Category: Cities in Poland

Category: Cities in Poland

Sanctuary of the Holy Cross Wood Relic

The Sanctuary of the Holy Cross Wood Relic and Museum of the Missionary Oblates of the Virgin Mary are located on Łysiec mountain, nowadays referred to as Święty Krzyż mountain.

Święty Krzyż (Mount Holy Cross) is the second highest mountain in the region at 595m. If you believe local folk legend, the mountain was especially liked by witches and during their Sabbaths, they practised witchcraft and organised hellish parties and dances on the summit.

Today, you can see remains of a 9th century stone rampart surrounding the top of the mountain in addition to the Benedictine monastery with its Relics of the Holy Cross Tree. The 1000 year old monastery is managed by the Missionary Oblates.

Every year, the Holy Cross Sanctuary is visited by crowds of pilgrims, visitors and tourists, who want to see this unique place. In the church on the mountain you can see a valuable painting of Franciszek Smuglewicz, monastery porches, a sacristy, the Oleśnicki family’s chapel and the Museum of the Missionary Oblates of the Virgin Mary.

The Świętokrzyskie Mountains are not particularly high; however they are ancient. Quartzite has been discovered in the area that is 500 million years old. The highest peak is Mount Łysica at 614 m and is located within the Świętokrzyski National Park.

Holy Cross Province (Swietokrzyskie) is located in south eastern Poland and has the city of Kielce as its regional capital. Often referred to as, “The heart of Poland.”

With a history dating back over 900 years, Kielce was once an important mining centre, today, the city and its surroundings are better known for their historic architecture, green spaces and recreational areas like the Świętokrzyski National Park and the Kadzielnia Reserve. Kielce is the only city in Europe which counts five nature reserves within its borders.

There’s a lot of attractions to see in Kielce. The former Palace of the Kraków Bishops, the picturesque National Museum, Kielce Cathedral, and Dworek Laszczyków are must-sees.

Kadzielnia Reserve Kielce

Kadzielnia is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kielce. The former quarry attracts visitors interested in music, extreme experiences such as ziplining and also geology enthusiasts.

It is located on a hill as part of the Kadzielnia Range and is 295m above sea level. As a quarry back in the 18th century, it was a significant source of limestone, which was required primarily for road construction and you can still find traces of mining activity around the area.

In the centre is the Geologists Rock and this is protected as part of the Kadzielnia Nature Reserve and is not open to tourists, instead visitors admire the rock from the surrounding paths and viewpoints surrounding the quarry.

You’ll find a number of attractions in Kadzielnia such as the underground tourist route, the amphitheatre, a zip-line station and a waterfall.

Kadzielnia is very popular with palaeontologists and geologists who come to the area in search of fossils. Many different fossils have been found including sponges, corals, daylilies, brachiopods and snails.

Kadzielnia is also home to 25 caves. There are three caves open to the public and this is where you can find the 140m long underground tourist route.

The Kadzielnia Amphitheater is one of the most unique and beautiful stages in the country. The surrounding rocks provide a natural backdrop and also enhance the acoustics. The amphitheatre has operated for more than 50 years and underwent a thorough modernisation in 2010, today it can seat as many as 5,430 spectators. During inclement weather, the stage and auditorium is covered with a retractable roof.

Kadzielnia Amphitheater

The amphitheater hosts large, modern artistic shows and concerts, among them the cult “pinwheel”, the International Scout Festival of School Youth Culture and the annual Kielce Festival.

There’s much more to Kadzielnia than a concert among the rocks, exploring the caves and the amazing views. Thrill-seekers come to the area to admire the scenery from a height of 40m during a free rope descent. The Kadzielnia Rope Park includes three descents.

Every year, the Kadzielnia Sport Festival is hosted in the area and attracts extreme sports enthusiasts from near and afar.

Warsaw Expat Pubs & Bars

Usually, one of the first things the newly arrived do is seek out the expat bars in Warsaw. It's a good way to make friends, learn the ropes from those who have lived and worked in the city for a while, enjoy some food from home and socialise.

