Malbork Castle is a classic example of a medieval fortress: it is the world's largest brick castle and one of the most impressive of its kind in Europe. Invited by the Polish Royalty to help suppress the pagan tribes in the area, the Teutonic Knights built the immense castle in 1276 and slowly began to establish themselves as fearsome rulers, taking control of most of northern Poland until, after several unsuccessful attempts to rid the country of the Knights, they were defeated at the Battle of Grunwald in 1410. The medieval belief that the bigger the fortress, the more powerful those within is clearly illustrated by this immense brick stronghold, incorporating a system of multiple defence walls with gates and towers. The interior includes arcaded courtyards, chapels, a treasury, the Knights' Hall and an armoury. The castle houses several exhibitions, including displays on the stronghold's history, and collections of tapestries, coins and medals, medieval sculptures and weapons. During summer the courtyard is used as a venue for sound and light shows. Guided tours are available and there are audio guides for those who prefer to explore independently, although the number of audio guides is limited. The grounds are also lovely and wonderful for a stroll.
Address: Ul. Staroscinska 1
Telephone: (0)55 647 0800
Transport: 31 miles (50km) from Gdansk by train or bus
Opening times: Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 7pm (April 13 to September 15); and from 10am to 3pm (September 16 to April 12).
Admission: Summer: 39,50 PLN (adult). Winter: 29,50 PLN (adult). Concessions available.