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Castles are really special – beautiful, historical, and unique. The countryside of Poland is varied and gorgeous, with rivers, towering mountains, lakes and meadows and Europe’s largest primeval forest, settings that perfectly complement its 502 castles (and more than 2,500 palaces). Many of the castles in Poland were built in the 13th century by the Knights of the Teutonic Order, a religious military organization founded to provide protection and security to Catholics in eastern Europe and on pilgrimages to the Holy Land. Some are in ruins, while many others have been rebuilt in different styles or extensively restored. Some are fortresses while others have fairytale charm.

Opening hours, available tours and prices all vary; April-September is the high season with reduced hours in the low season. Many castles are closed on Mondays. Check the Visitor Information link for each one before you go.

21 Incredible Castles in Poland

Here is the list of our top 21 castles in Poland. We chose these based on historical or cultural importance as well as sheer beauty. The first three are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and should be on your list. Click here to view our strategies for seeing the most castles in Poland.

Malbork Castle in Poland

1. Malbork Castle

Malbork, northern Poland (near Gdańsk)

🏛️ UNESCO World Heritage Site
🇵🇱 National Historic Monument

Built in 1274 by the Teutonic Knights, Malbork is the world’s largest castle in land area and should be on your “don’t miss” list. The mighty medieval red brick fortress sits on the River Nogat and is really three castles in one.

🎟️ Tickets are available for both Malbork and Kwidzyn Castle, which is 24 miles away and easily accessed by bus or train.

  • Don’t miss the historical event called “The Siege of Malbork” during the last weekend of July.
  • It is an easy day trip from Gdańsk, either by organized tour or by train. The drive out to Malbork takes less than an hour.

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Wawel Castle Krakow

2. Wawel Royal Castle

Kraków, Poland

🏛️ UNESCO World Heritage Site
🇵🇱 National Historic Monument

Built on Wawel Hill, Wawel Castle is the second-largest in Poland. Along with Wawel Cathedral, the Royal Palace, Dragon’s Den and a museum, they comprise the most historically and culturally significant site in Poland and is a must-see when you are in Kraków.

  • Don’t miss the Summer Music Festival! At dusk, there are concerts in the courtyard illuminated with changing lights and colors.

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Royal Castle Warsaw

3. Royal Castle

Warsaw, Poland

🏛️ UNESCO World Heritage Site
🇵🇱 National Historic Monument

Built in the 15th century, the Royal Castle in Warsaw served as the residence of Mazovian princes. Later it served as the seat of the king and the administration when the capital was moved from Krakow to Warsaw in 1611. The castle has undergone numerous renovations since its destruction during World War II. Highlights of the interior include original paintings by Rembrandt and the canvases of Bernardo Bellotto (Canaletto), which architects used during the reconstruction of Warsaw after World War II. The castle attracts over half a million visitors a year.

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Looking for things to do in Warsaw? Check out this post!

Łańcut Castle in Poland

4. Łańcut Castle

Łańcut, southeastern Poland (near Rzeszów)

🇵🇱 National Historic Monument

One of the most famous aristocratic residences in Poland, Łańcut has striking architecture, exquisite interiors, and extensive art collections. Built in the 17th century and surrounded by a magnificent English-style park, it also features a unique collection of horse-drawn carriages, stables and an orchid house. For classical music lovers, the Łańcut Music Festival takes place here every June.

☦️ Łańcut has the largest collection of Ukrainian Orthodox Art in Poland.

  • Łańcut is less than 2 hours’ driving from Kraków and about 15 minutes driving from Rzeszow, the capital city of Subcarpathian province. Driving is quite easy, as there is a highway from Kraków, Wrocław and Katowice.

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Plan Your Trip?

Need help planning your trip from start to finish? Check out these helpful links:

Cheap flights
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Kwidzyn Castle in Poland

5. Kwidzyn Castle

Kwidzyn, northern Poland (near Gdańsk)

🇵🇱 National Historic Monument

Built in the 14th century, Kwidzyn Castle is an excellent specimen of medieval architecture. The arched bridge that links two towers looks awkward, but a river once flowed underneath it.

🎟️ Tickets are available for both Kwidzyn Castle and Malbork, which is 24 miles away and easily accessed by bus or train.

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Kórnik Castle in Poland

6. Kórnik Castle

Kórnik, west-central Poland (near Poznań

🇵🇱 National Historic Monument

Surrounded by a moat and accessed by a wooden drawbridge, elegant Kórnik Castle was built in the 14th century. It houses one of the top five libraries in Poland, and was fortunate to largely escape the destruction of the war. The surrounding gardens and lake are very beautiful. Kórnik is about a two-hour drive from Wrocław.

