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Małopolska

Małopolska, known in English as Lesser Poland, is the sprawling region that brushes up against Kraków. Covering much of the southeast, it’s played an outsized role in Polish history, forming the core of the ancient Polish kingdom. These days, though, it’s mostly passed over by travellers who make a beeline for Kraków and then move on.

That’s a pity. The region is rich in natural beauty, with rolling hills and several national parks. Sandomierz, an ancient Gothic town on a bluff overlooking the Vistula River, is one of Poland’s prettiest places. A close runner-up is the popular weekend destination of Kazimierz Dolny. Zamość is a World Heritage site.

The region is also rich in cultural diversity. Częstochowa is a pilgrimage site for Roman Catholics. To the east, Lublin and Chełm were once home to large Jewish communities, and moving traces of their centuries-long existence and demise are important sights today.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Małopolska.