Top 15 castles to visit in Poland
Poland is a small in size country located in the heart of Central Europe surrounded by powerful countries such as Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Poland’s official language is Polish.
While many other European countries are known to have incredible castles Poland is no exception as there are hoards of magnificent castles, palaces, and country homes. Here are the top 15 castles and ruins with rich historical significance to Poland.
1. Niedzica Castle
We all have always wondered how life must have been in the medieval times, well here is a chance for you to dress in traditional monk’s robes and dine on an authentic medieval feast using your hands and old-fashioned wooden utensils in this 14th-century castle. The feasts are accompanied by medieval dancing and jousting completions.
Niedzica Castle was built between 1320 and 1326 by Kokos of Brezovica, a Hungarian man. It is located on a hill overlooking the mouth of the Dunajec River and hence it’s also known as “Dunajec Castle.” For many years it was the centre of Polish-Hungarian relations.
2. Malbork Castle
Explore one of the largest castles in the world, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its impressive Gothic architecture style and statues of the knights of the Teutonic Order. Witness a reenactment of the Battle of Grunwald, a significant battle that took place in 1410.
Malbork Castle’s official name is the Castle of the Teutonic Order. It was built between the 13th and 15th century by the Teutonic Knights as a defensive fortress. It is located in the north of Poland on a peninsula between two rivers.
3. Moszna Castle
Interesting fact Moszna literally translates to “scrotum” but there is nothing hairy about this incredible picturesque castle that has served as a backdrop for numerous films, music videos and photoshoots. Mosnza Castle has often been described as a fairy tale castle mostly due to its famous 99 spires.
The castle was built in the 17th century in the traditional Baroque style in southern Poland. However, over the years as the castle has grown in size it has incorporated a Gothic- style wing and a Renaissance Wing. It covers an area of 7,000m2 and has a large park.
Today you can feel like one of those fairy tale characters living in one of the most beautiful castles in the word by booking a room in this castle turned to a hotel with 365 rooms. Also, learn of the well-documented history of building.
4. Wawel Royal Castle
The castle that was once a symbol of Polish statehood and today it is one of the most historically important sites in Poland as it houses a museum with five sections the Royal Private Apartments, State Rooms, Lost Wawel and the Exhibition of Oriental Art, and the Crown Treasury & Armory.
One of the largest castles in Poland the Wawel Royal Castle displays nearly all European architectural styles of medieval, renaissance and baroque periods. Due to its location on top of a hill, it provides a panoramic view of the surrounding city below.
Used as the official royal residence between the 14th and 18th century when Kraków was Poland’s capital city. The castle got its name from the limestone hill in the center of the city known as Wawel.
5. Kórnik Castle
If you believe in ghosts then you will definitely fall in love with Kórnik Castle, the creepiest castle in Poland. Local legend says the palace is haunted by the spirit of a well-educated woman who roams the castle at night mourning the loss of her beloved. Several people claim to have seen Teofila, name given to the ghost.
Constructed in the 14th century, it was renovated to its current neogothic style in 1855 by architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel for Tytus Dzialynski and the son Jan Kanty Dzialynski. Upon Jan’s death, the castle was inherited by his brother-in-law, Wladyslaw Zamoyski. In 1924 Wladslaw died and in his will, he gave the castle, along with an extensive art collection and the Kórnik Arboretum to the Polish state.
6. Warsaw Royal Castle
If you are a history buff this is a great castle to visit as it is rich in historic collection. Within the castle’s striking brick-red walls are beautiful ancient furniture and paintings from the 18th century that decorates the castle. Also, the rooms have been restored to their former glory with the highlight being the Great Assembly Hall’s ceiling which is adorned with a huge fresco title The Disentanglement of Chaos.
Originally the castle was the royal residence between the 16th to 18th century after the royal court was relocated from Karsaw to Warsaw. This castle was completely destroyed during the Second World War by the Germans. It was reconstructed in 1980 because of the communist regime and is located in Poland’s capital.
7. Pieskowa Skała Castle
The castle boasts of a well-manicured picturesque park, a well persevered magnificent castle that is complemented with an interesting looking stone called the Hercules’ Club due to its characteristic shape and appearance. It houses a regional branch of the Wawel Royal Castle National Art Collection that exhibites European art.
This castle was built in the second half of the 14th century under the order of King Casimir “the Great” to protect merchants who worked the busy trade route running from Lviv through Kraków to Wrocław. The castle also formed part of the Eagle’s Nests, a trial of 25 medieval fortifications built by Casimir the Great in the 14thcentury between Częstochowa and Kraków. It is called the Eagle’s Nest trail because the majority of the defensive castles are located on inaccessible large hills or limestone cliffs.