The hospitality industry in Warsaw is very competitive. Rates are not cheap, especially around the city’s hotspots, so it’s not unusual to see bars open with a flourish of advertising activity one month – to then close down just a few months later.

If you talk to any of the British, Irish or American expats who have lived in Warsaw for a while, they will tell you outrageous yarns of legendary expat bars of the past such as Bar Below, Bradley’s Bar and Tortilla Factory. Those that are even older will reminisce about the hotel bars; which in fact were once the only safe place for expats to get a drink 30 years ago.

But, that’s all irrelevant, then was then and now is now!

Nowadays, there really isn’t very much on offer in regards to a true, traditional expat bar with the one exception of Legends Bar at Emilii Plater 25, just a short stumble from the Marriot Hotel.

If an expat bar is where expats go to drink on a regular basis, then Legends ticks the box. The owners are Beata who is Polish and Graham who is from Liverpool, he’s an Evertonian who likes his football – reason number two why it’s an expat bar – you can watch the footie there.

Reason number 3 would be that they serve British grub such as steak and kidney pie with mashed potatoes and onion gravy, they also do a full English breakfast, fish & chips and other pub favourites.

Legends is a favourite with expats and locals alike, it’s not very big and can get crowded if there’s a good match on the telly or on quiz night, which happens on a Friday once every month.

There’s usually at least one British draught beer on offer in addition to Guinness and local lagers. The only drinks they don’t serve are cocktails, if you want Sex on the Beach – there’s plenty of cocktail bars a short walk away.

We are happy to report that yesterday (15th May 2021) saw Legends re-open for outside dining and drinking complete with an updated menu.

If you're in Warsaw and fancy a pint and a bite to eat, then Legends is highly recommended.

Top 10 things to do in Wrocław

There’s a lot to see and do in the city. Here’s our list of the Top 10 things to do in Wrocław. Click on the links for further information or to book a tour & buy tickets.

1. Wrocław Dwarfs

They’re referred to in Poland as dwarfs but they’re actually bronze gnomes around 20-30cm tall, which have been appearing in the streets of Wrocław since 2005. Today, there are hundreds of them, almost an invasion and they’ve become a major tourist attraction. You can even get maps and mobile apps to help you find them.

2. Old Town Hall

The 13th century Gothic Old Town Hall stands at the centre of the city’s Market Square and is one of the main landmarks of the city. It’s currently used for civic and cultural events, which are held in its Great Hall and also houses the Museum of Bourgeois Art and a restaurant in the basement. The structure is a mix of architectural styles with both Gothic and Renaissance features. The astronomical clock is made of larch wood and was built in 1580.

3. National Museum

The National Museum is one of Poland’s main branches of the National Museum system. It holds one of the largest collections of contemporary art in the country. You’ll find exhibits of Medieval sculpture on the ground floor in addition to paintings from the region, silverware, ceramics and furnishings. Polish art, primarily 17th century paintings, can be found on the 2nd floor.

Further information.

4. Panorama of Racławice

The Racławice Panorama is a monumental (15m x 114m) cycloramic painting depicting the Battle of Racławice, during the Kościuszko Uprising and is Wrocław’s pride and joy. It is wrapped around the internal walls of a purpose-built rotunda. The painting took nine artists, nine months to complete and used 750kg of paint. Visits are by guided audio tours, departing every half hour.

Skip-the-Line Panorama Raclawicka, National Museum and Ostrow Tumski tour

5. Church of the Holy Name of Jesus

This Late Baroque-Rococo church is part of Wrocław University and is one of the most picturesque in the city, if not the country. We can thank the Jesuits for this piece of architectural beauty, they built it way back in the 1690s on the site of the former Piast castle. The interior of the church has been painted to imitate marble and contains frescoes & ornate fittings.

Further information.

6. Botanical Gardens

You’ll find the Botanical Gardens on Cathedral Island. The gardens were built between 1811 – 1816 and are part of the University of Wrocław. Within the gardens, there is a large selection of plants, sculptures, aquariums, a large pond, bridges, a shop, and a café. The gardens are open from early April until mid-November.

Further information.

