of Kraków Old town and visit the cute souvenir shops. Don’t forget to treat yourself to a bagel — Kraków’s trademark traditional fast food.

You can also visit Wrocław and its dwarves. Make sure to see the zoo too, as it is having whooping success in reproducing listed species. In Poznań, you can visit Ostrów Tumski – Poland’s first-ever cathedral and have fun around the city’s always vivid Old Town.

In the bosom of nature

But, while you visit Poland, make sure to venture into one of its natural reserves. Poland has all the wonders of nature you can think of, ranging from the shores of the Baltic Sea, the Mazury Lake District also known as the Land of a Thousand Lakes, the primaeval forest of Białowieża and the mountain ranges to the south of the country.

Those wishing to soothe their senses would love a walk in the coastal forests up north. With the wind caressing your skin and the smell of needles and sap submerging you in a free-of-charge aromatherapy, this is the place to rediscover your zen state of mind. While you’re there, make sure to visit the Wolin National Park or the Słowiński National Park.

The Mazury Lake District is a Mekkah for sweetwater sailors and backpackers. Rent a yacht and set out on a quest of exploring every nook and cranny of Poland’s largest lake Śniardwy. And after a long day, set up a bonfire and share food and stories under a starlit sky.

To the northwest of the country lies the Białowieża Forest where you can walk with wolves, European bison, wild grouse and other animals at large.

And if you are a high-achiever, test your stamina by trying to conquer as many peaks as possible.

To see what other places are featured in CNN’s list, click here.