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Szczecin and other main cities in Poland

What do you think about visiting other main cities in Poland except Warsaw, Cracow and Gdańsk? I would like to ask you about your interest in travelling to Szczecin, Poznań, Wrocław, Łódź or Lublin. Do you take them into account?
Michal from Szczecin

Posted by
16782 posts

Limited time, familiarity, and information are the main issues for most travelers, especially on a first visit. In 1996, I went to Lublin because of I B Singer's story about it and because I had the time and also visited Majdanek memorial. Nothing about Lublin was memorable enough to make me include it with the "top 3." In this office and on my personal wish list, your named cities are not much on my mind. But the right photo, article, or reference from a friend could still inspire a future visit.

Posted by
6215 posts

Unfortunately, Americans are largely unexposed to any cities in Poland that aren't covered by most guide books. These books focus disproportionately on Kraków and Warsaw (and now Gdansk). Tour groups also hit these cities and leave out others so that they can concentrate on more "mainstream" sites. So I would say only the adventurous travelers who have ample vacation and a particular interest in Poland will seek out other cities (I think one reason may be perceived barrier with Polish language and pronouciation). I was born there so I agree with you that there are other treasures in Poland than the three cities - sadly many will never discover this, or the good value of travel to Poland. I really enjoyed Łódź, for example.

Posted by
5540 posts

I had the good fortune of traveling to Poznań and Wrocław (in addition to Warsaw, Krakow, Gdansk, and BIALYSTOK!) when I was in Poland some years ago. They were charming, interesting cities and well worth a visit (I rather liked Bialystok as well for its historical importance and Father Popieluszko).

I agree with Laura that unfortunately most Americans have so little time off from work that necessarily Krakow and Warsaw (and sometimes Gdansk), along with sometimes a visit to their ancestor's city/village, is simply all that can be fit in a trip. But sometimes people fall in love and then come back and add other places. I'd like to have see Szczecin myself!

Posted by
12121 posts


I've visited those three listed above, each of them well worth my time, energy, etc, spent 3-5 days in each on two different trips. Are those others on the list also worth it? Poznan, Wroclaw, Szczecin are interesting to me and on the bucket list for the next trip to Poland. At Poznan and Szczecin I had to transfer trains, passed through Wroclaw en route to a destination, so, at least, I saw the train stations. If you want to see a town that survived the war intact, I suggest Chelmno , did a day trip there by bus from Torun, the city visited on the third trip in 2005. Like all trips one can say too bad there wasn't another day or two. That was the case on the Torun trip that with an extra night I could have done another day trip, ie, to Grudziadz.

Posted by
3 posts

Hi Michal-

I traveled to Poland last year, with the benefit of exploring the country with locals. As a result, I visited some off-the-beaten-path places. Our home base was Poznań. I think without a guide, I would not have enjoyed it as much. There is great cuisine, shopping, theater, and sight-seeing. I didn't get to check out the nightlife, but there seems to be a lot going on.

A village I enjoyed very much is Chodzież. It has a slower pace, but is lovely. I had the best borscht I've ever tasted here. There are three lakes with trails, and a small town square. Not to be overlooked is the fine China factory. Here you can find absolutely beautiful dinnerware that would cost a fortune in other places. I plan to buy a full set next time I'm there. This is also where I went mushroom hunting, a tradition in Poland. Again, an experience I was able to have due to my hosts, and was very special.

I was in Inowrocław only briefly, but visited Tęźnia, which was unlike any spa-like area I've ever been.

One of my favorite towns was definitely Toruń. I loved the medieval feel, and the easy walkability. The Mikołaj Kopernik museum was not terribly interesting, but the gingerbread museum was fun. There's also an excellent hookah bar with very reasonable prices. But I found prices to be reasonable throughout my entire trip.

For my next trip our plan is to visit Zakopane. I'm very excited to see the architecture and glorious nature there.

Posted by
1502 posts

Michal, I know this is a late post, but......I am planning a two week trip to Poland next August and am trying to decide whether to drive or train it. We have driven all around Germany with no problems and would hope it would be the same in Poland. My husband speaks and reads Croatian and serbian so we thought he might have an advantage with signage.
I figured (I am a planning party of one), we could visit smaller towns if we drive, like Wroclaw and Torun, 2 on my list. We have 2 weeks before we would need to be in Croatia. We need to end our trip in Warsaw for the flight to Zagreb. I guess what I am asking is, how easy is it to drive in Poland, have read conflicting reports; and if we do train it, which city would you choose, Wroclaw or Torun. I will look into Szczecin too! Thank you, Barbara

Posted by
2096 posts

I must say now that I've been to Poland--Krakow, Warsaw and Gdansk--I am definitely much more interested in the cities mentioned in the original post. I like to start with the big cities due to ease of getting around and more English speakers, but now that I've experienced the beauty and charm of Poland I want to see more and plan to return.

Posted by
6215 posts

My husband speaks and reads Croatian and serbian so we thought he might have an advantage with signage.

This will not help you with the Polish language, especially Serbian which uses the Cyrillic alphabet. I don't think there is anything peculiar about Polish road signs that would make it difficult to drive. Also, Wroclaw is not a small town (and Torun is not either, although it's much smaller). You can easily access them by train from Warsaw (much cheaper than driving due to cost of gas, parking, and hassles that come with driving).

Posted by
1502 posts

Agnes, thanks for the info on driving, will look into train schedules later on. When we were in Prague my husband was able to pick up the Czech language easily since he has an ear for languages, hoping for the same in Poland. I understand most people speak English, but he likes to try to speak the local language, like Rick always suggests. guess I will just have to do some more research before making any final decisions. As many others have said, planning is half the fun!

Posted by
4637 posts

Some Slavic languages are closer to each other than others. I would say that serbocroatian and slovenian are quite close, czech and slovak are very close, slovak and polish somewhat close, czech and polish little bit less but still close (I speak czech and understand enough polish to get around). Bulgarian and Russian are somewhat close to each other but more apart from other slavic languages. Caution!: some words are the same in two languages but mean something totally different. For example if you say one word (pronounced pecha or maybe peecha) in croatian, it means beverage. I strongly advise against saying it in Czech Republic or Slovakia where it certainly does not mean beverage. Or in slovenian otrok means child. Not so in czech where it means slave. In Russian zhivot means belly, in czech - life. And so on.

Posted by
17 posts

We went to Torun, Boleslawiac, and Wroclaw, as well as the usual. We skipped Warsaw in favor of a few days on the Baltic.

Posted by
2487 posts

If you've got time, I certainly would include Wrocław. It's feels so very different from the rest of Poland, being so very German. The area around the university is especially beautiful with its baroque buildings.
And I love Łódź. It's not a beautiful city, but interesting for its past as one of the major centres of textile industry in this part of the world. It shows in its gigantic factory complexes, some cities within the city, which are perfectly restored and put to new uses, and in the not always very tasty opulent city palaces of the great textile families. For those interested in that part of the Polish history, it has one of the largest Jewish cemeteries.
Poznan is not very high on my list.
In Lublin you get the feeling you're closing in on Russia. A little bit further on - two hours on the local train - you'll find wonderful Zamosc, the pearl of the region.
Szczecin I don't know.