Tucked away on the northeast edge of coastal Poland, just a few kilometres shy of Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave, Frombork is actually in Warmia (we won’t tell if you don’t) but is included here due to transport links with Pomerania. Its impressive walled complex overlooking the tranquil town and the water beyond is what people come here to see, and the town makes for an enjoyable day trip from Elbląg or even Gdańsk if you plan things right.
Alighting from the bus on the main road, what looks like a castle above you is, in fact, a cathedral, established by the Warmian bishops in the 13th century after a forced departure from nearby Braniewo, following an uprising of pagan Prussians. Later, from 1466 to 1772, Frombork was part of Poland, before it shifted to Prussian control as Frauenburg.
The town took a serious pummelling in WWII, but the cathedral miraculously survived. Frombork was repopulated by Poles exiled from territories annexed by the Soviet Union and many locals speak passable Russian to this day.
The complex is the main draw in Frombork, but the icing on the cake is its association with Nicolaus Copernicus. It was here that he spent the latter half of his life and conducted most of the observations and research for his heliocentric theory. Copernicus was buried in the cathedral, having survived just long enough to have the first printed copy of his great work placed in his hands – or so the legend goes.