Kłodzko’s strategic position over the centuries is responsible for its big attraction: a monstrously huge brick fortress, begun by the Austrians in 1662 and only completed two centuries later by the Prussians. It’s the dominant, somewhat apocalyptic, landmark of the town and the best reason to pay a visit, though the Old Town sits on a hillside and its steep winding streets have a charm of their own.

One of the oldest settlements in Silesia, Kłodzko (kwots-koh) started out as a major trade centre thanks to its location on the Nysa Kłodzka River, a tributary of the Odra. Like most settlements in the region, it changed hands every century or so, with Bohemia, Austria and Prussia all having a crack; only after WWII did the town revert to Poland.