21 Fun Facts About Poland For True Travel Buffs

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My best friend recently visited her husband who is stationed in Poland. She told me tons of fun facts about the country and now I can’t wait to visit!

These Poland facts are sure to blow your mind and may even help you plan your next trip to Eastern Europe!

1. Poland is Home to the Largest Castle in the World

It may be the largest castle but it’s not the stuff of fairytales.

Malbork castle has a tumultuous past, having been occupied by royal families, the Teutonic Order, and Hitler youth. It has suffered fires and other catastrophes including being bombed in WWII.

Malbork is the largest brick structure in Europe, the largest Gothic building, and the world’s largest castle by land area. Stretching over 52 acres, this 13th century castle/fortress is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

2. Poland Invented Vodka

This is a fact that is hotly contested by Russia, of course.

Yet the fact remains that the first recorded mention of Vodka (gorzałka) was found in 1405 in Polish court documents.

Poland produces some of the finest vodka in the world in large quantities. Recent production data shows Poland produced 1.08 million hectoliters in 2021 alone.

3. Poland is Home to the Last Primeval Forest in Europe

Bialowieża Forest lies between Poland and Belarus, and is the last remaining part of a primeval forest that once stretched across the open fields and plains of Europe.

Entrance to Bialowieża Forest

European Bison (known as zubr or Wisent in the Polish language) call this forest home and also happen to be the heaviest land animal in Europe.

It is a protected forest and National Park in Poland and a wilderness haven for hikers and explorers with a convenient border crossing in the middle if one wishes to cross into the smaller Belarus portion of the forest.

4. Poland has an Upside Down House

If you ever wondered what a house would look like if it was turned upside down, now’s your chance!

Built as a commentary about life in the 1970’s and symbolizing the struggle after Communism, this upside-down house was built by artist and businessman Daniel Czapiewski.

Located in the minuscule town of Szymbark, this site is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

5. Polish People Get Married Sooner

Among European countries, Polish people tend to get married sooner than anyone, at an average age of 25-27.

Couples are unlikely to live together before marriage and it is customary for the young couple to live in a family home for the first couple of years before getting their own place.

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Life is expensive – no judgment here.

6. Poland has a Chapel Carved Entirely from Salt

The salt chapel is located inside one of the world’s oldest salt mines – Wieliczka Salt Mine which is over 800 years old.

Inside a Poland salt chappel

Called the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland, it is full of carvings, and even features chandeliers carved from rock salt! It produced salt for over 800 years until 2007.

It is so culturally significant it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and gets over a million visitors annually.

7. Polish People Love to Party… at Home

Polish people are all about the house party or prywatki.

Often only inviting their close friends, proper etiquette demands that the guests invited to the party will hold the next gathering and invite the host of the current party.

It’s like the party never stops which is just one more reason to have Polish friends.

8. Poland Has One of the Rarest Books in the World

Poland has a copy of the Gutenberg Bible which is one of the oldest, rarest books in the world. Only 9 known copies exist with the original binding from the 15th century.

A copy of the Gutenberg Bible

It is being held in the town of Pelplin at the Roman Catholic Diocesan Museum.

9. Polish People Don’t Celebrate Birthdays

If you were hoping someone will sing you Happy Birthday while in Poland, think again.

However, name day parties (Imieniny) have replaced birthday parties in Poland and are equally awesome.

Everyone who shares a certain name will be celebrated on the same day, and like birthday celebrations, the person being celebrated is treated to presents, flowers, and homemade cake by friends, family, and colleagues.

10. Polish Street Food is Delicious

Poland has some phenomenal, must-try street food.

One of the most popular Polish foods you can get is Zapiekanki – a loaf of bread cut in half, piled high with veggies like onion and mushrooms, and served with your choice of sauce.

People outside cooking Polish street food

For meat lovers, Poland has many types of traditional polish Kiełbasa on offer including kabanosy made from pork, or krakowska which is garlicky and has a nice kick.

If you’re more in the mood for carbs, pick up an obwarzanek around old town in Krakow. It is a delicious filled bread often cooked in a circular shape.

