Malbork Castle is not only one of the most beautiful castles in Poland. It is also the largest castle in the world and the largest brick building built by human hands! A lot of these NAJ, right? The castle impresses not only by its size but also by its interesting solutions, which were unprecedented and innovative for the time.
Malbork Castle is incredibly impressive today, let alone in the 13th, 14th or 15th centuries when it was built and expanded. He also impressed Casimir the Great, who was hosted at the castle by Grand Master Winrych von Kniprode …but soon? What was Casimir the Great doing in a Teutonic castle? Different sources state differently: either he came here uninvited or at the invitation of the Grand Master, but the fact remains the words of admiration spoken at the end of the visit:
I know traitors saying that I should fight you because you lack food. But now I see the opposite and the abundance of all things, and neither do I want to fight you, nor will mine be able to believe what I have seen in this castle full of food, except what I have not seen. [source]
And to this day the castle still arouses admiration, despite the fact that it was significantly damaged (especially in 1945, when losses were estimated at as much as 60%), and in the interiors not much remains from the Teutonic Knights’ times (most was plundered by the Swedes).
It is also interesting to note that this castle was only captured by the Swedes. It had been attacked many times before, including during the famous siege in 1410, when troops under the command of Ladislaus Jagiello tried for two months to capture the castle, unsuccessfully.
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A video of a tour of Malbork Castle
Before we describe what a castle tour looks like, we invite you to our video report of a tour of Gothic castles in the Pomeranian Voivodeship – a large part is dedicated just 🎬 Malbork Castle:
Tour of the Castle
At the outset, it is worth noting that visiting the castle is one of the most expensive attractions in Poland. A regular ticket costs as much as 70 zlotys, and it is this most expensive package that is the richest. There are several options and opportunities for cheaper tickets, which we write about in the section with prices, but before we describe what you are visiting, it is worth having in the back of your mind what kind of expense you have to expect.
The castle consists of the High Castle, the Middle Castle and the Low Castle (Pre-Castle) and it is depending on which part you decide on that the price will vary.
There are three tours to choose from: the historical tour, the green tour and the family tour. We write a little about the family route below, in the section on Malbork Castle for children, because it is worth detailing. The green route is a shorter route, taking about 1.5 hours, and during the walk you visit the Pre-Castle, the courtyards in the High and Low Castles, the terraces, and the Chapel of St. George. Anna. The Historic route is definitely longer and more challenging (it leads up stairs, sometimes quite narrow). You should allow at least 3.5 hours for its passage, and it features the same sites as the green route, plus the interior of the castle.
No matter which route you choose, tours of the castle are always guided or audio-guided – this is included in the ticket price. You get an audio guide right away, and if you choose the guided option, you have to join the guide who waits in front of the building with ticket offices and information, and it is from here that the tour begins.
Immediately after purchasing tickets, we were given a device with headphones that guided us step by step all the way around the castle. Its operation is no philosophy – it simply turns on automatically when you go to a specific location. The only thing missing was some kind of map on which we could see the whole outline of the castle.
Although the interiors have been partially destroyed and are in a rough state (only some of them are furnished), the architectural and finishing elements that can be admired during a tour of the castle are worthy of special attention.
Over the centuries, the castle served various functions and was the seat of both the Grand Masters of the Teutonic Order, Polish rulers and Prussian rulers. Of course, wartime conflicts caused it to be destroyed and rebuilt several times, and traces of this destruction can be observed during the tour (for example, a cannonball embedded in the wall, which almost led to the collapse of one of the more important parts of the castle).
The complex is really large and can be divided into three main parts:
- High Castle
- Middle Castle
- Low Castle (Fore Castle)
We’ll start from the end, which means from the beginning…. ;-)
Low Castle (Fore Castle)
After picking up audio guides and listening to an introduction, one walks along the walls and moat, entering through one of the gates to the part called the Pre-Castle (the term Low Castle also appears), where one can find, among other things, the following. a building that used to be an armory (Karwan) and outbuildings. Along the way, we learn, among other things. That the moat surrounding the castle was fed by water from a specially constructed 40-kilometer-long canal.
This part is still free, available to all. Tickets are checked only at the entrance to the Castle Museum, i.e. at the entrance to the Middle Castle.
After passing through the gate, you come out into a large courtyard, from where the guide immediately leads you to specific doors that you probably wouldn’t get to on your own :)
The first part of the tour is just exploring the different parts of the Middle Castle, including. The Palace of the Grand Masters (with St. Catherine’s Chapel), the Grand Refectory (the largest interior with characteristic arches in the vault).
Here you can also learn more about the heating system in the Castle (and it’s underfloor ;-)).
In the Middle Castle we also visit the cloister with paintings of the apocalypse or the Infirmary (former hospital). In addition, there is also an amber exhibition (east wing) with amazingly detailed carvings, figures, jewelry, etc., as well as an exhibition of weapons and armaments.
The tour of the Middle Castle alone takes a long time, and there is still another part ahead. It’s worth taking a break – there are benches in the courtyard where you can relax and a restaurant where you can eat something warm.
There is a restaurant and two souvenir stores on the grounds of the Middle Castle.
The High Castle is the oldest and highest part of the castle, consisting of four wings and a pre-castle, which was later rebuilt as the Middle Castle. The courtyard is surrounded by a cloister and has a well in the center.
There were utility rooms downstairs and more important rooms upstairs. Among the most interesting interiors are: The Castle Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the chapter house, the convent refectory (dining room), the convent kitchen (a very interestingly arranged room showing how the dishes were prepared), the rooms of the monastic treasurer and the house commandery, and the chapel of St. Joseph. Anna. During the season, you can also climb the tower.