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Krasiczyn Castle in Poland

7. Krasiczyn Castle

Krasiczyn, southeastern Poland (near Rzeszów)

🇵🇱 National Historic Monument

This lacy Renaissance castle was built in the 16th century in the shape of a square with four domed towers. Currently you can only tour it with a guide in a group of five or more. The tour includes the courtyard, the beautiful Chapel of the Assumption of Mary, crypts in the Divine Tower, and the Hunter’s Pavilion. The castle is surrounded by an extensive park which is included in the tour or without the castle tour at a reduced price. Add-ons include the Torture Chamber and the Clock Tower.

🛏️ A wing of Krasiczyn includes a hotel – check rates and availability!

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Pieskowa Skała castle

8. Pieskowa Skała

Sułoszowa, southern Poland (near Kraków)

A well-preserved Renaissance castle built in the 14th century atop a limestone cliff, it remained in the hands of prominent Polish families until becoming property of the state after World War II. It is the only Renaissance castle on the ‘Trail of the Eagles’ Nests’. Pieskowa Skała is located within the boundaries of the Ojców National Park and is an easy day trip from Kraków.

⭐ Pieskowa Skała was featured on The Amazing Race in 2006.

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Pszczyna Castle - Katowice

9. Pszczyna Castle

Pszczyna, southwestern Poland (near Katowice)

🇵🇱 National Historic Monument

Pszczyna Castle began its life as a Gothic castle in the 13th century. It was later rebuilt in the 17th century in the Renaissance style, then again as a palace in Classical-Baroque style. Uniquely, most of the interior contents are original, which in Poland is quite rare given the destruction of the war. Don’t miss the elegant Mirror Room, which often hosts musical events. Pszczyna is an easy day trip from Katowice or Kraków, and just a 20-minute walk from the train station.

🌳 Be sure to walk around the charming Romantic-style park, with its small ponds and picturesque bridges.

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Czocha Castle

10. Czocha Castle

Sucha, southwestern Poland (near Wrocław)

🛏️ You can stay here!

Designed as a fortress in the 13th century, Czocha Castle is today known as the “Polish Harry Potter Castle,” even hosting a College of Wizardry at one time.

🍺 Look for mead-tasting events hosted by the castle’s wine cellar!

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Gołuchów Castle in Poland

11. Gołuchów Castle

Central Poland (near Poznań)

A Renaissance castle built in the 16th century, later reconstructed in French Renaissance style, with towers, turrets and an inner courtyard. Gołuchów Castle has belonged to several well-known Polish noble families over the years. Although it was looted by the Germans and Soviets during the war, some paintings were recently discovered in Spain and returned. The castle underwent extensive renovations in 2022-2023.

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Książ Castle

12. Książ Castle

Wałbrzych, southwestern Poland (near Wrocław)

Książ Castle is the third-largest in Poland, after Malbork and Wawel Castles. The castle overlooks the gorge of the Pełcznica river and is one of Wałbrzych’s main tourist attractions. Occupied by the Nazis, then plundered by the Soviets, it still endures as a Polish treasure. In 2018, citizens voted it one of the Seven Wonders of Poland, a list created on the country’s 100th anniversary of independence. There are 12 massive garden terraces so be sure to wander the grounds.

🏰 Don’t miss the tour of the mysterious underground tunnels, opened in 2018!

  • Książ Castle is an easy day trip from Wrocław. There is a regional train that takes about an hour – be sure to stop at Wałbrzych Szczawienko station. From there it’s about a two mile walk, or you can catch public bus number 8 or 12 to Książ. 

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Moszna Castle Poland

13. Moszna Castle

Moszna, southwestern Poland (near Opole)

A fanciful castle of white stone featuring 99 towers and 365 rooms, Moszna is very popular. Built in the 13th century, it evolved over time to its present appearance, changing hands several times over. Located between Katowice and Wrocław, Moszna is an easy day trip from Krakow, or you can simply book a room and stay there!

🪄 Check the event calendar for fun events like the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Sightseeing at the School of Magic, and Holidays with Ghosts.