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You also aren’t allowed to leave Poland without trying Pierogi which are Polish dumplings. The good news is you can get them with either savory or sweet fillings depending on your mood!

11. Warsaw Has Been Completely Rebuilt

The capital of Poland was once made a smoldering ruin by the Nazi’s during WWII.

Through meticulous effort and the resolve of the Polish people, Warsaw has been rebuilt to look exactly the way it did before the war.

12. Pol’and’Rock Festival is Free

The biggest music festival held in open-air in Europe is free to attend! It was once known as Woodstock festival and attracts more than half a million people every year.

Pol’and’Rock Festival

If you want to party it up in Poland with some great music, and don’t want to make your wallet cry, this is the music festival for you.

13. You Can Build Sandcastles in Poland’s Desert

Forget the beach! Poland has a huge desert which is sometimes referred to as “Europe’s Sahara” and is the largest sand deposit in Europe away from the coast.

Błędowska Desert was created when a glacier melted and deposited a large amount of sand over 12 square miles. At some points, the sand is 40 meters deep!

Now if I could just find my niece’s pink plastic shovel…

14. Poles Doctor their Beer with Fruit Syrup

Okay, I know how it sounds. But it is actually fantastic.

Chilled raspberry beer in summer and warm cinnamon honey beer in winter – yes, please!

Poles love to add seasonal syrup to beer to make an already refreshing beverage even better. The good news is you don’t have to travel to Poland to try it.

An outdoor beer in Poland with fruit syrup added

You can make it yourself using my fail-safe simple recipe.

Pour a cold beer into a glass with ice. Add raspberry syrup to taste.

That’s it – you’re welcome!

15. Poland Disappeared for 123 Years

Poland was absent on world maps for 123 years because of partitions with Austria, Prussia, and Russia during that time.

Poland didn’t reappear on maps until after the conclusion of World War II.

16. The First Female Nobel Prize Winner is Polish

Madam Curie, born Marie Curie Sklodowska was a Polish-born woman and the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in physics in 1903.

She went on to receive a second Nobel Prize in 1911 for her contributions to the field of chemistry.

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She discovered two elements in her studies, radium and polonium which was named after Poland, her native country.

16. There are No Subtitles for TV Shows in Poland

Poland doesn’t use subtitles – rather they use dubbing for TV shows. Only one actor is used to speak all of the parts in a show in Polish.

This means it may be difficult to differentiate who is speaking if you’re like me and do other things while the TV is on in the background.

17. Nicolaus Copernicus is Polish

The famous mathematician and astronomer was born in Torun, Poland. He brought forth the revolutionary idea that the earth rotates around the sun, not vice-versa.

A statue of Nicolaus Copernicus in Poland

While his model of the Universe was a little off in that the sun isn’t the center of the Universe, his ideas helped to spark the Scientific Revolution which ultimately pushed forward scientific discoveries and laid the groundwork for modern science.

18. Frédéric François Chopin was Polish

One of the world’s most famous composers, Chopin was born in Poland in 1810. He was known as a child prodigy and one of the best pianists of his time.

He preferred performing in small, intimate settings and supported himself primarily by teaching the piano to others.

19. Poland has One of the World’s Oldest Universities

Jagiellonian University has operated continuously since its founding in 1364. It is considered the 13th longest-standing university in the world and Poland’s most prestigious college.

Polish citizens can luckily attend college free of charge!

20. One of the Oldest Restaurants is in Poland

One of the oldest restaurants operating in central Europe is Piwnica Świdnicka, a restaurant that originally opened in 1273 in Wroclaw, Poland.

The front view of Piwnica Świdnicka restaurant

They are famous for their traditional pierogis which must be sampled while visiting Poland!

21. Poland is Part of the European Union

Poland has been a member of the European Union since 2004 and is also a member of the Schengen area.

The Schengen area includes: Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Why is this awesome? This is great for travelers because anyone with a Schengen Visa can enter Poland or any of the other 16 Schengen countries without needing individual Visas.


Christina loves to travel and recently moved from America to Austria to experience everything Europe has to offer. Her passion for travel is rivaled only by her love of writing. Armed with her English degree, she funds her travels writing for several websites including MyCountryFacts!

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