Called the “Paris of the North”, due to the characteristic star-shaped layout of streets and squares, and located at the mouth of the Oder River, Szczecin is dynamically developing and becoming a more and more popular place for weekend getaways.
Former capital of the Duchy of Pomerania attracts tourists not only with green areas (just to mention Jasne Błonia, located in the very centre, which blooms with magnolias) but also favourable location – during an extended weekend it is possible to set off on a one-day trip to coastal towns (about 96 km) or to Berlin (about 150 km). Szczecin itself also has much to offer: it tempts both with the screening in “Pioneer”, recognized as the oldest operating cinema in the world in 2005, as well as the rose garden established in 1928.
In modern and cultural way
The new seat of the Concert hall, which was a designed by the Catalan architectural studio Barozzi/ Veiga, was built in Szczecin in 2014 in the place of the pre-war Konzerthaus. This unusual construction was the first building in Poland that won the main prize of Mies van der Rohe, called the “European Oscar in the field of architecture”. The interior comprises two concert halls (Sun and Moon halls), 1143 seats for the audience, 2,500 sqm of walls and ceiling covered with handmade gold flakes from schlagmetal, as well as four above-ground and two underground storeys.
The pavilion of the Dialogue Center Przełomy adjacent to the Concert Hall was named the Building of the Year in 2016 at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin. The greater part of the museum, designed by Silesian architect Robert Konieczny, is hidden underground. The roof of the building is a continuation of the concrete floor of Solidarity Square.
In a castle
Fans of a slightly distant history should definitely visit the Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle. The Renaissance building was the historical seat of the Griffin family, rulers of the Duchy of Pomerania. Today, the castle houses, among others, an opera, museum, and “Pałacowe” cinema. The must-see place is also Wały Chrobrego (King Chrobry’s Embankments), i.e. 500 meter long viewing terraces located in the city centre spreading along the eastern bank of the Oder. Until 1945, they were called Tarasy Hakena (Hakenterrasse) – named after the mayor who commissioned their construction (until today, you can find German signs with the old name on them).
Located at the foot of the embankments, the modernized quay Nowe Bulwary is a popular place for meetings and walks. Both locals and tourists are eager to visit Ole! Bistro & Tapas restaurant located on the Gdynia Boulevard. Moreover, every Sunday, the Szczecin Gourmet Bazaar, which combines the idea of an ecological breakfast market and food trucks, takes place in the OFF Marina loft located at Chmielewskiego street (you can get there from Wały Chrobrego by tram number 6).
Szczecin surprises not only with its aboveground, but also underground architecture. The city is intertwined by a network of tunnels, bunkers and shelters built before or during the Second World War. The entrance to the largest public shelter in Poland from that time (2500 sqm!) is located in the pedestrian tunnel of the main train station.
The fans of history and thrilling sightseeing can try two thematic routes: “the Second World War” (air raid shelter) depicting the reconstruction of life in a shelter during air raids, and the “Cold War” (atomic bomb shelter) presenting the history of a shelter in the communist era. Each route takes about one hour.
By the water
Contrary to popular belief, Szczecin is not located by the sea (it is situated about 70 km from the Baltic in a straight line). Beach lovers can choose between several city baths or relax at the city bathing area located in the very centre – at the marina in Łasztownia. Lack of direct access to the sea does not prevent residents from celebrating…
Days of the Sea. In turn, on 9-10 August the city organizes the 12th edition of Pyromagic, i.e. the largest fireworks show in Poland. It is worth reserving some time for the final of the Tall Ships’ Races, which will take place on July 31 – August 3, 2021.
The crooked forest
One of the most interesting sights of nature located near Szczecin. This a grove of one hundred oddly-shaped pine trees has been for many years attracting tourists, fans of mysteries and wedding couples looking for interesting outdoor places for photo sessions.
An artificial lake located in Szczecin Landscape Park "Beech Woods", created after the flooding of the former chalk and marl mine. Its name comes from the characteristic emerald colour of water which results from the presence of calcium carbonate. At the bottom of the lake, there are still remains of mining machines and equipment.
The museum of technology and transport
The collection of the museum, located in in the historic tram depot from 1912, includes trams, buses, cars, motorcycles, bicycles as well as unusual vehicles such as "wszędołaz" (all-terrain vehicle) – the only existing prototype of a Polish off-road vehicle intended for inspection of power lines in difficult areas.
The central cemetery
The largest in Poland and the third (after Hamburg and Vienna) necropolis in Europe is a graveyard that uniquely implements the idea of a cemetery-garden. The design, which was created by architect Wilhelm Meyer-Schwartau in 1901, combines the beauty of landscape, greenery and architecture. Special historical and dendrological paths have been marked out for visitors.
Good to know
The Szczecin Goleniów Airport
The Szczecin Goleniów Airport is located 33 km north-east of the centre of Szczecin. The airport can be reached by rail (the journey takes 40 minutes, and the ticket costs about PLN 12), bus or car.
City bike system
The Szczecin city bike system has 87 stations (29 on the right bank and 58 on the left bank) and over 700 bicycles. One hour of riding costs PLN 1, and the first 20 minutes are free. In order to rent a bike, you need to firstly register at www.bikes-srm.pl.
Szczecin Tourist Card
Szczecin Tourist Card enjoys great popularity among city visitors. You can choose a 24-hour (PLN 15) or 72-hour (PLN 25) variant. The card provides you with, among others, free public transport, discounts on admission to museums and other attractions. Available at: Tourist Information Centres and Szczecin Manufaktura on King Chrobry's Embankments.