Broadly speaking, Poland is a vast uninterrupted plain stretching from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Carpathian Mountains in the south. However, the relief does tend to change when you travel from east to west. The landscapes in the north include sand dunes and shallow coastal lakes. The north-eastern part of the country is also called 'Poland's green lung' because of its lush and wild countryside, which comprises a landscape that is unique in Europe. Masuria is home to a large network of navigable waters. In fact, Poland's two largest lakes, Sniardwy and Mamry, are located in this region. The east of the country is covered with miles of marshes, unkempt rivers, reed beds and peat bogs that result in the region often being referred to as the 'Polish Amazon'. Poland's southern border is marked by fragments of two large mountain chains; the Carpathian Mountains and the Sudety Mountains. So in the end you actually have a country with quite the variety of landscapes!
The Polish coastline covers 328 miles from the islands of Usedom and Wolin to the Vistula Peninsula. Fairly level all the way through, the coastline does split up into cliffs, dunes and peninsulas in some places. All along the Polish coastline you will find an excellent hotel and tourist infrastructure. The town of Sopot on the eastern section of the coast is the most popular seaside resort. Unlike the coasts of the southern seas, the Baltic climate here means that you won't have to suffer through exhausting heat and crowds of tourists. The sea air loaded with iodine has for a long time been recognised for its therapeutic virtues and properties. Surrounded by nature, the Baltic coast provides you with somewhere to recharge your batteries and practise many leisure activities, like windsurfing, golfing, horse-riding and kayaking. The Polish coasts are also dotted with numerous national parks which are home to many species of fauna and flora.
Poland is the Central European country where you will find the most diversity in terms of the fauna and flora. The predominance of the plains and the country's temperate climate have allowed for the proliferation of numerous species. The plant life alone includes 2,300 vascular plants, 600 species of moss, 250 hepatic species and about 1,600 species of lichens. Fir trees, beech trees and dwarf birches grow side by side with Eurasian and North-American species, such as the lingonberry tree. Poland's fauna is even richer than its flora, with approximately 33,000 different animal species! It is paradise for fans of animal photography. The kings of the forest are the bison, but unfortunately they were almost exterminated in the 18th century. They were reintroduced in the 1970s and have been fiercely protected since. You can now see these mighty animals in the virgin forests of Knysczyn, Borek and Nieopolomice, in the Pila woods and in the Bieszczady Mountains.
Poland boasts over 450 castles, tokens of the country's history. Royal castles are situated in the cities and Teutonic castles, introduced in Poland in the 13th century, are very representative of the Gothic style of the Polish heritage.
Numerous Polish sites, either natural or man-made are worth a visit. The Wielicza salt mines, in particular, which have been exploited for the past 800 years, and the underground caves of which have been said to have curative virtues against some allergies.