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Ogrodzieniec Castle Poland

14. Ogrodzieniec Castle

Podzamcze, southwestern Poland (near Katowice)

Built in Silesia in the 14th century as part of the Trail of the Eagles’ Nests’, Ogrodzieniec Castle was destroyed during the Swedish invasion in the mid-17th century. With their intricate stonework, imposing turrets, and spectacular vistas of the surrounding landscape, the ruins are hauntingly beautiful.  For people interested in Polish history and medieval architecture, Ogrodzieniec Castle is one of the most impressive medieval ruins in the country. The castle is an easy day trip from Kraków.

☠️ Legend has it that Ogrodzieniec Castle is haunted by the ‘Black Dog of Ogrodzieniec,’ seen roaming the ruins at night and pulling a heavy chain. 
🎥 Iron Maiden used the ruins of the castle in 1984 in a video. More recently the castle appeared in The Witcher – Netflix’s 2019 series.
🎇 Check the calendar of events for fun events like Balloonade, Evening with Ghosts and International Tournament of Knights.

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Nowy Wiśnicz Castle in Poland

15. Nowy Wiśnicz Castle

Bochnia, southern Poland (near Kraków)

Built in the 14th century, Nowy Wiśnicz has been owned by several aristocratic Polish families over the years. The Italianate fortified structure has four main walls and four towers, along with a Baroque arched gate, along with a beautiful chapel. You can tour the castle, as well as underground passages and a medieval torture museum. The castle is an easy day trip from Kraków.

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Niedzica Castle in Poland

16. Niedzica Castle

Niedzica, southern Poland (near Kraków)

The castle of Niedzica is perched high above the Dunajec River in southern Poland. Widely considered one of the most picturesque castles in the country, Niedzica is a Gothic fort built by a Hungarian in the 14th century to defend the northern border of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Exhibits at the castle include the torture chamber, private bedrooms, the Carriage House (exhibiting antique horse-drawn carriages) and the Granary.

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Będzin Castle in Poland

17. Będzin Castle

Będzin, southwestern Poland (near Katowice)

A stone castle built in the 14th century in the Polish Gothic style, Będzin was part of the Trail of the Eagles’ Nests.’ It has a main tower and chapel, and is surrounded by a moat and accessed by a drawbridge. The castle was rebuilt in the 1950s when it became Zagłębie Museum, which displays a collection of armaments from medieval times through World War II. It is 19 miles from Katowice.

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Lidzbark Warmiński Castle

18. Lidzbark Warmiński Bishops’ Castle

Lidzbark, northeastern Poland (near Olsztyn)

🇵🇱 National Historic Monument

The Lidzbark Bishops’ Castle is a fortified castle from the 14th century. Situated on a river and encircled by a moat, the red brick fortress is one of the most impressive Gothic structures in Poland. Highlights are the dungeon and art gallery.

🔭 Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus lived here in the 1500s.

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Sandomierz Castle

19. Sandomierz Castle

Sandomierz, southeastern Poland (near Kraków)

🇵🇱 National Historic Monument

A medieval fortification built on a hill overlooking the Vistula River, the Castle of Sandomierz was one of 32 castles built by King Casimir the Great in the 14th century to strengthen the country’s defense system. Today the castle is a museum.

♟️ The museum includes ‘Sandomierz Chess,’ an almost complete set of chess pieces from the Middle Ages discovered in 1962.

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Pomeranian Dukes Castle Poland

20. Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle

Szczecin, northwestern Poland

This renaissance castle located in the Old Town of Szczecin was built in the Gothic and Pomeranian Mannerism style in 1428. There are four different castle tours, including a unique illuminations tour at night.

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Tenczyn Castle

21. Tenczyn Castle

Rudno, southern Poland (near Kraków)

Built in the 14th century, this medieval castle was damaged by the Swedes in the 17th century. Open for visits, the tour includes the Barbican, the defensive corridor, the foregate, the Nawojowa Tower, and the courtyard and defensive wall of the upper castle. There is a beautiful view from the Nawojowa Tower. It is said that on a clear day you can even see the Tatra Mountains.

🎶 Don’t miss Summer Jazz Festival events at Tenczyn.

➡️ Click here for Visitor Information!

Map of Castles in Poland

Click on the map below to see an interactive map of all the castles on this list.

map of castles in Poland
Map of Castles in Poland

Strategies to See the Most Castles in Poland

Combination Tickets

Malbork and Kwidzyn

These two castles near Gdańsk are close together and can be accessed with a combination ticket.

Castles Near Gdańsk

  • Malbork Castle
  • Kwidzyn Castle
  • Lidzbark Warmiński
  • Reszel Castle

Castles Near Wrocław

  • Czocha Castle
  • Gołuchów Castle
  • Książ Castle
  • Moszna Castle

Castles Near Kraków

The vast majority of the castles on our list are within a few hours of Kraków.