8. Będzin Castle
Będzin Castle is a poignant reminder of Poland’s sad past. A time when the castle was witness to numerous battles and sieges taking place in the region. In the 17th century, it was ravaged by the Swedish military forces. During World War II the Nazi seized the castle and targeted the local Jewish population.
Despite its sad history today the castle has been transformed and today it houses the Museum of Coalfield with an extensive collection of old weapon. It is also home to the 20 m high stone observation tower that was built in the 13th century. For those who are daring enough the tower provides a great aerial view of the surrounding below.
Constructed in the 11th century the castle was wooden however it was replaced in the 14th century by a stone version so that it can be part of the Eagle’s Nest. It is located on a high rock over the Czarna Przemsza River. In the 19th century, it was renovated to its current Romantic-style.
9. Krzyżtopór Castle, Ujazd
While the castle is yet to be restored, you can explore the spooky and surreal ruins of the palace where black magic was once practiced. This is no place for the faint hunted as the castle is full of ancient witch tales.
The castle was originally built by Krzysztof Ossoliński, a nobleman, between 1631 and 1644. It is located in the village of Ujazd. The design was based on numbers found in the calendar. As Poland’s official travel site explains, “The castle had as many windows as there are days in a year, as many chambers as there are weeks, as many rooms as there are months and as many towers as there are seasons of the year.”
10. Kwidzyn Castle
Since 1950 the castle was put in the care of a newly established museum. In 1973 this museum functioned as a branch of Malbork Castle. The expositions held in the castle aim to introduce visitors to the history, heritage and landscape of the lower Vistula region. You will also love exploring the underground medieval crypts and the historic Pomesanian cathedral.
Kwidzyn Castle is a Gothic style architecture constructed in the 13th century by the Teutonic Knights. After it served as the home for Pomeranians, a Prussian clan. In the 16th century after the break of the Pomeranian Chapter, the castle became the seat of various state offices.
11. Ogrodzieniec Castle
Local folklore says that the castle is haunted by the “Black Dog of Ogrodzieniec” Witnesses say that the dog lurks in the ruins at night pulling a heavy chain. The dog is to be the soul of the Castellan of Kraków.
It is a 14th century ruined castle in the semi-mountainous highland region of Jura in south-central Poland. It is located along the Trail of the Eagle’s Nest. After World War II, steps to prevent the total ruin of the castle was put in place. Today when you visit the castle you can see fragments of the renaissance fresco of lilies on the bottom floor.
12. Goluchów Castle
From a stunning landscape park that surrounds the castle, a French Renaissance style exterior that was inspired by the renowned Loire Châteaux to an impressive interior with ancient Gothic rooms and artifacts that date as back as the 3rd and 7th century. The castle has just about everything that you need to make you feel like royalty in the medieval times.
This opulent castle was built in the late 16th century by the Leszcynski’s family. Centuries later it was acquired by Izabela of the Czartoryski’s who transformed it to its current French Renaissance style with the assistance of French architect Maurice August Ouradou and his Polish assistant Zygmunt Gorgolewski.
13. Czocha Castle
Today this castle is home to wizards where Harry Potter’s films come to life via live-action wizard role-playing games and other wizard tournaments hence its nickname, Polish Hogwarts. If you are fun or would like to learn about wizardry this is a castle that you must visit as it hosts The College of Wizardry.
It was originally a defensive castle whose construction began in the 13th century and took a whole century to complete. It was commissioned by Wenceslaus I of Bohemia. The castle is located on Gneiss Rock on Lake Leśnia.
14. Bolkow Castle
This enormous castle is the host of different events but the most popular is the annual rock music festival. The castle has a Renaissance exterior and an interior that is guaranteed to leave you speechless from its grand rooms to its ancient artifacts on display.
Today the castle is known to have a stunning exterior but this was not always the case. Originally the castle was a simple plain stone fortress when it was constructed In the 13th century. In the 16th century architect, Jakub Parr added some Renaissance touches to it and the result is the current stunning Bolkwon Castle.
15. Ksiaz Castle
You can just imagine how magnificent this castle truly as if Hitler himself wanted to make it his residence. In 1941, the castle was seized by the Nazis and soon after started the construction of a 50 m deep bunker, which was not completed, in preparation for Hitler to settle in. Maybe the legendary ghost of the last princess who lived in the castle spooked them away.
Ksiaz Castle is also referred to as the Pearl of Lower Silesia. Constructed in the 13th century on a wooded hilltop in the city of Walbrzych. In recent years two explorers publicized that they had identified a secret tunnel that supposedly led to a train loaded with Nazi gold and treasures. No gold has yet been found but you can try your luck by visiting the castle and searching for the gold, who knows you might be the next millionaire.