Are you ready to take a tour of Poland's castles? These monuments preserve a memory of the past when knights did battle, villages required defense against invasion, and attack was imminent. The castles that still stand strong and proud in the Polish landscape tell this intriguing story and keep it alive for visitors.
Poland is home to castles from all eras and of all shapes, sizes, and levels of preservation. Some have been carefully renovated; others have fallen into ruin. Many are museums for the curious daytripper; others act as hotels. Castles located in destination cities are easily accessed, while those in the countryside may require a car and a good map.
If castles interest you, Poland has them aplenty, and it's proud of these medieval structures at which history-changing events occurred and from which powerful figures administered. If you're planning a trip to Poland, it's worth noting which castles are possible to visit. For an overview of some of Poland's most interesting castles, enter the following gallery to view pictures and read information about each of the structures included. It's like time travel at your computer.
Barbican Castle in Warsaw Poland
The Warsaw Barbican is the second largest barbican, or semi-circular, fortified outpost, in Poland. The Krakow Barbican is the largest, but the Warsaw Barbican is still a structure worth making a visit to.
The Warsaw Barbican, built with increasingly stronger fortifications from the 14th century to the 16th century, was intended to protect the city from cannonball fire. The outermost gate (the New Town Gate), built in 1548, is the curved structure that finalized construction of this important fortification.
Poland Castles - Bedzin Castle Poland
Poland's Bedzin Castle, located in the village of Bedzin in the south of Poland, dates from the 14th century. At that time, the original wooden fort was replaced with the stone fortification, ruins of which can be visited today. The castle gradually fell into disuse over the centuries, its defensive purposes waning in importance.
This Polish castle is now a museum in which visitors can explore the history of Bedzin Castle and the surrounding region.
Bielsko-Biala Castle Museum, Poland
The oldest parts of the Bielsko-Biala Castle date back to the 14th century, but many additions and modifications were made in the successive centuries. The interior of the castle holds exhibitions of rooms decorated in period styles as well as art spanning from the 15th to the 20th centuries. Historical exhibits, as well as those depicting the local lifestyle are also on display.
Ciechanow Castle, Poland
This 14th-century castle is the town of Ciechanow's pride. Built over three generations of Mazovian princes, Ciechanow Castle maintains its Gothic architecture, even though a Renaissance-style wing was added later by one of the castle's owners.
The town Ciechanow has other sights besides the castle that will interest visitors, like the town hall, parish church, monastery church, and belfry. During its 1000-year-plus history, Ciechanow was on Europe's Amber Road, the trade route that ran from north to south.
Gniew Castle, Poland
Gniew Castle, a castle from the 13th-14th centuries, has actually been reconstructed recently to preserve medieval heritage in the region. Gniew Castle has become a center for events and education about the Middle Ages in Poland, and visitors to the castle can enjoy reenactments, exhibitions, and other recreational activities at Gniew.
Janowiec Castle and Museum Poland
This 16th-century Polish castle is now the site of a Castle Interiors Museum and Open Air Architecture Museum. Much of the castle, both inside and out, has been restored and recreated for an authentic experience that visitors will find both entertaining and educational. Other parts of the castle have been left in ruin; the castle's skeleton can be seen overlooking the town of Janowiec.
Poland's Kornik Castle Museum and Library
Located near Poznan, Kornik Castle has undergone extensive modification from its original 14th-century Gothic architecture to its current Neogothic style. The castle was updated in the 19th century before it was willed to the Polish state by its childless owner. The castle is now a museum housing historic exhibitions and an art collection, but it also contains one of the most important scientific libraries in Poland, the Kornik Library.
The nearby arboretum is open to visitors and boasts over 3000 varieties of plants.
Lazienki Palace Museum Warsaw, Poland
The 17th-century Lazienki Palace is located in Warsaw. Situated in a picturesque park, the Lazienki Palace is also called "The Palace on the Isle." While it was damaged extensively during WWII, the exterior and the interior of the Warsaw Lazienki Palace has been carefully restored. The museum features artwork and furniture collections that are of historic significance.
The extensive gardens feature various outhouses built on the palace grounds - a hunting lodge, a theater, pavilions, sculptures, and monuments are just a few of the sites of interest that visitors to Lazienki Palace will encounter.
Leczyca Castle Poland
As with many of Poland's castles, construction of Leczyca castle began in the 14th century. The castle's exterior changed over time, but it was finally converted to a museum in the middle of the 20th century. Parts of the castle that had fallen into disrepair were restored soon after. The castle hosts knights' tournaments and a film festival in its courtyard.
Leczyca has many other tourist attractions, like churches, an Orthodox cemetery, medieval city walls, and the presence of well-maintained folk culture. Visitors can purchase souvenirs from Leczyca and learn about traditional life in this Polish town.
Leczyca Town and Castle Brochure (PDF format, English - with pictures and maps)
Malbork Castle Museum Poland
Malbork Castle Museum is a well-organized and well-maintained castle complex and museum. Both permanent and temporary exhibitions are on display year round. These exhibitions focus on both life at Malbork castle as well as history and the traditional culture of Poland. Malbork Castle is one of Poland's World Heritage sites.
Malbork was originally a castle for the Teutonic Knights. Known as the largest Gothic fortified structure in Europe, it consists of the High, Middle, and Low Castles. Malbork castle was extensively damaged during WWII but has since been restored, for the most part, to its previous state.
Pieskowa Skala Castle, Poland
Ksiaz Castle, Poland
Ksiaz Castle is located in Poland's Lower Silesia region, which is in the southwest part of the country. The castle's long history has seen construction and reconstruction, Nazi confiscation, and renovation. Today, guided tours take visitors through Ksiaz Castle. A virtual tour and information about opening hours of the castle can be found at the Ksiaz Castle information page.
Niedzica Castle, Poland
Niedzica Castle is a 14th-century castle located in the south of Poland and overlooks Czorsztyn Lake. It is also known as Dunajec Castle. It is one of Poland's most beautiful castles and is set in a romantic landscape. Photographers have long found Niedzica Castle a worthy subject matter. This castle contains a museum that illustrates the history of the castle and the region of Poland to which it belongs.
Golub-Dobrzyn Castle, Poland
Golub-Dobrzyn Castle was built in the 14th century by Teutonic Knights. The castle contains a restaurant and rooms for guests, as well as a museum that preserves historic artifacts. Jousting tournaments are held at this castle, as well. The Golub Castle website offers more information in Polish and in English.