Polanica-Zdrój was first documented in 1347 under the name Heyde; at the time it belonged to the House of Glaubitz. In 1645 the town was destroyed by Swedish troops during the Thirty Years' War. It grew quickly during the 19th century, becoming a popular health resort in the 1870s. In 1890 a rail connection to Glatz was completed. The town became part of Poland after World War II ended in 1945.
The amateur film festival POL-8 takes place in Polanica-Zdrój. The town is twinned with Telgte in Germany. Since 1963, it has hosted the annual Akiba Rubinstein Memorial chess tournament, honoring the great Polish Grandmaster (1882-1961). This event always attracts a high-class field of top players.
Numbers of inhabitants: