The town lies on the trail of the business trips of Nicolaus Copernicus, so he undoubtedly visited it many times. The documented visit took place in August 1538 during a tour of the property with the newly elected Warmian bishop Jan Dantiscus.
Orneta, which obtained city rights even before 1313, was the seat of Warmian bishops in the years 1341-1350. Due to its unique monuments, it is called the "pearl of Warmian architecture". Gothic buildings from the time of Copernicus include the Town Hall and the church of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. There are also remains of defensive walls from the 14th century and basements of the demolished castle, on which a school was built in the 19th century. Several newer monuments have also been preserved. Beautiful baroque churches can be admired in the shrines in Krosno (4 km from Orneta) and Chwalęcin (about 10 km).
There is a 28 km long bicycle trail from Orneta to Lidzbark Warmiński, on the embankment of the former railway line. It is an easy trail, because there are no steep hills or slopes.