Malbork © DerHexer
Malbork Castle is a classic example of a medieval fortress: it is the world's largest brick castle and one of the most impressive in Europe. Invited by the Polish Royalty to help suppress the pagan tribes in the area, the Teutonic Knights built the castle in 1276 and slowly began to establish themselves as fearsome rulers, taking control of most of Poland until, after several 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
Transport: 31 miles (50km) from Gdansk by train or bus