7. Wrocław Zoo

The Zoo is located on Wróblewskiego Street and is the oldest zoo in the country, opened in 1865. In terms of the number of animal species, it is the third largest zoological garden in the world and the largest in Poland. It is home to about 10,500 animals representing about 1,132 species.

Wroclaw Zoo tickets with private transportation

Further information.

8. Hansel & Gretel

One of Wrocław’s favourite photo opportunities, are two charming, skinny tenements known locally as Jaś i Małgosia, better known to German and English speakers as Hansel and Gretel. You’ll find them on the north-western corner of the Market Square. The two fairy tale houses are linked by a baroque archway built in 1728.

9. Church of St Elizabeth

St. Elizabeth’s Church of the Catholic Third Order of Saint Francis is a 14th century Gothic church and one of the most iconic structures of the city’s Old Town panorama. It has a 90m high tower, a triple nave and is by medieval chapels. Inside, you’ll find a mid-15th-century sacramentary and carved medieval choir stalls.

10. Archaeological Museum

This museum is housed inside of the city’s former 15th century Arsenal alongside the Military Museum. Exhibits focus on the period from the Stone Age to the 19th century. You’ll find everyday objects from these times such as tools, ornaments and weapons.

Further information.

Tripadvisor

For further ideas about what to do and see in the city, Tripadvisor are an excellent resource of information – Click here.

Top 10 things to do in Warsaw

Image: Wilanów Palace

There’s a lot to see and do in the city. Here’s our list of the Top 10 things to do in Warsaw. Click on the links for further information or to book a tour & buy tickets.

1. POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

This fascinating historical museum presents over 1,000 years of Jewish life in Poland. It allows visitors to explore past and present Jewish culture, providing a counterpoint to the stereotypes, xenophobia, and nationalistic prejudice threatening today’s societies. POLIN promotes openness, tolerance, and truth, contributing to the mutual understanding and respect between Polish and Jewish people.

Further information & book tickets

2. Wilanów Palace

Wilanów Palace is a former royal palace located 10km south of the city centre. It’s managed to survive Poland’s partitions and two World Wars and is one of Poland’s most important monuments. It was commissioned by King Jan III Sobieski in 1677 and serves as a reminder of the culture of the Polish state as it was before the misfortunes of the 18th century. The palace is one of Warsaw’s top tourist attractions.

Wilanów Palace and gardens private guided tour with transportation

3. Palace of Culture & Science

Love it or hate it, you can’t not see it. At 237m tall, it’s the second tallest building in Poland after Varso Tower. Since 1955, this socialist realist palace has dominated the city of Warsaw and today it houses various public and cultural institutions such as cinemas, theatres, libraries, sports clubs, university faculties and authorities of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Known as PKiN (the abbreviation of its full Polish name) and a lot of other less friendly names, the palace was a gift of friendship from the Soviet Union. Check out the 30th floor observation terrace for great views of the city.

Further information & book tickets

4. Royal Castle

Royal Castle Warsaw is an exceptional copy of the original red-brick castle; which was destroyed by the Germans in WWII. The very first version of the castle was actually a wooden stronghold dating back to the 14th century built for the dukes of Mazovia and since then it has been the residence of Polish kings in addition to being the home of the president and also the seat of parliament. Back in the 17th century Royal Castle Warsaw was one of the most splendid royal palaces in Europe and today; it is filled with authentic furniture from that period and many original works of art. The highlights of the tour are the Great Apartments; which includes the Great Assembly Hall and lavishly decorated Throne Room and the King’s Apartments.

Further information.

Private Warsaw highlights tour in Old and New Town with Royal Castle ticket

5. Lazienki Park & Palace

Lazienki Palace is located in the beautiful Łazienki Park in Warsaw. This is the biggest and most popular park in the city and it provides visitors with many things to explore. During a walk around the 76 hectares park, you’ll see the Art Nouveau Chopin monument, a classicist amphitheatre, summer houses, pavilions, cafes & restaurants, lakes, the English garden, an Old Orangery, palaces and much more. There’s so much to see that it is possible to spend the full day in the park. Lazienki Palace is a lovely neoclassical building originally built in the 17th century and is the former residence of King Stanisław August Poniatowski who was a great patron of the arts.

