In the heart of Central Europe, Poland has an incredible history and heritage. The architecture of Poland reflects its past, and in no way is that more obvious than when admiring its castles. From ruins with rich historical significance to refurbished and pristine royal residences, Poland has some truly amazing castles to choose from.
From regal residences in the heart of the Polish city of kings, Krakow, to off-the-beaten-track UNESCO sites complete with formidable bulwarks and keeps, here is our list of Poland’s finest castles.
Zamek Ksiaz is one of the fairytale castles in Poland that you should definitely visit, or even stay overnight. It’s located on a clifftop surrounded by forest about 1 hour and 15 minutes drive from Wroclaw.
It was built in the 13th century and was later passed on to Bohemian rulers in the 14th century, to which it belonged to until World War II, when the Nazis seized the Ksiaz Castle. At one point it was even intended to become the headquarters of Adolf Hitler.
Sadly, not much of its medieval features are visible today as most of the castle’s architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neo-renaissance style, but it’s still very beautiful and the location is perfect as a luxurious and relaxing weekend getaway.
NOWY WISNICZ CASTLE
This residential castle and fortress, partially early-Baroque and partially Renaissance in style, belonged to the house of Kmicic., a beautiful castle in southern Poland that was built to protect the Kmita family and then the house of Lubomirski. It has four distinct towers and a large inner courtyard. The main architectural style of the Nowy Wisnicz Castle is Baroque, Medieval and early Renaissance. It is surrounded by a formidable ring of fortifications and gateways. Inside, visitors will be able to admire old pictures of the castle that demonstrate its architectural evolutions, 19th-century furnishings, and artworks, all made by the students from the local Artistic High School.
It’s located just 45 minutes from Krakow, and it can be visited on a day trip.
WAWEL CASTLE - The Royal Castle in Warsaw
This Royal Castle was another residence of Polish royalty, in use between the 16th and the 18th centuries, after the court was relocated to Warsaw from Krakow. Before this period, it belonged to the dukes of the Masovia region.
Unfortunately, the castle was completely destroyed by the German army during World War II and, because of the Communist regime, only finally reconstructed in the 1980s. The castle hosts a collection of the portraits of the Polish kings and a collection of 23 18th-century paintings of Warsaw commissioned by Poland’s last king, S. A. Poniatowski.
This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Krakow, and it dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries. The Wawel Castle has been the home of Polish royalty in the Kingdom of Poland as well as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
It’s one of the country’s most famous landmarks, and it’s a symbol of Polish prevalence. Despite several attacks and damage from time to time, it was always repaired as quickly as possible.
Zamek Gołuchów as it’s known in Polish is quite a unique and beautiful castle in west-central Poland. It was originally built for defending purposes by Rafał Leszczyński but was later rebuilt into French Renaissance style in the 19th century.
Malbork is the largest brick castle in the world and one of the most impressive castles in Poland. It’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was built already in the 13th century.
Between the 13th and the 15th centuries, Malbork Castle was constructed by knights of the Teutonic Order. The castle itself was not just intended to be a private residence: It also served as a fortress. As a result, Malbork Castle is incredibly large, and is today one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. The Gothic castle is situated on a peninsula between two rivers, making it a fantastic spot for defense. Every year, the castle plays host to a reenactment of the Battle of Grunwald, a significant battle that took place in 1410.
Kornik Castle was built in the 14th century and currently features a Gothic Revival architecture. It’s located in the Polish town with the same name – Kornik, which is situated about 25 minutes from Poznan.
This is another Polish castle where you can stay overnight. The Moszna Castle has an impressive architecture that mixes Baroque, neo-Renaissance and neo-Gothic styles.
It’s not one of the most famous castles in Poland, but nonetheless, it’s worth a visit, and what’s even more interesting is the fact that there are 365 rooms and 99 turrets!
This castle is beautifully situated by the water in the southern part of Poland. Niedzica Castle was built in the 14th century and features an interesting history of the Polish-Hungarian friendship that has been ongoing for centuries.
It was here the Hungarian king Sigismund had to return the money that was lent by the Polish King in the 14th century.
A former Teutonic castle that was built in the 13th century. It was restored to its former glory in the late 20th century. Zamek Gniew as its known in Polish is not located far from Malbork Castle, about 40 minutes drive.
Another impressive example of how the Teutonic Knights built their castles. The Kwidzyn Castle is located just 20 minutes away by car from Gniew castle and is today a museum.
This Polish castle is located about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Krakow in the village known as Podzamcze. It was built by the Włodkowie Sulimczycy family in the 14th-15th century and is beautifully situated on a 515.5-meter high hill.
A true medieval castle built in stone in the 14th century. However, legend says that there used to be a wooden structure here before that dated back all the way to the 11th century.
Bedzin Castle is located in southern Poland, just 13 minutes from Katowice.
BARANOW SANDOMIERSKI CASTLE
If you’re into the Renaissance period, then this is a place for you. Zamek w Baranowie Sandomierskim as its called in Polish is one of the best-preserved Renaissance castles in Poland.
The original architect is said to be Santi Gucci, and throughout the years it has been the residence of various noble families. Today, it’s possible as a visitor to stay overnight.
This is one of the castles in Poland where you can stay overnight, which makes it even more special. In Polish, it is known as Zamek Czocha, and its history dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries.
Visitors can see some of the decorated chambers to get a glimpse of history and what life used to look like.
This 14th-century castle is famous for its Gothic architecture that served as the seat to Warmian bishops before it the Teutonic Order received ownership of the Lidzbark Warminski Castle.
It’s located in the city of the same name – Lidzbark Warminski, which is located near the border to Kaliningrad in northern Poland.
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