Malbork Castle, Poland is one of the most impressive castles you will ever see. It is huge (and I mean really huge, this is actually the largest castle in the world) and the architecture is jaw-dropping. This is definitely one of the places you must visit during your trip to Poland.
I visited Malbork Castle a few times when I was a kid but when you are young you don’t fully appreciate certain things. I remembered I liked it and that was it.
Every time I traveled by train between Warsaw and Gdańsk I looked at the castle when I passed Malbork, promising myself I will eventually revisit it. The crazy year 2020 finally pushed me to go for a trip to Malbork Castle and now I don’t know why I waited so long. This place is really mind-blowing and everyone should visit it!
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Where is Malbork Castle
Malbork Castle is located in northern Poland, not far from Gdańsk (60 km). Warsaw, the capital of Poland is 310 km away.
A brief history of Malbork Castle
Malbork Castle was built in a few stages. The works started already in 1278 after the Teutonic Order, German Catholic crusaders, has conquered the area of Old Prussia. They named the castle “Marienburg” to commemorate Mary, the mother of Jesus.
The Teutonic Order has used the Malbork Castle until 1457 when it was sold to King Casimir IV of Poland. Until the first partition of Poland, in 1772, the castle was used as the Polish royal residence and the seat of Polish offices and institutions. After that Malbork Castle was again under the German rule till the end of World War 2, when it returned to Poland.
Today it is one of the major tourist attractions in Poland, visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year.
Why you should visit Malbork Castle
Malbork Castle is not your ordinary medieval castle. This is the largest castle in the world when measured by land area and you will be surprised how large it is and how many amazing spots it hides.
It consists of three castles: High, Middle and Lower ones, all separated by dry moats and towers. All the rooms, the details of architecture, passages, and corners you will find inside are so beautiful they will impress you for sure.
In 1997 Malbork Castle was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
How to get to Malbork Castle
Getting to Malbork Castle is actually rather easy and I recommend going by train, you will avoid the hassle with parking, especially in the high season.
You can easily get to Malbork by train from Gdańsk (very frequent connections, the journey takes around 30-40 minutes) or from Warsaw (less frequent but still frequent enough, the trip is a bit over 2 hours).
The main train station in Malbork (a beautiful brick building) is located some 15 minutes walking from the entrance to the castle.
From Gdańsk, you might also take the regional train to Malbork Kałdowo, one station before the main one. You will be on the other side of the Nogat river with the castle right in front of you. This will be an excellent chance to see the castle from that perspective and trust me, you want to see it as this is the most impressive view you will see in Malbork.
Once you cross the river you will have to pass the entrance to the castle to get to the ticket office, on the other side of the structure.
You can check train connections here.
Alternatively, you might join the tour from Gdańsk or Warsaw, click here for the details.
Visiting Malbork Castle
I visited Malbork Castle in July 2020, in the high season of a very special year when the majority of tourists stayed in Poland. The place was busy and a bit annoying at first but the area you are about to visit is really large and soon after the entrance people will spread around.
Visiting the whole castle took me a bit over 2 hours (I had a train to Elbląg to catch) but you can also spend there the whole day and still it will not be enough to properly enjoy every single corner.
When buying the ticket you get the free audio guide that leads you through the premises and tells you all about the castle, its history, and all the details you should pay attention to.
Usually, I’m a bit skeptical about audio guides but this one was really good, it didn’t bore me for a second, and all the information was presented in a very pleasant way. With the audio guide, you can see everything at your own pace and this is actually the best way to see Malbork Castle.
After crossing the entrance gate you will first visit the Middle Castle with some really impressive rooms. The one where my jaw has literally dropped was the Grand Refectory which might be the most incredible room in the castle, or just the first of the stunning ones hence it impresses so much.
The Middle Castle is also the most crowded part of the sightseeing but you can’t skip it, there are too many great things around.
After the Middle Castle, you will continue to the Grand Master’s Palace (which is basically the western wing of the Middle Castle), terraces, and eventually the High Castle.
This is probably my favorite part of Malbork Castle, not only it has some incredible spaces like Chapter House or The Blessed Virgin Mary Church but also not that many tourists get there and you can enjoy a much quieter atmosphere.
It is also possible to visit the tower at the High Castle but unfortunately, it was closed during my visit and I don’t know if it’s worth climbing or not.
I could tell you the story and details of each amazing room you would see inside the castle as well as about the castle premises but I don’t want to spoil the fun of visiting Malbork Castle for you. This is such an interesting place to discover and explore.
Once you are done with visiting the castle inside it is not the end of your trip to Malbork as there are still many places you should check around the castle and in Malbork itself – the town hall, city gates, churches, or water tower.
But the place you simply can’t miss is the view of the castle seen from across the Nogat river. You need to cross the pedestrian gate near the entrance to the castle and then go a bit to the left (opposite side to the railway bridge).
The view from there is simply magnificent, you will be able to admire the spectacular Malbork castle in its full glory and you will quickly see that it is indeed the largest castle in the world.
Malbork Castle travel tips
Address: Starościńska 1, 82-200 Malbork
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday 09:00–19:30 (tickets are sold until 17:00)
Tickets: full-priced tickets are 47 PLN, reduced 37 PLN. You can buy tickets in advance here.
Audioguides: You get the audioguide in the price of the ticket. The tickets are sold for each full hour and you can pick up the audio guide 30 minutes before your admission time, in the visitors center where tickets are sold.
Website of Malbork Castle: https://www.zamek.malbork.pl/
Final thoughts on visiting Malbork Castle
I’m very glad I’ve decided to visit Malbork Castle again, after all these years. Seeing the place from the adult perspective was really interesting and I enjoyed every single part of the castle (except for too many people maybe, but I don’t blame everyone for wishing to visit this spectacular place too).
Malbork Castle is a true masterpiece on so many levels – historical, cultural, architectural and I can understand very well why UNESCO has granted it the title of a World Heritage Site. If you come to visit Poland be sure to see Malbork Castle too, you will enjoy it for sure as much as I did!
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