Further information & book tickets

6. Historic Centre Of Warsaw

The Historic Centre of Warsaw (Warsaw Old Town) is the oldest part of Warsaw. The heart of the area is the Old Town Market Place; which is very popular with tourists and contains many restaurants, cafés, bars and shops. Surrounding streets feature medieval architecture such as the city walls, St. John’s Cathedral and the Barbican which links the Old Town with Warsaw New Town. In excess of 85% of the historic centre of Warsaw was deliberately destroyed during World War II by Nazi Germany. A meticulous restoration of the Old Town took place after the war and this included its important religious buildings, the Royal Castle, Old Town Market, townhouses, and the circuit of the city walls. It is an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century.

Further information.

7. Żabińskis’ Villa

The story of Jan and Antonina Zabinski is one of extraordinary bravery, decency and humanitarian spirit at enormous personal risk in the most challenging circumstances possible. The largely accurate portrayal captured in Diane Ackerman’s book and subsequent 2017 Hollywood movie, The Zookeeper’s Wife, reached millions. But a great many more remain completely unaware of the extraordinary tale of personal heroism, bravery and human kindness that took place within the grounds of Warsaw Zoo during World War II, and their enormous legacy and lessons for wider humanity in rescuing more than 300 people, mostly Jews smuggled out of the Warsaw Ghetto, at enormous personal risk. Even fewer are aware that the little zookeeper’s villa at the centre of the story, in the middle of the Warsaw Zoo, still stands today. A powerful but hidden and relatively neglected symbol of human unity and shared purpose, cared for over the years by a small group of people associated with the zoo and with the Zabinski family, on something less than a shoe-string budget. The villa, where the Żabińskis lived and risked their lives by hiding Jews, is open for a guided tour, which is well worth doing.

Further information.

8. Warsaw Rising Museum

The single largest military effort taken by any European resistance movement during World War II happened during the Warsaw Uprising; which was fought for 63 days with little outside support. The Uprising was led by the Polish Resistance Home Army in an attempt to liberate Warsaw from German occupation. If you are ever in Warsaw, a visit to the Rising Museum is highly recommended. The museum traces the history of the doomed Uprising using personal accounts, photos, film and interactive displays. If you want to do the museum and surrounding Freedom Park justice, you’ll need to put aside a whole day.

Further information.

Teatr Wielki

Image: Teatr Wielki

9. Teatr Wielki

The Grand Theatre is a theatre and opera complex situated on the historic Theatre Square. It is home to the Polish National Opera and Ballet companies and is one of the largest theatrical venues in the world, with a seating capacity of over 2,000. The building was destroyed during WWII and rebuilt to the original design in 1965.

Further information.

10. Copernicus Science Centre

Copernicus Science Centre is a science museum standing on the bank of the Vistula River containing over 450 interactive exhibits that enable visitors to single-handedly carry out experiments and discover the laws of science for themselves. The Centre is the largest institution of its type in Poland and one of the most advanced in Europe. In 2018, since its opening, it had been visited by over 8 million people.

Further information.

Tripadvisor

For further ideas about what to do in the city, Tripadvisor are an excellent resource of information – Click here.

Top 10 things to do in Tri-City

Image: Museum of WWII

There’s a lot to see and do in the city. Here’s our list of the Top 10 things to do in Tri-City. Click on the links for further information or to book a tour & buy tickets.

1. Museum of WWII

The Museum of the Second World War is housed in a striking piece of modern architecture decorating the northern end of Gdańsk’s waterfront and is one of Gdańsk’s top tourist attractions. As the name suggests, the museum is dedicated to World War II, in particular how the conflict changed the lives of millions of Poles and focussing on the human suffering it caused. The museum is divided into different sections and includes exhibits of Nazi propaganda posters, a haunting Holocaust section, a Sherman tank, street mock-ups, uniforms, weapons, maps, films and much more. You’ll need a minimum of three hours to do the exhibits justice and note that the museum is not suitable for children of any age. There’s a 200 visitor limit to avoid queues so purchase your ticket in advance online.