The High Castle also features archaeological and stained glass exhibitions.
In addition, you can walk around this part of the castle through the terraces, or spaces between the castle and the ramparts. They include. an exhibition of architectural elements, a cemetery, a garden and an old mill (seasonally open to the public).
Touring the castle with a child
Families with children can take advantage of two options for visiting the castle: a walking tour with an audio guide or a guided hike on a family tour.
The audio-guided walk is available year-round. This track was specially recorded for younger visitors, so the dialogues are simpler and the action is more dynamic. Kids move to the year 1410, when the Teutonic Knights lost at Grunwald and the Polish-Lithuanian army moves towards the capital of the order. The story, prepared in this way, allows children to discover what life was like in the castle, learn various secrets and legends related to the castle. The tour time is about 2 hours.
The second option is available only during the season. The children are given special hoods and, together with their caregivers and guide, set off to uncover the castle’s mystery. Walking through the nooks and crannies of the facility, they must solve tasks to guess the final password. The walking time for this path is also 2 hours.
Facilities for families with smaller children
It is possible to visit Malbork with children, but you have to take into account that it is a large site and there is a lot of walking. You cannot enter the grounds of the Middle Castle with a stroller – you must leave it in a designated area (we were told so and did so, although we saw someone riding with a stroller in the courtyard). And this is understandable, as the pavement does not encourage stroller travel. We recommend taking a sling/sling if you are traveling with small children.
On the castle grounds, there is a changing table in the restroom.
Prices – how much does a ticket to Malbork Castle cost?
The price of tickets depends primarily on the route you choose and the day of the week. On Mondays, tours of the Castle Museum are free, but only the green tour is available and you will then incur the cost of a guide (PLN 15/person).
Historical route (longer):
- Normal ticket – 70 PLN
- Discounted ticket – 50 PLN
- Family ticket (2+2) – 220 PLN
With the Large Family Card:
- Normal ticket – 50 PLN
- Discounted ticket – 30 PLN
Children under the age of 7 enter for free.
Green route (longer):
- Normal ticket – 30 PLN
- Discounted ticket – 20 PLN
- Family ticket (2+2) – 90 PLN
With the Large Family Card:
- Normal ticket – 20 PLN
- Discounted ticket – 15 PLN
Children under the age of 7 enter for free.
Guided family tour:
- Regular ticket – 55 PLN Discounted ticket – 40 zł Children under 7 years of age enter for free.
You can also purchase combined tickets to 3 castles: in Malbork, Sztum and Kwidzyn:
- Normal ticket – 100 PLN
- Discounted ticket – 70 PLN
Opening hours of Malbork Castle
The Castle Museum is open Monday through Sunday, with only the green route available on Mondays.
- Historical route: from Tuesday to Sunday, at. 9:00 am – 7:00 pm, with the last entry being at 5:00 pm.
- Green route: from Monday to Sunday, at. 9:00 am – 6:30 pm, with the last entry being at 6:30 pm.
Off-season (currently as of 17/10/2022):
- Historical route: from Tuesday to Sunday, at. 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, with the last entry being at 1:00 pm).
- Green route: Mondays, at. 9:00 am – 4:00 pm; Tuesday through Sunday during hours. 13:15.-16:00, with the last entry being at 14:30.
Current opening hours can be found on the museum‘s website.
Access to Malbork Castle and parking lot
Malbork is located in the Pomeranian Voivodeship, on the Nogat River, about 30 km from Elblag and about 60 km from Gdansk.
There are no parking lots on the grounds of the castle itself, but there are places to park a car in the area, both private and municipal, with fees starting at 2 zloty per hour.
The closest is a multi-story parking lot on Sierakowskich Street, but here parking involves a minimum fee of PLN 30 for up to 3 hours, the next hour PLN 15.
It is a 20-minute walk from the train station to the castle.
Where to spend the night near Malbork Castle?
Here are some suggestions for accommodation in Malbork. We must admit that Malbork with apartments and apartments for rent stands, so the largest choice is among such options.
We spent the night in the accommodation first from the list below and were satisfied, the biggest plus of this place is its proximity to the castle itself and the possibility of parking a car.
- Apartment overlooking the Castle
Address: ul. Józefa Piłsudskiego 10, 82-200 Malbork
Prices: from 288 PLN per day
- Piast Hotel by the Castle
Address: ul. Piastowska 3, 82-200 Malbork
Prices: from 159 PLN for a double room (breakfast included)
- Premium – Bed & Breakfast
Address: 1 March 17 Street, 82-200 Malbork
Prices: from 230 PLN for a double room
- By the Castle At the Guides
Address: Pl. Narutowicza 8/18, 82-200 Malbork
Prices: from 200 PLN for a double room
- MATEO Apartment
Address: Stare Miasto 4/1 m 2, 82-200 Malbork
Prices: from 225 PLN for a double room
- Scandic Apartment
Address: Grudziądzka 27C / 4, 82-200 Malbork
Prices: from 260 PLN for a double room
Do we recommend Malbork Castle?
We could probably write about the history of the entire castle, interesting facts, exhibitions in several separate posts…. But the intent of this post is to encourage you to visit the Castle in person. It is a monument unique in the world, so we Poles should also be aware of its existence and history.
And we don’t just mean trips in elementary school, because let’s not hide, you don’t remember much from such trips in adulthood. It’s worth coming knowingly, of your own free will, and spending those 4 hours to learn about the history not only of this castle, but also of Europe at the time.
We, for sure, will recommend Malbork Castle and despite a few shortcomings (not very flexible audiobook, lack of maps) we think it is one of the highlights on the map of Poland!
Finally, we recommend the gallery with all the photos from Malbork:
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