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. On your next trip to this historic country, make time to see as many of the following castles in Poland as possible.
As the third-largest of all castles in Poland, Ksiaz Castle is also known as the Pearl of Upper Silesia. Erected in the 13th century, Ksiaz has undergone countless regime changes and has been the site of many historical agreements. Everyone from Russian czars and British dignitaries have spent the night in this historic castle. Today, Ksiaz Castle offers several guided tours each day, and there are even multiple restaurants within the castle walls where you can dine surrounded by centuries-old art and architecture.
In the Lower Silesian Voivodeship is Bolkow Castle, a 13th century structure built as a strong but rather plain stone fortress. In the 16th century, the castle got an upgrade, when an architect named Jakub Parr added some Renaissance touches to Bolkow Castle. This enormous castle was used primarily by monks for centuries, but now it is known for hosting events and even an annual rock music festival.
You might have heard of Czocha Castle recently, because it is sometimes referred to as the Polish Hogwarts. In recent years, this Polish castle has been the site of live-action wizard role playing games, and it goes by the nickname, “The College of Wizardry”. However, the history of Czocha Castle dates well beyond Harry Potter. Built in the 13th century, Czocha Castle is a defensive castle erected right on gneiss rock for longevity. While ransacked during and after World War II, the castle has since been refurbished and transformed into an incredible tourism hotspot.
In the 14th century, the Sulimczyk family decided to construct the incredible Ogrodzieniec Castle. While it was a remarkable structure in its prime, the castle began to fall to ruin by the 19th century. After World War II, steps were taken to prevent the castle’s complete collapse. Today, you can tour the spooky and surreal ruins. You might recognize Ogrodzieniec Castle, because the iconic structure has served as the backdrop for many things, including an Iron Maiden music video in 1984.
The Gothic Kwidzyn Castle is an example of architecture from the Teutonic Knights. After it was built in the 13th century, it served as the residence for Pomesanians, a Prussian clan. It has a stunning and unusual design thanks to a bridge that connects to the castle and serves as a sewer tower as well as a way to cross the adjacent river. You’ll definitely want to explore Kwidzyn Castle to tour the underground medieval crypts, the museum and the cathedral.
In the 11th century, a wooden castle was erected in the town of Bedzin in Southern Poland. By the 14th century, it was replaced with a stone version, the castle that still stands today. Multiple stone walls protect the interior residences and courtyard, which was instrumental in the many battles and sieges taking place at Bedzin. Bedzin was ravaged by Swedish military forces in the 17th century, and then once again by the Nazis during World War II, when the local Jewish population was targeted. Although connected with a sad history, Bedzin Castle is a poignant reminder of Poland’s past.
When Krakow served as Poland’s capital city, the Wawel Royal Castle was the residence of the Polish Royals. From the 14th through to the 18th centuries, Wawel Royal Castle was home to countless monarchs. Built on a bluff called Wawel Hill, the castle offers stunning panoramic views over the city below. Today, the Wawel Royal Castle boasts its original Romanesque design as well as some updated Renaissance features. It also serves as a museum where you can see the royal jewels and other important Polish artifacts.
Found in Poland’s Upper Silesia region, Moszna Castle was built in the 17th century in the traditional Baroque style. In the years since, however, additions have included a Gothic-style wing and a Renaissance wing. With 99 spires, Moszna Castle looks like the quintessential fairytale castle, and it has served as the backdrop for countless films and photoshoots thanks its stunning appearance.
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.
In the 13th century, Niedzica Castle was built in the very south of Poland. It is situated at a significant elevation, indicating it was used for military purposes as well as a private residence. Today, Niedzica Castle is known for more than just its historic architecture. On tours of the castle, you can dress in traditional monk’s robes and dine on an authentic medieval feast, using just your hands and old-fashioned wooden utensils rather than modern metal cutlery. There are often jousting competitions and medieval dancing to accompany these frequent feasts designed to offer a glimpse of the past in Poland.