In Kraków

  • Wawel Royal Castle

Near Kraków or on Trail of Eagles’ Nests

  • Będzin Castle
  • Moszna Castle
  • Niedzica Castle
  • Nowy Wiśnicz Castle
  • Ogrodzieniec Castle
  • Pieskowa Skała
  • Pszczyna Castle
  • Tenczyn Castle

Within a 3-hour Drive

  • Krasiczyn Castle
  • Łańcut Castle
  • Sandomierz Castle

Trail of the Eagles’ Nests

In the 14th century, King Casimir the Great built a 101-mile-long chain of 25 fortified medieval castles from Częstochowa to Wawel Castle in Kraków to defend the southern borders and the capital, which at that time was Kraków. So named because each castle is perched on a rocky outcropping high above the surrounding area, the Trail of the Eagles’ Nests is today considered one of the best tourist trails in Poland. If you take a tour of this trail, you will visit Odgrodzieniec, Pieskowa Skała, and several other castles on the Trail.

Castle Hotels in Poland You Can Stay In

Castles can be massive or charming, quaint or grandiose, quirky, full of history, simple or lavish, but each one is unique. Getting the chance to stay in one makes for a very special stay.

There are many castles in Poland that offer overnight stays. Most are a bit off the beaten path, allowing you the chance to see amazing but more remote parts of Poland. Here are three to fit every budget:

Zamek Reszel Hotel - castles in Poland

📍Budget Option: Zamek Reszel Hotel

This medieval Gothic castle in northeast Poland, has been fully renovated into a modern hotel. Popular with artists, it has a bar and restaurant specializing in regional cuisine. See more…

Pałac Mierzęcin castle in Poland

📍Mid-Range Option: Pałac Mierzęcin Wellness & Wine Resort

Located 1600 ft from a lake, it features golf, horse-riding and archery, as well as a vineyard with locally produced wines. See more…

Palac Pacoltowo castle in Poland

📍Luxury Option: Zespół Pałacowy Pacółtowo

This entire 200-year-old villa is available to rent. Five bedrooms, ideal for families, groups or business events. Located in the northern Poland countryside, it offers horseback riding, pool, spa, cycling, and tennis. See more…

How To Get Around Poland

Train travel is the best way to get around Poland, but if you’re planning to visit a lot of castles, you might consider renting a car.

➡️ Use e-podroznik, the most helpful travel planning website in Poland, to plan your trips. It’s easy!

Renting a Car

Rental cars are readily available. However, most Polish highways — even those between major cities — are of the narrow, two-lane variety. Traffic is common so allow extra time when driving.

➡️ Book your rental with Discover Car – check rates and availability here!

Traveling By Rail or Bus

Train travel via PKP, the Polish state railroad, is usually the quickest and best way to move between big cities or to cover long distances. Use e-podroznik, the most helpful travel planning website in Poland, to plan your trips. It’s easy!

Domestic Flights

LOT, the Polish national airline, offers regularly scheduled flights between the largest cities, including Warsaw, Gdańsk, Kraków, Wrocław and Poznań.

Castles in Poland FAQs

Here are some of the most common questions we are asked about castles in Poland.

What is the most famous castle in Poland?

Malbork Castle near Gdańsk is the most famous castle in Poland. It is the largest castle in the world in area, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site. You should not miss Malbork!

What is the oldest castle in Poland?

Lenno Castle is the oldest castle in Poland. Built in 1160, it is the oldest stone building in Silesia, and thought to be the oldest in the country. Open to visitors, it stands above the town of Wleń and affords stunning views of the surrounding region.

Why are there so many castles in Poland?

Poland has endured a long history of invasions. The very name ‘Poland’ originates from the word ‘plain,’ due to the fact that the country is mostly flat with few natural boundaries. This invited unwanted visitors from Scandinavia in the north, Germany in the west, Russia in the east, and Mongols from the southeast. For this reason, Poland teems with castles and fortresses, which provided a vantage point as well as security from its aggressors.

Today Poland is free and independent, a member of the European Union and an ever stronger voice in NATO. But these castles remain, ready to be explored.

Conclusion: Castles in Poland

With over five hundred castles, each in beautiful settings with a long, rich history, you will have plenty to see, no matter where in Poland you are. From massive fortresses to delicate fairytale structures, Polish castles will charm and beguile you. And when you get tired, you can find one to sleep in!