Further information

Private WWII tour with Museum of Second World War and Post Office Museum tickets

European Solidarity Centre

Image: European Solidarity Centre

2. European Solidarity Centre

The European Solidarity Centre is a museum and library devoted to the history of Solidarity, the Polish trade union and civil resistance movement, and other opposition movements of Communist Eastern Europe. The museum opened on 31 August 2014, on the anniversary of the signing of the Gdańsk Agreement, the 1980 victory for striking shipyard workers which led to Solidarity’s foundation. The museum is housed in an award winning piece of 21st century architecture designed to look like ships under construction, it is not to everyone’s taste. The exhibits examine Poland’s post-war fight for freedom and include real artefacts in addition to multimedia.

Further information

Skip-the-line European Solidarity Center ticket and Communism tour

3. St Mary’s Church

St. Mary’s Church is a Brick Gothic Roman Catholic church located in the heart of Gdańsk’s Old Town. It is one of the biggest brick churches in the world, with a 78m high tower dominating the Gdańsk cityscape. There’s plenty to see including; the high altar with its Gothic polyptych, the 15th century astronomical clock, the church tower with 405 steps, 300 grave slabs and many outstanding works of art.

Further information.

Sopot Pier

Image: Sopot Pier

4. Sopot Pier

Sopot Pier was developed as a pleasure pier and as a mooring point for cruise boats. It is the longest wooden pier in Europe at 515m and stretches out into the Bay of Gdańsk from the middle of Sopot beach. The pier houses various attractions along its length.

Best highlights of Sopot walking tour

5. Crooked House

Krzywy Domek (Polish for “crooked house”) is an unusually shaped building in Sopot and is part of the Rezydent shopping centre. The warped and crooked structure was inspired by fairy tale illustrations and can be entered from either Monte Cassino or Morska Streets. Inside, you’ll find some worthwhile bars and restaurants.

Further information.Best highlights of Sopot walking tour

6. Długi Targ

Długi Targ in Gdańsk, is one of the most notable tourist attractions of the city, situated between the end of Ulica Długa and the Brama Zielona. Historically, it was once the main city market, nowadays, visitors come to admire the architecture, the Neptune Fountain, the 1618 Golden House and the Green Gate built in the 1560s.

Dar Pomorza

Image: Dar Pomorza

7. Dar Pomorza

The Dar Pomorza is a Polish full-rigged sailing ship built in 1909 which is preserved in Gdynia as a museum ship. She has served as a sail training ship in Germany, France, and Poland. Dar Pomorza won the Cutty Sark Trophy in 1980. You can find her on the waterfront next to ORP Błyskawica. Visitors can go aboard to see the ship’s inner workings and read about its story on information panels.

Further information

Highlights of Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot 1-day private tour

ORP Błyskawica

Image: ORP Błyskawica

8. ORP Błyskawica

ORP Błyskawica (Lightning) is a Grom-class destroyer which served in the Polish Navy during World War II. It is the only Polish Navy ship to have been decorated with the Virtuti Militari, Poland’s highest military order for gallantry, and in 2012 was given the Pro Memoria Medal. Błyskawica is preserved as a museum ship in Gdynia and is the oldest preserved destroyer in the world. Błyskawica is moored next to the Dar Pomorza.

Further information

Highlights of Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot 1-day private tour

9. National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk is dedicated to gathering, researching and preserving artifacts and documents concerning ship transport, international trade, fishing and culture of people working at sea, and has a sprawling exhibition covering Gdańsk’s role as a Baltic seaport through the centuries. At the Maritime Cultural Centre, you can see a permanent exhibition called ‘People-Ships-Ports’. Other exhibitions include the MS Sołdek, the first vessel to be built at the Gdańsk shipyard, and the Żuraw, a 15th-century loading crane that was the biggest in its day. Further displays can be found at the granaries.

Further information.

10. Ulica Mariacka

Gdańsk’s most photogenic street complete with cobblestones stretching from the waterfront at St Mary’s Gate to St Mary’s Church was totally re-created after WWII in stunning detail. You’ll find a complete row of terraces, several artisan amber jewellery shops, cafes & bars.

