the other thing I find particularly disappointing is that most cities simply dont have that much to do and see
Oh, many regions have more than enough to do and see, but for various reasons it simply doesn't work right now. I give you one example (because I worked there and know the area very well):
The Jelenia Gora valley had ~40 castles and manors, several very important English parks, resorts, cute villages whose surroundings faded into the parks, and the more impressive side of the Karkonosze. Since the 19th century the Prussian kings used the valley as their summer retreat, and in the 20th century it was one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany, with direct connections to Berlin. The whole area most have been glorious. But now? The majority of the castles are either destroyed, run-down or not accessible, most parks don't exist anymore, the villages are run-down and the resorts lost their status to the Czech resorts on the other side of the border. Only the northern side of the Karkonosze is still more impressive. And the reasons?
1. most castles are still considered Prussian and German. The people don't see the castles as theirs, and there is no public conscientiousness to preserve them. Most villages have no idea what to do with them and mostly sold them to investors, which sometimes save them, and sometimes destroy them. And the authorities can do nothing against the latter, because the laws allow it that people can do with their property whatever they want, even if it's listed. And the most funny thing: although there are almost 40 more of less preserved castles (with parks), some of them by important artists like Schinkel, Stüler or Lenne, the castle the authorities care the most for is a tiny castle ruin (a ruin since at least 350 years) deep in the woods, which until now was almost unknown, inaccessible and far away from all tourist routes. This tiny castle ruin gets reconstructed now for several hundred thousand €uros, because it is one of the few buildings built when this part of the country was Polish in the early Middle Ages. In the same village is another castle from German times, which is art-historical actually important and was no ruin. This castle is owned by a Belgian, who tries to reconstruct it. He received exactly zilch from the authorities.
2. the parks were delisted in the PRL and, due to lack of care, destroyed. Today they belong to several villages who prefer to sell the land to people who build houses there. Often it's simply fallow land these days.
3. the cute villages are mostly run-down because only the old and poor live there, and they can't identify with houses which are clearly non-Polish. Richer people often build new houses which are often quite tasteless... huge, with turrets and walls, which don't follow the local building traditions and are scattered all over the countryside. The communities don't seem to have a land development plan, everyone can build whereever and whatever he wants.
4. the resorts are often more expensive than the Czech ones on the other side, but the Czech resorts are much cleaner, less chaotic, more relaxed, and the service is better. It's like the Polish communities thought that less regulation equals a better "product". But now they build a huge monstrosity in Karpacz which totally destroys the atmosphere of the place, there is ugly advertisement everywhere, everyone can do with his houses whatever he wants... it all feels so chaotic.
5. there are countless hiking trails in the mountains. The majority of them is in a bad shape on the Polish side. During German times the trails were maintained by volunteers who were organized in a club. In Czechia it's a mix of volunteers and professionals who work for the communities now, but in Poland it looks like no one cares.
I think Poland simply needs more regulation. The communities need land development plans, they need rules to limit all the adverts everywhere, they need concepts how to use their cultural heritage to stimulate tourism, they must work together, there must be superordinate structures to control these efforts etc.. And in this particular case the people have to accept the cultural heritage as theirs, although that's the most difficult part.