Warsaw: Following World War II, the capital has been rebuilt in painstaking detail from 18th century records. Start a city tour at the Old Town Market Square at the Historical Museum of Warsaw. Then visit the 400-room Royal Castle, painstakingly rebuilt and restored; the reconstructed Old Town and Lazienki Park whose Palace on the Water is an 18th century gem. Other entries along what is called the “Royal Route” include the Ujazdowski Castle, which houses the Center for Contemporary Art, and the Wilanow Palace, the 17th century summer retreat of King Jan III Sobieski. When reinventing Warsaw, churches and mansions have been restored and a lively café and trendy boutique scene added.  Location: 250 mi. to the Czech/Slovak borders; 350 mi. from Berlin

Krakow: Poland’s second-largest city is known for its lively arts scene. Musicians perform in the city’s 13th century market square, jazz cellars and theaters, and the arts make themselves at home in the Flemish tapestries at Wawel Castle and contemporary galleries. Walk the Old Town and drop in at the twin-towered St. Mary’s Church, dating from the 13th century. Visit the Renaissance Cloth Hall and see the famous wooden altarpiece of the 13th century St Mary’s Basilica; go outside the city to the medieval Wielczka Salt Mine with walking tours of subterranean lakes, chapels and a church at depths up to 450 feet.  Locator: 180 mi. from Warsaw

Wroclaw: Midway between Krakow and Pozan and sitting by the Odra River, Wroclaw is the major cultural center for southwestern Poland. It is a city known for its 100 canals; old churches including 14th century St. Mary Magdalene; and Old-Market Square, whose centerpiece is the ornate Ratusz (town hall) housing the Museum of Burgher Art. The National Museum is the not-to-miss art center, with its the medieval Silesian art collection and the country’s finest collection of Polish painting.  Locator: 135 mi. from Krakow; 120 mi. from Prague

Gdansk: On the Baltic at the mouth of the Vistula River, Gdansk has been an important seaport for centuries. The city is particularly proud of its 500-year old Cargo Crane and its tallest Astronomical Clock in the world - a 15th century marvel and still operating. Step into the 14th century St. Mary’s Church, a gigantic brick structure that easily accommodates 25,000 people at a single service. In our day, we know Gdansk as the birthplace of the “Solidarity Movement” that ignited the spark that eventually led to the fall of communist regimes throughout Europe.  Locator: 205 mi. from Warsaw

Torun: Unscathed by the battles of World War II, this Hanseatic port city has few Polish rivals in the architectural beauty and preservation of its Gothic churches and burgher mansions. Highlights are the town hall and three superb churches, including the magnificent 15th century stalls in St. Mary’s Church. Of particular interest is a Gothic brick house - now the Copernicus Museum - where where the great astronomer was born.  Locator: 100 miles from Gdansk

Poznan: Located mid-point between Warsaw and Berlin, the Old Town has been beautifully restored; its focal point is the decorative Town Hall, housing the splendid interiors of the Historical Museum. Of particular interest is the Wielkopolska Ethnographic Museum featuring a worthwhile collection of woodcarving and traditional regional costumes.  Locator: 186 miles from Warsaw