Gdansk by night regular walking tour

Top things to do in Szczecin

There’s a lot to see and do in the city. Here’s our list of the Top things to do in Szczecin. Click on the links for further information or to book a tour & buy tickets.

1. Castle of the Pomeranian Dukes

You can’t miss the castle, it is a big structure, which looms over the Old Town. Originally built in the mid-14th century, the castle was extended until it reached its current form prior to being destroyed by Allied bombing in 1944 and then extensively restored. The castle now houses the Castle Museum exhibiting six spectacular sarcophagi of the Pomeranian dukes in addition to various temporary displays of art.

Further information

Szczecin Old Town with Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle tour

2. Karłowicz Philharmonic Szczecin

The Philharmonic is housed in a building, which was awarded the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture in 2015. The music venue covers an area of 13,000 square meters and contains a main concert hall with 1000 seats for concert-goers as well as a smaller hall with a capacity for 200 spectators and a number of conference rooms. In 1958 the Philharmonic was named after the renowned Polish classical composer and conductor Mieczysław Karłowicz. The hall is home to the Szczecin philharmonic orchestra but hosts many other performances.

Further information

Szczecin Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle private tour with Karłowicz Philharmonic

3. Museum of Technology & Transport

Just outside of the city, you’ll find this interesting museum with exhibits of vehicles of all types, mostly produced in Poland by Szczecin-based company, Stoewer. Among the exhibits are communist-era cars, motorbikes, public transport vehicles and a six-wheel amphibious vehicle from the 1970s.

Further information.

4. Cathedral Basilica of St James

Szczecin’s 12th century cathedral is the largest church in Pomerania. You’ll find it on ul Wyszyńskiego downhill from the city centre. The cathedral was reconstructed in 1972 putting right damage caused by Red Army artillery back in 1945. It is not the prettiest cathedral by any stretch of the imagination; the views from the tower, the stained glass and the tiny crypt are the highlights.

Further information

Cathedral Basilica of St James the Apostle ticket and Old Town highlights tour

5. History Museum

The History Museum is located in the 15th century Gothic Town Hall. It houses a number of permanent and temporary exhibits, many focussed on Szczecin’s history. You’ll find a remarkable collection of coins, banknotes and stamps from the region and an impressive collection of gold and silver from across Europe.

Further information.

6. Town Hall

Located in the Old Town district, the red-brick 15th century building was brought back to life in 1968. The Town Hall houses the History Museum.

Szczecin Old Town highlights private walking tour

7. Red Tourist Route

If you enjoy walking and sightseeing, then check out the Red Tourist Route. It takes you on a 7km circuit around town covering 42 important historic sights and buildings. You can pick up a map at any of the tourist offices.

Top 10 things to do in Toruń

There’s a lot to see and do in the city. Here’s our list of the Top 10 things to do in Toruń. Click on the links for further information or to book a tour & buy tickets.

1. Cathedral of SS John the Baptist & John the Evangelist

A former main parish church of the Old Town of Toruń, this huge Gothic cathedral started life in 1260 but was not completed until the end of the 15th century. There’s a lot to see including painted decorations depicting the Crucifixion and the Last Judgement dating from the 14th century, a 13th century baptismal font (which was supposedly used to baptise Nicolaus Copernicus), a 15th century clock and the Tuba Dei, a massive bell cast in 1500.

2. Old Town Hall

The Old Town Hall is a Gothic building created in stages during the 13th & 14th centuries and hasn’t changed much since then with the exception of some later Renaissance additions. The structure is one of the most outstanding examples of medieval city architecture in central Europe. You’ll find a museum there today with exhibits of Gothic art including both paintings and stained glass, local crafts dating from the 17th & 18th centuries and a gallery of Polish art.

Further information.

3. Gingerbread Museum

Located in the Old Town, take part in an interactive exhibit where you can learn about the history of Toruń gingerbread and have a go at making your own under the instruction of a gingerbread master.

Further information.

4. Teutonic Castle Ruins

The majority of the castle was destroyed during an uprising in 1454, when the local townspeople revolted against the Teutonic Order. During the 1960s excavation work uncovered underground chambers, which have been opened up to visitors. There’s a few things to see other than the ruins.

Further information.

5. House under the Star

Embellishing the Old Town Square, the House Under the Star is Baroque house built in the 1200s with a 17th century façade. The stuccoed structure takes its name from the golden star atop the gable that was put there during its facelift in 1697. Inside, you’ll find a small branch of the Regional Museum with exhibits of Asian art including Chinese pottery and Japanese swords.

Further information.

6. Medieval Walls

The walls date all the way back to the middle of the 13th century and were extended and reinforced in the late Middle Ages. Today, you can see large portions of the wall, which have been preserved in addition to nine gates and towers, which are still standing.

7. Leaning Tower of Toruń

One of Toruń's most photographed buildings is the crooked tower (leaning tower), whose top and bottom is out of kilter by 1.5m. You’ll find it on the southwest corner of Toruń’s Medieval defences.

8. Nicolaus Copernicus Monument

A popular meeting point located in front of the Town Hall is the statue of Nicolaus Copernicus. The statue is twice life size and stands on a 5m pedestal. It was raised in 1853.

9. New Town Square

The New Town Square isn’t really new considering that it was laid out in 1264. It was once the centre of a separate town with its own town hall; however this was pulled down in the 15th century when the two towns merged. You’ll find a mix of styles ranging from Gothic to Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical.

10. Cosmopolis Fountain

You’ll find the fountain on the western side of the Old Town next to the university’s Harmonica building. The fountain was switched on in 2008 and is a homage to Copernicus. Its 113 jets plot the orbits of the planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn with a taller central jet 5m high representing the sun. The summer light and sound shows between 9pm and midnight are worth seeing.

Top 10 Things to Do in Poznań

There’s a lot to see and do in the city. Here’s our list of the Top 10 things to do in Poznań. Click on the links for further information or to book a tour & buy tickets.

1. Ostrów Tumski

Also known as Cathedral Island, Ostrów Tumski is an island between two branches of the river Warta in the city. Poznań Cathedral and other ecclesiastical buildings occupy the central part of the island, which is part of the city’s former New Town district, although it is actually the oldest part of the city and is the place where Poznań and the Polish state was founded. The island is 1km east of the Old Town.

Srodka District and Cathedral Island tour with Old Town highlights

2. Poznań Cathedral

The monumental double towered Archcathedral Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul is one of the oldest churches in Poland and the oldest Polish cathedral, dating from the 10th century. It stands on the island of Ostrów Tumski north-east of the city centre. The cathedral is Gothic with additions from later periods such as the baroque upper towers. The first two kings of Poland: Mieszko I and Bolesław Chrobry are buried there.

Further information.

3. Town Hall

Poznań’s Renaissance town hall is a historic city hall located at the old market square in the centre of the Old Town. The structure is topped with a 61m-high tower and is home to the city’s Historical Museum. Situated above the clock is a pair of small doors which open each day at noon allowing two mechanical goats to emerge and butt their horns together 12 times. Originally, the building was a 13th century Gothic structure; however this was replaced in the early 16th century after a fire.

Poznan Old Town highlights walking tour

4. National Museum

The museum is one of the largest in Poland and houses an extensive collection of Polish and European art. You’ll find Polish painting from the past 200 years represented by all the well-known artists such as Jan Matejko and Stanisław Wyspiański.

Further information.

5. Historical Museum of Poznań

This museum is a branch of the National Museum in Poznań and is dedicated to the history of the city. It is located in the Town Hall on the Old Market Square. On the 1st floor, you will find the richly ornamented Renaissance Hall containing original stucco work and paintings dating from 1555. The 2nd floor exhibits memorabilia from the past 200 years, artefacts from the Prussian period and documents from the 1920s and ’30s showing what life in the city was like during that period.

Further information.

6. Śródka Mural

East of the Ostrów Tumski at ul Śródka 3 in the Śródka district, you’ll see a magnificent mural painted on the side of a building, which depicts Śródka in the 1920s. Painted by artist Arleta Kolasińska, the mural features some really interesting characters such as a fat-bellied butcher, a trumpeter, a cat and Władysław Odonic, the Duke of all Greater Poland at the time. The mural is very clever because it appears to be three-dimensional.

7. Croissant Museum

Rogalowe Muzeum Poznania is a museum of St. Martin’s croissants, located in a historic townhouse on the main square. You can learn about the history of the croissant and get involved with making some.

Further information

Poznan Old Town and Croissant Museum private guided tour

8. Parish Church

Located on ul Gołębia just two blocks south of the Main Square, you’ll find the Parish Church also known as Poznań Fara, an impressive baroque structure with an ornamented façade built between 1651 and 1701. It is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks.

9. Wolsztyn Steam Locomotive Depot

The Steam Locomotive Depot is 100km from Poznań in the town of Wolsztyn. It is a working depot with steam engines that haul passengers over a mainline railway track on a daily basis. Visitors get to see all of the activities required to prepare a steam engine for running such as oiling, watering, coaling, as well as carrying out inspections and repairs. They can also see the locomotive shed, the workshop with its forge, a water tower, an ash pit, a water crane, a coal store, and a small museum. On the first Saturday in May, Wolsztyn is also home to the Steam Parade, a festival featuring steam locomotives from across Europe.

Further information.

10. Citadel Park

A large park on the former site of Fort Winiary, a 19th-century fortified area north of the city centre. It contains two military museums, military cemeteries, and the remains of some of the fortifications.

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Top things to do in Olsztyn

There’s a lot to see and do in the city. Here’s our list of the Top things to do in Olsztyn. Click on the links for further information or to book a tour & buy tickets.

1. Museum of Warmia & Masuria

It’s a two for one deal when you visit the Museum of Warmia & Masuria because it is located inside of Olsztyn’s impressive red-brick 14th century castle; which is the most important historic structure in the city. One of the first things you will see is a bronze of Nicolaus Copernicus, a Renaissance-era mathematician and astronomer, who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than Earth at its centre. He actually lived in the castle between 1516 – 1520 and made some of his famous observations there. You can still see some of his work today.

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2. The Olsztyn Castle

The Olsztyn Castle is a red-brick 14th century Gothic castle located in the heart of Olsztyn adorned with corner turrets, and is the former home of Nicolaus Copernicus. Today, the castle houses the Museum of Warmia & Masuria. Miraculously, the castle came through the war without damage, and today it is one of Poland’s best preserved medieval castles.There’s a lot to see within the castle including a beautiful courtyard with two story arcaded galleries, a vaulted cellar, the vaulted Grand Refectory, the chapel, and various exhibitions.

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3. The Cathedral

The 14th century Gothic cathedral contains some magnificent works of art including two Late Gothic winged altars (triptychs) from the 16th century. The cathedral’s 7-story tower was added in 1596.

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4. Lake Ukiel

The largest lake within the city limits and a favourite place for the locals to visit. You’ll find people swimming, boating, cycling, walking or just chilling. The lake is 4.1 sq km long and 43m deep.

5. Wolf’s Lair (95km from Olsztyn)

The Wolf’s Lair (Wolfsschanze in German) is hidden in thick forest in the Masurian woods, 8km east of Kętrzyn and was Hitler’s main headquarters during WWII. The complex, which became one of several Führer Headquarters in various parts of Central and Eastern Europe, was built for the start of Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. A famous attempt to assassinate the Führer took place here on 20th July 1944. Today, it is 18 hectares of huge, overgrown and partly destroyed bunkers. During World War II, it was a top-secret, high security site surrounded by three security zones and guarded by personnel from the SS-Begleitkommando des Führers, Reichssicherheitsdienst and the Wehrmacht’s armoured Führerbegleitbrigade.

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6. Museum of Folk Architecture

Located in the north eastern outskirts of Olsztynek is this open-air museum featuring 74 examples of regional timber architecture from Warmia and Masuria, plus a cluster of Lithuanian houses. You’ll find dwellings, farm buildings, churches, a water mill, oil house and a smithy. The museum is best visited in summer when special events take place and demonstrations of local handicrafts can be watched in some of the buildings.

Further information.

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